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Author: Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Moral police fails to dampen New Year revelry in Kashmir

“There will be heightened security in Gulmarg on that day. We will make all arrangements. We will take all the precautionary measures, though there is nothing specific (threat). We will be taking enough security measures so that youth and visitors will participate in the New Year celebration,” Garib Das, deputy inspector general of police, North Kashmir range, told dna.

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Also ReadIndiaTamil Nadu: Construction work on APJ Abdul Kalam’s memorial to begin todayIndiaMoral police fails to dampen New Year revelry in KashmirIndiaDelhi: December 30 dry run for odd even ruleIndiaTwo South Mumbai women seek medical help for obsessive shoppingIndiaGopal Subramaniam agrees to head DDCA probe panel; asks AAP govt to televise inquiry proceedingsIndiaGrimmer details of Dadri lynching emerge, meat found from Mohamad Akhlaq’s home was goat’s <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Indian Medical Association to start campaign against junk food in new year<!– /.block –>Delhi: December 30 dry run for odd even rule<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Article 370 can’t be abrogated, repealed or amended, rules Jammu and Kashmir HC

“It is high time for all the political parties to support the bill without excuses and explanations. The restoration of Sardar-e-Riyasat and post of Prime Minister would not mean a permanent solution to the dispute of Jammu and Kashmir but will be an act to respect the court orders and a move to satisfy the sentiments of masses,” he said.

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<!– /.block –>Good news from Tadoba reserve: Tiger numbers rising <!– /.block –>
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Good news from Tadoba reserve: Tiger numbers rising <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndiaArticle 370 can’t be abrogated, repealed or amended, rules Jammu and Kashmir HCIndiaGood news from Tadoba reserve: Tiger numbers risingIndiaSulking Akhilesh Yadav skips Sefai fest, strains show in Yadav clanHealthHPV vaccine in universal immunisation could bring up old fearsIndiaMumbai: Minor boy held for demanding Rs 5 lakh from actressIndiaMiffed at delays in warship building, Parliamentary Panel asks for single point accountability <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Time to redraft the oath of office to curb graft<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Atal Bihari Vajpayee approach revisited, says moderate Hurriyat

“This is an evolutionary process and a step in the right direction. It indicates Prime Minister’s resolve to enter into a long-term strategic partnership with Pakistan. Hope that the meeting between the two leaders will provide the much-needed momentum to the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue for peaceful resolution of all issues,” Mufti, who is convalescing in a Delhi hospital, said in a statement.

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<!– /.block –>Heal the mind, writes Priyanka Chaturvedi <!– /.block –>
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Heal the mind, writes Priyanka Chaturvedi <!– /.block –>
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Also ReadIndia6.2 magnitude quake rocks northeast Afghanistan; tremor felt in Delhi, parts of North IndiaIndiaNo takers among doctors for paramilitary forcesIndiaDelhi emerging as global transit hub for drugsIndiaTwo major defence deals that couldn’t fructify during Narendra Modi’s visit to RussiaIndiaNow for the real talks: India, Pakistan Foreign Secretaries to meet on January 15IndiaAll you need to know about PM Modi’s sudden Pakistan visit <!– /.block –>

<!– /#sidebar-second –>Two major defence deals that couldn’t fructify during Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia<!– /.block –> <!– /#content_bottom –>
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Jammu and Kashmir: Strategically important state-of-the-art bridge all set to be dedicated to nation

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It will be first cable-stayed bridge in north India and fourth in the country, after Rajeev Gandhi Sea Link in Mumbai, Hooghly Bridge in Kolkata and Naini Bridge in Allahabad.

Considered to be an engineering marvel, the Ravi bridge has a tower height of about 88 meters above deck level
dna photo

Forget terror, Jammu and Kashmir is all set to create a history by becoming only the fourth state in the country to house the state-of-the-art cable-stayed bridge connecting three strategically-important north Indian states.Constructed by Border Roads Organization (BRO) at an estimated cost of Rs 145 crore, the 592 meter span bridge on river Ravi will be dedicated to the nation by the defence minister Manohar Parrikar at Basohli on Thursday.It will be first cable-stayed bridge in north India and fourth in the country, after Rajeev Gandhi Sea Link in Mumbai, Hooghly Bridge in Kolkata and Naini Bridge in Allahabad.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The work on the maiden cable stayed bridge of the state was started in September 2010 on the persistent demand of people of Basohli Twenty two villages got submerged and had to be evacuated to other places after the construction of Ranjit Sagar dam,” said an official spokesman.Designed by Canadian Company `Infinity Engineers’, the peculiarity of this bridge is that the main span and back span are balanced by cable. Nearly 300 ton specially designed cables were needed for this bridge which has been procured from Japan and Spain.”Not only the Indian engineers and consultants, the agencies from Canada, Japan, Spain and Switzerland were engaged for the completion of this prestigious project by the BRO,” said the spokesman.Considered to be an engineering marvel, the Ravi bridge has a tower height of about 88 meters above deck level. The decking and the span regions will only be supported by cables. There will be 1.5 meter wide footpaths on both sides.”Out of 592 meter Span bridge 350 meter is cable stayed while rest is plain. Cable stayed-bridges have a low-center of gravity, which makes them efficient in resisting earthquakes. Cable stayed bridges provide outstanding architectural appearance due to their small diameter cables and unique overhead structure,” said the spokesman.It took five years to complete the strategically important cable-stayed bridge which will connect Jammu and Kashmir with Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. Once commissioned, the Ravi bridge will help the armed forces to cut the reaction time in rushing troops to the forward areas in case of exigencies.”This bridge is strategically important from defence point of view also. It is first of its kind in north India having second longest span in India,” said the spokesman.The strategically important bridge will also help in bringing far flung areas of Kathua and Doda districts on the tourism map, which otherwise had been left out in Jammu and Kashmir.Specially designed cables used Designed by Canadian Company `Infinity Engineers’, the peculiarity of this bridge is that the main span and back span are balanced by cable. Nearly 300 ton specially designed cables were needed for this bridge which has been procured from Japan and Spain. “The work on the maiden cable stayed bridge of the state was started in September 2010 on the persistent demand of people of Basohli Twenty two villages got submerged and had to be evacuated to other places after the construction of Ranjit Sagar dam,” said an official spokesman.

Russian pilgrim sentenced to jail in Kashmir

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Luck, however, had other things in store for the mother of two as she was arrested by the police for entering into the valley without valid travel documents. Four months later, Zoia, a practising Hindu, has been sentenced to one year in jail by a trial court.

Faith transcended all boundaries for 40-year-old Russian Bonetekia Zoia when she embarked on a spiritual journey from Saint Petersburg to the abode of Lord Shiva at the Holy Amarnath cave in August this year.Luck, however, had other things in store for the mother of two as she was arrested by the police for entering into the valley without valid travel documents. Four months later, Zoia, a practising Hindu, has been sentenced to one year in jail by a trial court.As Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarks on a two-day Russia visit from Wednesday, the clamour is growing for pardoning or commuting the sentence of Zoia so that she could be reunited with her family at Saint Petersburg.Noted Supreme Court lawyer and chief patron of National Panthers Party Bhim Singh has written a letter to President Pranab Mukherjee seeking his intervention for her release from prison.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”That India is a sovereign country and the tourists from Nepal may enter India. It appears that the Russian lady had no valid visa to visit India if it is so, it has to be ascertained how she was allowed to enter India without valid documents from Nepal. The immigration at the border is responsible for this goof-up and not the visiting tourist,” Singh said in his letter.Zoia was arrested by the police near Sonamarg on August 24 and charged under Section 14 of the Foreigners Act since she was not carrying the travel documents. “She has entered India through Nepal to perform yatra.While performing yatra, she was trapped by the police in the catchment area of the holy cave,” Umar Rashid Wani, the counsel for Zoia, told dna.The Russian could not be bailed out because nobody in Kashmir came forward to give surety for her. “I did not have surety to present on her behalf. If nobody stands as surety, how can a person get bail? It was not possible for me to get a passport because she actually had lost it somewhere in Nepal. Therefore, I had to confess on her behalf. Accordingly, the court convicted and sentenced her to one year jail which otherwise could have been five years,” said Wani.Wani has now decided to approach the Jammu and Kashmir governor NN Vohra seeking a pardon for the Russian visitor.”I will appeal the governor, who has the power, to pardon or commute her sentence. If she is pardoned it will be a good gesture. There are good relations between India and Russia since the dawn of civilisation. Plus, she had come with a purpose to seek peace across the globe. She was driven by faith and not having any ill intention,” he said.

Movies are making a quiet splash in the land of no cinemas

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happy ending: The organisers have received 400 entries from 50 countries in 60 different languages from around the world

The festival is being organised by the Experimental Moving Images and Theatre Association
dna photo

In the entertainment-starved paradise, the films are making a quiet debut. Thanks to the fifth edition of International Film Festival of Kashmir (IFFK), the no-cinema valley is on a high after one of the biggest cinematic extravaganza kicked off to the packed house on Monday.Organised by the Experimental Moving Images and Theatre Association (XMITA), the three-day festival will showcase 40 films from the renowned filmmakers of the country and abroad. Iranian short-fiction Waskat and Gilgit-Baltistan short fiction ‘Stunning’ were screened on the opening day of the festival on Monday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Over the next two days, 40 movies in over 10 international languages will be screened at a festival expected to attract some 2000 viewers. The selected films belong to seventeen countries including Iran, Russia, UK, USA, Phillipines, Turkey, Mexico and India,” said Ali Emran, the IFFK Curator.Such was the enthusiasm among the filmmakers that the organisers received 400 entries from 50 countries in 60 different languages from around the world.IFFK has major sections that include International competition, Indian panorama and J&K Select.”We have selected five films in the best of Indian panorama category. Similarly we have five films –one feature and four short—in J&K select. Thirty others are the international films. Plus there will be a Spanish package of six short films”, said Emran.Interestingly the film festival is being organised in a place where no cinema halls, 70mm halls or multiplexes are operational. Allah Tigers, now a defunct militant outfit, had banned the cinema halls and sale and consumption of liquor in 1989. Led by self styled ‘Air Marshal’ Noor Khan, the outfit had ransacked and looted the liquor shops and threatened to set ablaze cinema halls prompting them to shut instantly.There were eight single screen theatres in summer capital city of Srinagar. Of which four were in sensitive old city which had become the citadel of separatist movement in early nineties. In 1999 Farooq Abdullah led government tried to reopen Regal cinema in Srinagar. But on the inaugural show, militants attacked the cinema with grenades killing one person and injuring 12 others. Later two cinema halls –Neelam and Broadway—tried to reopen amid tight security but they were unable to attract the cine-goers owing to security reasons. With the result Broadway closed some months later. Neelam Cinema crutched along but finally closed down in 2010. Cine goers had a narrow escape when militants attacked Neelam on September 7, 2005. Two militants and a policeman were killed in the attack. History is made Cinemas or no Cinemas, Kashmir has made history once again by hosting another edition of the international film festival.”XMITA will continue to host some events for the festival in the lines of workshops through different national and international organizations”, said a spokesman of XMITA

Peace is in the air: CRPF vacates 25 year old camp from stone pelting epicentre

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Back bone: Paramilitary force performs a dual role of managing the law and order and fighting militants in the Valley

Call it a dividend of peace; the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has started vacating one of the oldest and super-sensitive camps in the stone pelting hub of the old Srinagar city.The camp housing the company of 49 battalion CRPF in Kawdara area was established at the onset of militancy 25 years ago. From housing Border Security Force (BSF) troops to CRPF soldiers, the camp has seen many upheavals during the heydays of militancy and the stone pelting.Come 2015, the CRPF has decided to vacate the camp and hand it over to the Jammu and Kashmir Police. “The camp is in the process of shifting. There was one company of 49 battalion comprising around 100 men located in the camp. We will hand it over to the Jammu and Kashmir Police,” Ashish Kumar Jha, CRPF spokesman at Srinagar, told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Considered as super-sensitive camp of the valley, scores of the CRPF soldiers were injured in stone pelting particularly during 2008 and 2010 agitation. Since the camp is old city, it was always at the receiving end of the stone throwers who used to target it almost every day.”During the peak time of the stone pelting (during Amarnath land row of 2008 and 2010 groundswell) this camp suffered a lot. So many of our men were injured in the stone pelting. It was a super sensitive camp. Prior to CRPF, this camp housed BSF as well. It has been there for the last 25 years”, said Jha.CRPF performs a dual role of managing the law and order and fighting militants in the strife torn Jammu and Kashmir. The paramilitary force plays key role in helping the local police in the counter-insurgency duties. Most of the times they conduct joint operation with the cops and other security agencies. Govt welcomes the decision There are around 47 battalions of CRPF deployed in the Kashmir valley of which around 25 battalions are posted in capital city of Srinagar mostly to quell the street protests and stone pelting.The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has gone gaga over the shifting of the camp describing it as the major achievement of 10 month old Mufti Mohommad Sayeed led government in Jammu and Kashmir. “Shifting ofCRPF camp from Kawdara is a welcome step. People of the state are benefiting from visionary leadership of Mufti Saheb,” said Khursheed Alam, Srinagar district president of PDP.

Online jihadis abuse girls who went on an army sponsored tour

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Online moral police and separatists are gunning for the group of 30 girl students for going on an Indian army sponsored Bharat dharshan. From calling for social boycott to asking boys not to marry these girls, the online abuse against the students has broken all records.

It is turning out to be redux of the Praagaash controversy in the strife torn Kashmir.Online moral police and separatists are gunning for the group of 30 girl students for going on an Indian army sponsored Bharat dharshan. From calling for social boycott to asking boys not to marry these girls, the online abuse against the students has broken all records.Unfazed by the abuses, the girls put up a brave face as they arrived after the 10 days of tour on Wednesday. From saluting to shouting loud Jai Hind to singing patriotic and Bollywood numbers, the girls’ message was loud and clear that they cannot be browbeaten to submission by online abusers and separatists.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Around 80 girls had signed in for the 10 days tour to different parts of the country. However the army pruned the list and selected 30 girls who were taken to Delhi, Agra and other places. During their tour, the girl students met President Pranab Mukherjee, HRD minister Smriti Irani and visited parliament.But back home, the girls and the parents had to face abuse where in the online `jihadis’ posted pictures and videos on social networking sites calling for social boycott of the families. “Third rate girls from third rate families”, reads one abusive post on the face book.Another netizen asked the society to boycott these girls and their families. One face book user even went to the extent asking boys not to marry these girls. “Kis besharam baap ki beti (daughter of shameless father)”, reads another abusive post.The abuse had an eerie similarity with Praagaash all girls rock band which was disbanded after Grand Mufti of Kashmir Bashir ud-din Ahmad issued fatwa calling music un-Islamic in 2013. This had followed abusive and hate messages posted on the social networking sites against the three girls of the band.Unperturbed by the abuse, the girl students said the tour has helped them to open up vistas and horizons. “It was a great experience for all of us. World opened before us”, said one of the girlsLieutenant General Satish Dua, General Officer Commanding (GoC) 15 corps, admitted that some of the comments were so low that he could not even mention it here. “It is up to the civil society to take stock and whether young girls should be subject to such trauma”, he said.The army commander said it was very voluntary tour with the assistance of schools, education department and with the consent of parents. “In fact we had the list of 80 students. But we had to prune it down. And those who could not tour were disappointed”, he said.Lieutenant General Dua said India is a free country and everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. “Social media even more so. Similarly the children and parents are entitled to their opinion and attitudes,” he said.

Bangkok handshake effect: Pakistani military hands over J&K youth to Indian army after six months

The timing of the handover is also significant given the new found bonhomie after National Security Advisor (NSAs) of both countries met in Bangkok which was followed by the visit of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan to attend heart of Asia conference.

Bonhomie appeared to have replaced the hostilities on the sensitive Line of Control (LoC) after Pakistani military handed over a Jammu and Kashmir youth to the Indian army, six months after he had crossed into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), in Poonch district of Jammu division. Mohammad Rashid of village Degwar-Teruan in the Poonch district had crossed over to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on June 12 and since then his whereabouts were not known. On Wednesday, Pakistan army handed him over to Indian army at Chakan- da-Bagh crossing on the LoC in the Poonch district. “The individual has been handed over to police for further questioning. Rashid, who was a contractual driver, had crossed over for the reasons still under investigation by the police. His father Sattar Din had registered a First Information Report with the police”, said Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Usually any individual who inadvertently strays across the LoC is handed over to the respective armies within days after proper verification. But Rashid’s case is a stark contrast since his father had lodged a report and he was in PoK for six months without any trace. The timing of the handover is also significant given the new found bonhomie after National Security Advisor (NSAs) of both countries met in Bangkok which was followed by the visit of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan to attend heart of Asia conference. Camaraderie between the two countries notwithstanding, Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested Rashid and he has been sent to joint interrogation centre to unravel the mystery behind his sudden disappearance. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Poonch JS Johar said Rashid was booked under EIMCO (Egress & Ingress Movement Control Ordinance) after he had crossed the LoC into PoK some six months ago. “They live near the fence (at LoC) and he had crossed over to the other side. You can go to PoK via Chakan da Bagh on permit. If you do not go with valid permit, you have to be booked under EIMCO. He was handed over yesterday and we have arrested him under that case”, Johar told dna. Police said the investigation and interrogation of Rashid will help in unraveling the truth behind Rashid’s disappearance. “Interrogation and investigation will go on. He has been arrested since he was wanted by us. We will share with you whatever comes after his interrogation”, Johar said.

After 25 years, separatists have rethink on hartals

No way to protest: Kashmir suffers Rs two trillion loss due to shutdowns in the valley since 1990

Strikes and shutdowns in the Kashmir Valley have cost its people and economy dear
Imran Nissar
dna
It took 25 years, 1,800 days of hartals and Rs two lakh crore financial loss for moderate separatists to wake up and realise that the frequent shutdowns in the Kashmir valley are the gross human rights violation.In fact, the Kashmir Valley has become the hartal capital of India with 1,813 shutdowns observed in the last 25 years of turmoil (since 1990) mostly on the call of the separatists and militants.The highest number of hartals was observed in 1991 when Kashmir remained shut for 207 days. The lowest number of hartals was observed in 2007 when Kashmir remained shut for 13 days. In ‘azadi groundswell’ of 2010, Kashmir remained shut for 132 days. Similarly, Kashmir observed shutdown for 33 days during the Amarnath land row in 2008.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Frequent hartals have dealt a crippling blow to the fledgling Kashmir’s economy of the state with financial losses pegged at Rs two lakh crore in the last 25 years.”We have suffered loss of Rs two trillion due to hartals and curfews. We have had more than 1,900 days of hartals and curfews. Of which around 60 to 65 percent were strikes and rest curfews. We are nearing 2000 days of hartals and curfews. Each day of hartal and curfew costs us Rs 100 crore,” said Shakeel Qalandar, senior member of Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies (KCSDS), a civil society group.Waking up to the rampant hartals, moderate separatists are now openly voicing concern over the old and outdated ways and methods of agitation.”Article 3 of universal declaration of human rights and article 6 of international covenant on civil and political rights say that everyone has right to life irrespective of caste, creed, colour, religion and language. When there are frequent strike calls, aren’t we depriving people from earning livelihood. And that is a violation to right to life”, said Hilal Ahmad War, chairman of Peoples Political Party (PPP), a constituent of moderate Hurriyat Conference.However, the hardliners are unfazed saying the hartals are the only way to lodge protest against the gross human rights violation and other atrocities.”It (hartal) is a compulsion for us. They (government) have not left any option for us other than hartal to raise our voice. If we hit streets they use force to disperse us. Plus they keep us under house arrest and not allow us to move. In such circumstances, the hartals are the only option left with us for lodging protest”, said Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Syed Ali Shah Geelani led hard-line Hurriyat Conference. Year wise number of hartals observed in Kashmir since the onset of militancy in 1990. Around 198 hartals took place in 1990 followed by 207 in 1991, 148 in 1992, 139 in 1993, 97 in 1994, 88 in 1995, 95 in 1996, 72 in 1997, 25 in 1998, 24 in 1999, 41 in 2000, 122 in 2001, 76 in 2002, 58 in 2003, 25 in 2004, 18 in 2005, 26 in 2006, 13 in 2007, 33 in 2008, 35 in 2009, 132 in 2010, 22 in 2011, 19 in 2012, 37 in 2013, 41 in 2014 and 22 till November 2015.

When dogs and cows marched for human rights in Kashmir

Braving bone-chilling cold, protesters waving black flags started from Sher-e-Kashmir Park and marched through fashionable Residency Road before they were stopped by the police.

The protesters started from Sher-e-Kashmir Park and marched up to fashionable Residency Road

Imagine cows and dogs coming out on to the streets for the protection of human rights in Kashmir. Thanks to Awami Ithaad Party (AIP) led by independent MLA from Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid, cows, dogs, horses and even goats made their debut in the unique protest parade in Srinagar.Braving bone-chilling cold, protesters waving black flags started from Sher-e-Kashmir Park and marched through fashionable Residency Road before they were stopped by the police.Led by Rashid, who was smeared with black ink in Delhi for allegedly hosting a beef party in Srinagar in October, the agitators were trying hard to herd the “protesting” animals.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I am Sangh Parivar’s cow… I am secure than Kashmiris,” read a placard slung by the neck of a cow. “I am Rashtrapati Bhawan’s horse, I am secure than Kashmiris,” read the placard slinging down the neck of a horse.Police had a tough time to control the march and tame the animals mostly the horses. Police successfully herded several animals but it was the horse that was unwilling to go with the khaki-clad cops. Later several policemen joined hands and bundled the horse into the police station Kothi Bagh.”Through this innovative protest, we want to convoy to world community about our sufferings. They should ask the government of India why was it depriving Kashmiris of their fundamental rights and why are the perpetrators of human rights abuses roaming free and being awarded with promotions, perks and privileges?” asked RashidAIP president noted that while India is celebrating Afzal Guru’s hanging, the killers of Gowhar Nazir, Khalid Muzaffar Wani, Zahid Bhat and dozens others are not being taken to task as required by the law.”Government of India is misleading world community over custodial killings, forced disappearances, illegal detentions, juvenile detentions, tortures and other numerous human rights abuses”, he said.Batting for the right to self determination, Rashid, a two time MLA, appealed the world community to impress upon New Delhi to allow Kashmiris to exercise their rights.”The protest should act as an eye opener for those who often get misled by soft spoken sermons being given by Indian leaders from time on non violence”, he said.

India scores major diplomatic victory after China invites northern army commander for talks

The invitation comes five years after China refused to host the then Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal on the grounds that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a ‘disputed’ territory.

Lt Gen DS Hooda

Far from the euphoria over Bangkok handshake, India is quietly basking under a major diplomatic victory after China invited Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda for discussions on the border management and boundary issues.The invitation comes five years after China refused to host the then Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal on the grounds that he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a ‘disputed’ territory.Lt Gen Hooda, general officer commanding in chief (GoC-in-C) of Udhampur- based Northern Command, along with other army commanders are scheduled to travel to China in mid-December to hold discussions with Chinese counterparts on varied issues relating to the boundary issues.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He (Lt Gen Hooda) is likely to visit China in mid-December. Exact dates will be intimated later,” Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command, told dna.The four-day-long talks between Indian and Chinese military delegation will focus on a host of issues relating to the boundary disputes, border management and maintaining peace and tranquility on the line of actual control in Ladakh and other parts of the country that shares border with China.India shares a 3,488-km border with China while Jammu and Kashmir shares 646 Km of line of actual control (LAC) with China. Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in the country which shares its borders with both Pakistan and China.The incursions and transgressions by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been a cause of worry for the people in Ladakh division, though the number has decreased for the last one year.In September, two armies were engaged in a bitter standoff after Indian troops dismantled the watch tower constructed by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Burste in Depsang Plains on the LAC.In April 2013 Indian and PLA were engaged in a major face-off when the Chinese troops had come 19 kilometres deep inside the Indian Territory at Daulat Beg Oldi sector on LAC and set up tented posts. The 20-day standoff ended on May 5 2013 when troops from both sides withdrew to the pre-incursion positions on the LAC.”We hope that there will be a movement forward in the meeting between the military leaderships of the two countries. There is a major policy shift in China and a lot of goodwill towards India. We hope to carry forward the mission of friendship with China,” said an army officer.

Indo-Pak NSA talks: Moderates rejoice, hardliners sulk

Moderate Hurriyat Conference has gone gaga over the resumption of Indo-Pak NSA level talks even as the hardliners are in no mood to relent on their demand of treating Kashmir as “core issue” and resolving it according to the aspirations of its people.

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with his Pakistani counterpart Nasser Khan at a meeting in Bangkok.

PTI
Moderate Hurriyat Conference has gone gaga over the resumption of Indo-Pak NSA level talks even as the hardliners are in no mood to relent on their demand of treating Kashmir as “core issue” and resolving it according to the aspirations of its people.”It is a good step that Indian and Pakistan are talking again.. We always feel that there is no other option for the two countries but to engage with each other. We are happy that apart from other issues they have discussed Jammu and Kashmir,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mirwaiz, who is also the chief cleric of Kashmir, noted that Kashmir issue needs to be on the agenda of the talks between the two countries. “We are not averse to both countries discussing other issues. But Kashmir has to be on the agenda,” he said.Moderate Hurriyat leader hoped that Indo-Pak leaders would involve Kashmiris in the process in the later stage as well. “It is a thaw. I am sure once talks move forward they will take Kashmiris on board. We are happy that both the countries have realized Kashmir cannot be put under back burner,” he said.Hurriyat hawks however were not amused by the NSA level talks saying unless core issue of Kashmir is resolved there cannot be friendly ties between India and Pakistan.”We are not opposing talks but we want that the core issue of Kashmir to be addressed. Unless you address this core issue, the relations between the two countries cannot be good. People of Kashmir, who are the basic party to the dispute, needs to be involved. Unless they are taken on board talks cannot yield any result “, Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Geelani led hard-line faction of Hurriyat Conference, told dna.Welcoming the talks, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the two countries should take the initiative to the logical conclusion. “It is a good beginning. The two countries should take it to the logical conclusion”, said Mehboob Beg, chief spokesman of PDP.Premier opposition party National Conference (NC) too welcomed the initiative hoping that there will be structured dialogue to solve all issues. “We want that both countries should talk. And they should talk on all issues”, said Junaid Mattu, spokesman of National ConferenceFormer chief minister and NC working president Omar Abdullah took to twitter to welcome the move. “Clearly Paris was more than the officially termed courtesy meeting. Good to see India & Pakistan resume the dialogue process… Now the challenge is to make sure the Indo-Pak dialogue process is ring-fenced from incidents designed specifically to derail it,” he tweeted

19 days on, militants still hiding in Manigah forest

For the past 19 days, security forces backed by choppers, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and special forces are hunting for the militants hiding in the dense forests of Manigah in the border district of Kupwara.

It is turning out to be one of the longest anti-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir.For the past 19 days, security forces backed by choppers, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and special forces are hunting for the militants hiding in the dense forests of Manigah in the border district of Kupwara.The operation was launched on November 13 after the security forces got a tip-off about the presence of militants in the jungle. A joint team of the Indian army and the police swiftly launched the cordon and search operation to hunt down the militants.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>So far, the security forces have shot dead one militant of the group that was responsible for the killing of Colonel Santosh Mahadik, the commanding officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles who was leading the operation against the militants in the forest. Another militant of the group was found dead in the jungle probably due to cold weather. A Lieutenant Colonel of 160 Territorial Army is among the five soldiers and policemen wounded in the operation so far.Manigah is a bowl surrounded by mountains and dense forests. There are rocks and thick foliage which helps the militants to camouflage and escape the prying eyes of the security forces. Besides ultras, security forces have to battle the poor visibility and inclement weather.Thousands of men from army, counter-terrorism unit of Jammu and Kashmir Police and commandos from the special forces have cordoned off around five square kilometre area to smoke out the ultras hiding in the jungle.”Cordon and search operation is on. It is one of the longest operations in Kashmir. There has been intermittent contact (exchange of firing) with militants. They (ultras) may be hiding somewhere. Operation to hunt them down is on,” Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar, told dna.Security forces, however, are surprised about how the militants could survive for so many days given the sub-zero temperature and shortage of the food in the jungle.”It is extremely difficult to survive in these conditions. Temperatures are below the freezing point. Ultras cannot light a fire because smoke will automatically blow their cover. They cannot leave the jungles for food because there is a heavy cordon. We are trying to unravel this mystery,” said an intelligence official.The long operation has taken political overtones with Awami Ithaad Party president and MLA Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid asking the government to intervene and lift the siege.”There seems to be no justification and logic for continuing the crackdown despite the cold weather. Civil and police administration should intervene and get the siege lifted without further delay so that the inhabitants of the area heave a sigh of relief,” he said.

Post J&K floods, saffron sees sharp fall in production

Kashmir saffron sells for anything between Rs2 lakh to Rs3 lakh per kg

On a chilly November morning, a group of women criss-crosses the full-blown saffron fields to pick up the first harvest post floods. Crooning folklores, the young women line up to pluck the saffron flowers delicately with their tiny fingers.Touted as world’s costliest spice, saffron crops suffered huge losses last year due to devastating floods. The average yield dropped from 4.5 kilogram per hectare to 1.02 kilogram per hectare causing financial losses of more than Rs 300 crore to saffron farmers in the state.“Last year, the average yield was only five per cent of what we used to harvest. This year, the yield is better than 2014 but it still will be only 15 per cent of what we used to harvest until a few years ago. We have suffered huge losses last year due to the floods,” GM Pampori, president J&K Saffron Growers and Dealers Association, told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Climatic changes, unseasonal rains and weather vagaries are the major reasons affecting saffron production in the valley. “Climatic changes are wreaking havoc to our crops. We have had unseasonal rains for three months continuously early this year. This affected our production,” said Pampori.Official figures reveal that the saffron production in Kashmir was 10 to 11 metric tonnes in 2012. In 2013, the production figures touched 15 tonnes. Last year, there was 75 to 80 per cent drop in production figures.“Saffron alone suffered losses worth Rs 300 crore last year. This year, the crop is very good. We are in the process of collecting the figures. We hope to have a good yield this year. Our average saffron yield per hectare is 4.5 kilograms,” Aijaz Altaf Aijaz Andrabi, director agriculture department, Kashmir told dna.Around 3,715 hectares of land is under the cultivation of saffron in Jammu and Kashmir. Pampore in the Pulwama district of south Kashmir tops the list with 3,200 hectares under saffron cultivation. It is followed by Budgam and Srinagar with 328 and 165 hectares respectively under the saffron cultivation. Kishtwar is only district in Jammu division where saffron is cultivated. Around 50 hectares of land is under the saffron cultivation in KishtwarPrecious like gold, Kashmir saffron sells for anything between Rs two lakh to Rs three lakh per kilogram in the market. However, cheaper Iranian variety and adulteration in Kashmiri saffron have dealt a major blow to the saffron farmers in Jammu and Kashmir.“Around 60,000 hectares of land is under the cultivation of saffron in Iran. They are very advanced and their production is huge. Kashmir saffron however is the best in the quality in the world,” said Andrabi.Uses of saffron It is used in multiple ways in multiple products such as medicine, beauty ingradients, colours and food.Kashmiri saffron kahwa (tea) is a delicacy which is served on special occasions signifying the importance of the guests. It is used in Wazwan (multi cuisine mutton dish) and halwa in Kashmir.Besides, saffron is used in beauty products and has a high medicinal value. Saffron has also religious significance and Hindus mostly use it to apply tika on their forehead.

Over 5,500 security force men martyred in line of duty in last 24 years in Jammu and Kashmir

Figures released by the Jammu and Kashmir police reveal that around 5,504 security force men including army, paramilitary soldiers and cops have died fighting militants from 1990 to 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir.

Army jawans carry the body of Colonel Santosh Y Mahadik during his last rites in Satara, Maharashtra on Thursday. Mahadik was killed in a gunfight with militants in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara

PTI
War against terror has claimed the lives of over 5,500 security forces men and officers in the strife torn Jammu and Kashmir in the last 24 years.Figures released by the Jammu and Kashmir police reveal that around 5,504 security force men including army, paramilitary soldiers and cops have died fighting militants from 1990 to 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir.In 1990, when Kashmir was up in flames, around 150 security force men were killed by militants. Around 173 security forces men were killed in 1991 and 189 in 1992. The security forces fatalities increased every year with militants unleashing a wave of violence across the state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nearly 198 security force men were killed in 1993 followed by 200 in 1994, 237 in 1995, 189 in 1996, 216 in 1997, 268 in 1998 and 407 in 1999.The turn of the decade was the bloodiest for the security forces with casualties mounting dramatically. For instance, around 482 security force men were killed in 2000 followed by 613 in 2001, 539 in 2002, 384 in 2003 and 330 in 2004.”It was the bloodiest phase for the security forces. There are number of reasons for that. The number of foreign militants was very high. Fidayeen attacks, suicide bombings and car bombs had increased resulting in mounting casualties to the forces,” said a counter-terrorism expert.Security forces however were quick to adapt to new age militancy and therefore they adopted a proactive approach which helped them in minimising their casualties and dealt a crushing blow to ultras.Official figures reveal that in 2005, around 244 security forces men died fighting militancy. In 2006, 182 security force men died in the line of duty followed by 122 in 2007.From 2008 onward the security forces were able to break the backbone of the militants in Jammu and Kashmir. With the result the causalities of the security forces came down from three digit figures to two digit figures.Official figures reveal that security forces lost 85 men in 2008 followed by 79 in 2009 and 69 in 2010. In 2011, 33 security forces men were killed fighting militants followed by 15 in 2012, 53 in 2013 and 47 in 2014.”Anti infiltration and counter terrorist operation is a continuous process. It is regular feature. Situation is under control. Terrorist actions and crime is on decline,” K Rajendra Kumar, director general of police, Jammu and Kashmir told reporters in Kishtwar on Monday.

Army colonel from Maharashtra falls to militants’ bullets in Kashmir

Hailing from Satara in Maharashtra, Colonel Mahadik and his team was chasing a group of militants in the thick forests when they came under a barrage of firing.

Col Santosh Mahadik

Colonel Santosh Mahadik’s name was enough to send shivers down the militants in the border district of Kupwara. A highly-decorated commando, Colonel Mahadik, commanding officer of the 41 Rashtriya Riffles (RR), led several anti-militant operations in his tenure before falling to the bullets at Manigah forest area on Tuesday. Hailing from Satara in Maharashtra, Colonel Mahadik and his team was chasing a group of militants in the thick forests when they came under a barrage of firing. Leading from the front, Colonel Mahadik fought bravely against the militants before he was hit by a bullet causing him grievous wounds. He was airlifted to the army’s 92-base hospital in Srinagar where he succumbed to his wounds.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A trained commando of the elite 21 Para (Special Forces) of the Indian army, Colonel Mahadik had conducted several anti-terror operations thus breaking the backbone of the militants across the spectrum. “Colonel Mahadik made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. He was a true soldier and had conducted many successful counter-terrorist operations. Originally from the special forces, the officer was earlier awarded Sena Medal for exhibiting gallantry and leadership in counter terrorist operations,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar . In fact, the operation against the militants in the forest area of Kupwara had been going on since Friday when the troops received inputs about the presence of heavily armed ultras in the jungles. A joint operation was launched by army and the Jammu and Kashmir police to track down the ultras. In the initial gun fight two security forces personnel were injured. On Tuesday, Colonel Mahadik led a group of troopers deep into the jungles to hunt down the hiding militants. As they were tightening the noose, militants opened fire in which two security force men including CO and a cop were injured. Later Colonel Mahadik died in the hospital. Colonel Mahadik is survived by wife and two children aged eleven and five years. Lieutenant General DS Hooda, general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) Northern Command expressed deep condolences on the loss of the brave officer. “We owe a deep debt of gratitude to officers like Santosh who lead from the front and are willing to pay the ultimate price in the fight against terrorism,” Lt Gen Hooda said. Colonel Mahadik is the second top ranking army officer to die fighting militants this year. On January 27, Colonel Munindra Nath Rai, the commanding officer of 42 RR, was killed while leading an anti-terror operations in Tral area of south Kashmir. Colonel Rai died just a day after he was honoured with Yudh Seva Medal for his exemplary bravery in the war against militancy.

Technology comes to the aid of famed Kashmiri apples

Jammu and Kashmir government is starting a trial test of a US patented technology to increase the shelf life of the apples in the non-controlled room temperature environment.

Imagine Kashmiri apple with an American twist!Jammu and Kashmir government is starting a trial test of a US patented technology to increase the shelf life of the apples in the non-controlled room temperature environment.Known as 1-MCP (Methylcyclopropene), the low-cost high-result technology, is used in the US and Europe to maintain the freshness of the fruits for longer periods.Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology (SKUAST) has been entrusted with the job of conducting the trial tests to find out how useful 1-MCP will be in prolonging the shelf life of fruit, particularly apples, in Jammu and Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Before we implement this technology, we need to see its ramifications through research,” said Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Official figures reveal that of the total 16.5 lakh metric tonnes of apples produced in the state, only 35 per cent are of the export quality. In comparison, Europe exports nearly 80 per cent of its total apple produce.Use of I-MCP (Methylcyclopropene) is expected to give the fledgling fruit and vegetable industries of Jammu and Kashmir an opportunity to deliver consistently the high quality produce safely to the markets.Jammu and Kashmir is targeting to transform its Rs.3000 crore apple industry into a whopping Rs.15000 crore business over the next five years by rejuvenating orchards and adopting the high-density plantations.Experts say that the ambitious target could only be possible by using the benchmark technologies that ensure freshness of fruit once it reaches the retail markets.Prof Nazir Mir, a Kashmir-born scientist working in Rutgers University, New Jersey, who has done a pioneering research in 1-MCP, said given the volume of production, this technology is going to be very cost-effective.Jammu and Kashmir government said the technology, which is regulated by Environmental Protection Agency of the US, can only be allowed to be used after the registration with the owners of the patent.”New technology is a useful proposition which provides insulation to fruit against high temperatures”, said Mufti.Fruit growers have gone gaga over the government’s decision to implement the technology in Jammu and Kashmir after trials.”Our profits will soar by 30 per cent annually if this technology is put to use. Currently, the shelf life of apple in normal conditions is one to two months. Its life enhances to three to four months in cold storage. If we use the new technology, we can increase the shelf life of fruits considerably”, said Basheer Ahmad Basheer, president New Fruit Association, Kashmir.

Knives, chillies new weapons in militants’ hands

Sudhir Shetty
dna
Forget automatic rifles, meat cleavers and chilli powder are the new weapons of militants to target the security forces in the restive Jammu and Kashmir.Police arrested a 22-year-old militant when he threw chilli powder and stabbed a Railway Protection Force (RPF) jawan before snatching his rifle in the Kulgam district of south Kashmir on Tuesday.This is the third incident that has rocked south Kashmir in the last two months. On October 16, police arrested a burqua-clad militant armed with a meat cleaver before he could carry out a sensational attack in the Pulwama town of south Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier on September 11, suspected militants decamped with a service weapon of a policeman when they threw chilli powder at him in Kulgam district of south Kashmir.Police said Tariq Ahmad Bhat, a BA first year student, threw chilli powder and then stabbed RPF jawan before trying to run away with his rifle at the Khudwani-Kulgam railway station on Tuesday afternoon.However the quick reaction team (QRT) of the RPF immediately swung into action and arrested the militant before he could flee from the spot. The 22 year old militant was put to sustained questioning to unravel the conspiracy behind such incidents.“He stabbed the jawan and also used the pepper powder. However our QRT apprehended him and recovered the weapon which he snatched from the jawan. A big knife was also recovered from him. Investigation is on and he is being questioned,” Zahid Malik, superintendent of police, RPF, Kashmir, told dna.Police sources said Bhat of Asthan Moholla-Redwani of Kulgam district, was tasked by the militant outfit to snatch the weapons of the security forces to augment its arsenal in south Kashmir, which has seen heightened activities of the militants in recent times. Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Abu Qasim was recently gunned down by the security forces in Kulgam district.“Carrying knives and using pepper or chilli powder is a cheap option available with the ultras. It serves them two purposes –inflicting casualties and taking away the weapons with minimum risk. Plus no one can suspect a man carrying a meat cleaver or chilli powder. All these factors are being exploited by the ultras to carry out their activities,” said a senior officer.

Fallout of Bihar results: Pressure on PDP to say goodbye to BJP

Leading the charge is PDP Lok Sabha member from Srinagar Tariq Hameed Karra, who has asked his party bosses to wake up and come out of the alliance to salvage some pride in Jammu and Kashmir.

Clamour is growing within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to walk out of the alliance with the BJP and realign with the secular forces taking a cue from the Bihar poll results.Leading the charge is PDP Lok Sabha member from Srinagar Tariq Hameed Karra, who has asked his party bosses to wake up and come out of the alliance to salvage some pride in Jammu and Kashmir.”It (defeat of NDA in Bihar) is wake up call. There is still time to salvage something. Walking out of the alliance is of course the only way to salvage (our pride). What we did (alliance with BJP) is antithesis. We might have committed mistake. But there is always a time when we can rectify the mistakes,” Karra told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karra, a former J&K finance minister who defeated National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah in his pocket borough of Srinagar in 2014, said the door has been closed for “communal forces” and Bihar results is a window of opportunity for the secular forces of the country to realign.”Entire secular forces of the country should learn lessons from people of Bihar who deserve to be congratulated for showing the path. It is the time for the secular forces to realign because doors have been slammed for the communal forces in the country,” he said.PDP leader, who was not present at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Srinagar on Saturday, said he would have been happy if the message of realignment of secular forces would have come from Jammu and Kashmir.”The message from Jammu and Kashmir would have been more forceful, meaningful and politically loaded. But unfortunately it did not happen. I would still say that there is still time to salvage,” said Karra.Main opposition National Conference (NC), which lost both Lok Sabha and assembly polls last year, went gaga over the defeat of NDA in Bihar elections.NC working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah was among the first few leaders who called up Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to congratulate him for the victory. “Spoke to Nitish Kumar Sahib to congratulate him on behalf of my father and myself for his great victory”, Omar tweeted.Without naming anyone, Omar poked fun over the “crackers in Pakistan” comment after the poll results showed Nitish winning landslide. “Sorry, it’s all the smoke from the crackers in neighboring Pakistan ;)”, said former chief minister.Even the separatist camp is rejoicing the victory of Nitish Kumar in Bihar. “It is indeed a good news that BJP led NDA has been defeated because successes had gone to their heads,” said a separatist leader requesting anonymity.

Narendra Modi announces Rs80,000 crore package for Jammu and Kashmir

This is the highest package announced by the centre for Jammu and Kashmir in the last 25 years. Earlier record of highest financial assistance was the Rs24,000 crore economic reconstruction package announced by former PM Manmohan Singh in 2004.

Supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend his rally in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday

PTI
You may call it a Diwali gift — Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced a massive development package of Rs80,000 crore for the flood-devastated Jammu and Kashmir. The package, according to the state government, is in addition to around Rs35,000 crore being spent on the upgradation of Srinagar-Jammu National highway. It will also be over and above Rs30,000 crore normal annual plan assistance for Jammu and Kashmir. This is the highest package announced by the centre for Jammu and Kashmir in the last 25 years. Earlier record of highest financial assistance was the Rs24,000 crore economic reconstruction package announced by former PM Manmohan Singh in 2004.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “The Rs 80,000 crore package is not the end. It is just the beginning. I have done what I have said. Not only Delhi’s coffers are for you but this heart too belongs to you”, said Modi, evoking loud cheers from the crowd at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium. Elaborating, Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Haseeb A Drabu said around Rs 60,000 crore has been earmarked for new infrastructure projects in the state sector while around Rs 7,000 crore will be used for ongoing projects. Around Rs 8,000 crore has been earmarked for humanitarian relief including the rehabilitation of flood-affected people. Prime Minister said his government is working for “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” and therefore, it was essential for the development process to reach all parts of the country. “I have to bring those days back when people from all parts of India used to save money to visit the state. Besides tourism, attention is being given to products like Pashmina, apples and saffron: Their branding, packaging, quality control and technological involvement. We are also focusing on skill development”, he said. Invoking Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi said the former prime minister’s three mantras of insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and jumorhat (humanity, pluralistic culture and democracy) are key to development in Jammu and Kashmir. “When Atal ji was talking of democracy, had anybody visualised that people would give a boost to the process in so little time by participating in the Lok Sabha and assembly polls in huge numbers… India is incomplete without Kashmiriyat, the Sufi traditions which are the unifying force. Progress of Jammu and Kashmir has to be based on Insaniyat (humanity),” he said. Prime Minister said Jammu and Kashmir had suffered a lot due to floods but seeing the spirit of the people he was convinced that the state would soon overcome the difficulties. “My mother used to give me Rs1 or Rs5 or at the most Rs11 during my birthday. Last year I was surprised when she gave me Rs5,000 and told me to give it to the flood affected people of Kashmir”, he said. Main opposition National Conference however was not impressed saying Modi has repeated the mistakes by ignoring the political realities of Jammu and Kashmir. “Chief Minister after talking to Prime Minister had said a historic speech is in the offing. I am sorry Rs 80,000 crore is not historic speech. Historic means you move away from the beaten track, which did not happen… Plus Vajapyee used the words (insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and jumorhat) in the context of dialogue, reaching out to Pakistan and trying to address the basic problem of J&K”, said Omar Abdullah, former chief minister. Congress too hit out at the Prime Minister saying the package is a mere eyewash and a political gimmick to appease his coalition partner in J&K.”Keeping people under siege for four days just to pretend that the Prime Minister’s rally was successful, is far from the reality. It was ironical that thousands of non-locals were hired for participating in the PMs rally”, said GA Mir, J&K state Congress president.

Massive security clampdown in Kashmir, expectations high for Narendra Modi visit

Kashmir Inc. is waiting with a bated breath for Modi’s big announcement about the financial package for the flood victims and traders in the valley.

A BSF jawan on Friday stands guard alongside a poster bearing the image of PM Modi near the venue of his rally in Srinagar on Saturday

AFP
Will he, won’t he? Suspense is building over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement about the much anticipated economic package for the food-affected people of Jammu and Kashmir.Kashmir Inc. is waiting with a bated breath for Modi’s big announcement about the financial package for the flood victims and traders in the valley.”We have been waiting for the announcement for the last one year. Devastating floods have crushed us economically. Expectations are very high and we are waiting for Prime Minister to make some big announcement about the package,” Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, president, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Initially we had given the loss assessment of Rsone lakh crore. But the government submitted the proposal for Rs44,000 crore. Later UN independent agency pegged the loss at Rs1.4 lakh crore which proved our assessment was right. We expect prime minister will announce at least Rs44,000 crore package for the trading community. We also hope he will announce 10 years tax holiday for Jammu and Kashmir,” said Wani.Jammu and Kashmir minister of state for information, education and culture Priya Sethi said Prime Minister’s visit would set-off a new chapter of development in the state and further strengthen the agenda of alliance.”Our state has got special patronage from Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji and he has stood up to the expectations of the people even in trying times of flood and natural calamities… Liberal funding from the central government has ensured that the expectations of the people of the state are met in a time bound and transparent manner,” she said.Even as the exceptions from Kashmir Inc are high, politics is weighing heavy on Modi’s visit to Kashmir on Saturday. Security forces are on a high alert following the separatist’s call for Million March to counter Modi’s rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium.Curfew like restrictions was imposed in several sensitive areas in the old city to prevent march to Jamia Masjid on Friday. Thousands of security forces personnel have been deployed to maintain security and ensure peaceful rally of Prime Minister on Saturday.All roads leading to the venue of Modi’s rally have been sealed off. The TRC grounds, where separatists have asked people to march, have been sealed off and made out of bounds.”Everybody outside Kashmir should take notice of the fact that even a day before the proposed rally whole of the Kashmir in general and Srinagar in particular is looking like a battle field”, said a spokesman of Awami Ithaad Party led by independent MLA from Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid Nature’s furyOfficial figures reveal that around 12.5 lakh families were affected by flood fury that claimed 281 lives –196 in Jammu province and 85 in the Kashmir Valley in September 2014. Former chief minister Omar Abdullah-led cabinet had approved and submitted a financial package of Rs44,000 crore to centre for providing the requisite funds before the assembly polls.

Jammu & Kashmir: Four months after suicide, failed student declared passed

Father of deceased 17-year-old J&K boy Adnan Hilal Gilkar calls this a clear case of murder

Adnan Hilal Gilkar

Shock, anger and disbelief has descended upon Jammu and Kashmir after a 17-year-old engineering student, who committed suicide after being marked failed in an examination, was declared successful after re-evaluation, four months after his death. Adnan Hilal Gilkar, who was pursuing a diploma in electrical engineering at Government Polytechnic College, Srinagar, committed suicide on June 18, the day he was declared ‘failed’ in his physics paper by the J&K state board of technical education. Adnan had jumped into the River Jhelum on June 18 after checking his result on the internet, which declared that he had failed his Physics paper. Seemingly depressed, he climbed atop Abdullah Bridge and jumped into the river. Four days later, his body was fished out from Jhelum in the old Srinagar city.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After the re-evaluation process, Adnan has secured around 70 per cent aggregate marks in the first semester of the course. In the subject, in which he was previously failed, he has secured 48 marks contrary to the earlier 28, for which he committed suicide. “It is a clear case of murder. We are completely shattered. My son has always been a bright student all through. He got a distinction in matriculation. He was one of the first 100 students to crack the entrance test for the engineering course. Now, after his death they say he had actually passed the exam and not failed as declared by them earlier,” Hilal Ahmad Gilkar, Adnan’s father, told dna. Gilkar, a guest faculty at Institute of Management and Public Administration (IMPA), said that he had applied for re-evaluation of his Physics paper since Adnan had told him that he had answered all the questions with ease. “After Adnan wrote the paper he told me that he had insisted on a continuation sheet because he needed to write more. He was given a second answer script to write his answers. I went for the re-evaluation and came to know that he had actually got 48 marks and not 28. Insensitivity and callous attitude of the evaluators has cost me my son,” lamented Gilkar. Gilkar has decided not to back down and take legal action against the authorities for callousness. “I will fight for justice. I will highlight this issue and take legal action against the authorities because their follies have claimed an innocent student’s life,” he said. Facing flak, the J&K State Board of Technical Education tried to deflect blame, saying that they just compiled the results. “Our re-evaluation is a fair system of marking. A student having doubt can come and see his answer paper. We get it evaluated from two experts. Some students pass and some fail in the re-evaluation process,” said Nazir Hussain Malik, secretary of the board.

Ahead of Narendra Modi’s visit to J&K, Pakistani army kills two Indian soldiers on LoC

Pakistani army violated the ceasefire violation at around 12.30 pm when they resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on the Indian Army positions in the Gurez sector. Two Indian Army soldiers were grievously injured in the firing who later succumbed.

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistani Army upped the ante on the borders and killed two Indian Army soldiers when they fired indiscriminately on the Indian forward positions along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Gurez sector of North Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Monday.Pakistani army violated the ceasefire violation at around 12.30 pm when they resorted to unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on the Indian Army positions in the Gurez sector. Two Indian Army soldiers were grievously injured in the firing who later succumbed.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There has been a ceasefire violation between 12.30 pm to 2pm in which Pakistan has used small arms, automatics and RPG (rocket propelled grenades). Unfortunately we have lost two boys in the firing,” said an army spokesman at Srinagar.Indian army immediately swung into action and retaliated strongly to silence the Pakistani guns. “We have retaliated and firing has now stopped. Situation is under control as of now,” said the spokesman.The ceasefire violation has come just five days before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is arriving in Srinagar to hold first rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium since the formation of PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir on March 1.Monday’s ceasefire violation also came 10 days after Pakistan Rangers fired indiscriminately on the Indian forward posts on the International Border killing a civilian laboured and injuring two others in the Samba Sector of the Jammu division.

Separatists gear up for showdown during Narendra Modi’s Jammu & Kashmir visit

An advocate and his associate have launched an online petition urging chief minister Mufti Mohommad Sayeed to allow political spaces to both Prime Minister and Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s rally on November 7.

From filing online petition to launching door-to-door campaign for optimising the social media outreach, Hurriyat hardliners led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani are pulling out all stops to make its “Million March” successful in a bid to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Srinagar on November 7.An advocate and his associate have launched an online petition urging chief minister Mufti Mohommad Sayeed to allow political spaces to both Prime Minister and Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s rally on November 7.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We appeal to the conscious citizens of the world to support the petition for providing democracy a chance in Kashmir which has been politically eroded on ground in Kashmir since 1947,” reads the online petition.Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference held a meeting of its Majlis-e-Shura (Advisory Council) in which all the 24 constituents participated on Saturday. It was decided that the leaders will span across the Jammu and Kashmir to mobilise support for the proposed march.”Our leaders will go village to village and door to door to mobilise support for the March. It will be a historic day because it will prove on whose side the people are,” said Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Geelani-led Hurriyat.Hurriyat hardliners also decided to maximise its social media outreach to mobilise the masses particularly youth to join the March. Geelani urged the youth to publicize “Challo, Challo…TRC Challo” slogan in the form of wall paintings, graffiti and posters. Youth were also asked to upload these slogans on the internet and social networking sites.Geelani said that the Million March will refresh the memories of the mass gatherings of 2008. “All the Kashmiris living abroad are requested to organise small gatherings at their respective places in support of the march,” he said.Hurriyat Conference is also sending a formal letter to the deputy commissioner Srinagar seeking permission to hold the Million March at TRC grounds. The venue of the separatist rally is just 200 meters away from where Modi is scheduled to hold its rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium on Saturday.”We are confident that the authorities will grant us permission.We will take all the responsibility for peaceful and disciplined march. In case the permission is not granted Majlis-e-Shura will sit again and decide future course of action”, said Akbar.Jammu and Kashmir government on the other side said Modi’s visit will give fresh impetus to ‘Agenda of Alliance’: of PDP-BJP alliance in the state.”People in the state are expecting the Prime Minister to make tangible confidence building measures aimed at addressing the political and economic challenges confronting Jammu and Kashmir”, said Haseeb Drabu, J&K minister for finance, labour, employment and culture.

In the festive season, villagers get a ‘lighting’ gift after 68 years

Brighter side: The authorities have set up six separate grids covering five to six houses, which will provide electricity for 12 hours

Villagers celebrate after electricity makes way in to their homes

It has taken 68 years for the people of remote Lankarchey Brok village in the cold desert of Kargil to see the electric bulbs glowing.Thanks to the solar energy, the village located at the altitude of 14,500 feet has been electrified for the first time post independence. The villagers had been using oil lamps, candles and solar lanterns to light up their houses in the last seven decades.Sponsored by a private company and coordinated by Kargil Renewable Energy Development Authority (KREDA), the village has been virtually off limit from the mainland due to its geography and terrain.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With a population of over 150 people, the Lankarchey Brok village houses around 28 households who have been living in abject poverty.”It is a small village which had no lights since independence. It is for the first time that all the 28 households will be lit-up by the solar energy. They have been using lanterns and solar lanterns for few hours. Now they would get the electricity for 12 hours at least”, Kacho Hassan Khan, district development commissioner, Kargil, told dna.Under this initiative, the authorities have set up six separate grids covering five to six houses each for uninterrupted power supply. “Each grid has two batteries which provide power supply five to six houses. It is an initiative of a private company and government’s KREDA has also rendered its help to them”, said Khan.What has brought cheers to the villagers was the lighting up of the streets in this remote hamlet. “We have installed street lights to light up this village in Sanko block. We hope that the kids of the villagers will be able to study since their houses are now electrified”, said the district collector.After achieving the incredible feat, Jammu and Kashmir government has set another goal of laying cables for regular power supply in this remote hamlet.”The village is located on a very high altitude and power supply could not reach there. Now we hope to lay the cables in next few years and bring the village on the electricity map of the state,” said KhanJ&K government is also starting work on the prestigious five megawatt solar power plant from next year in the Kargil district. “We have identified the land for the project. We hope to start work on it from next year,” said Khan.

Lotus blooms in cold desert as BJP wins Ladakh hill council polls

LAHDC, Leh, comprises 30 councillors, of which 26 are elected and four are nominated. Of the results declared so far, BJP has won 15 seats while Congress and National Conference have won four and two seats respectively.

Modi wave seems to have swept across the cold desert of Ladakh as the BJP is heading for a comfortable majority in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), Leh, polls that were held on October 17.LAHDC, Leh, comprises 30 councillors, of which 26 are elected and four are nominated. Of the results declared so far, BJP has won 15 seats while Congress and National Conference have won four and two seats respectively.Around 90 candidates, including five women, were in the fray. Congress had contested 25 seats while BJP had fielded 24 candidates. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) are contesting eight seats each. A new player New Ladakh Movement had fielded 15 candidates in the polls.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is a thumping majority for us. Congress has been wiped out in the state and the country. First they lost parliament polls then they were defeated in assembly elections. Now they have been wiped out in LAHDC polls. In coming years they will be wiped out in municipal and panchayat polls,” Ravinder Raina, BJP MLA from Nowshera, who heads its youth wing, told dna.Raina credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and J&K chief minister Mufti Mohommad Sayeed for the victory in LAHDC polls. “All credit goes to Modi ji and Mufti sahab. Congress, which was heading the LAHDC, is nowhere to be seen in Ladakh,” he said.Congress, however, was cautious in its reaction saying the party will wait till the results for all the seats are declared. “Counting is in progress. There were some independents in fray and what happened to them needs to be seen. We are waiting for the final tally. Ladakh is such a place where we are dependent on the feedback of local leaders”, said Ravinder Sharma, chief spokesman of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee.Established under Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act 1995, the LAHDC Leh was formed to pacify the people who were demanding union territory status for Ladakh. LAHDC’s main task is democratic decentralisation of the planning process at grass-root level with the involvement of people at the grass root level.Congress has won LAHDC elections thrice while BJP backed Ladakh Union Territory Front has emerged victorious once since 1995 when the first elections was held in the cold desert.Ladakh has separate autonomous hill councils for Leh and Kargil. LAHDC Kargil was consitutied in 2003 to assuage the feelings of this Muslim majority district of Ladakh.

Dussehrawale bhai brings a ray of hope in Jammu and Kashmir

Muslim and Hindu artists from Meerut make effigies of Ravana to fulfil their creative urge

A team of 40 artists have been working day and night to make effigies in Jammu and Kashmir

When competitive communalism is overshaded by the democratic values, a group of Muslims and Hindus have joined hands to make Dussehra festival a symbol of communal harmony in the strife torn Jammu and Kashmir.For the last one month Muslim and Hindu artists from Meerut have been making the effigies of Ravana and Kumbkaran for Dussehra festival in Jammu city symbolising the triumph of truth over the evil.From a traditional physiotherapist, to a farmer to a factory worker, the group members have taken a break from their professions to fulfil their creative urge by designing effigies and earning some additional bucks in the festive season.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have been making the effigies for the last 35 years. Every year we come here and make effigies. It is an art which we profess. There is no discrimination on the basis of religion. For the people we are just Dussehra Wale Bhai,” Mohammad Gayas-ud-din, head of the artists designing the effigies, told dna.Gayas-ud-din, a traditional Indian System of Medicine physiotherapist by profession, is among 40- member group consisting of Hindu and Muslim artists from Meerut who are working overtime to ensure that the Hindu brothers celebrate Dussehra with traditional gaiety.”Our group is a living example of mini-India. We eat together and we live together. There is no discrimination. In fact our cook is a Hindu and all of us eat what he dishes out. Since we are busy in making effigies Muslim brothers could not go home to celebrate Bakra Eid with their family. So, we here ensured that they do not miss on the family, as we are also like a family,” said Gayas-ud-din.For the artists, the communal tension in the country is just immature, foolish and childish. “People should learn from us. We are brothers not enemies. Those who are doing such things (whipping up communal frenzy) are immature people. Look at us. We are from same village and we concentrate on our work,” he said.Take Rajiv Kumar, a master craftsman, the art of making effigies and sharing artistic space with Muslims is a great experience. “There is nothing to worry for any of us. In fact we are living like a family,” he said.What has been the icing on the cake is that the artists are being invited by the local Hindu groups for felicitation. “Shri Santhan Sabha is also meeting us. The underlining message of Dussehra is victory of truth over evil. We all should spread this message on this festival. Let us unite and not divide,” said Gayas-ud-din.

Protests, shutdown in Kashmir as trucker laid to rest

Srinagar-Jammu National highway remained closed while train services from Baramulla to Anatnag remained suspended as a precautionary measure
An ex-gratia of Rs5 lakh and government jobs for Zahid’s kin
Four more persons have been booked under stringent Public Safety Act for criminal assault on a Kashmir-bound truck

Security personnel patrol deserted street during a curfew imposed to maintain law and order in Udhampur, Srinagar, on Monday

PTI
Shock, anger and outrage has gripped the Kashmir valley over the death of a trucker Zahid Ahmad Bhat even as the rains came to the rescue of beleaguered Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir.Noted Kashmiri poet Dr Margoob Banhali who joined the chorus of protesters and returned his Sahtiya Akademi award against the killing of Zahid by a mob near Udhampur on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway on the intervening night of October 9 and 10.Zahid, who succumbed to burn injuries in Delhi’s Safdar Jang hospital on Sunday, was buried on Monday morning. Thousands of people participated in his funeral procession amid heavy rains at his native village of Batengo in Anantnag district of south Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chanting ‘pro-azadi’ slogans people marched through the village with Zahid’s casket till it reached his ancestral graveyard where his body was laid to rest according to Islamic traditions.Massive protests rocked Batengo after Zahid’s burial with people pelting stones on the security forces. Forces fired tear smoke shells and used baton charge to disperse the violent mob. The ding-dong battle continued for hours as protesters were in no mood to retreat despite inclement weather.Elsewhere, heavy rains and sudden drop in the temperature helped Mufti government to heave a sigh of relief as the protests remained mostly localised. Police sources said there were protests in different parts of the Kashmir but they did not spiral out of control given the inclement weather.”Situation remained by and large under control,” Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, political analyst to the chief minister Mufti Mohommad Sayeed, told dna.Kashmir and Chenab Valley observed a complete shutdown. Shops, business establishments and schools remained shut while traffic was off the roads. The call for strike was given by different separatist groups and trade organisations.Authorities had imposed curfew like restrictions in sensitive old city of Srinagar to prevent any law and order breakdown. Security forces had erected barricades and rolled out concertina wire on exit and entry points of Srinagar and Anantnag to prevent any protest march.Srinagar-Jammu National highway remained closed while train services from Baramulla to Anatnag remained suspended as a precautionary measure.Facing public anger, the state cabinet passed a resolution moved by chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed expressing deep shock and grief over the tragic death of Zahid.Expressing solidarity with the bereaved family, the Cabinet observed a two-minute silence in memory of the departed soul. “The Cabinet also approved ex-gratia of Rs5 lakh and Rs3 lakh and government jobs in favour of the next of kin of Zahid and Showkat Ahmad Dar, who is undergoing treatment in the Safdarjung Hospital, in New Delhi,” said an official spokesman.Four more persons have been booked under stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) for criminal assault on a Kashmir bound truck. Five persons were earlier booked under PSA in the case. With this, all the nine persons involved in planning and execution of the fatal attack have been booked under PSA.”All the nine accused have been booked for murder under Section 302 RPC as well. District magistrate Udhampur Shahid Iqbal Choudhary after examining the dossier, facts and material produced on record regarding the instant case and criminal history of the accused issued warrants for detention of the persons involved in the attack under PSA,” said the spokesman. Four more bookedFour more persons have been booked under stringent Public Safety Act (PSA) for criminal assault on a Kashmir bound truck. Five persons were earlier booked under PSA in the case. With this, all the nine persons involved in planning and execution of the fatal attack have been booked under PSA.”All the nine accused have been booked for murder under Section 302 RPC as well. District magistrate Udhampur Shahid Iqbal Choudhary after examining the dossier, facts and material produced on record regarding the instant case and criminal history of the accused issued warrants for detention of the persons involved in the attack under PSA,” said the spokesman.

Look who is playing Sita in Ram Leela of Jammu & Kashmir!

Far from madding crowd of politics, a sitting BJP MLA played the role of Goddess Sita in local Ram Leela, much to the delight of the audience.

Politics can wait but Ram Leela cannot! Far from madding crowd of politics, a sitting BJP MLA played the role of Goddess Sita in local Ram Leela, much to the delight of the audience. Neelam Langeh, the first time lawmaker who represents Ramban constituency of the Jammu division, dressed like a woman with heavy make-up to play the role of Goddess Sita. Organised by Ram Leela Club, thousands of people turned up to watch Neelam in a new avatar at Maitra ground in Ramban. From top officers to ordinary villagers, everyone cheered the local MLA as he made his entry on the stage.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The atmosphere turned electric when Neelam delivered dialogues mimicking a woman. People clapped and applauded loudly as he walked wearing a huge embroidered lehnga with a crown on his head. “For the last seven years I have been playing Goddess Sita in the local Ram Leela. This time it was a bit different since I have become the MLA. Only difference was district officers were in attendance and people in large numbers had gathered to see their representative performing on stage”, Langeh told dna. A hugely popular leader, Langeh, 30, has been at the forefront of conducting programmes to cheer up school children and local populace in the constituency. “From my childhood I wanted to perform in Ram Leela. Whenever I used to watch Ram Leela with my parents, I was motivated to make it to the stage. Time came seven years ago when I got the chance to play the role of Goddess Sita. Since then there is no looking back. This time too people pressed me to play the role despite being the lawmaker”, he said. Langeh has been charting out his busy schedule in such a way that his political work does not suffer. “I do not need rehearsals. I have been playing the role for the last so many years and I know the character very well. So I devote my time to my constituency by meeting people in the day and playing the role in Ram Leela in the evenings”, he said. Ask him about the beef row and thrashing of independent lawmaker Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid by his associates, Langeh is unfazed and unrepentant saying the MLA hurt their sentiments by organising a beef party in the MLA hostel. “Engineer Rashid hurt our sentiments by hosting a beef party. It was a wrong move which cannot be tolerated”, he said

Jammu & Kashmir: 16-year-old rape victim pulls out all stops to receive an education

Considering her passion for studying, an NGO Association for Social Health in India (J&K State Branch) has approached the Jammu and Kashmir high court praying to allow the girl to sit in the class VIII examination to be held by State Board.

Where there is a will, there is always a way! Leaving behind her pain and trauma, a 16-year-old gang-rape victim is pulling out all the stops to seek permission for appearing in the class VIII examination to be held by Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education (BOSE) in Jammu division. Considering her passion for studying, an NGO Association for Social Health in India (J&K State Branch) has approached the Jammu and Kashmir high court praying to allow the girl to sit in the class VIII examination to be held by State Board.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hearing the matter, Justice Bansi Lal Bhat of Jammu and Kashmir high court has issued directions to the secretary of school education and secretary of BOSE to take a decision on her plea within two weeks An orphan, she was gang-raped in July 2011 prompting a local court to hand her custody over to Neha Ghar, a short-stay shelter home for distressed women run by the Association for Social Health (AFSH). The court had also passed directions to the in-charge of Neha Ghar that nobody should be allowed to meet the girl without the permission of the court. Since there was a court direction, the girl was unable to attend a formal school. Though she was only educated till second standard, the NGO arranged tuitions for the girl and therefore was prepared enough to sit in the class VIII examination. “She is now 16-year-old and wants to study. She is so passionate about her education that she threatened to jump from the roof if she was not admitted in the school. For the last few years she has been receiving private tuitions. And now the NGO has filed the petition that that the girl should sit in the middle standard examination”, Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad, counsel for the AFSH, told dna. Shakeel noted that they have prayed before the court that she be permitted to sit in the class VIII because she has been receiving the private tuitions in Neha Ghar and her age is now 16 years. “She has studied upto the second standard. We have prayed before the court that since the girl has been receiving education from private tutors, she is ready to sit in class VIII examination and her age is now 16 years”, he said. Hearing the matter, the high court gave directions to the secretary BOSE and secretary school education to take a decision within two weeks. “The high court directed the secretary education and secretary BOSE to take compassionate view as a special case being a victim of the gang-rape”, Shakeel said.

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government vows to protect article 370

“We are here to safeguard and protect the Article 370 and Article 35A,” said Syed Basharat Bukhari, Jammu and Kashmir minister for law, justice and parliamentary affairs in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led Jammu and Kashmir government has put its alliance partner, BJP, into a tight spot after it asserted to protect the special status of the state under Article 370 and Article 35A enshrined in the Indian constitution.”We are here to safeguard and protect the Article 370 and Article 35A,” said Syed Basharat Bukhari, Jammu and Kashmir minister for law, justice and parliamentary affairs in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday.Both articles of the Indian Constitution have been recently challenged in the Delhi high court and Supreme Court respectively. A petition filed by a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation has challenged the Article 35 A in the Supreme Court on the grounds that it is in conflict of the Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution for creating a special class of citizens within a class of citizens of India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under Article 35 A, Indian citizens other than the state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir, cannot acquire immovable property or have the voting rights in the restive state.Last month, Delhi high court admitted a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) of 22-year old girl Kumari Vijayalakshmi Jha challenging the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 on the grounds that it was a temporary provision or interim arrangement until a separate constitution for J&K was framed by the State Constituent Assembly.Under article 370 Jammu and Kashmir enjoys a special status in the Indian union and is the only state which has a separate constitution, flag and penal code.Law minister’s response is contrary to the stand of the BJP of revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under article 370. However, the party tried to put up a brave face after government’s declaration to safeguard the article 370 and article 35 A.”Article 370 and Article 35A are part of Indian constitution and the parliament will have to decide on it. State government has nothing to do with it… BJP stand on article 370 remains unchanged. It is an agenda of the BJP and not a part of our agenda of alliance. The agenda of alliance has been formed to run the government,” said Ravinder Raina, BJP MLA from Nowhsera who heads the youth wing of the party.Main opposition party National Conference, which created a ruckus in the House demanding discussions on Article 35 A, termed the government’s assurance on special status as “blatant lie”.”If they are serious in their intent to protect special status, why did not they allow the discussion on it in the House? They are not explaining how they are going to defend it in the court. What is their alliance partner saying?They are hiding behind the speaker,” said Ali Mohommad Sagar, NC general secretary.NC has decided to boycott the House in protest against the suspension of their two MLAs by the speaker Kavinder Gupta for creating ruckus and disruptions.

Kashmir: Two Jaish-e-Mohammad militants killed in Pulwama encounter

The killing of the two ultras comes five days after India hit back at Pakistan rejecting its proposal to de-militarise Kashmir and instead asked the neighboring county to de-terrorise.

Days after India asked Pakistan to de-terrorise its territory, security forces dealt a major blow to the Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) on Sunday when they gunned down two top foreign militants in a surgical operation in Tral-Awantipora area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district. A soldier of Indian army suffered injures in the gun battle.Identified as Adil Pathan and Chota Burmi, the duo was operating in the valley since 2010 and has been involved in number of attacks on the security forces and civilians particularly in south Kashmir.The killing of the two ultras comes five days after India hit back at Pakistan rejecting its proposal to de-militarise Kashmir and instead asked the neighboring county to de-terrorise.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Police said the encounter broke out when Rashtirya Riffles of the Indian army and Jammu and Kashmir police encircled Hari-Kaigam village after receiving specific intelligence inputs about the presence of high value targets in the area.As the security forces were zeroing-in on the specific hideout, the militants hiding inside fired on them triggering a brief but fierce gun battle. Security forces later gunned down the two militants who were wanted for different crimes in the south Kashmir area.”The operation has also led to the recovery of two AK47 rifles and other war like stores from the slain terrorists. One army soldier who sustained a gunshot wound was immediately evacuated and his condition is reported to be stable,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar.Deputy inspector general of police, south Kashmir range, Nitesh Kumar told dna it was a very clean and surgically conducted operation. There was no collateral damage, he said.Putting all speculation about their nationalities to rest, Kumar said the duo was from Pakistan and were known by their code names in the Kashmir Valley. “When they (ultras) infiltrate they change their names and use only codes,” Kumar said.Chota Burmi and Adil Pathan belonged to JeM founded by Moulana Masood Azhar, a dreaded militant commander, who was one of the three ultras released in exchange of passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines plane IC 814 from Kathmandu in 1999. Azhar-led JeM was also involved in the attack on Parliament in 2001.A few years later one of the masterminds of the attack, Gazi Baba, was killed in an encounter with the Border Security Force in Noorbagh area of Srinagar.

Dowry seekers, wife beaters to face social boycott in Kashmir

Muslim clergy have called upon all the harassed girls to register their complaints before local imams apart from police so that the family which tortures their daughters in law could be ostracized in the society.

Husbands and mothers-in-law beware! Demanding dowry or beating wife would invoke social boycott in the Kashmir valley.Muslim clergy have called upon all the harassed girls to register their complaints before local imams apart from police so that the family which tortures their daughters in law could be ostracized in the society.”For the last three there have been 1200 cases of domestic violence in Kashmir. And it is just 20 per cent of the actual number of cases. Eighty per cent of people do not register their cases due to social, family and other pressures. It is an alarming trend and we need to take this issue head on,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chief cleric of Kashmir and chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under the plan charted out by the clergy, the families found involved in the domestic violence and demanding dowry would face instant social boycott by the community in their localities in a last ditch effort to end the harassment of the brides.”Apart from the legal action there is a need to mount social pressure on these elements. First and foremost thing is that our sisters and daughters should muster courage and register their cases before the police. After that they should approach local imam so that he could involve the community. Mohalla and imam will then mount pressure and boycott these elements socially”, said Mirwaiz.Clergy has also decided to go full throttle and launch awareness campaign to educate people about the tenants of Islam so that the menace of domestic violence and dowry is put to an end.”There is no concept of dowry in Islam. In fact, it is the other way round. Groom’s family has to bear all expenses of the bride as well. Unfortunately, it has become cultural thing. Imams will be speaking on these issues on Fridays. I will be speaking myself on this issue for the next month in Jamia Masjid to create a religious awareness among the people,” said Mirwaiz.Waking up to the violence against women, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to start one-stop-crisis-center to help the women in distress.”We have got a go ahead for the centre. It will have office in Jammu and its lines will be opened in Kashmir. Distressed women could call us. on the number which we will be providing. We will provide all the legal and police protection to the women in distress. Besides we will also provide temporary shelter to such women,” Asiea Naqash, J&K minister of state for health and social welfare, told dna.

Kashmiryat – a feeling in life and beyond

Trademark Kashmiryat (pluralistic culture) was in full flow when the local Muslim youth left their Eid engagements to arrange and organise the funeral of Ram Chand Koul at Wahibug village in the Pulwama district.

In the valley of death, Kashmiryat is the toast of the season! When entire Kashmir was drenched in Eid fervour, a south Kashmir Muslim village was mourning the death of 80-year-old Kashmiri Pandit, who stuck to his roots despite his community migrating to Jammu at the onset of militancy. Trademark Kashmiryat (pluralistic culture) was in full flow when the local Muslim youth left their Eid engagements to arrange and organise the funeral of Ram Chand Koul at Wahibug village in the Pulwama district. From arranging the priest to collecting wood, Muslim neighbours did all to cremate Koul in accordance with the Hindu traditions despite the pressing engagements on Eid-ul-Azha (Bakr Eid).<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “I was away in Jammu to attend an official function when I got the news of the demise of my father. Only my sister and brother-in-law were in the house. But it was the local Muslims who, though busy with Eid, came rushing to our house and helped the family and other pandit neighbours. By the time I arrived, they had called the priest and even collected wood for funeral”, Vinod Koul, son of Ram Chand Koul, told dna. Koul, who retired as technician in Power Development Department (PDD), had decided not to migrate from the Valley in the height of militancy. Though Koul family had constructed a house in Srinagar, they stayed put in the village alongside the Muslim brethren all through. Both communities have been living in harmony for decades though some of the Pandit families migrated to Jammu at the onset of militancy. There were 40 Pandit families before militancy in this village. But after migration only eight families are now putting up in Wahibug, which was once the hotbed of militancy.”We have been living in harmony since ages. We care for each other and live like brothers”, said Ghulam Rasool, a local villager. Figures released by Hindu Welfare Society (HWS), an apex body of non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits, reveal that there are 671 families of Pandits who did not migrate and continue to reside in the valley. Official figures reveal that around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states. Of the total migrant families living in Jammu, 37128 are Hindus, 22,46 Muslim 1738 Sikhs and five others. “Kashmiryat is in the DNA of people here. We have always helped each other whether in happiness or sorrow. When there used to be a marriage of Kashmiri Pandit girl, local Muslim women used to recite wanwun (Kashmiri folklore). If a Pandit passed away, local Muslims would join the funeral. And it was evident on Eid when Muslims turned up for funeral of Ram Chand Koul”, said CL Bhat, general secretary of HWS.

Internet blockade in Kashmir kicks off storm in the time of Digital India

From tourism to industry to health care, Jammu and Kashmir has suffered huge losses as Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led government imposed the three-day ban on the internet

Internet blockade has sparked off a major controversy in Jammu and Kashmir at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing for the digital India in the United States.From tourism to industry to health care, Jammu and Kashmir has suffered huge losses as Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led government imposed the three day ban on the internet from Friday fearing that the uploading of pictures of the animal sacrifices by Muslims on Bakr Eid might trigger communal clashes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have suffered Rs 30 to 40 crore losses due to the internet ban in the last three days. From current booking to future bookings, everything has gone for a toss. Most importantly the internet ban has sent a wrong message across which could affect our tourist arrivals next year”, GM Dag, president, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Federation (KHROF), told dna.Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and industry (KCCI) has decided to take up the internet ban with the chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed since the industry has suffered colossal losses due to the cyber-blockade”Call centers operating in Kashmir became duds due to the internet blockade. Hotel and ticket booking suffered immensely. Export communications came to a standstill. On top of it we could not file the income tax returns because online system was not working. Ironically internet was blocked when Prime Minister was talking of digital India,” Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, president of KCCI, told dna.Mufti Mohommad Sayeed’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), however, defended the decision to suspend internet “for the greater good and maintaining harmony” between the two regions of Jammu and Kashmir”Internet ban was done in view of law and order situation. It has obviously helped in de-escalating the panic. There was no loss of life, no panic and no tensions in the two regions. It is not as if oxygen has been stopped,” said Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, spokesman of PDP and political analyst to chief minister.Unimpressed by government’s explanation, premier opposition party National Conference (NC) called the move “draconian and anti poor”. “When they say there is peace in Kashmir then what is the need of blocking internet… Internet ban has hit hard our hotelier, houseboat owner, poor shikara operator et al,” said Farooq Abdullah, president of NC.Former chief minister Omar Abdullah took to twitter to lampoon government by wishing people “Internet Mubarak” after the ban was revoked on Monday morning. “Oh the irony of listening to the PM talking about digital India while we in J&K spent 3 days totally disconnected due to his party & allies”, he tweeted.BJP, which shares power with PDP, defended the decision to ban the internet saying people of J&K had a blissful Eid. “Motive (to ban internet) was peaceful atmosphere should prevail so that mischievous elements will not use internet as free broadcasting station”, said Khalid Jehangir, BJP spokesman in Kashmir.

1,100 militants being trained in Pakistan camps; Army commandar says over 300 infiltrators waiting to cross LoC

Lieutenant General Satish Dua, general officer commanding (GoC) of 15 Corps, said as per the intelligence inputs out of 17 training camps, nine are opposite 15 Corps zone, four are in Manshera which is in Pakistan and five are in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir.

It is official, there are 1,150 militants currently being trained in 17 terror camps in Pakistan and the part of Kashmir occupied by it, even as a large number of ultras are swelling-up on the launch pads across the Line of Control (LoC) waiting to sneak into the valley for subversion.Lieutenant General Satish Dua, general officer commanding (GoC) of 15 Corps, said as per the intelligence inputs out of 17 training camps, nine are opposite 15 Corps zone, four are in Manshera which is in Pakistan and five are in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Total assessed strength of terrorists in these camps is anything between 1,000 to 1,150. Opposite to 15 corps zone, there are 23 launch pads close to the LoC. To be precise the strength of the militants is 315 to 325 who are waiting to be launched,” he said.Lt Gen Dua said there is a bulge in the militants on the launch pads because they are unable to get across. “What is happening is that the numbers (of militants) are swelling because they are unable to get across? So much so that they are under pressure from their masters to do something,” he said.The GoC of the 15 Corps, who is responsible for guarding the Line of Control and fighting militancy in the hinterland across the Kashmir valley, said there is always an attempt to scale up the activities (of infiltration) before the mountain passes close after summer.”Every year in summer when passes are open, there is an attempt to infiltrate. But we have a well-coordinated multi layered counter infiltration grid in place. All the infiltration bids have been foiled by us and two of them (ultras) have been captured alive,” he said.Lieutenant General Dua emphasised that time is not ripe for the army to pull out of the valley as they may lose the ground which could be filled by inimical elements.”We have brought down the situation to manageable levels and there is a low-level of violence… I will say that we have made this gain very painstakingly with blood and sweat of our cadres… We have come to a pass where I think we need to give some more time. Time is not ripe for us to pull out because if we do it now then we may lose the ground and the space will be filled by the elements which are inimical to society,” he said.

Indo-Pak armies decide to give peace a chance

A brigade commander-level flag meeting was held between the Indian and Pakistan army at Chakan-da-Bagh on the LoC in the Poonch district of Jammu on Monday to discuss the growing ceasefire violations on the LoC.

Indian Army and Pakistan Army officers during flag meeting at Poonch on Monday

PTI
Winds of peace appears to have started blowing on the Line of Control (LoC) after the Indian and Pakistani army agreed to defuse the tension in a last ditch effort to deescalate the explosive situation on the borders.A brigade commander-level flag meeting was held between the Indian and Pakistan army at Chakan-da-Bagh on the LoC in the Poonch district of Jammu on Monday to discuss the growing ceasefire violations on the LoC.Pakistani delegation was led by Brigadier Osman while the Indian delegation was led by Brigadier HS Sareen, Commander 120 Brigade. The meeting started at 11.30am on Monday and lasted for an hour. Both the commanders exchanged greetings and pleasantries before getting down to the real business.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and issues regarding ongoing ceasefire violations, targeting of civilians and sniping action on Line of Control were discussed,” said SN Acharya, officiating defence spokesperson at Jammu.It was decided that both sides would exercise restraint and take steps to deescalate the situation on the LoC. “Both sides have mutually agreed to exercise restraint and take steps to defuse the situation,” said Acharya.Official figures reveal that there has been 199 ceasefire violations by Pakistan from January 1 to June 30, 2015 in which two soldiers and two civilians were killed.The meeting was held on the day when union home minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Jammu and Kashmir on a three-day visit and batted for the peace and good neighbourly relations with Pakistan and China. QUOTE”Our endeavour is to have better relations with China and Pakistan. All issues whether it is border disputes or terrorism can be resolved by talks,” says Rajnath Singh

Three-year-old terror victim becomes Aylan Kurdi of Kashmir

Welcome to the valley of death where even three-year-old’s are not spared by the gun-toting men who bay for the blood of ordinary Kashmiris

Villagers during Burhan Bashir Bhat’s funeral on Saturday ­

AP
A small room is filled with women reciting a eulogy for three-year-old Burhan Bashir Bhat whose body lies on a floor wrapped in a purple blanket. A loosely stitched flower garland slings down his neck as his mother wails uncontrollably. Cries and shrieks rend the air as Burhan’s funeral procession starts for the final journey. Every eye became moist when Burhan’s mother calls for him the last time to bid her goodbye. Welcome to the valley of death where even three-year-old’s are not spared by the gun-toting men who bay for the blood of ordinary Kashmiris. But Burhan, in his death, has become a synonym to Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian toddler who woke up Europe to the great refugee crisis.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Suspected militants riding motorcycle sprayed a volley of bullets on Burhan and his father Bashir Ahmad Bhat, a released militant, on Friday evening when they were strolling outside their house at Sagipora village in the apple-rich township of Sopore. Bhat succumbed to his wounds en route to the hospital while Burhan, who had suffered gunshot wounds in his abdomen, passed away in the hospital. “My heart goes out to the unfortunate mother of the young child, for whom the passing away of her son in such inhuman circumstances will be an earth-shattering experience”, said Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister. Police suspects the hand of militants operating in the Handwara belt since Sagipora borders the Kupwara district. “We are analysing the ammunition used in the attack. Initial investigation reveals that they were militants operating in Handwara area of Kupwara district”, said a police officer. Burhan’s father was a released militant who had crossed over into Pakistan Occupied Kashmir twice for arms training. After serving jail terms twice, Bashir had started life afresh as a normal civilian. “But the past seems to have returned to haunt him and he was killed by the militants”, said police officer. Separatists, who usually look for an opportunity to exploit the situation and fan tensions against the government, woke up late to denounce the killings. Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani called for a shutdown on Sunday against the killings and demanded an impartial probe. “No religion and no law in the world allows children to be killed in war. The killing of a child is an unpardonable act and tantamount to the killing of the entire humanity. Aylan Kurdi of Syria shook the entire world and Burhan’s killing has left entire Kashmir in mourning”, said Geelani. Meanwhile, a bullet-riddled body of Hizbul Mujhadeen militant Fayaz Ahmad Bhat was found in the paddy fields of Devbug village of Tangmarg area of north Kashmir. While police suspects Fayaz was killed in a tit-for-tat action by Lashkar-e-Islam militants to avenge the killing of its three men recently, the Hizbul Mujhadeen said he was killed in a gun-battle with security forces.

Pakistan launches twin attacks on LoC, five militants killed, soldier injured

Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar said alert soldiers effectively foiled the infiltration bid when they killed five militants when they were trying to infiltrate from across the LoC in Gurez Sector on Friday.

Youths throw stones on police during clash between police and protesters who were protesting against the Beef ban in Srinagar on Friday

PTI
Pakistan launched two pronged attack on the Line of Control (LoC) on Friday when they tried to push in infiltrators from one sector and shelled villages and forward posts in another across Jammu and Kashmir. Five militants were killed and two others including a soldier were injured in the twin attacks. Meanwhile, an Indian fisherman was on Friday killed in firing from an unidentified boat at his vessel off the Gujarat coast even as the local fishermen association blamed the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency for the attack. Indian fisherman Iqbal, 40, succumbed to his injuries after being hit by a bullet on right collar bone.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar said alert soldiers effectively foiled the infiltration bid when they killed five militants when they were trying to infiltrate from across the LoC in Gurez Sector on Friday.”First contact with the terrorists was established late night just as they crossed the LoC, after which an intense gunfight ensued, resulting in elimination of two terrorists. The rest took cover in the rocks and bushes. After a deliberate operation by the army till Friday afternoon, three more terrorists were eliminated taking the toll to five,” said Colonel Joshi.Troops recovered a huge cache of war like stores which includes five AK- 47 Rifles, one rocket projectile gun and one under barrel grenade launcher. “The Army is continuing search and sanitizing operation in the area to ensure safety and security of the people”, he said.Pakistan army also stepped up attack on the civilian areas and forward posts on the LoC when they fired mortar bombs and high caliber shells in the Balakote sector of Poonch district of Jammu division injuring a soldier and a civilian on Friday.SN Acharya, officiating defence spokesman at Jammu, said Pakistani army violated ceasefire in the wee hours of Friday when they fired mortar shells on the Indian forward posts and civilian areas in the Balakote sector.”Pakistan started firing from 6 am which was continuing till 3 pm when last report came in. They were firing mortars and using other weapons. One of our solider was injured in the firing. His condition is stable,” he said.Indian army troops retaliated effectively to silence the blazing Pakistani guns. “We have retaliated to the firing”, said Acharya.Giving details, the Coast Guard said its ship Vijit intercepted a VHF (very high frequency) call at 9:30 am seeking assistance from an Indian fishing boat which was being fired upon by an “unidentified boat 10 NM (18.56 kms) across notional International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL)”.Two ships Vijit and Meera Behn – which were on patrol duty, were immediately diverted towards the position of incident to investigate and render assistance.A Dornier aircraft was also pressed into action to carry out aerial surveillance.”Vijit effected rendezvous with the boat and ascertained that the firing incident had resulted in the death of a fisherman. The remaining crew is safe,” the Coast Guard said in a statement.The fishing vessel is being brought back to Okha in Gujarat.Asked about the alleged involvement of Pakistan’s MSA, the official said a probe is underway and it would be premature to draw any conclusion at this stage.The firing took place near the International Maritime Boundary Line(IMBL), Secretary of National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF) Manish Lodhari said, adding Pakistan’s MSA was behind the attack.”Iqbal was among six fishermen on the boat that had ventured into the sea from Okha port in Devbhoomi Dwarka district,” he said. Civilian areas attackedTroops recovered a huge cache of war like stores which includes five AK- 47 rifles, one rocket projectile gun and one under barrel grenade launcher. “The Army is continuing search and sanitizing operation in the area to ensure safety and security of the people”, he said. Pakistan army also stepped up attack on the civilian areas and forward posts on the LoC when they fired mortar bombs and high caliber shells in the Balakote sector of Poonch district of Jammu division injuring a soldier and a civilian on Friday. Offered olive branchEven as Pakistan continued to provoke, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed offered olive branch to Islamabad saying he wants to bring down the walls of hatred between the two neighbours as people of the state will be the principal beneficiaries of thaw in relations.”My primary goal is to take away the clouds of political uncertainty, which have hovered over the horizon of J&K for 70 long years,” he said. District development commissioner of Poonch, Nisar Ahmad Wani told dna that one civilian was also injured when a shell landed in his compound. Vessel brought back to GujaratA Dornier aircraft was also pressed into action to carry out aerial surveillance, where the Indian fishing boat was fired upon. “Vijit effected rendezvous with the boat and ascertained that the firing incident had resulted in the death of a fisherman. The remaining crew is safe,” the Coast Guard said in a statement. The fishing vessel is being brought back to Okha in Gujarat. Asked about the alleged involvement of Pakistan’s MSA, the official said a probe is underway and it would be premature to draw any conclusion at this stage.

Pressure on Mufti government to bring ordinance to override beef ban

Leading the charge is main opposition party National Conference (NC) which has called upon the government to explore ordinance route to make amendments to Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) ahead of the approaching Eid-ul-Azha.

Pressure is mounting on Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led PDP-BJP government to promulgate the ordinance to bypass the Jammu and Kashmir high court order banning the sale of beef in the restive state. Leading the charge is main opposition party National Conference (NC) which has called upon the government to explore ordinance route to make amendments to Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) ahead of the approaching Eid-ul-Azha. The party has also decided to bring a bill in the coming assembly session to amend the RPC in a bid to override the ban on beef.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “Mufti Sahab should get the ordinance passed by his Cabinet and send it to the Governor as soon as possible to prevent an explosive situation on Eid-ul-Azha where traditionally cow sacrifices are commonplace all across the state”, said Abdul Rahim Rather, senior NC leader and former finance minister. Under section 298A Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), killing or slaughtering of a cow or similar animal (including ox and buffalo) is non-bailable offence which carries punishment of 10 years imprisonment and fine. Under section 298B, possessing of meat of such an animal is a non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment of one year and fine.. Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Jammu and Kashmir high court comprising Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal on Wednesday had directed the director general of police to enforce the ban on the sale of beef in the state. “The ordinance is a moral obligation of the Mufti government towards the people of this state whose religious beliefs could be impinged on by the implementation of the ban on cow slaughter, as directed by the Honorable High Court”, said Nasir Aslam Wani, NC provincial president. NC’s demand for ordinance has evoked a sharp reaction from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and BJP. “It (ordinance) is not possible. Let us wait for the assembly session”, Rafi Ahmad Mir, general secretary of the PDP, told dna. BJP however lambasted National Conference calling its demand for ordinance as insult to the judiciary. “It is a shameful statement to target the judiciary. Our judiciary is the most independent and transparent in the entire world. NC is trying to create wedge between the Hindus and Muslims”, Ravinder Raina, BJP MLA from Nowshera and president of Bhartiya Janta Yuva Morcha, J&K, told dna.

First-ever Kashmir international half marathon rocked by allegations of sexual harassment

The first-ever Kashmir international half marathon was marred by alleged molestation of several girl participants by the miscreants who went on a rampage, unfurling Pakistani flag, pelting stones and vandalising the venue on the banks of famed Dal Lake on Sunday.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
The first-ever Kashmir international half marathon was marred by alleged molestation of several girl participants by the miscreants who went on a rampage, unfurling Pakistani flag, pelting stones and vandalising the venue on the banks of famed Dal Lake on Sunday.Police have launched a massive crackdown and arrested 12 miscreants so far for molesting and eve-teasing the girl marathoners. Massive hunt has been launched to nab the other accused in the incident.Police said the race was flagged off as scheduled and the function was going on smoothly till some miscreants within the crowd started passing obscene and lewd comments at girl participants and those in the audience.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The incidents of passing remarks were also witnessed at Habbak crossing on the banks of Dal Lake. Instances of molestation of girls by rowdy elements were reported at the Kashmir University and en-route,” said a police spokesman.As the event kicked off, some in the crowd started raising pro-Pakistan slogans and unfurled a Pakistan flag creating a chaotic situation. When the police went to quell the mob, the youth resorted to heavy stone pelting.”Everything that was lying on the ground was uprooted. From banners to refreshments, everything was thrown on the police. Water bottles were used as missiles to target the cops and organisers,” said an eye witness. Later some youth vandalised the stage and tried to set ablaze a police vehicle. Police had to use smoke shells and lathi charge to disperse the mob.

Pakistan troops violate truce as Rangers arrive to talk peace

Director General Punjab (Pakistan) Major General Umar Farooq Burki with IG Border Security Force, Anil Paliwali in Attari on Wednesday

PTI
On the day a delegation of Pakistan Rangers arrived in India to talk peace, its troops violated the ceasefire again and fired at the BSF soldiers injuring two of them, including an officer, in the Nowgam sector of the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.The incident occurred at 11am on Wednesday when Pakistani troops sniped on the BSF jawans when they were on a routine patrol from Hira left post to Hira right post in the Nowgam sector.Two BSF soldiers, including a sub inspector-rank officer, were injured in the firing. The injured personnel have been identified as sub inspector Jawahar Lal Yadav and constable Rahul Yadav of 119 battalion of BSF.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There was a ceasefire violation (from Pakistan side) in which two of our boys got injured. Both the injured troopers are stable. It was a sniper attack,” said a BSF spokesman at Srinagar.BSF soldiers immediately swung into action and retaliated aptly to silence the Pakistani guns. Intermittent firing between the two sides was going on till the reports last came in.The fresh ceasefire violation came just hours before a 16-member Pakistan delegation led by the Rangers director general (Punjab) Major General Umar Farooq Burki landed in India to hold talks with their BSF counterparts. Director general of BSF DK Pathak will lead the 23-member Indian delegation that will discuss unprovoked cross-border shelling and infiltration bids from the other side of the International Border (IB) in Jammu.Rakesh Sharma, inspector general of BSF Jammu frontier, the area that has seen heavy shelling from Pakistan in the last two years, will also be part of the Indian delegation in the meeting.”The ceasefire violation on Wednesday shows the real intentions of Pakistan. On one side they want to talk peace while on the other they try to keep the pot boiling on the borders. They cannot hoodwink the people anymore,” said an intelligence officer. The incident occurred 15 days after Pakistani army killed Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the army when he was guarding his picket at the Badal post along the LoC in the same sector. Official figures reveal that around 430The number of ceasefire violations occurred on the International Border in 2014 153The number of ceasefire violations reported on the LoC in 2014 8The number of soldiers, including four BSF men, who were killed in the cross border shelling. 347The number of ceasefire violations in J&K in 2013 199The number of ceasefire violations along the LoC in 2013

Dreams unlimited: Migrant Pandit girl becomes second teenage Kashmiri pilot

Tanvi Raina is the second Kashmiri girl after Ayesha Aziz to have made the valley proud by getting wings to their dreams at a very young age.

An 18-year-old Kashmiri Pandit girl has given the people of here state a reason to celebrate.Tanvi Raina is the second Kashmiri girl after Ayesha Aziz to have made the valley proud by getting wings to their dreams at a very young age.Originally hailing from Srinagar, Tanvi has earned the prestigious commercial pilot licence (CPL) for flying the commercial aircraft in India.Coming from an affluent family, Tanvi’s parents had migrated to New Delhi at the onset of militancy in early nineties. Tanvi’s father Captain Kapil Raina is a reputed pilot and her grandfather owned one of the oldest transport companies in Kashmir valley.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I was born and brought up in Delhi but always remained close to my Kashmiri roots. Soon after completing my class XII, I started training for flying. My first flying experience was in August 2013 and there was no looking back,” Tanvi told dna.After a gruelling training period, Tanvi has got the CPL, which has made her eligible to fly the commercial aircraft in the country.”It is like you got the MBBS and then you have to appear for interviews and tests. The CPL has made me eligible to fly the commercial aircraft. I will have to go through all the recruitment process before joining the airliner,” she said.A trained Khatak dancer, Tanvi’s dream is to fly an airbus and that is why she is going for an advance training course to fulfill her wish.”I have got the CPL but I am going for the advance course in flying. I will be pursuing the airbus training course either from Hyderabad or Madrid in Spain soon,” she said.Despite having completed her schooling from New Delhi, Tanvi has been close to the roots in Kashmir. For her Kashmir is close to heart and that is why she makes it a point to visit valley once in every four months.”It is always great to be in Kashmir because the place is so pretty. We visit Kashmir every four five months and stay there for around one and half months. My aunts are living in Kashmir. So it is fun every time to be in Kashmir,” she said.

The bravery of Special Forces commando Lance Naik Goswami – kills 10 terrorists in 11 days, loses final battle

Lance Naik Goswami eliminated 10 hardcore militants in 11 days before laying down his life for the motherland.

Slain special forces commando Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami

Lance Naik Mohan Nath Goswami’s real-life valour in the war against terror has all the makings of a reel-life thriller.Lance Naik Goswami, a Special Forces commando of an elite Para unit, created a new history of bravery in the annals of Indian army when he eliminated 10 hardcore militants in 11 days before laying down his life for the motherland.A resident of Indira Nagar, Nainital, Lance Naik Goswami’s mere name was enough to send shivers down the militants including hardcore Pakistanis operating in the north Kashmir area of Kupwara and Baramulla.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Lance Naik Goswami volunteered to join the elite Para Commando outfit of the Indian Army in 2002 and went on to gain the reputation of being one of the toughest soldiers of his unit. It is no small feat in an outfit that boasts of being one among the best in the world,” said Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesman at Northern Command.Such was his bravery that he used to volunteer for operations against militants in the highly treacherous and inhospitable mountainous terrains on the high altitude areas of north Kashmir.On August 23, he was part of the operation in Khurmur, Handwara in which three hardcore Pakistani Lashkar-e-Tioba militants were gunned down.”He volunteered for a second back-to-back operation in Rafiabad, Kashmir. The operation was conducted over two days on August 26 and 27. It witnessed a fierce gunfight that led to the elimination of three more LeT terrorists,” said Colonel Goswami.It was the same operation in which Indian army was able to nut out 22-year-old Pakistani terrorist Sajjad Ahmad alias Abu Ubadullah of Muzzafargarh alive.The operation was conducted in the area dotted by caves and rock cavities at the altitude of 14,000 feet in extremely bad weather. Sajjad was part of five-member Lashkar group that had infiltrated from Uri sector in last week of August.Lance Naik Goswami once again volunteered to be part of an ongoing operation launched in the dense Hafruda forest near Kupwara, Kashmir. This turned out to be his last operation but not before elimination of four terrorists in a heavy gun battle”A true soldier, he breathed his last in action. He is survived by his wife and a seven-year-old daughter. The mortal remains of this braveheart commando have been flown by an IAF aircraft to his home town in Bareilly,” said Colonel Goswami.Glowing tributes were paid to the martyr at Srinagar with corps commander of 15 corps Lieutenant General Satish Kumar Dua leading the soldiers.”Wreaths were also laid on behalf of the Army Chief and Northern Army Commander,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar.

Lawmaker moves resolution in Jammu and Kashmir assembly to protect sensitive article 35A

Article 35A was included in the constitution by a presidential order in 1954. Under this provision, Indian citizens other than the state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir cannot acquire immovable property or have the voting rights in the restive state.

Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly is all set to witness fireworks after the independent lawmaker Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid submitted a resolution to protect Article 35A of the Indian constitution, which prevents rest of Indian citizens from buying immovable property and exercising voting rights in the restive state.Article 35A was included in the constitution by a presidential order in 1954. Under this provision, Indian citizens other than the state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir cannot acquire immovable property or have the voting rights in the restive state.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In fact, the provision forms the basis of permanent resident law replicated as a state subject law promulgated by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1927.A petition filed by a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation has challenged the Article 35 A in the Supreme Court saying it is in conflict of the Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the constitution for creating a special class of citizens within a class of citizens of India.Two months before the matter comes again before the Supreme Court, independent lawmaker from Langate constituency and president of Awami Ithaad Party (AIP) Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid brought a resolution in the state assembly urging the House to protect this provision of the constitution.”Cutting across political lines state needs to be united to protect the remains of the autonomy and other constitutional guarantees provided to Jammu and Kashmir under Indian Constitution. All the conspiracies, hatched by fascist forces against this important Article of the constitution need to be defeated,” said Engineer Rashid.Independent lawmaker said there is a serious need to tell New Delhi not to erode the autonomy further and not to take Kashmiris for granted. “State assembly needs to rise to the occasion not only for protecting rights of the people of the state but also to safe guard its own credibility whatsoever, as assembly has always acted as a collaborator to curb the rights of people of the state,” he said.BJP, which has a strong views on the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, reacted guardedly saying they would stuck to the agenda of alliance for governance. “We will adhere to the agenda of alliance. Engineer Rashid is not part of the coalition. He is an MLA and he is playing political cards. Let him play and we will stick to our agenda of alliance,” said Khalid Jahangir, spokesman of BJP in Kashmir.Premier opposition party National Conference said they would support any move that is aimed at strengthening the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under article 370. “We have decided to form our own legal team to protect article 35A. Regarding the resolution of Engineer Rashid, we will be studying it first,” said Junaid Mattu, NC spokesman.

Jammu and Kashmir: Laadli scheme aims to make daughters the new mascot of pride and prosperity

Under the ambitious Laadli scheme, the girl child born after April 2015 will be entitled to receive Rs 6.25 lakh when she turns 21 in the state.

Thanks to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP-BJP government, the girl child is no more a so-called burden in the state.Come October, Mufti government will deposit Rs 1,000 every month in the bank accounts of the girls born to the parents with annual income of Rs 75,000, till the age of 14 years.Under the ambitious Laadli scheme, the girl child born after April 2015 will be entitled to receive Rs 6.25 lakh when she turns 21 in the state.Six districts, three each from the Valley and Jammu, having skewed sex ratio will be covered under this scheme in the first phase. Budgam, Pulwama and Anantnag districts have been chosen from the Kashmir valley while as Kathua, Samba and Jammu have been selected from the Jammu division.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir has one of the worst sex ratios in the country. According to 2011 census female sex ratio (females per 1000 males) has fallen to 889 from 900 in 2001. Similarly the child sex ratio has fallen to 862 in 2011 from 964 in 2001 in Jammu and Kashmir. The national average female sex ratio is 943 and child sex ratio is 919.”Six districts have been identified in the first stage where sex ratio is on decline. It has been decided that these districts should be covered under this scheme in the first phase. In the later stage we will cover other districts as well”, Aasiya Naqash, J&K minister of state for social welfare, told dna.Under this scheme, the girl will be entitled to withdraw small component of money for education or health purposes. “There are set guidelines in the scheme. A girl can withdraw a certain component of money if it is needed for education or for health reasons. The scheme is for 14 years but there will be a lock-in period till the girl reaches 21 when she will get Rs 6.25 lakh,” said Naqash.This is the first time in Jammu and Kashmir that such scheme has been launched to improve the sex ratio in the state. “There is no budgetary constraint for this scheme. It is a social security scheme for the girls in the state. It will take us six months to one year to find out the exact number of girls that will be covered under this scheme,” she said.

Pakistan shelling leaves 3 civilians dead, 17 injured in Jammu

Villagers of RS Pura sector gather at a safe place on Friday; (Right) A part of a mortar shell fired from the Pakistan side

PTI
When the nation was celebrating 50th anniversary of 1965 war victory, Pakistan resorted to heavy shelling on the Indian positions and civilian areas killing three villagers including two women and injuring 17 others, three of them critical, in RS Pora and Arnia sectors of the International Border (IB) in Jammu division.The firing started at around midnight when Pakistan Rangers targeted the Border Security Force (BSF) outposts and civilian areas with small arms. Later Pakistan Rangers changed gears and started pounding the civilian areas with heavy arms including 82 mortar shells and bombs.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Rangers created mayhem when they bombed the villages in the wee hours when villagers had come out to graze their cattle and have breakfast. A shell hit a civilian in Abdullan village when he was grazing his cattle. Two women were also killed in Sai Khurd village when shell landed near their houses.At least 17 civilians, including a 12 year-old-boy, were injured in the shelling from across the border. All the civilians were later shifted to Jammu hospital where condition of some of them is stated to be critical.”Pakistan Rangers resorted to unprovoked firing at midnight. Initially they fired small arms and later on resorted to shelling of mortars on BSF posts and civilian areas in RS Pora sector. BSF also retaliated in the befitting manner,” a BSF spokesman said in Jammu.Twelve Border Outposts (BOPs) of BSF and around 30 villages were targeted by Pakistan Rangers through the night. “Around 25 to 30 villages have been affected by Pakistani shelling. So many houses have suffered damages and cattle too have perished in the shelling,” said Harjit Singh, sub divisional police officer (SDPO), RS Pora.Fear has gripped the villagers after the intense shelling from Pakistan Rangers which continued throughout the night. Though there has been no migration so far, the administration is not taking any chances and has kept the shelters in readiness to meet any exigency.Jammu and Kashmir government has issued an advisory urging people to stay indoors and not assemble in groups outside their homes. “We have asked people not to converge and stay indoors. We are keeping close tab on the situation in the border areas,” said a senior officer.The fresh ceasefire violation comes three days after Pakistan army soldiers killed an Indian army’s JCO when he was guarding his picket at the Badal post along the Line of Control in Qalamabad-Handwara.

Captured Pakistani terrorist had met Hafiz Saeed twice in Pakistan

Investigators said Sajad had undergone at least three rounds of training with LeT. “He has received training in handling different weapon systems, including rockets. He has been thoroughly trained in using the GPS systems to manoeuvre through difficult terrains and jungles in north Kashmir,” said an officer.

Sajad alias Javid alias Abu Ubaidullah

Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant Sajad alias Javed alias Abu Ubaidullah, who was captured alive in Rafiabad forests on Thursday, has told interrogators that he met 26/11 Mumbai attack mastermind and LeT founder Hafiz Saeed twice during his training sessions.”Sajad had met Hafiz Muhammad Saeed twice during his training. On one occasion, he met the Lashkar founder in Gujarat-Pakistan. He was trained by Lashkar operatives in Muridke, the headquarters of Jamat-ud-Dawa, headed by Hafiz Saeed, and other training camps, including Manshera in Pakistan,” said an investigator.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Investigators said Sajad had undergone at least three rounds of training with LeT. “He has received training in handling different weapon systems, including rockets. He has been thoroughly trained in using the GPS systems to manoeuvre through difficult terrains and jungles in north Kashmir,” said an officer.Sajad, along with four other slain militants, were sent by their mentors to set up base in the Rafiabad belt for reviving militancy in north Kashmir. Unlike Mohammad Naveed alias Usman, who was captured in Udhampur on August 5, the group was not given any specific target by their handlers in Pakistan.”Instead, they were asked to set up base in the Rafiabad area before they would be given a task. They were told that once they consolidated, they would be joined by another group of militants from Pakistan. Task was to be given separately though no time-frame was given,” said an officer.Sajad has been remanded in police custody for seven days by a local court in Sopore on Friday.A resident of Muzaffargarh in Pakistan, Sajad, along with four others militants, had infiltrated through the Kala Pahad area in the Uri sector.The four members –Abu Talha, Qital Bhai, Usman and Shaaib – were gunned down in two separate encounters by Indian Army and Special Operation Group of the J&K police in Bijhama.”The group, while starting from PoK, were given a full map through GPS to reach the Rafiabad area.. Sajad is a very well-trained and physically strong militant..They were all heavily armed and had food supplies to last the journey from PoK to Rafiabad”, said a police officer.

Jammu and Kashmir: Another Lashkar terrorist caught alive; what has Pakistan got to say now?

Another LeT militant, 22-yr-old Sajad Ahmad, caught alive in J&K, four others killed

Sajad Ahmad alias Javid Ahmad alias Abu Ubadullah

Pakistan’s terror matrix was again exposed when the Indian Army captured a Pakistani militant alive, after a four-day operation in the high altitude forested area of Rafiabad in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. Sajad Ahmad alias Javid Ahmad alias Abu Ubadullah, a 22-year-old Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative from Muzaffargarh in South West Pakistan, was captured alive after his four associates were gunned down during a fierce gunfight at two locations spread over a 10-12 km radius from Bijhama to Panzala forests, at an altitude of 14,000 feet. Sources said Sajad was nabbed from a cave.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> According to a PTI report, troops fired chilly grenades and teargas shells into the cave. He panicked and begged for mercy. After sometime, when troops entered the cave, they found Sajad weeping bitterly — because of panic and the effect of chilly grenades, the report said. This is second big catch after LeT militant Mohammad Naveed alias Usman was overpowered by two of his hostages and handed over to the security forces in Udhampur on August 5. Usman had tried to flee after he and his slain associate, Noman alias Momin, attacked a BSF convoy, killing two soldiers and injuring 11 others near Samroli on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Sajad, too, is said to have undergone training in a Lashkar camp in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He was part of a five-member LeT group that infiltrated from the Uri sector early this week. Colonel SD Goswami, defence spokesperson at the Northern Command headquarters, said that based on intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in the forested area of Rafiabad, a search operation was launched by the Army on August 24, which forced the terrorists to move towards the higher reaches of the Kazinag Dhar Ridge. “An effective cordon was established by the Army, including Special Forces, which were inducted by helicopters to prevent the terrorists from escaping,” he said. The Army encountered the terrorists first in the morning of August 26 and killed one near Bijhama in the Uri sector. The forces then encountered the remaining terrorists, who had taken shelter inside a natural cave in the afternoon of August 26. “Three more terrorists were eliminated and one was captured alive. Four AK- 47 rifles and two Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGLs) were recovered,” Colonel Goswami said. Sajad, sources said, is being airlifted to the joint interrogation centre in Srinagar.”We want to know what their plans were. We want to know where he has been trained, who the trainers were, how many people are waiting to infiltrate and what is Pakistan’s role,” said an intelligence official.

Hurriyat blames India for stalling NSA-level talks

Mirwaiz said New Delhi was not serious about dialogue and they wanted to put Kashmir off the table which is not acceptable.

Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah shouts pro-freedom slogans in Srinagar on Saturday

AFP
Hurriyat Conference, which was the main bone of contention for India and Pakistan, squarely blamed New Delhi for stalling the NSA-level talks, saying the sidelining of Kashmir issue will not be acceptable at any cost.”Unfortunately, India put unnecessary conditions for the talks with an intention to stall them in the tracks. In Ufa, it was decided that all issues will be discussed. What was the big deal if Kashmir was also discussed,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, told dna.Mirwaiz said New Delhi was not serious about dialogue and they wanted to put Kashmir off the table which is not acceptable.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Kashmir is a core issue and we are the primary party and stakeholders to it. New Delhi and Islamabad may have other issues as well. But when it comes to Kashmir, there can be no movement forward unless its primary parties are involved,” he said.Moderate Hurriyat chief, who was supposed to lead a delegation to meet Aziz, said New Delhi has gone back from the stand taken by the NDA-1 led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee.”During Vajpayee era it was decided that Hurriyat would talk to both New Delhi and Islamabad. But the new NDA government has revoked it which is very unfortunate,” he said.Earlier in the day the centre had tightened noose around separatists and detained two senior leaders at the Delhi airport in a bid to prevent them from joining the reception of visting Pakistani NSA Sartaj Aziz.Senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah and moderate Hurriyat Conference executive council member Bilal Gani Lone were detained soon after they landed at the Delhi airport and later placed under house arrest.Shah along with his aide Mohammad Abdullah Tari and Zamir Ahmad were supposed to join the reception of Aziz in Pakistani high commission office on Sunday evening.Lone was supposed to join the delegation of moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in Delhi on Sunday before going to the Pakistani high commission in the evening.”I had told Mirwaiz sahab that I will join the delegation in Delhi on Sunday. When I arrived in Delhi this evening, a police posse took me into custody and put me under house arrest,” Lone told dna.Zamir Ahmad, the spokesman of Shah led Democratic Freedom Party, told dna that they have been placed under house arrest in the guest house in South Extension Delhi.”When we were disembarking from the plane we were taken into custody and placed under house arrest in the guest house which we had booked for the stay,” said Ahmad.The Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led Jammu and Kashmir government too had chipped in to ask separatists to listen to their conscience whether they want to become a bridge or spoiler for the talks between the two NSAs.”Leadership should ask themselves whether they should facilitate or unfacilitate dialogue,” Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, political analyst to J&K chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, told dna.

After inviting separatists, Pakistan knocks at UN doors over Kashmir

PTI
Separatists have a reason to celebrate after Pakistan pressed India’s raw nerve by raising Kashmir issue in the United Nations Security Council ahead of the National Security Advisor (NSAs) level talks. Pakistan’s newfound diplomatic offensive comes at a time when New Delhi is already unhappy over Islamabad’s invite to Kashmiri separatists for talks with the visiting Pakistani NSA Sartaj Aziz in national capital on Sunday, the day he is arriving to meet his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval.From moderates to hardliners, separatists are singing paeans of Pakistan for inviting them for talks and seeking mediation of UN and Organiation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to resolve the Kashmir issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Collectively, and in cooperation with the UN, it has the capabilities to address and overcome these challenges including Palestine and other middle east conflicts as well as the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” said Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s permanent representative at UN, while speaking during an open debate on the subject of regional organisations and contemporary global security challenges on Tuesday.Lodhi’s words proved to be music to the ears of separatists who were feeling marginalised after the joint statement between India and Pakistan in Ufa Russia recently.“Pakistan has always been raising Kashmir issue in international forums. Be it UN or OIC, it has been consistent stand of Pakistan to seek world body’s help in resolving the Kashmir tangle,” Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, told dna.Mirwaiz, who is flying to meet Aziz on Sunday, noted that third party mediation has become imperative since there has been lack of mutual trust between the two countries.“There is a need for effective engagement between the two sides and involvement of people of Kashmir. If it does not happen then third party mediation becomes imperative,” he said.Hurriyat hardliners led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani too welcomed Pakistan’s aggressive stand on Kashmir saying it reflects the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.“Kashmir is a core issue and Pakistan is a party to it. It has been consistently raising Kashmir issue in world forums which is very heartening and encouraging,” said Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Geelani led Hurriyat.Geelani, who boycotted the Eid Milan party at Pakistan high commission on July 21 as a mark of protest against Islamabad for skipping Kashmir issue in the Modi-Sharif meeting in Ufa Russia, has mend fences with Islamabad and is scheduled to fly to national capital to meet Aziz.“Geelani Sahab will meet Sartaj Aziz Sahab and apprise him about the prevailing situation of the state,” said Akbar.Pakistan High Commission justified its invitation to Kashmiri separatist leaders, saying such meetings are not “unprecedented”. “We have been meeting and talking to them (Kashmiri leaders). There is nothing unprecedented about it. I don’t understand why there is so much hype,” Manzoor Ali Memon, Counsellor (Press) in Pakistan High Commission,Islamabad’s newfound aggressive posturing notwithstanding, Pakistani army continues to vitiate the atmosphere on the borders by pounding the Indian forward positions and civilian areas along the line of control in Poonch district.

Pakistan continues to violate ceasefire, Five civilians killed, 17 injured

Jammu: A civilian injured in Pakistani firing being shifted to Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu on Saturday. Three civilians were killed and 20 others injured in shelling by Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district.

AFP
While the nation was busy celebrating its 69th Independence Day, the Pakistani army resorted to indiscriminate firing and shelling on Indian forward posts and civilian areas leaving Five villagers dead and 17 others injured along the line of control (LoC) in the Balakote sector of Poonch district in Jammu division.”Five people have died and 17 others have been injured in the cross-border shelling. Some of the injured are being airlifted to Jammu hospital. Many houses too have been damaged”, Pawan Kotwal, divisional commissioner of Jammu, told dna. The slain include a Sarpanch who was traveling in his car when a shell exploded on the road.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Such is the intensity of the cross border shelling that people are unable to move and ambulances are not able to reach to the area to evacuate the casualties.”There is hellish shelling. Nobody is able to go there because of the heavy shelling”, said Nissar Ahmad Wani, district development commissioner of Poonch. The fresh round of cross border shelling started in the morning when Pakistan army pounded Indian posts and civilian areas with heavy mortar bombs.”The Pakistani army violated the ceasefire at 7.30am in Mandi and Saujiyan sectors using 82mm mortars. We are responding appropriately and effectively”, said Lieutenant Colonel Manish Mehta, defence spokesman at Jammu. This was the second ceasefire violations in less than five hours in these sectors. “There was unprovoked ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Mandi and Saujiyan 12am (midnight) which continued till 3am”, Lt Col Mehta said.Fear has gripped the border villages following the continuous and unprovoked shelling by the Pakistani army in the last seven days in different sectors along the LoC in the Poonch district of Jammu. On August 4, a 28-year-old youth was killed when he was caught in the cross-border shelling in Hamirpur Kona village in Akhnoor sector of the international border. Three others including a BSF jawan were also injured in Akhnoor and RS Pora sectors. Five houses were damaged while some cattle also sustained injuries in the cross-border shelling.Official figures reveal that there have been 199 ceasefire violations from January 1 to June 30 2015 in which two soldiers and two civilians were killed. Last year 583 ceasefire violations took place in which four jawans and 13 civilians were killed. Official figures reveal there have been 347 ceasefire violations from Pakistan in 2013 in which 10 jawans were killed.The border shelling has taken a political turn with main opposition National Conference alleging that the administration has not woken from its slumber as the injured villagers had to be shifted in a private vehicle to Mandi hospital due to absence of medical facilities or the ambulance.”The government cannot abdicate its responsibility when the border dwellers were passing through most difficult times. Night-long shelling has fully damaged four houses in the village and 10 others partially”, said Ajaz Jan, Provincial Youth National Conference President and former MLA of Poonch.

Udhampur attack: Duo who caught Pakistani terrorist Mohammed Naved recommended for third-highest gallantry award

It is raining awards and jobs for two Udhampur brave-hearts in Jammu and Kashmir.

It is raining awards and jobs for two Udhampur brave-hearts in Jammu and Kashmir. Rakesh Kumar Sharma and Bikramjit, who overpowered Pakistani militant Mohammad Naveed alias Usman and handed him over to the security forces on August 5, have been recommended for Shaurya Chakra by the Jammu and Kashmir police. Shaurya Chakra is the third highest peace time gallantry award of the country usually given to the army personnel and sometimes civilians for their bravery. It is equivalent to the Vir Chakra, the third highest war time gallantry award.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Sharma and Bikramjit have also been provided jobs in the police department. While Sharma was has been appointed constable, his brother in law Bikramjit was appointed as follower in Jammu and Kashmir police in relaxation of qualification bar. “The police headquarters submitted its recommendation to the government for prestigious award in favour of two brave civilians of Ashoka Chakra Series of Gallantry Awards — the `Shaurya Chakra’ –on the occasion of Independence Day”, said an official spokesman- The recommendations, official spokesman noted, have been made in view of their conspicuous gallant act exhibited by apprehending a Pakistani terrorist, who had fled from the encounter site after his accomplice was killed by the security forces. Rakesh Kumar Sharma and Bikarmjit were taken hostage by the Pakistani militant Usman after he along with his associate Noman alias Momin attacked the BSF convoy killing two jawans and injuring 11 others on August 5. After Noman was gunned down, Usman managed to flee from the spot. Unable to find the track, he took some civilians hostage and asked them to escort him to safety. Three of them however managed to detach but he took Rakesh and Bikram along with them. The brave heart duo did not care about their lives and overpowered the militant and then handed him over the security forces. “It is a great achievement. They have displayed exemplary bravery while nabbing the militant. They have made our village proud by their courageous act. Now apart from honouring the brave hearts, there is a need to provide extra security to our village”, Ashok Sharma, Sarpanch of Narsoo village told dna.

Dog, army handler die fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir

Mansi, the 4-yr-old Labrador, had alerted army about ingress of militants at the Tangdhar sector

Amit Bandre
dna
The dog who died a hero’s death!Mansi, a four-year-old Labrador, and her Kashmiri master, Bashir Ahmed War, from the Territorial Army (TA), made India proud when they made the supreme sacrifice while gallantly fighting a group of heavily armed infiltrators in the high altitude area along the line of control (LoC) in Tangdhar sector on Saturday.Mansi, a trekker dog, prevented a huge ingress of militants when it noticed some movement on the LoC and alerted his master Bashir Ahmad War. Sensing trouble, the infiltrators showered a volley of bullets at Mansi and Bashir, killing them on the spot.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Bashir who was with the trekker dog volunteered to go with the search party to track down the militants. He was right ahead because the dog was running… The animal understands the mist and fog. During the ensuing gunfight, Bashir got two bullets on his face and neck and one on his leg….Mansi too was shot dead. We salute the two because they laid down their lives for the sake of the nation,” Colonel Chander Bhan Singh, commanding officer of 160 Territorial Army battalion, told dna.In fact, Bashir and Mansi proved the best buddies even in their death. Mansi has all along been attached with Bashir, and when he was shifted to the Tangdhar sector, the dog ,too, came along with him.”He was treating Mansi like his son. Once Bashir came home and was about to have a meal, he suddenly realised that Mansi would be hungry and it would not accept food from anyone. He left home immediately to feed Mansi”, Abdul Rasheed War, brother of slain Bashir, told dna.Mansi has been the apple of the unit, given the prowess and successes it had in foiling infiltration bids this year. Mansi was part of the group that successfully foiled several infiltration bids along the LoC.In fact, dogs are the unsung heroes in the war against terror in Kashmir. They have helped the army to eliminate many dreaded militants. They have been instrumental in saving hundreds of precious lives. Their bravery has won them battle honours, ranging from the chief of army staff commendation cards to general officer commanding commendation cards.Dogs attached with different counter-insurgency units have varied responsibilities in Kashmir. For example, trekker dogs are meant for helping the troops in anti-insurgency operations, guard dogs are responsible for guarding garrisons during nights, and explosive detection and infantry patrol dogs help in bomb and IED detection.

2 militants, army jawan killed in LoC gunbattle

Alert troops noticed suspicious movements of the militants trying to sneak into this side of Kashmir. There was a gunfight in which two ultras were gunned down.
Representational Image

Even before the wounds of Udhampur could heal, Pakistan again tried to push in militants into the Kashmir valley from across the line of control (LoC) in Tangdhar and Keran sectors in the last 24 hours. Alert Indian army troops foiled both the infiltration attempts but lost a soldier. Two others sustained injuries. Two infiltrators were also gunned down by the troops in the ensuing encounter.The first infiltration bid was foiled on Saturday in Tangdhar sector of Kupwara district of North Kashmir. Troops noticed a suspicious movement along the LoC and laid an ambush. As militants were trying to sneak in, they were challenged. The infiltrators opened indiscriminate firing.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There is status quo at Tangdhar. Infiltration bid was foiled on Saturday. Contact was established. Since morning it is very foggy and forest being dense and progress is slow. We have lost one soldier and two have got minor injuries. The injuries are not so prominent,” Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar, told dna.This is the second major infiltration attempt to have been foiled in Tanghdar sector since July 23. Two militants were killed when army troops thwarted the militants’ attempt to infiltrate in Tangdhar sector on the night of July 22 and 23. An army officer and a soldier were injured in the incidentOn Saturday night, Indian army foiled another infiltration bid in Keran sector of Kupwara district when they killed two militants who tried to enter into Kashmir. Alert troops noticed suspicious movements of the militants trying to sneak into this side of Kashmir. There was a gunfight in which two ultras were gunned down.”There was infiltration bid in the night. Two terrorists were killed. There was no casualties on our side,” said Col Joshi.Official figures reveal that around 97 militants infiltrated in 2013 followed by 65 in 2014 into Jammu and Kashmir. Around 100 militants had been neutralized along LoC and the hinterland in 2013. Over 150 militants were killed in 2014 and 40 militants till July 20 this year.Figures reveal that this year there have been eight to 10 infiltration bids so far. However the security forces say in the next three-four months there may be an increase in infiltration attempts. Intelligence estimates reveal that around 250 to -300 infiltrators were waiting across the LoC to sneak into the Valley and 150 others are waiting to cross from the other side Pir Panjal into the Jammu region.

Close to cracking Udhampur terror attack, claims NIA

Security agencies raided different hideouts and detained six persons in Pulwama and Kulgam districts of south Kashmir.

BSF jawam during Udhampur attack

PTI
National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Jammu and Kashmir police have almost cracked the Udhampur terror attack case and detained more than six persons following the disclosures made by Pakistani Lashkar-e-Tioba militant Mohammad Naveed alias Usman during interrogation. Usman, who was brought to Srinagar on Friday night, has finally spilled the beans about his handlers, commanders and over ground workers and conspirators during the sustained interrogation. NIA has been able to join almost all the dots after they got Usman talking after initial hiccups.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Security agencies raided different hideouts and detained six persons in Pulwama and Kulgam districts of south Kashmir. They include two brothers, Javid Ahmed and Fayaz Ahmed, who work as carpenters at Awanpora-Charsoo Awantipora. A salesman and driver have also been picked up from the village. “My sons are not affiliated with any militant organisation and I fail to understand why they have been arrested,” said Muhammad Shaban Wani, father of Javid and Fayaz.Security agencies also raided the house of a welder Fayaz Ahmad in Khudwani village of Kulgam district but his house was locked. Fayaz is believed to have provided shelter to Usman in his house for a few days before the latter left on Udhampur mission. “All the detained will be paraded before Usman for identification. Once their identity is established we will initiate further proceedings,” said a security official.An unknown businessman is under scanner after Usman told the interrogators that Abu Dujana, the second-in-command of LeT, who deals with logistics and finances, halted his vehicle near a busy junction en route to Khrew to receive Rs 5 lakh in cash. “We have been able to join the dots. Interrogation of Usman has revealed so many things and we are trying to nab those who provided logistics and shelter. Their interrogation is key to the case because we will be able to lay bare the whole conspiracy,” said a security official.Focus has now shifted on Abu Qasim, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief for central and South Kashmir, who has emerged as mastermind of the Udhampur terror attack. Qasim, a dreaded Pakistani militant commander who has been active for many years has managed to escape from many encounters, had seen off Usman and Noman alias Momin for the attack site at Khudwani village.In fact, officials said, Qasim had given them the brief how, where and when to launch the attack. He had told the duo to wait for 30 minutes before launching the attack. “This was precisely to give ample time for the truck to pass off and escape the glare of the security agencies,” said an official.

Pakistan terrorist goes round in circles to mislead investigators

Investigators are describing Usman as a highly indoctrinated and psychologically hardened terrorist who knows the art of going round in circles to mislead the interrogators about the terror game.

BSF men pay tributes to their colleagues who were killed in the Udhampur attack, during the wreath laying ceremony in Jammu on Thursday

PTI
Mohammad Naveed alias Usman, a Pakistani terrorist caught alive after the Udhampur terror attack, has perplexed the investigators by his inconsistencies and confusing statements about the terror plot.Investigators are describing Usman as a highly indoctrinated and psychologically hardened terrorist who knows the art of going round in circles to mislead the interrogators about the terror game.Usman belongs to Lashkar-e-Taiba group and has undergone two training sessions in Pakistan where he was trained in handling arms and ammunitions besides being made mentally strong to withstand pressure.Usman, a resident of Faisalabad in Pakistan, was put to sustained interrogation throughout the night but he changed the statements at regular intervals.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Earlier he had told the investigators that he had crossed into Jammu and Kashmir just 12 days ago from the Line of Control (LoC) somewhere in Poonch.Later he retracted his statement and said he crossed either from Tangdhar or Gulmarg sector during the holy month of Ramzan.”He told interrogators that after crossing over they reached Baba Reshi where a guide was waiting for them. Later the guide arranged their meeting with Lashkar-e-Taiba commander codenamed Hamza,” said a source. Later, they moved to Awantipora-Pulwama belt of south Kashmir and hid in a tunnel-type place on the hill side. Before launching the attack they stayed at Khudwani village in Kulgam district where from they boarded the truck and halted for a night at Tamatar More.On Wednesday, the truck dropped them at the place of the attack on the national highway. Militants first saw the army convoy plying. But they decided to attack the next convoy which was of the CRPF soldiers. Then they decided to fire on the next convoy which happened to be of the BSF, sources said.Usman has told the interrogators that he emptied two magazines and the other terrorist, Momin, kept firing and was later killed by BSF. He ran away taking two civilians hostage. But en route they overpowered him and handed him over to security forces.Sources said security forces are suspecting that Usman might have been part of a larger group that infiltrated into Kashmir. Forces are possibly looking out for some more militants who may still be on the loose. Sources said the agencies are also looking for their handlers and over ground workers who provided them shelter during all these days. A truck driver is also under the scanner of the forces. A team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) has also arrived in Jammu to crack the hard nut and get Usman talking about the plot. Usman has been shifted to another place where he would be jointly interrogated again. Interrogators would be flowing Usman to Srinagar for further questioning and possibly taken to LoC to reconstruct the details of his crossing across into Jammu and Kashmir. Investigators are also trying to take him to the places which he has mentioned during interrogation to put the dots together and unravel the mystery behind the plot.

My name is Usman, I’m from Pakistan: Militant captured in Jammu

Policemen with Pakistan terrorist Usman, apprehended after Wednesday’s attack on a BSF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway

PTI
Interrogation of Usman aka Naveed, Pakistani militant captured alive while on run after attacking a BSF convoy – which killed two jawans and injured 11 others – in Udhampur district of Jammu, has thrown up some startling facts about the indoctrination and terror matrix across the other side of the Line of Control. While Usman aka Naveed from Faisalabad was captured alive by the locals on Wednesday, another militant was gunned down in the retaliatory action by BSF men at Samroli on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Usman told the interrogators that he infiltrated some 10 to 12 days before and was on a mission to seek revenge for the atrocities on the Kashmiri people. He also said he was part of a two-member group who crossed in. He identified his associate as Momin of Bhawalpur Pakistan. Usman comes from a rather well-to-do family. One of his brothers is said to be a lecturer while another is running a hosiery business in Faisalabad. He has one sister. Usman has not studied much. The duo, after crossing into Indian side, has been navigating in the jungles before they reached Jammu and then Udhampur where they attacked the BSF convoy, killing two jawans and injuring 11 others. He told his interrogators that he does not know any other group and only two had crossed from across the LoC perhaps from the Poonch side. Usman, a battle-hardened militant, was so much indoctrinated that he showed little remorse when caught by the security forces. In a short video captured on mobile phone, he was smiling and told the people not to abuse him though he will not mind thrashing. He told the people that his food stocks lasted for just three days but later they barged into someone’s house and stole the food. Asked why he infiltrated, he was candid to say to attack and avenge the atrocities inflicted on the Kashmiris. However, the investigators are taking his statement with a pinch of salt given his flip-flop during questioning. Investigators are wary that he is a part of two-member group. They suspect it could be a larger group, which has been pushed to revive militancy in Jammu division. Investigators feel that though the attack at Udhampur has the Lashkar-e-Tioba imprints, they are not ruling out the hand of Jaish-e-Mohommad, given Faisalabad’s allegiance to Moulana Masood Azhar, who was released in lieu of passengers of hijacked Indian Airlines flight IC 814. What investigators fear is that the Pakistani security establishment might be working a different plan to revive militancy in Jammu division. “While Kashmir has seen surge in the home-grown militancy, Jammu is rather oblivious to terror attacks. Pakistan’s gameplan is while local militants will keep pot boiling in Kashmir, there is a need to send foreign cadres to Jammu to replenish militant ranks,” said a senior officer. Will figure in NSA level talksDescribed a big catch by the security forces, the capture of Usman implicates Pakistan’s ISI for continuing its terror factories unabated despite promises by Pakistani government to the contrary. Usman is the second LeT terrorist to be caught alive after Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, one of the 10 fidayeens who had launched 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. The matter, sources said, will be broached by India during NSA level talks between India and Pakistan. Did it for Bharat Mata: RakeshTwo young bravehearts from Jammu and Kashmir – Rakesh Kumar Sharma and Bikarmjit Sharma – have made India proud after they displayed exemplary courage and valour by risking their lives to overpower the heavily-armed Pakistani militant before handing him over to the security forces in the Narsoo-Dharmthal village in Udhampur district. “I did it for Bharat Mata. So what if we do not have a job, we want to do something for the country,” said Rakesh. On a ‘revenge’ missionUsman aka Naveed, who hails from Faisalabad, told the interrogators that he infiltrated some 10 to 12 days ago, and that he was on a mission to seek revenge for the ‘atrocities’ being committed on the Kashmiri people. Usman comes from a rather well-to-do family. One of his brothers is said to be a lecturer while another is running a hosiery business in Faisalabad. He has one sister. Usman is not well educated.

Udhampur brave hearts catch the militant alive

Rakesh Kumar Sharma and Bikarmjit Sharma were taken hostage by the Pakistani militant Usman after he along with his associate Momin attacked the BSF convoy killing two jawans and injuring 11 others.

Security personnel stand next to the body of the militant after he was gunned down on Wednesday

Reuters
Two young brave hearts from Jammu and Kashmir have made India proud after they displayed exemplary valour by risking their lives to overpower the heavily armed Pakistani militant before handing him over to the security forces in the Narsoo-Dharmthal village in Udhampur district. Rakesh Kumar Sharma and Bikarmjit Sharma were taken hostage by the Pakistani militant Usman after he along with his associate Momin attacked the BSF convoy killing two jawans and injuring 11 others. After Momin was gunned down, Usman managed to flee from the spot. Unable to find the track, he took some civilians hostage and asked them to escort him to safety. Three of them however managed to detach but he took Rakesh and Bikram along with them.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> “I had just got up from the bed when I heard some voices at 7.30 am. When I went out to see what happened I saw the militant. He pointed gun at me and asked me to escort him to the safety,” Rakesh, a class XII drop out, told dna. When they were trekking up the hill, security forces and village defence committee were chasing them fast. “We climbed one and half kilometre. He was heavily armed and we were initially afraid. When forces zeroed in on the area he thought he has been encircled and there is no escape route. He said I will kill you now and escape. But then we overpowered him and caught him alive,” he saidThe brave heart duo did not care about their lives when they captured the militant. The country came first when they took the risk. “I did it for Bharat Mata. What if we do not have job, we want to do something for the country,” said Rakesh. Bravery and valour of the duo have also melted the hearts of the Jammu and Kashmir government which have decided to recommend them for bravery awards and provide jobs to them. “We are recommending them for award. We are also going to recommend them for jobs in police,” Dr Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary, district development commissioner, Udhampur, told dna. All roads seem to be leading to the village as the valour of the two boys have attained the mythical proportions. “These two boys have made our village and country proud. They showed exemplary bravery in capturing the terrorist alive,” said Ashok Sharma, Sarpanch of Narsoo-Dharmthal village. Jammu and Kashmir minister of state for finance Pawan Kumar Gupta, who represents Udhampur constituency in Legislative Assembly said he would be recommending their names for bravery and absorb them in the government service. “They have shown exemplary courage and they should be suitably rewarded for it. I will be recommending them for bravery and also absorb them in government service”, he told dna.

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