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Sushma Swaraj’s visit will help improve Indo-Pak ties: National Conference

National leaders Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, both former Chief Ministers of the state, welcomed the fact that Swaraj will be travelling to Pakistan, hoping that it will help reduce tensions between the two countries

Sushma Swaraj

National Conference on Saturday hoped that the proposed visit of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan next week will help in improving relations, lead to resumption of dialogue process and resolution of all outstanding issues between the two countries.National leaders Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah, both former Chief Ministers of the state, welcomed the fact that Swaraj will be travelling to Pakistan, hoping that it will help reduce tensions between the two countries. “We hope that Sushma Swaraj’s visit to Pakistan will improve the relations between the two countries and also in carrying forward the dialogue process so that all issues between them can be resolved,” Farooq told reporters here after paying tributes to his father and party’s founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 110th birth anniversary.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Farooq, who was commenting on media reports about Swaraj’s visit, also welcomed the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Paris last week. “We do not know what they talked about but let us hope that they find some way of resolving this (Jammu and Kashmir) issue,” the NC leader said, addressing the party supporters at Sheikh’s mausoleum on the banks of Dal lake here.Omar Abdullah said although Swaraj was visiting Pakistan for a conference on Afghanistan it should not be taken lightly given the circumstances in which it is happening.”It is a good thing that Sushma Swaraj is going to Pakistan. Although this is not a bilateral visit… However, External Affairs Minister’s visit to Pakistan is not a small issue, especially in conditions where there is tension between the two countries. “Even if the visit is happening due to Afghanistan, we will be hopeful that the bilateral dialogue is also resumed,” Omar said.”We hope that this visit will lead to improvement in situation (between India and Pakistan), the ceasefire (along the border and LoC) will be respected and the dialogue process will be resumed,” Omar told reporters here.Farooq Abdullah addressed the party workers in Kashmiri, refusing a request by mediapersons to speak in English or Urdu. “This is our mother tongue and we should promote it,” he said to a loud applause from the party workers.He reiterated his earlier statement that neither India nor Pakistan had the capability to annexe the territory of Jammu and Kashmir in each other’s control. “Both have atom (nuclear) bombs. Are we going to drop these bombs on each other and get wiped out?” he asked. Supporting the status quo, he said the two countries should grant greater autonomy to their respective regions of Kashmir and make the Line of Control irrelevant by allowing free travel and trade between the two sides of the state.

Mufti Sayeed responsible for hate attacks in Jammu and Kashmir: Omar Abdullah

The former chief minister maintained he had extended support to PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for forming the government in the wake of the hung assembly to keep such elements out of the state.

Omar Abdullah

Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday held his successor Mufti Mohammad Sayeed responsible for “hate attacks” in the state, claiming that the latter had “bartered everything” to save his chair.”Our Chief Minister (Sayeed) has bartered everything to save his chair. The Chief Minister is directly responsible for the attacks which have taken place in Rajouri, Udhampur or elsewhere in the state,” Omar told reporters after paying tributes to his grandfather and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 110th birth anniversary. Omar, the working president of National Conference, was reacting to questions about the increase in attacks on Muslim transporters in Rajouri and other areas of Jammu region.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The former chief minister maintained he had extended support to PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for forming the government in the wake of the hung assembly to keep such elements out of the state.”When the election results were declared, National Conference extended a hand of friendship towards Mufti Mohamamd Sayeed with the intention of keeping such forces out of the state who only want to set the state on fire.”We had an apprehension that allowing the BJP and particularly the RSS into the state would be fraught with dangers. Unfortunately, our apprehensions have been proved correct in the nine months (of PDP-BJP government),” he said.Omar said while large scale arrests were being made in Kashmir, “these people (RSS) are holding armed rallies in Jammu and no one says anything”. On being asked about the denial of the state government to confer ‘Sher-e-Kashmir’ title on National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the leader said that the party founder was not only the tallest leader of the state but was revered in the entire country. The state government, in response to an RTI query, had said it had no record available to say who was ‘Sher-e-Kashmir in the state of Jammu and Kashmir’.Omar, however, noted that, “He (Sheikh) left an indelible impression by his political role and more than that the economic contribution he made to the state by virtue of Land to Tiller (Act) and loan waiver. “No one can have differences with the economic contribution of Sheikh Sahab even though they may differ with his politics. Jammu and Kashmir today has the least poverty and it is only because of these two steps taken by him,” he said.The Sher-e-Kashmir title has been used for the National Conference founder, with many universities, bridges, conference halls, police training institutes and several other public buildings and welfare schemes being run under this title.

After Kargil war veteran, two more arrested in connection with spying for Pakistan’s ISI

Further investigation in this is underway and all the arrested people would be produced before a Delhi Court on Saturday.

Representational Image

dna Research & Archives
A retired Indian Army personnel and a school teacher have been arrested in Jammu and Kashmir for being part of the espionage racket run by the ISI, bringing the total number of arrests in this case so far to four.The Delhi Police said the team of Inter State Cell of Crime Branch had gone to Jammu and Kashmir in search of other persons involved in this racket when they arrested Munawwar Ahmad Mir, a retired havildar of the Indian Army. He had joined the Indian Army in 1995 and retired in 2011 after serving in J&K Light Infantry, Rashtriya Rifles, at various places in India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Kargil war veteran held on charges of providing confidential documents to Pakistan’s ISIThe school teacher was arrested from Khablan tehsil in Thanna Mandi of Rajouri district. Further investigation in this is underway and all the arrested people would be produced before a Delhi Court on Saturday.Earlier, two espionage rackets were busted with arrests of five people from Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Kolkata. One of the men caught was suspected to be a handler from ISI, while the other was a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, claimed the Delhi police.However, Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah branded the entire operation as ‘baseless and unfounded’. One of the accused Kafaitullah Khan, a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, allegedly had connections with an official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.Meanwhile, the Delhi Police successfully foiled a massive Lashkar-e-Taiba plot where an attack was being planned on prominent personalities and crowded areas in the national capital.According to an FIR that was submitted on December 1 in a concerned anti-terror court, the LeT commanders have been in touch with the operatives in India using several code names. The Delhi Police has also warned of possible Fidayeen attacks in the national capital and other areas.Related Read: Delhi Police unearth Lashkar-e-Taiba plot to carry out terror attacks in city

Two militants, soldier killed in north Kashmir encounter

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Jammu & Kashmir: Two militants, soldier killed in encounter in Kupwara

Two militants and a soldier were on Friday killed in an encounter between the ultras and security forces in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, an army official said.

PTI
Two militants and a soldier were on Friday killed in an encounter between the ultras and security forces in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, an army official said.Security forces launched an anti-militancy operation in Wadder Bala village of Handwara in Kupwara district following information about presence of two to three heavily armed militants in the area, the official said.He said two militants were killed in the exchange of firing between the two sides.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”One soldier was also martyred while another soldier was injured in the operation,” the official said.

Pakistan dubs Delhi cops claim of busting ISI network as ‘baseless’

One of the accused Kafaitullah Khan, a resident of J&K, allegedly had connections with an official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah

Image courtesy: ANI
Pakistan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qazi Khalilullah on Thursday termed the Delhi Police claim to have busted a Pakistani spy network of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) ‘baseless and unfounded’. “We have seen media reports. Indian authorities have not approached us in this regard. We reject allegations against the High Commission and our premier intelligence agency. They are baseless and unfounded. Such allegations levelled against our intelligence agency in the past have proved to be false”,he said.Two espionage rackets were busted last week with arrests of five people from Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi and Kolkata. One of the men caught was suspected to be a handler from Pakistan’s ISI, while the other was a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, claimed the Delhi police.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the accused Kafaitullah Khan, a resident of J&K, allegedly had connections with an official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

Imran Khan brands Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif ‘cowards’ for allegedly holding secret meeting

Nawaz Sharif and Modi held a secret meeting. Leaders do not need to hold meetings in secret. In fact Sharif is afraid of the (Pakistani) establishment and Modi of extremists in India.

Reuters
Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan said that Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nawaz Sharif had acted “cowardly” by holding a “secret” meeting at the SAARC summit in Kathmandu last year which was denied by the Pakistan government. “A leader shows courage. He is not afraid of any one.Nawaz Sharif and Modi held a secret meeting. Leaders do not need to hold meetings in secret. In fact Sharif is afraid of the (Pakistani) establishment and Modi of extremists in India. That is why they held a meeting in secret,” Pakistan Tehreek- i-Insaf chief Khan said adding that by doing so the leaders had acted “cowardly” and lost credibility.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Addressing a press conference, Khan also termed both Sharif and Modi as “vision-less” leaders. Reacting sharply to Khan’s statement, Sharif’s spokesman Musaddaq Malik said, “Imran Khan should be ashamed of himself for levelling baseless allegations against Mr Sharif,” adding that no such meeting ever took place.”Modi got a wonderful opportunity to fight poverty but he chose some other path which is unfortunate,” Khan said adding leaders sell their vision to their people.He further said India and Pakistan hold immense potential to benefit from bilateral trade, citing the example of the European Union where the concept of borders is insignificant.He said the subcontinent is one of the world’s poorest regions so the leaders need to re-prioritise their priorities. “Through improved trade relations between Pakistan and India, and by implementing policies that aim to end poverty and resolve disputes like the Kashmir issue, our leaders can create peace in both countries. Few extremists who resist will always resist and need to be marginalised through public opinion,” Khan said.

IRCTC to dispatch 1 lakh Rail Neer bottles to Chennai

IRCTC, a PSU of railway, had supplied the packaged drinking water to the flood-affected people in Kashmir.

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will dispatch one lakh bottles of Rail Neer to Chennai, which is currently reeling under devastating floods. “In the first lot, we have dispatched 60,000 one-litre Rail Neer bottles to the affected people of Chennai, who are facing one of the worst natural calamities to hit the capital city of Tamil Nadu,” said IRCTC CMD AK Manocha. He said the bottles have been handed over to the corporation of Chennai and more such consignments will follow after assessing the requirements.IRCTC, a PSU of railway, had supplied the packaged drinking water to the flood-affected people in Kashmir, the earth quake victims in Nepal and Maldivian capital of Male where that country’s only desalination plant had caught fire. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>IRCTC’s five Rail Neer plants at Nangloi (Delhi), Danapur (Bihar), Palur (Chennai), Ambernath (Maharashtra) and Amethi – have a combined capacity of about 6.8 lakh litres of packaged drinking water a day.

Former RAW chief AS Dulat slams PM Modi, says Vajpayee, Manmohan Singh handled Kashmir issue better

Dulat agreed with Farooq Abdullah, who said that the only way forward on the Kashmir issue was a dialogue with Pakistan.

AS Dulat (left) and PM Narendra Modi (right)

Former RAW chief AS Dulat has slammed PM Narendra Modi, saying he has learnt no lessons from former PM AB Vajpayee’s handling of the Kashmir issue.In an interview to an English daily, Amarjit Singh Dulat felt that Modi’s policy of ‘not engaging’ in a dialogue with Pakistan was wrong. he asserted that continuous dialogue was essential, as was done during Vajpayee’s tenure. “It’s a pity that Modi failed to learn it from Vajpayee,” said Dulat referring to Kashmir diplomacy.On the other hand, Dulat, who served as the head of RAW from 1999 to 2000, praised Vajpayee, saying he was the first PM who understood the issue of Jammu and Kashmir after Jawaharlal Nehru.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: Failure of NSA-level talks may help Pakistan creep back into Kashmir: Former RAW chief AS Dulat​”Vajpayee was a leader and a politician and Modi should learn politics and it is the differentiating issue between the two. Modi in my humble opinion has to learn politics and it is pity he did not learn it from Vajpayee who is the greatest Indian politician,” Dulat told the news daily.But Dulat went a step further. Controversially, he also asserted that even former PM Manmohan Singh was a better leader than Narendra Modi, because Singh made ‘every effort’ when it came to resolving the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.Dulat felt Modi should attend the upcoming SAARC meeting in Islamabad scheduled for early 2016. Related Read: Vajpayee called Gujarat riots ‘our mistake’, reveals former R&AW Chief AS DulatDulat agreed with Farooq Abdullah, who said that the only way forward on the Kashmir issue was a dialogue with Pakistan. He had said that the entire Indian army could not overcome terrorism in Kashmir, and hence dialogue was the only solution. Dulat also said that he shared the views of former home minister P Chidambaram and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should be repealed in Srinagar and Budgam.Dulat, who is a member of the National Security Advisory Board, said that the dreaded terrorist group Islamic State (IS) has no real influence in Kashmir, and people have understood that ISI is just using Kashmiris to their advantage. “Kashmiris harbour a sense of alienation, frustration and anger. One should not misread the waving of Pak and ISIS flags during protests,” he said. Dulat asserted that Kashmiris only want peace. He was speaking on the sidelines of a public discourse on his book, ‘Kashmir, The Vajpayee Years’.

Retired BSF Personnel held by Crime Branch in Rajouri

The Crime Branch last week had arrested a BSF head constable and a Jammu and Kashmir based lab assistant for allegedly spying for a Pakistani Intelligence Operative.

In what is turning out to be a major controversy for the Border Security Force, a retired inspector was taken into custody, by the Crime Branch of Delhi police on Wednesday evening from Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir in connection to the alleged espionage network prevalent in country’s security forces. Both the accused were taken into custody by a Crime Branch team currently camping in Rajouri area of Jammu and Kashmir.The Crime Branch last week had arrested a BSF head constable and a Jammu and Kashmir based lab assistant for allegedly spying for a Pakistani Intelligence Operative. The latest police action also is part of the investigation which was initiated after Intelligence agencies informed the Crime Branch of the prevalent espionage network.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to intelligence sources, the retired inspector of the BSF was identified as Abdul Aziz. Abdul is a resident of Dhani Dhar area of Rajouri district which falls under Kaapa Kha police station. Abdul, according to officials, had retired from the BSF 2-3 years ago and had been staying in his village since then. His name allegedly cropped up during questioning of the two persons arrested by Delhi police last week. Among the arrest persons are BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed and the civilian Kaifaitullah Khan, both of whom belong to Rajouri area in J&K.The arrested persons are accused of passing secret information about security deployment along the Line of Control (LoC) to their PIO handler in Pakistan identified as one Faizal. Crime Branch of Delhi police told dna that Kaifaitullah had been forced to develop sources in the Indian armed forces so that he could procure secret information about army movement. Kaifaithullah had then approached his cousin Rasheed and some other officers of the armed forces who now are accused of providing information to Pakistani intelligence agencies. Sources told dna that the information was passed through WhatsApp but the conversations and the documents exchanged between the PIO and the accused were being deleted regularly.According to police, names of at least 4-5 army-men have cropped up during the questioning of the arrested men who have been charged with the Officials Secrets Act. A senior police official of the Crime Branch told dna that several of its teams have been dispatched to J&K as well as other northern states of India to question the suspected army-men that include some retired personnel as well.”Most of the information procured and sent to the PIO by the accused was regarding army deployment in areas including Nowsheera and Manthal. We suspect that the details of deployment, timings of movement and the number of forces were being asked by the Pakistani intelligence for the purpose of infiltrating terrorists,” said a senior Crime Branch official.

Justice TS Thakur to take over as next CJI tomorrow

Justice Thakur, who will have a tenure of over a year (due to retire on January4, 2017), will be administered oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.

Justice TS Thakur
File Photo

Justice T.S. Thakur will take over as the next Chief Justice of India on Thursday, succeeding Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, who demitted office on Wednesday. Justice Thakur, who will have a tenure of over a year (due to retire on January4, 2017), will be administered oath of office by President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.Born on January 4, 1952, Justice Thakur started his career as a Civil, Criminal, Constitutional and Taxation lawyer in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. He was designated as a Senior Advocate in 1990. Justice Thakur was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in 1994. He has also served as Judge in Karnataka and Delhi high courts.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In 2008, he was appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court and took over as Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in 2008. He was elevated as Judge of Supreme Court in 2009.Justice Thakur has been associated with a host of significant judgments. He led the Bench that had delivered the verdict on reforming the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), following the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting and spot-fixing scandal.

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.

Is the rise of ISI agents in J&K Police, Armed Forces an alarming situation?

Back in 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir Police was left rattled after a similar busting of a militant module that was responsible for 13 attacks that Srinagar had witnessed between 2011-12, including killings of atleast four police officials and one National Conference activist .

The busting of a major espionage network involving a BSF personnel and a librarian from Rajouri area of Jammu and Kashmir, has uncovered an alleged nexus between Pakistan’s premier intelligence agencies, members of the Indian armed forces and the J&K police. Crime Branch officials told dna that the arrests might be a part of a nation wide exercise to sanitise security forces across country from suspected espionage networks. This however is not the first time when such a network has come to light since an armed insurgency against the Indian state erupted in the valley in 1989.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Back in 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir Police was left rattled after a similar busting of a militant module that was responsible for 13 attacks that Srinagar had witnessed between 2011-12, including killings of atleast four police officials and one National Conference activist . The arrested men included a policeman, named Abdul Rashid Shigan, and a released Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) militant, Imtiyaz Ahmad Gojri who were operating under the shadow name of Omar Mukhtar and General Usman.However, what makes the current bust even more important is the fact that the Crime Branch of Delhi police believes that the arrested librarian, identified as Kaifaitullah Khan, had managed to penetrate not only the security agencies but also the Indian Armed forces. He had also roped in his cousin Abdul Rasheed who is accused of directly sending secret information relating to army deployment to ISI agents.While J&K Director General of Police (DGP), K. Rajendra Kumar maintained that the security forces in the state, including JK police, are ‘professionals’ curbing terrorist activities on daily basis, Dr Ajit Kumar Singh, of the South Asia terrorism portal, said the phenomenon of providing state secrets to Pakistani intelligence needs to be curbed immediately with better selection ,training and recruitment procedures of the Indian armed forced as well as the J&K police.Kaifaitullah during his interrogation disclosed that in 1992, he was selected in BSF but he did not join the service. In 1993, he got selected in J&K police and after completing the training, he was posted in J&K armed police till 1995 after which he got job as Library Assistant in in a Higher Secondary School in Manjakot, Rajouri. The Crime Branch maintains that Kaifaitullah had begun his operation to penetrate the Indian army only 2-3 years back, but given his history, it is unlikely he was dormant from 1995, the year he joined militancy. This could well mean that he has served as an ISI handler for over 20 years even after being arrested by the state police on several occasions. Singh attributes this to botched up investigation into terror acts which according to him is detrimental to the cause of fighting terrorism.His research titled ‘J&K Police, The enemy within’ also documents one such botch up during the investigation of 26/11 attacks of Mumbai. “When Mukhtar Ahmad Sheikh (arrested on June 16, 2012) was detained by the Kolkata (West Bengal) Police in December 2008 in the aftermath of November 26, 2008 (26/11) Mumbai attacks for supplying SIM cards to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants, the cases against him were dropped after the J&K Police informed their Kolkata counterparts that he was an undercover agent, and was trying to infiltrate into the terror group”, reads his research paper.”According to the data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management, a total of 21 Policemen were arrested for their links with militants since 1990. While there were only three such arrests till 2009, 2010 alone witnessed four arrests and it increased to seven in 2011. The current year has already witnessed seven such arrests. Apart from these Policemen, four Army personnel and a Central Reserve Police Force trooper have also been arrested since 1990,” the paper reads.”We will have to look into his records. The case indeed is very alarming,” said a senior official of the JK police.

Pakistan High Commission’s role comes under scanner in spy ring

Kaifatullah Khan(left), in the custody of crime branch in New Delhi on Monday
BB Yadav
dna
In a development which could also result in a major diplomatic row between India and Pakistan, the crime branch of Delhi Police has put Pakistani High Commission under their scanner in connection to the espionage network busted in the National Capital on Sunday.Not only has Pakistan High Commission’s name cropped up during the busting of the espionage network, but police here believe that there is a strong possibility that the arrested ISI agents had penetrated both the Indian Army and India based security agencies.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Crime branch officials on Monday said that during interrogation Kaifatullah Khan, the alleged spy, revealed that a Pakistani Intelligence Operative (PIO) in Pakistan had directed him to apply for the Pakistan visa at the high commission and meet a ‘contact’ there.”The PIO had briefed him to contact him once he reaches Pakistan High Commission. He (Kaifatullah) was supposed to meet a contact of PIO near the Pakistan High Commission and had to hand over the passport and the recommendation letter. The recommendation letter was discovered from his possession which has been addressed to Pakistan High Commissioner. All the logistic support was to be provided by the contact of the PIO whom he had to meet near Pakistan High Commission. The passport and the recommendation letter have been seized from his possession,” said Ravindra Yadav, joint commissioner of police, Crime Branch.Kaifatullah, a librarian in a higher secondary school in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri area, was taken in police custody on Thursday last week when he was on his way to ‘Bhopal Ijtema’, an annual religious gathering, where he was allegedly supposed to scout for information and possible recruits.Subsequently Abdul Rasheed, a head constable in the Border Security Force was arrested in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday for allegedly providing official secrets to Khan who is accused of working at the behest of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, ISI. According to sources, Abdul was first interrogated by the BSF and then handed over the crime branch.According to investigations so far, it has been revealed that Kaifatullah was able to penetrate Indian Army, BSF and various security agencies of India at multiple levels and had been “procuring secret information detrimental to the security of the country”. Rasheed, a cousin of Khan, however was one of his main sources.Kaifatullah was given specific tasks by the PIO, which were mainly concerning with the deployment of security forces and air force operations. The information was passed through e-mail, WhatsApp and Viber.Abdul, a head constable in the intelligence wing of BSF posted at the office of DIG, initially passed information to Kaifatullah but later had come in direct contact with ISI agents across the border. According to police Kaifatullah was selected in the year 1990 and was earlier posted in Gujarat and West Bengal and shifted to J&K in year 1998.”Being in the intelligence wing of BSF, he was having access to secret/sensitive information pertaining to deployment/ Border fencing/movement of the troops. He was passing the information to PIO initially through Kafaitullah but later on he developed close relations directly with the PIO and started communicating with him regularly through the App based communication.”His father had visited Pakistan in the year 2014 to meet his paternal uncle. He disclosed that he was cultivated by Kafaitullah to give sensitive/ secret information in lieu of monetary considerations. His bank account details are being verified for the same,” investigators said. “We have apprehensions that the espionage network had spread into the army and other security agencies,” Yadav said. According to sources name of at least one army official has cropped up during questioning.

Espionage racket: Police trying to track ‘money trail’ from Pakistan to India

Kafaitullah Khan alias Master Raja, an alleged handler of the Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO), running an espionage racket here backed by the spy outfit, had met another ISI-backed handler at Gujrawala in Pakistan in 2013, his last visit to the country, said an official privy to the probe.

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
With the arrest of an alleged ISI operative and a serving BSF personnel, Delhi Police is now trying to track a money trail from Pakistan to India — routed through the Middle East — to pay off spies operating in an suspected pan-India network.Kafaitullah Khan alias Master Raja, an alleged handler of the Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO), running an espionage racket here backed by the spy outfit, had met another ISI-backed handler at Gujrawala in Pakistan in 2013, his last visit to the country, said an official privy to the probe.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During investigation, Khan told the police that his counterpart in Pakistan had promised him huge money for passing on secret and confidential information. When Khan started doing so, he was put on a permanent pay roll and promised performance-based appraisals, said the official.Also read: BSF personnel arrested in espionage case; Pakistan High Commission employee under scanner”Records obtained so far from bank accounts in Jammu and Rajouri district have revealed that Khan used to get a fixed pay of around Rs 20,000 per month through money transfers,” the official said.Almost all the money transfers received by Khan were routed either through UAE or through Saudi Arabia. Further investigation revealed that the money actually came from Pakistan, said the official. However, these were transfers received only through the official banking channels. Khan could have received potentially high funds through private money transfer agencies or through illegal routes. Further interrogation is expected to provide the Crime Branch with more information on the money trail, said the official.The police are also verifying reports alleging Khan’s involvement in a human-organ trafficking racket at Jammu and Kashmir, said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav, adding that the police are currently clueless in connection with that matter. So far, Khan has claimed that he was booked by the police twice for allegedly getting involved in fights during protests at Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir between 2013 and 14, said police.

BSF personnel arrested in espionage case; Pakistan High Commission employee under scanner

The serving BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed was remanded on Monday in police custody till December 7 by a Delhi court which questioned the police on whether any senior official of the border guarding force was involved in the case.

Abdul Rasheed

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
A Pakistan High Commision employee is under the scanner of Delhi Police probing an espionage racket in which an alleged ISI operative and a serving BSF personnel have been arrested.The serving BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed was remanded on Monday in police custody till December 7 by a Delhi court which questioned the police on whether any senior official of the border guarding force was involved in the case.Kafaitullah Khan alias Master Raja, an alleged handler of the Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO), was in touch with an ISI operative in Pakistan who had told him that a source in the Pakistan High Commission will help him secure visa to travel to that country, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav said. Yadav said the person in Pakistan High Commission whom the ISI operative referred to is yet to be identified but sources said it appeared he was not in the rank of a diplomat.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Once we get some leads with further interrogation of the accused duo arrested, we shall have to approach the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for their permission to question staff at the High Commission’s office,” said Yadav.The Crime Branch said Kafaitullah was running the espionage racket backed by ISI and he was to meet the spy agency’s handler in Pakistan to seek more “resources”.”Is there any involvement of any senior officers?,” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal asked the police during the hearing on its application seeking Rasheed’s remand. Delhi Police told the court it had not yet found complicity of any officer but the probe was on.Khan told the police he was going to Bhopal where he was supposed to meet another PIO handler to seek information from him about the unidentified source who could easily arrange his visa, said Yadav. Khan was, however, intercepted in Delhi on Thursday on way to Bhopal where he was also to attend a religious congregation and recruit youths for the espionage racket, he said.During interrogation, Khan, a native of a village in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, disclosed about his cousin, Abdul Rasheed, who was posted as a head constable in the intelligence wing of Border Security Force there, police said. The Delhi Police is also trying to track the money trail from Pakistan to India — routed through the Middle East, to pay off spies operating in a suspected pan-India network.During his interrogation Khan told the police his counterpart in Pakistan had promised him huge money for passing on secret and confidential information. When Khan started doing so, he was put on a permanent pay roll and promised performance-based appraisals, said an official.”Records obtained so far from bank accounts in Jammu and Rajouri district have revealed that Khan used to get a fixed pay of around Rs 20,000 per month through money transfers,” he said.Almost all the money transfers received by Khan were routed either through UAE or through Saudi Arabia. Further investigation revealed that the money actually came from Pakistan, said the official. The police are, therefore, also investigating that money trail, said an official privy to the investigation. Khan was taken to Rajouri district and Rasheed too was arrested following a raid, a senior police official said.”The police recovered secret and confidential documents in connection with force deployment locations, movements and patrolling routes of security forces from possession of both the accused,” he said. Both of them have been booked under provisions of the Official Secrets Act.Meanwhile, a Crime Branch team sent to Jammu is also looking for an Army personnel suspected to be close to Khan and believed to have allegedly passed on secret information to Pakistan’s ISI that could pose a threat to national security, the official said.Khan was recruited in Jammu and Kashmir police several years ago. Later, he quit the job and became a library assistant at a senior secondary school in Majankote area in Rajouri district, the official said. In 2013, he visited Pakistan where he came into contact with an ISI agent and thus began his journey as a spy. Khan soon started cultivating sources in the Indian Army and BSF, and some of them allegedly started passing him secret documents, the official added.According to the police, information was largely passed on through e-mail, WhatsApp and Viber networks. Khan was given specific tasks by the PIO which were mainly related to deployment of security forces and Air Force operations. The official denied that Khan’s earlier visit to Gujranwala in Pakistan, where many of his relatives live, had anything to do with any source in the High Commission as he was not in touch with intelligence operatives then.

‘Don’t expect any breakthrough’: Nawaz Sharif’s call for dialogue is nothing new, say analysts

Days after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif indicated that the country is ready for a dialogue with India without pre-conditions for sustainable peace, New Delhi still has to reply to the PM’s statement.

While the media widely reported Sharif’s statements, experts and foreign policy analysts sitting in New Delhi see no ray of hope in Pakistan prime minister’s statement. Speaking with Livemint, former Indian foreign secretary Kanwal Sibal, “This (Sharif’s statement) is nothing new. They have said this all the time. Their point is that India should talk unconditionally and any attempt by India to hold them to any agreements that they have been party to, is seen as a condition.”

Sharif had indicated that Pakistan is ready for a dialogue with India without pre-conditions for sustainable peace, according to Pakistani TV channel Geo News on Saturday. The report said that Sharif indicated this during a meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron on the sidelines of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Valletta on Friday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not attending the CHOGM, however, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is representing India at the summit in Malta.

A file image for Indian PM Narendra Modi with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. PTIA file image for Indian PM Narendra Modi with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. PTI

A file image for Indian PM Narendra Modi with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. PTI

The channel reported that Sharif said Pakistan intends to maintain friendly relations with all its neighbours, including India and Afghanistan. However, according to this report in Livemint, which quoted a person familiar with the development, New Delhi still has not released any statement after the Geo News report. However, the officer, who was not named in the report, said that Sharif’s statement could also mean that the Pakistani Prime Minister wanted India to drop what Pakistan viewed as conditions for dialogue.

Ties have been strained between India and Pakistan over border firing and a series of ceasefire violations. Talks between national security advisers of the two countries were cancelled in August because of a dispute over the agenda. India wanted to discuss terror attacks and Pakistan insisted on raising Kashmir. Like the arguments made by senior editor of Firstpost Karan Pradhan in this article, Pakistan military and civilian government in past have worked in sync to derail peace talks. Be it the 10 July Ufa meeting of Sharif and Modi, right after which voices in Pakistan and the Valley decried the fact that Jammu and Kashmir was not mentioned in the joint statement or the September 2014 incident when the Pakistan high commissioner, Abdul Basit, decided to meet with the Kashmiri separatists — there have been enough instances where Pakistan has very well gone ahead and derailed chances of any dialogue.

The national security advisors (NSA) were to hold talks on the subject of terrorism while the border guards’ chiefs and the military officers were to discuss maintenance of peace along the border as per a 2003 accord. However, Pakistan’s attempts to hold a meeting with Kashmiri separatists ahead of the NSAs’ dialogue in New Delhi in August resulted in India strongly opposing the move and the talks ultimately being called off.

In his article, Pradhan asks (and answers) if Pakistan is not interested in the dialogue, why don’t they go ahead and cancel it anyway.

“That doesn’t fit into the Pakistani strategy of denial, misdirection and self-victimisation. By letting New Delhi cancel talks, Islamabad is able to take the perceived moral high ground and tell the world (especially Kashmiris) that India is not interested in the peace process.”

To top all this, analysts and foreign policy experts seem to echo the emotion. Sibal, speaking to Livemint said, “What Pakistan means is that they should be given a free hand. It is Pakistan that is laying conditions and their primary condition is that they should be allowed to raise any subject, any issue in the face of very clear Indian objections,” Sibal said. “I am not sure this (Sharif’s stateemnt) is the breakthrough (in the logjam) we are looking for.”

With inputs from agencies

Espionage racket: Arrested BSF personnel sent to police custody for 7 days

Seeking seven days remand of Abdul Rasheed, the police told the court that he was posted as a head constable at the BSF head quarters, intelligence wing at Jammu, and had access to secret documents which he was allegedly supplying to his associates.

BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed, arrested for allegedly spying for Pakistan’s ISI, on Monday was remanded in police custody till December 7 by a Delhi court even as investigators said they have to track the money trail and identify his possible accomplices in the force.”Is there any involvement of any senior officers?,” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal asked crime branch of Delhi Police during the hearing.The police said, “Not yet. We are doing the probe. He (Rasheed) is required to be interrogated for ascertaining the money trail as well and the payments made to him for supply of documents.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking seven days remand of Rasheed, the police told the court that he was posted as a head constable at the BSF head quarters, intelligence wing at Jammu, and had access to secret documents which he was allegedly supplying to his associates.”Rasheed was working at the intelligence unit of BSF head quarters at Jammu where each and every document was secret in nature and he was supplying the documents to his associates,” the police said.It alleged that he was involved in spying activities and several incriminating documents have been recovered from his house during the probe.The police said he was required to be taken to various places in Jammu and Kashmir, including Rajouri district, and questioned to identify his associates. While allowing the plea seeking remand of the accused, the court observed that the matter pertains to national security.Besides Rasheed, Kafaitullah Khan alias Master Raja (44), a resident of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir, was intercepted and arrested in connection with the case at New Delhi railway station while he was on his way from Jammu to Bhopal on November 26.Three suspected ISI agents were arrested in Kolkata yesterday in a separate case. They were Irshad Ansari (51), a contract labourer with Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), his son Asfaq Ansari (23) and a relative Mohammed Jahangir.

Jammu and Kashmir: CRPF jawan injured in firing at Kathua

A round was fired in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) post in Malhar belt of Kathua district early this morning which injured jawan Ramesh Chan, a senior police officer said

CRPF jawan injured in firing at Kathua – Representational Image

A jawan on Monday suffered a gunshot injury at a CRPF post in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir and authorities are probing the incident.A round was fired in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) post in Malhar belt of Kathua district early this morning which injured jawan Ramesh Chan, a senior police officer said.It is being ascertained whether the same was a result of a clash or accidental weapon handling or something else, the official said.

Technology drove Master Raja into police web: Here’s all you need to know about the ISI spy

On Sunday, the Delhi Police announced that it had arrested two relatives — a Border Security Force (BSF) constable, and the other, a suspected Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) handler — on charges of providing confidential information, under the Official Secrets Act.

The Indian Express reported that the arrested individuals have been identified as Delhi-based Kafaitullah Khan, also known as Master Raja, and Abdul Rasheed, who is posted in the intelligence wing of the BSF. Both of them are from the Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Khan is a handler of Pakistani intelligence operatives, and Rasheed was one of his chief sources. They were running an espionage racket which was supported by Pakistan’s ISI. Both were arrested under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Official Secrets Act,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ravindra Yadav told reporters.

So, just who is Master Raja?

YouTube screengrab.YouTube screengrab.

YouTube screengrab.

Master Raja, who has reportedly been passing information along to a Pakistan intelligence operative for the past year, served in the BSF and later, the Jammu and Kashmir Police, reported Hindustan Times. Over time, sources quoted in the report said, he built a robust network of sources across the Army, BSF and Air Force, who used to send confidential information his way in exchange for money.

Master Raja reportedly used WhatsApp, Viber and email to pass along information. Ultimately, it was technology that led to his downfall. The Indian Express report quoted sources as stating that phones belonging to Master Raja and Rasheed were put under surveillance, and it was discovered that the former had been working ‘on the directions of a Pakistan intelligence operative’.

The Indian Express quoted Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Ravindra Yadav as saying, “Investigators are looking for a retired army havildar… (and) are also likely to get in touch with Khan’s brother”. He added that the spy ring was supported by ISI, to which Master Raja reported. Rasheed was a ‘prime source’.

Meanwhile, BSF director-general DK Pathak reportedly did not seem to think Rasheed was that big a fish. The Times of India quoted the DG as saying, “Rasheed may not have had access to classified information at the Rajouri office. But he must have had information about troop movements and other details of the camps and border outposts.”

Which, reports indicate, is exactly what Master Raja was after.

Master Raja reportedly served as a handler for numerous agents in India, to procure information about security forces deployment and operations of the Indian Air Force.

The BSF is probing whether these inputs helped terrorists make ‘clean entries’ across the border ahead of the 27 July Gurdaspur attacks and 5 August Udhampur attack.

But Rasheed is only the tip of the iceberg.

Among Master Raja’s other agents are Irshad Ansari, Asfaq Ansari and Mohammad Jahangir, who were arrested from Ekbalpore in Kolkata, and charged with attempts to wage war against the state and criminal conspiracy. According to The Hindu, the trio is based in west Kolkata’s Garden Reach area, and Irshad Ansari has been working as a contract labourer at the local shipyard for the past decade.

“The three had visited Pakistan and it seems they were hired by the ISI during the visit,” the report quotes Deputy Commissioner of the Special Task Force Akhilesh Kumar Chaturvedi as saying.

The Times of India reports that further raids are taking place across Delhi, and Jammu and Kashmir to apprehend the other members of Master Raja’s ring.

PDP-BJP government failed to address political, developmental aspirations: Omar Abdullah

Jammu: The PDP-BJP coalition government has failed to address political and developmental aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah said on Sunday.

“Tall, stentorian promises of ‘ache din’ have amounted to ‘Ache Din’ for a chosen few in terms of their personal welfare while common people have been left to fend for themselves by a brazenly insensitive and callous dispensation,” Abdullah said, addressing a NC workers’ convention in Doda district.

Omar Abdullah. AFPOmar Abdullah. AFP

Omar Abdullah. AFP

He said lack of direction and political will have compounded the perception of political uncertainty in the state whereas the government should have tried to provide a hope of inclusive development, reconciliation and peace.

The former chief minister said the PDP-BJP government rather than politically engaging with the separatist leadership with an aim to address the internal dimensions of the Kashmir issue, had chosen to tread a path of isolation, arrogance and confrontation contradicting the promises made in the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’.

“Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) Sahab’s government ordered an unprecedented crackdown on normal life and undertook hundreds of preventive arrests for organising the Prime Minister’s rally in Srinagar, where sadly the Prime Minister snubbed the Chief Minister and categorically asked him to mind his own business as his suggestions about the Kashmir issue were not required, rendering PDP and Mufti Sahab absolutely irrelevant viz-a-viz the larger political process,” Abdullah alleged.

Referring to the political and diplomatic stalemate between India and Pakistan in sorting out various issues and starting a comprehensive dialogue process, he said the gap between New Delhi and Islamabad has widened to an extent where the two countries have to choose a neutral country like Sri Lanka to play cricket.

“If we cannot have the bare minimum amount of trust and faith to participate in sporting events in each other’s country, how can we address the larger and graver political issues of contention between the two countries? These political issues need to be resolved and cannot be expected to remain in the realm of a status-quo for perpetuity,” he said.

Abdullah said the human cost of the conflict between India and Pakistan were “way too grave and serious for us to become comfortable in a status-quo arrangement and approach”.

“This would not only create an atmosphere of disillusionment with the democratic institutions but would also harm the hard-earned dividends of peace in the state.”

Terming PDP and BJP as two sides of the same coin, the former chief minister said that his apprehensions about their “clandestine understanding” were proven right when they formed the coalition government after “enacting an elaborate drama about their alleged south pole versus north pole ideological divergence” during the assembly elections.

“There is no south pole or north pole. Both PDP and BJP come from the same stock of opportunistic politics… They have reneged on every single statement they made to garner votes and have surrendered all their respective political demands for petty trappings of political power,” he said.

He wondered how BJP impetuously joined hands with PDP notwithstanding the fact Prime Minister Narendra Modi had vowed to “free” Jammu and Kashmir from the rule of both National Conference and PDP.

“However. as soon as elections ended, they came together without any inhibition or reluctance and proved the allegations of their pre-election nexus to be accurate. The pre-election rhetoric of an elected Prime Minister has never been self-debunked, belied and abandoned in such a brazen manner,” he said.

He said disenchantment among the people has reached an unprecedented level. “The sense of anti-incumbency against this present government within the very first year is much greater than the engineered, fake perception of anti-incumbency against the previous NC-led government at the culmination of entire six-year tenure,” Abdullah said.

He said regional polarisation and efforts to divide the people on the basis of their religions could have short-term political advantages for the ruling parties, Jammu and Kashmir will always stick to its legacy of inclusiveness, secularism and tolerance.

He said that those giving sermons on secularism should learn its basics from the glorious, selfless history of National Conference. “We have rendered unparalleled sacrifices for the cause of secularism and inclusiveness,” he said.

The former chief minister said that development has been pushed to back burner while public grievances were mounting unheard with each passing day.

He said Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution (CAPD) outlets lacked sufficient supplies and utility services were craving for maintenance. “The promise of 24×7 power supply has turned out to be a counter nightmare with unprecedented and unscheduled power cuts haunting the people of the state at the very onset of the winter season,” he said.

PTI

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.

Farooq Abdullah’s remark seditious, will take back land from Pakistan: Yogi Adityanath

Abdullah had yesterday said “PoK was part of Pakistan” and would remain with it while India.

“The statement given by Abdullah is irresponsible, seditious and amount to contempt of Parliament,” the BJP MP

BJP MP Yogi Adityanath on Saturday termed as “irresponsible and seditious” the statement of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on PoK, and said the part of Kashmir under Pakistan’s control would be taken back. “The statement given by Abdullah is irresponsible, seditious and amount to contempt of Parliament,” the BJP MP told reporters here. Abdullah had yesterday said “PoK was part of Pakistan” and would remain with it while India would continue to control its part of Jammu and Kashmir and claimed that former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had proposed this to the then President Pervez Musharraf. Adityanath said “every inch of land of Kashmir belonged to India and the part of Kashmir under Pakistan’s control would be taken back”. Asked if BJP was contemplating forging an alliance before Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, he said a decision in this regard will be taken by the party’s central leadership and Parliamentary Board.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related read: Dialogue only route to resolution of Kashmir problem: Farooq AbdullahThe BJP MP said Bihar Assembly poll outcome was the result of “casteist mentality”.

Diwali Milan: Omar Abdullah takes dig at ‘selfie circus’ during PM Modi’s event

“This is the media we expect will ask tough questions of this government? Great visuals of an undignified selfie circus!!!” Omar posted on Twitter.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today took a jibe at journalists who were seen taking selfies with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his Diwali Milan event, calling it an “undignified selfie circus”. “This is the media we expect will ask tough questions of this government? Great visuals of an undignified selfie circus!!!” Omar posted on Twitter.The National Conference leader was referring to the visuals of journalists jostling with each other to have selfies with Modi at a Diwali Milan luncheon hosted by the Prime Minister in the national capital today. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Entire Indian Army cannot defend Kashmir against terrorists; dialogue only option, says Farooq Abdullah

Jammu: Dialogue is the only way forward for a resolution to the Kashmir issue, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said even as he held that nothing has been done to reclaim Pakistan-occupied Kashmir from the neighbouring country while reiterating views that have invited criticism.

“The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution (to the Kashmir issue),” the National Conference leader said at a function in Jammu.

“Ever since I came into politics, I have always said that this state (PoK and J-K) can never become one. Neither do we have the power to take back their part (PoK) nor have they (Pakistan) the power to take our part; we are a nuclear power and they, too, are,” he said at a discussion by civil society to explore the ways for bringing peace and reconciliation between the two countries.

“How much can the army defend us; even if the entire army of India came to our rescue, they cannot defend us against terrorists or militants. The only way left is to hold dialogue and find a solution,” he stressed.

Farooq Abdullah. AFPFarooq Abdullah. AFP

Farooq Abdullah. AFP

He said he was hopeful that the Kashmir issue would be solved during the tenure of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but that did not happen.

In the wake of his comments on Friday, he blamed the media for hyping up his statement and said his views about Pakistan continuing to hold PoK and India keeping J&K could not be the only scenario and he would accept any decision which was acceptable to the majority of people in India, Pakistan and J&K.

“I never said it was the ultimate solution that they keep their part and we keep ours. If you have a better solution acceptable to a majority of Indians, Pakistanis and J&K citizens, it is also acceptable to us,” he said while urging that dialogue has to be started for reaching a resolution.

Referring to the 1994 Parliament resolution on PoK, Farooq said nothing has been done following its adoption unanimously to reclaim area under Pakistani occupation.

“They say there is a resolution in Parliament; but tell me what the Parliament has done so far to reclaim that part.

“You passed the resolution, tell me how many resolutions are there in United Nations regarding Kashmir; have any of those been implemented. People on both sides are suffering due to the cross-border firing,” he said.

Meanwhile, BJP on Saturday sought an apology from Abdullah for his remarks that “PoK is part of Pakistan” and said he was “deliberately raking up” the issue in order to remain in news for his political survival.

“For how many years have we been saying that it (PoK) is part of India. What have we done so far, have we ever taken it back,” he had said on Friday.

The former J&K chief minister said that even though Nawaz Sharif was heading the government in Pakistan, the real power was in the hands of the army there.

Further, claiming that if Pakistan army wanted, it would not take more than two minutes for it to get Sharif removed, he said, “The day problems between India and Pakistan are resolved, Pakistan army will lose its significance.”

He said that a former Pakistan external affairs minister had told him that before the Prime Ministers of the two nations decide to meet, all roadblocks that may impede any meaningful dialogue need to be removed.

On the issue of the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits, he said that the country has till date not been able to accomplish that.

“When I tried to do it, the very same day two massacres took place in Ganderbal and Budgam in which innocent and unarmed Kashmiri Pandits were killed.

“How will the situation improve till the time Pakistan does not understand that this part of J&K will never become their part,” he said.

Recalling that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had tried to find a way out in Egypt’s Sharm-al-Sheikh, Abdullah said that the attempt had evoked a backlash in the country and within Congress.

“There was a hue and cry in India and even in his own party which said that if you talk friendship with Pakistan we will lose elections. Let these elections go to hell which divide the people,” he said.

“Every election makes India weak and does not strengthen it”, he said, adding that “we get divided into religions and even divide religion into small parts”.

Seeking to caution India and Pakistan against America, he claimed that the country was a friend of neither of the two South Asian neighbours and was only interested in selling its weapons to both.

Talking about the Kashmir problem, he said that it was not an economic but a political one.

“We are saying we have got a Rs 80,000-crore package, now we will do everything. This is not an issue of development. It is a political issue which has to be resolved. If it was only about money, then the country has already spent billions on this state, but the issue still lingers,” he said.

Meanwhile, in an apparent attack on PDP, he charged that “they (PDP) claim Abdullah used to say that we will drop bombs; ask them, when our houses were being blown, when our hospitals and schools were being blown, when our people were being fired upon because they were the ones who were carrying Tricolour, what was their fault.

“They were killed inside their houses. What should have Farooq Abdullah said, to keep quiet.”

Without taking any names, he further said that “man was being made an enemy of another man and now they are ruling and saying such things… they don’t have a conscience. God knows what attraction they have with each other.”

Turning to Pakistan, he stressed that he was proud to be an Indian and an Indian Muslim.

“I want friendship but I don’t want to be their slave. I am for sure a Muslim, but I am not a Chinese, Pakistani or an English Muslim; I am an Indian Muslim, I am born an India, live as an Indian and will die as an Indian,” he said.

“Today Farooq Abdullah is sitting amongst you, he might not be there tomorrow. Tomorrow, some terrorists will kill me but I am not afraid. I am only afraid of Allah,” he added.

He said that the need of the hour was to strengthen the unity amongst the different religions in the country.

“We have to strengthen the bond between Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and other religions and our survival is not possible without the survival of
India,” he said.

PTI

Nawaz Sharif tells David Cameron that Pakistan is ready for dialogue with India: Geo News

Valletta (Malta): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has indicated that Pakistan is ready for a dialogue with India without pre-conditions for sustainable peace, according to Pakistani TV channel Geo News.

Sharif is said to have given this indication during a meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron on the sidelines of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Valletta on Friday.

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. ReutersPakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

The channel reported that Sharif said Pakistan intends to maintain friendly relations with all its neighbours including India and Afghanistan.

Ties have been strained between the two neighbours over border firing and a series of ceasefire violations. Talks between National Security Advisors of the two countries were cancelled in August because of a dispute over the agenda.

India wanted to discuss terror attacks and Pakistan insisted on raising Kashmir.

The Pakistani Prime Minister told Cameron that Pakistan was deeply saddened by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and that his country, itself being victim of terrorism, could feel the pain of French people.

The two leaders expressed long term commitment to work together for greater security and prosperity of their countries.

Both prime ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work in partnership for countering the shared threats of terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration, the report said.

It said Sharif and Cameron agreed to continue close collaboration in diverse fields particularly trade, investment and security and the British Prime Minister lauded Pakistan’s efforts in eradication of militancy and extremism.

PTI

Pakistan ready to hold talks with India without pre-conditions: Nawaz Sharif

Ties have been strained between the two neighbours over border firing and a series of ceasefire violations.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has indicated that Pakistan is ready for a dialogue with India without pre-conditions for sustainable peace, according to Pakistani TV channel Geo News. Sharif is said to have given this indication during a meeting with his British counterpart David Cameron on the sidelines of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) here yesterday. The channel reported that Sharif said Pakistan intends to maintain friendly relations with all its neighbours including India and Afghanistan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ties have been strained between the two neighbours over border firing and a series of ceasefire violations. Talks between National Security Advisors of the two countries were cancelled in August because of a dispute over the agenda. India wanted to discuss terror attacks and Pakistan insisted on raising Kashmir. The Pakistani Prime Minister told Cameron that Pakistan was deeply saddened by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and that his country, itself being victim of terrorism, could feel the pain of French people.The two leaders expressed long term commitment to work together for greater security and prosperity of their countries. Both prime ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work in partnership for countering the shared threats of terrorism, organised crime and illegal migration, the report said.It said Sharif and Cameron agreed to continue close collaboration in diverse fields particularly trade, investment and security and the British Prime Minister lauded Pakistan s efforts in eradication of militancy and extremism.

BJP-PDP govt reaping dividends of divisive politics: Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah

Denouncing recent incidents of communal violence and attempts to allegedly polarise the people of the state on the lines of region and religion, Omar Abdullah said National Conference has always opposed the type of politics that is invested in the goal of dividing people for political dividends and the party would continue to confront these political forces with all its democratic and political might.
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Alleging that seeds of divisive politics were being sown into the socio-political fabric of the state, NC leader Omar Abdullah on Saturday hit out at Chief Minister Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed, and claimed the fruits of hard-earned peace are being “wasted” by him.”The seeds of divisive politics are being sown into the socio-political fabric of the state. Both PDP and BJP have a long-cherished dream of reaping the political dividends of such divisiveness and polarisation in J&K”, he added.”Not only is this trend dangerous for the state but it also poses a great risk to peace in the entire region given that J&K’s internal political atmosphere has far-reaching external ramifications”, Omar said. He was addressing a public rally in Kishtwar in Srinagar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Denouncing recent incidents of communal violence and attempts to allegedly polarise the people of the state on the lines of region and religion, Omar said National Conference has always opposed the type of politics that is invested in the goal of dividing people for political dividends and the party would continue to confront these political forces with all its democratic and political might.”Attempts are being made to create an atmosphere of confrontation between regions and religions. Nothing could be more condemnable and unfortunate”, he said.”The fruits of a hard-earned peace are being wasted by Mufti Sahab who has unfortunately chosen to surrender in a greater plot of divisive politics just to remain in power”, Omar further alleged.The NC Working President also expressed disappointment at the “complete failure” of the PDP-BJP government in delivering on its political and governance-related promises and said, Sayeed had squandered the people’s mandate by heading a “directionless, self-contradictory government”.”Unfortunately, if there has been any change at all in J&K, it has been a change for the worse. The comprehensive development process initiated by the previous government in all the three regions of the state has been brought to a grinding halt by the present PDP-BJP government led by Mufti Sahab”, he alleged.Omar said landmark developmental initiatives started during his tenure as the chief minister have been “put on the back burner” and the conventional, destructive attitude of politicising previously initiated developmental projects has been “reinvented” by the PDP-BJP government which ironically promised to usher the state into a new era of growth.”The abandonment of the Kishtwar Power Project by the PDP-BJP government led by Mufti Sahab has not only deprived the power-starved state of the much-needed addition in power-generation but also robbed Kishtwar of an opportunity of job creation and economic impetus”, Omar added.Omar alleged that back in 2003, Mufti Sahab did the same thing with 1,200-MW Sawlakote Power Project which would have been in the commissioning stage as of now, had Mufti Sahab looked at the cause of development beyond speeches, press statements and photo-opportunities. He said the failure of the PDP-BJP combine to fulfill its promises had led to a political deficit in the state one that could lead to a state of chaos, turmoil and uncertainty.”This government has made so many U-turns that it would be well-advised to dedicate an entire Ministry to U-turns. Every single political and economic promise made by PDP and BJP ahead of the elections stands shattered and this is disappointing”.Omar said “the mandate for governance in a democracy and especially in a state as fragile as J&K is very precious. A disillusionment and disenchantment with the system is tragic and this present Government has squandered the hopes of people in every town and village in the state”.”Modi ji had promised a drinking water pipeline to the people of Kisthwar during his public meeting here ahead of the elections and said the pipeline would be so huge that the entire Abdullah family can drive through that pipleline”.”I have driven to Kisthwar today and I had to take the road as eager as I was to drive through the water pipeline as there is no sight of a single pipe, leave alone a pipeline”, Omar said while ridiculing the “tall, unkept promises” of both PDP and BJP with the people of Kisthwar.The former chief minister reiterated that peace was imperative for progress and development of a state like Jammu and Kashmir which has undergone most turbulent phase of the history. He said National Conference will always strive for peace and tranquility and stand against those like a rock who want to disturb it for furthering their “myopic” political agenda. He said the trust and confidence of the people will further rejuvenate National Conference’s mission of selfless service and enable it to fight back all those who want to trample the distinguished character of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.He said his party will remain in the forefront to fight for the genuine cause of the people.During his 40-minute address, he also regretted over the callousness of the PDP-BJP coalition towards Rehbar-e-Taleem Teachers and other segments of employees who are not being paid their wages timely.

BJP slams Farooq Abdullah for ‘PoK part of Pakistan’ remarks, seeks apology

BJP strongly condemned the statement of the National Conference Patron yesterday that “PoK is part of Pakistan”.

BJP on Saturday sought an apology from former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for his remarks that ‘PoK is part of Pakistan’, and said he was “deliberately raking up” the issue in order to remain in news for his political survival. “Probably Farooq Abdullah is either suffering from amnesia or deliberately raking up the settled issue in order to remain in news for his political survival,” BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta told reporters here. Gupta strongly condemned the statement of the National Conference Patron yesterday that “PoK is part of Pakistan” and will remain with it while India will continue to control its part of Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP spokesperson said Maharaja Hari Singh while signing the Instrument of Accession made the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, under his control, part of the Dominion of India. He said Farooq Abdullah’s father Sheikh Abdullah had even endorsed the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gupta said Pakistan was an aggressor which forcibly occupied the part of Jammu and Kashmir that is presently under its occupation and that it was India which took up the matter with the UN Security Council. He added that Indian Parliament, in a resolution in 1994, unanimously resolved its determination to get vacated PoK, part of Jammu and Kashmir, from illegal occupation of Pakistan. “Abdullah by his uncalled-for statement has acted against the resolution and harmed the interest of the nation and weakened India’s position on the J&K issue,” the BJP spokesperson said.Replying to queries about the reported demand in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) of joining India, Abdullah had yesterday said, “It will never happen. It (PoK) is part of Pakistan and will remain part of Pakistan. This (Jammu and Kashmir) is India’s part and will remain part of India…” Gupta said Abdullah must seek apology from the nation for his this blunder and set things in the right perspective. It looks like that the leaders of National Conference have been so much demoralised and frustrated that they have lost their wit and giving such irresponsible statements, he alleged.

Sudheendra Kulkarni favours autonomy for Kashmir

Kulkarni who was speaking for promoting India Pakistan unity also said that both countries have over glorified the contribution of Mahatam Gandhi and Quaid-I-Azam.

A month after he faced ‘paint attack’ from Shiv Sena supporters in Mumbai at the book launch of former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, Sudheendra Kulkarni embroiled in a fresh controversy on Friday.The chairman of the Observer Research Foundation supported former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah’s view on Kashmir and said that both India and Pakistan need to accept that the territories occupied by the two countries cannot be snatched away. Instead, the two countries should provide autonomy to the people of Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Delivering a lecture at the Pakistan High Commission at New Delhi, Kulkarni blamed Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel for partition of India. He went on to add that both India and Pakistan in their historical texts have ‘over glorified’ Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Kulkarni also went on to add that India should treat Pakistan as equal and not play a big brother role all the time.”Neither India can ever occupy the PoK and nor will Pakistan ever be able to get control over what is called in Pakistan as India occupied Kashmir. Kashmir should be given administrative autonomy,” he said.Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Modi’s foreign trips, Kulkarni also said that Modi should plan a Pakistan visit. “He has gone to every neighboring country except Pakistan. Prime Minister should visit Pakistan and resume dialogue,” he said.Kulkarni who was speaking for promoting India Pakistan unity also said that both countries have over glorified the contribution of Mahatam Gandhi and Quaid-I-Azam.”Mahamat Gandhi in 1944 accepted the legitimacy of demand for a separate nation in the Gandhi- Jinnah talk,” he said. Kulkarni also said that had Congress met Jinnah’s demand for safeguarding the rights of minority, tragedy pf partition could have been avoided. “Jinnah worked as ambassador or Hindi-Muslim unity, but later went on to demand partition. But today neither the Congress nor the BJP accepts this truth.” he added.The former BJP member blamed both Nehru and Patel for the partition of India. “Both Nehru and Patel went on to become enthusiastic supporter of Pakistan. They helped in shaping the two nation theory,” he said.

PoK is and will remain part of Pakistan, says Farooq Abdullah

PoK is part of Pakistan and it will remain so. Jammu and Kashmir is part of India and it will remain so. You need to understand this. Only thing is that India and Pakistan should talk and find the solution, said Farooq in Jammu.

J&K deputy CM Nirmal Singh with former CM Farooq Abdullah after paying tribute to veteran Congress leader Girdhari Lal Dogra on the occasion of his death anniversary in Jammu on Friday

PTI
A major political storm has hit the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir after the former chief minister Farooq Abdullah said Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is and will continue to remain the part of Pakistan.”PoK is part of Pakistan and it will remain so. Jammu and Kashmir is part of India and it will remain so. You need to understand this. Only thing is that India and Pakistan should talk and find the solution,” said Farooq in Jammu.Farooq, a three time chief minister and former union minister, noted that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had told the then Pakistani president Parvez Musharaf to retain PoK while they would keep Jammu and Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”How long have we been saying that PoK is part of India? Have we ever taken it back? I know when Vajpayee went to Lahore he told me that he asked Musharaf that they should keep PoK and we will retain Jammu and Kashmir which they (Pakistani) refused…Today they are ready, and India should talk,” he said.Farooq’s remarks has stoked a major political row with Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh terming it unconstitutional and against the spirit of resolution passed by the parliament in 1994.”Parliament passed a unanimous resolution in 1994 saying that if there is any outstanding issue with Pakistan it is Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK). It has been illegally occupied by Pakistan. Not only we have claim on PoJK but constitutionally it is our integral part and we should get it back. If someone is making such remarks it is unconstitutional and puts a question mark on Jammu and Kashmir which the country will not accept,” said Singh.Ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) too has joined the chorus terming Farooq statement as “hypocrisy”. “When he (Farooq) was a chief minister it (PoK) was part of India and when he is out of power it is not part of India.They are responsible for the mess. PoK could have been part of Jammu and Kashmir had Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah acted timely,” said Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, PDP spokesman and political analyst to chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Firstpost Salon: India is in a unique position to broker world peace, stop Third World War, says Tarek Fatah

India should realise her potential, play global peacemaker and stop going after Aamir Khan, advised Tarek Fatah, who identifies himself as an Indian born in Pakistan; a Punjabi born in Islam; an immigrant in Canada with a Muslim consciousness.

The Canadian writer, broadcaster, and liberal activist was at his sharpest as a guest on Thursday evening at Firstpost Salon, educating and entertaining the audience with his erudition shorn of all political correctness.

Tarek Fatah during the Firstpost Salon. FirstpostTarek Fatah during the Firstpost Salon. Firstpost

Tarek Fatah during the Firstpost Salon. Firstpost

During the course of the conversation with former founder-CEO at Natgrid and senior fellow at Observer Research Foundation Raghu Raman, Fatah expressed surprise that no one in India seems to have registered the fact that a global crisis is at hand and India is uniquely placed as the only country to stop an imminent Third World War.

“It seems that no one in India knows that Turkey and Russia have a problem. First time since the Second World War, a Nato western aircraft has shot down a Russian jet. That’s not the end of it.

“Then, it’s inside Syria. Not just that, they sent jihadis in to kill the parachuting pilots. That’s a war crime. And then a helicopter sent there to rescue the pilots is shot down! India in the meantime is discussing what Aamir Khan has said and what Kiran has replied,” he said.

“Either the Indians are so introverted that they don’t know what’s happening around them or they are busy looking for coals in a goldmine.”

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Fatah said he should focus his energies in brokering world peace instead of going around the world speaking to fellow Indians.

“India is very close to Russia. Quite friendly with Turkey. India has no obligations, no ally. Nothing against any country. She is uniquely positioned. Instead of going to Singapore and talking about food and trains, Prime Minister Modi should call the ambassadors of both countries and hold a conference, asking them to cool it,” Fatah said.

“Remember these are nuclear powers in the Balkans and should anything go awry, millions of people in Europe would be affected.

“India is letting Turkey trigger a war between Russia and USA so that ISIS may stay alive!”

And in the bargain, India would legitimately stake a claim in the Security Council, felt Fatah.

“India should broker peace between the US and China. You need to create the claim where people say of course India should be at the Security Council. India has pulled millions out of poverty, moved ahead of famines which were a regular feature in 60s and 70s.

“So many people including cab drivers have mobile phones. In their own humble way, India should make its presence felt as global peacemaker,” felt Fatah.

On the question of rigidity in religion, Fatah opined that Hinduism is naturally pluralistic with its multiplicity of religious texts whereas Christianity or Islam are monolithic.

“If there is one book, and that’s the word of god, can you imagine someone criticising it and staying alive?”

“You can do a PK in India which becomes a multi-crore blockbuster due to Hindus’ tolerance and self-deprecating humour but it’s impossible to do such a movie in Pakistan.”

“If I were to attempt making even an ‘OK’ instead of ‘PK’ in Pakistan, I wouldn’t stay alive to watch that movie.”

On being a true Muslim, Fatah said: “A Muslim is essentially a Jew who has adapted Judaism to Arab pagan culture.”

Calling for a return to the Muslim ethos, Fatah said a “true Muslim cannot lie. And he doesn’t believe in hijab, naqab, jihad or other such un-Islamic practices.”

On ISIS gaining a foothold in the subcontinent, Fatah, true to his form, had an unconventional take:”ISIS mentality is already here. Wiping out an ethnicity (Hindus from Kashmir) is ISIS mentality. You have wiped out the original inhabitants of Kashmir and made them refugees in their own country.”

Fatah also weighed in on the ‘intolerance’ debate, saying “the present intolerance debate is political, but in India everything is.”

“Real intolerance is not religious intolerance but the fact that nobody would share their dinner on the same table with their driver or chauffer. That’s always been there in India.”

When it comes to calling spade a spade, there is no one better than Fatah.

ISIS may carry out ‘lone wolf’ attack, apprehends Kiren Rijiju

Asked about the incidents of the hoisting of the ISIS flag in Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister said these were isolated cases and not spread across the state or the country.

Kiren Rijiju

Banned terror group ISIS may carry out terror strikes anywhere in the country using a single terrorist also known as ‘lone wolf’ to create a mayhem, the government on Thursday said, adding that certain steps have been taken to prevent such nefarious designs.”Challenges are there. We have to accept that it is a reality. The threat is there,” Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju told Karan Thapar in an interview to the India Today TV programme ‘To The Point’. He was replying to a question on the possibility of an ISIS ‘lone wolf’ carrying out a terror attack in India on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. In a statement that has a potential to trigger a controversy, Rijiju said Muslims from the southern states were “attracted” more to the ISIS ideology than their north Indian counterparts.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is a reality (some South Indian Muslims getting attracted to ISIS). It is a fact. But we should not undermine our vigil in other parts of the country,” he said. Rijiju said the government has been successful in enhancing security apparatus after the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. Asked how the government is prepared to face the challenge of ISIS, the Minister said anything that threatens the security of the country is taken seriously and the Home Ministry’s mandate is to provide security to the people and the country.Asked about the incidents of the hoisting of the ISIS flag in Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister said these were isolated cases and not spread across the state or the country. Rijiju said some web portals are under watch for their role in spreading the ISIS propaganda, but it is important to note that the servers of the web portals were not located in India.Asked about the ongoing debate on alleged intolerance, the Minister questioned why these comments were not raked up when there was a mass migration of Northeast people from Bengaluru and Pune or when a student from Arunachal Pradesh was “brutally killed” on a Delhi street or when someone said that there might be tremor when a big tree falls after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.Rijiju said the incidents of communal violence have gone down ever since the NDA government came to power in May 2014.

No flight operations at Srinagar airport for fourth day

“There is no clearance yet from the ATC, hence all morning flights have been delayed,” he said.

For the fourth straight day on Thursday, air traffic to and fro Srinagar international airport remained affected as no flight could either land or take-off due to bad weather. “The air traffic has not resumed yet. No flight has either landed or taken-off from the airport this morning as well,” Director, Airport Authority of India here, R K Shinde said. Shinde said bad weather was hampering the air traffic and all morning flights were delayed. “The sun is playing hide and seek. The visibility is low. There is no clearance yet from the ATC, hence all morning flights have been delayed,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The director, however, said no flight had been “declared cancelled” for the day. “We will wait till afternoon to see if there is any improvement in the visibility. As of now, no flight has been declared as cancelled,” he said. The continuous disruptions have left many passengers, including tourists, stranded and caused inconvenience to many more who intended to fly out of the Valley. “My uncle is ill and we had to take him to a hospital in Delhi. But we have been returning from the airport everyday for the last four days. Even as there is an improvement in the weather, no flight is taking off from the airport. We do not understand what is happening,” Shabir Ahmad, who lives in the outskirts of the city here, said.The foggy conditions persisted for the fourth day today. The Meteorological Department here has predicted rains over the plains and snowfall over the higher reaches which could provide respite from foggy conditions.The minimum temperature recorded in the summer capital Srinagar was 5.6 degrees Celsius over a degree up from the previous night – an official of the Meteorological Department said. He said Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius and was the only place in the Valley where mercury stayed below the freezing point.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani made lifetime chairman of hardline Hurriyat Conference

The meeting thoroughly discussed the prevailing political situation in Kashmir and Hurriyat also made some vital changes in the organizational structure under Article 20 of the Hurriyat constitution, the spokesman said.
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Hardline Hurriyat Conference on Wednesday appointed Syed Ali Shah Geelani as its lifetime chairman while restructuring the separatist amalgam to accommodate leaders who defected recently from the rival faction headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.”Seeing the unshakable, steadfast, uncompromised and active leadership of Geelani, the Hurriyat conference had accepted him as its lifetime Chairman,” a spokesman of the Hurriyat said after a meeting of the conglomerate of various separatist groups in Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The meeting thoroughly discussed the prevailing political situation in Kashmir and Hurriyat also made some vital changes in the organizational structure under Article 20 of the Hurriyat constitution, the spokesman said.Senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah, who quit the moderate faction of Hurriyat headed by the Mirwaz last year, was appointed as the secretary general of the hardline Hurriyat faction.”Shabir Ahmad Shah was made Secretary General while as Ghulam Nabi Sumji and Masarat Alam Bhat (who is lodged in a jail since April this year) were appointed as his deputies,” the spokesman said.Besides Shah, prominent Shia leader Agha Syed Hassan and Nayeem Ahmad Khan — two other notable leaders to switch Hurriyat factions — were appointed as members to the committee for social and political affairs. Hassan was appointed as the provincial president for Ladakh region while as Khan was appointed as president for Jammu region.

Foggy weather leads to cancellation of flight operations at Srinagar airport for third day

The Meteorological Department here said there are chances of respite from foggy conditions in the Valley from on Thursday.

Many passengers, including tourists, have been left stranded due to the disruption in the air traffic.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
All flights to and fro Srinagar international airport were cancelled for the third day running on Wednesday due to foggy weather, leaving hundreds of passengers including tourists stranded. However, Meteorological department has predicted some respite from on Thursday.”Flight operations at the airport could not resume today as well. All the flights to and fro Srinagar were cancelled,” officials at the airport said. They said air traffic was disrupted as foggy conditions continued in the Valley for the third consecutive day.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”No flight could either land or take off from the airport. All passengers were informed about the cancellation of flights accordingly,” the officials said. They said the air traffic would resume tomorrow if the conditions permit.”We have to see. If the weather improves, then only can the clearance be given by the Air Traffic Control Centre. We can only tell tomorrow,” they said.Many passengers, including tourists, have been left stranded due to the disruption in the air traffic. All flights to and fro the airport had to be cancelled on Monday due to poor visibility as a thick layer of fog engulfed the valley. The flights were cancelled on Wednesday as well.The Meteorological Department here said there are chances of respite from foggy conditions in the Valley from on Thursday.”There are chances that the visibility will improve. There will be improvement in the weather as far as fog is concerned and people will get some respite,” Director MET Department, here, Sonam Lotus told PTI.Lotus said there is possibility of rains in plains of the Valley and snow in the higher reaches over the next 24 hours. The minimum temperature recorded in the summer capital Srinagar was 4.1 degrees Celsius – three degrees more than on Tuesday.Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.3 degrees Celsius– the only place in the Valley where mercury stayed below the freezing point.

MLA Engineer Rashid gets inked again in J&K

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir lawmaker Engineer Rashid,  was on Wednesday attacked again by unidentified assailants at Bhaderwah town in the state’s Kishtwar district. Rashid, an independent legislator from Langate.

Engineer Rashid had stirred up a controversy earlier this year when he held a beef party inside the legislator’s hostel in Srinagar. He was subsequently thrashed by BJP members inside the state assembly which was in session at the time.

Engineer Rashid . PTIEngineer Rashid . PTI

Engineer Rashid after being attacked in delhi this october . PTI

“Miscreants smashed the window panes of Engineer Rashid’s vehicle at Bhaderwah, they also threw black ink at the MLA and his PRO Inam ul Nabi…they suffered some minor injuries in the attack,” a senior police officer said.

Police have registered a case over the incident.

IANS

Aamir Khan remarks: NCP president Sharad Pawar slams actor’s critics

However, when he was yesterday asked about the actor’s comments, while he was at Pogarwadi in Satara district to call on the bereaved family of Colonel Santosh Mahadik who recently died in a gunbattle with militants in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, Pawar had said, “This (the brave officer’s sacrifice) is more serious than that.”

Slamming Aamir Khan’s critics, NCP president Sharad Pawar on Wednesday said the tone and tenor of the reactions to the actor’s statement on intolerance actually lent substance to the debate on the issue.”The reactions to Aamir Khan’s statement have given substance to the debate on intolerance in the country. To say that he got his wealth in India itself amounts to an intolerant attitude. He got his money from his acting and nobody donated it to him,” he told reporters at Karad in Satara district.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the comment that the actor could leave the country if he wanted to was also indicative of intolerance.”The country is not any body’s private property,” the veteran leader said.However, when he was yesterday asked about the actor’s comments, while he was at Pogarwadi in Satara district to call on the bereaved family of Colonel Santosh Mahadik who recently died in a gunbattle with militants in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, Pawar had said, “This (the brave officer’s sacrifice) is more serious than that.”Aamir had on Monday said he was “alarmed” by a number of incidents and his wife Kiran Rao even suggested that they should probably leave the country, drawing sharp reactions from the BJP and sections in the film industry.The 50-year-old actor also supported those returning their awards, saying one of the ways for creative people to express their dissatisfaction or disappointment is to return their awards.He said he also feels that the sense of insecurity and fear has been growing in the past six or eight months.Khan is the ambassador of ‘Incredible India’, a government’s campaign to promote tourism.The BJP had yesterday fielded its national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain to launch a counter attack on Khan.”Where will Aamir and his family go other than India? There is no other better country like India and no better neighbour than a Hindu for an Indian Muslim. What is the situation in Muslim countries and Europe. There is intolerance everywhere,” Hussain said.Shielding him from the attack, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi had said the government should instead of branding all those who question it and the Prime Minister as “unpatriotic, anti-national or motivated” reach out to people to understand what’s disturbing them.

Militants storm India Kashmir army camp

A gun battle is under way at an army camp in Indian-administered Kashmir after three militants force their way in, military officials say.

Jammu & Kashmir: Major terror hideout busted, IEDs and ammunition recovered in Poonch

The joint operation was conducted on Tuesday evening by the Rashtriya Rifles battalion, Territorial Army and the Jammu and Kashmir police.

Image Courtesy: ANI

Busting a major terror hideout, the Indian Army recovered several improvised explosive devices (IED) and ammunition from Poonch in Jammu and Kashmir. The joint operation was conducted on Tuesday evening by the Rashtriya Rifles battalion, Territorial Army and the Jammu and Kashmir police.The arms and ammunition recovered from the hideout include three IED Cylinder (3 Kg Each), bottle shaped IED 500gms, two AK magazine, 112 rounds of AK, one Chinese grenade, 41 PIKA ammunition, two IED triggers and two meter wires.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The haul also included a broken radio set, a SIM card and two Pakistan currency notes.Meanwhile, the Army has been engaged in a search operation to flush out hiding terrorists from the Rajwar forests in Handwara and so far three security personnel have been injured, including a Lieutenant-Colonel and two jawans.

Lieutenant Colonel Pankaj Sharma dies of cardiac arrest during military exercise near Pokhran

A defence spokesperson said that the deceased passed away at 16.30 hours on Monday following complaints of chest pain that was later discovered by the doctors as a cardiac arrest.

An army officer died of cardiac attack at Pokhran in Jaisalmer on Monday evening. The 39-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Pankaj Sharma was there to attend an ongoing army exercise. The officer, who belonged to Dehradun was from the Ordnance Corp of the army and was currently posted at Secunderabad.A defence spokesperson said that the deceased passed away at 16.30 hours on Monday following complaints of chest pain that was later discovered by the doctors as a cardiac arrest.Sharma is survived by his wife and a 12-year-old son. Army officials said that his mortal remains would be airlifted to Dehradun for the last rites.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the incident comes a week after an army lost a colonel last week who was martyred fighting terrorists in Kashmir, last month, an army major lost his life during the same exercise at Pokhran range in a freak accident. Major Dhruv Yadav was hit by a splinter from a misfired round from a tank being used in the exercise.Before Yadav’s death, in an another incident at Jodhpur, an army officer died of suspected Swine Flu.38-year-old commanding officer of 12 Guards Colonel Vishnu Prasad died at a military hospital due to multiple organ failure caused by H1N1 swine flu.

Katra chopper crash: Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra expresses grief over death of pilgrims

In a condolence message, the Governor prayed for peace to the departed souls and for strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.

The Governor has issued directions for the payment of ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra, who is also the chairman of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board, on Tuesday expressed grief over the tragic helicopter crash in Katra in which six pilgrims and a woman pilot was killed. In a condolence message, the Governor prayed for peace to the departed souls and for strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.Earlier in the day, immediately after receiving information about the crash, the Governor directed the CEO of the Shrine Board to rush to the site and make all necessary arrangements for medical examination and transportation of the bodies to their respective homes. He also asked the DGCA to order an immediate inquiry into the incident.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Jammu- Seven dead after chopper carrying Vaishno devi pilgrims crashes in KatraThe Governor has issued directions for the payment of ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed.

AAIB to probe chopper crash in Jammu and Kashmir

New Delhi: The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) will probe the chopper crash incident in Katra in which seven persons including a woman pilot were on Monday killed.

The six pilgrims and the pilot were killed when the chopper crashed in Katra, the base camp of the Vaishnodevi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district.

Chopper crash in Katra. PTI

Chopper crash in Katra. PTI

A senior official at aviation regulator DGCA said the AAIB would be looking into the crash and a two-member team would be going to the incident site.

AAIB, which was under the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is now an independent body.

The chopper of a private airliner, which was carrying pilgrims from Sanjichat helipad in Trikuta hills, crashed at new bus stand area in Katra.

Ahead of International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) crucial audit of domestic aviation sector this month, the government had recently notified the regulatory framework for making AAIB an independent body.

PTI

No surprise if PDP shuns BJP to ally with Congress, says Omar Abdullah

However, the PDP rubbished the claims saying the coalition government will complete its full term as the alliance with BJP was an opportunity to bring the regions of the state closer and keep Jammu and Kashmir united.

Omar Abdullah

Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday said he would not be surprised if PDP ended its alliance with BJP and formed a government in coalition with Congress and independent MLAs in Jammu and Kashmir but Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s party ruled it out.”After the Modi/Mufti accord where Mufti Sahib and his party are concerned nothing would surprise me Junaid,” Omar said in a tweet. Omar was responding to a post on twitter by National Conference spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu who claimed that there were strong rumours about PDP realigning with the Congress and some independent MLAs. “Strong rumours about PDP’s imminent realignment with the Congress and some independent legislators. Would you be surprised?” Mattu said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the PDP rubbished the claims saying the coalition government will complete its full term as the alliance with BJP was an opportunity to bring the regions of the state closer and keep Jammu and Kashmir united. “The alliance with BJP was forged after proper and detailed thought by PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed after consulting all party leaders.”In view of the mandate in 2014 assembly elections, it is an opportunity as well as a big challenge to keep the state united,” PDP chief spokesman Mehboob Beg told PTI. Beg, who quit National Conference ahead of the Assembly elections, said the former chief minister should stop worrying about the coalition issues. “This coalition will complete full term. He (Omar) should stop bothering about these issues,” he added.

India helicopter crash kills seven

At least seven people are killed when a helicopter carrying pilgrims crashes in Indian-administered Kashmir.

‘Omar should stop bothering’ about the alliance: PDP spokesman says PDP-BJP coalition will complete full term

Srinagar: Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said on Monday that he  would not be surprised if PDP ended its alliance with BJP and formed a government in coalition with Congress and independent MLAs in Jammu and Kashmir but Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s party ruled it out. “After the Modi/Mufti accord where Mufti Sahib and his party are concerned nothing would surprise me Junaid,” Omar said in a tweet.

Omar Abdullah and Mehboob Beg. IBNLiveOmar Abdullah and Mehboob Beg. IBNLive

Omar Abdullah and Mehboob Beg. IBNLive

Omar was responding to a post on twitter by National Conference spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu who claimed that there were strong rumours about PDP realigning with the Congress and some independent MLAs. “Strong rumours about PDP’s imminent realignment with the Congress and some independent legislators. Would you be surprised?” Mattu said. However, the PDP rubbished the claims saying the coalition government will complete its full term as the alliance with BJP was an opportunity to bring the regions of the state closer and keep Jammu and Kashmir united. “The alliance with BJP was forged after proper and detailed thought by PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed after consulting all party leaders. “In view of the mandate in 2014 assembly elections, it is an opportunity as well as a big challenge to keep the state united,” PDP chief spokesman Mehboob Beg said. Beg, who quit National Conference ahead of the Assembly elections, said the former chief minister should stop worrying about the coalition issues. “This coalition will complete full term. He (Omar) should stop bothering about these issues,” he added.

PTI

Jammu: Seven dead after chopper carrying Vaishno devi pilgrims crashes in Katra

The chopper of a private airliner, which was carrying pilgrims from Sanjichat helipad in Trikuta hills, crashed at new bus stand area in Katra, IGP Jammu, Danish Rana said.

Image courtesy: Twitter account – Nishant Dogra

Six pilgrims and a woman pilot were on Monday killed when a chopper crashed in Katra, the base camp of the Vaishsnodevi shrine in Jammu and Kashmir’s Reasi district.The chopper of a private airliner, which was carrying pilgrims from Sanjichat helipad in Trikuta hills, crashed at new bus stand area in Katra, IGP Jammu, Danish Rana said.The helicopter belonged to the privately-run Himalayan Heli services.According to unconfirmed reports, the chopper caught fire mid-air and the pilot averted the crash in a populated area in Katra.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking to micro blogging site, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said, “Very sorry to hear about the chopper crash in Katra. My prayers are with the families of the victims. RIP.”No one has been injured on the ground due to the crash. The reason for the crash is under investigation. Vaishno Devi is one of the major pilgrim centres of India, where thousands of devotees come to offer prayers.Many pilgrims opt for the helicopter service to reach the cave shrine while others trek on foot. The shrine is located at a height of 5300 feet on the Trikuta Hills. Katra town is 50 Kms away from Jammu. ​(With agency inputs)

Jammu and Kashmir: Senior army officer injured in encounter with militants in Kupwara

The official said a brief exchange of firing took place between the two sides even as reinforcements of security forces were rushed to the area to prevent the militants from escaping.

This is second incident of an army officer getting hit in an anti-militancy operation in Kashmir within a week. (Representational Image)

A senior army officer was on Sunday injured in an encounter with militants in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, officials said. Security forces had launched a search operation in Bhawan village in Zachaldara area of Handwara last night following information about the presence of militants in the area, a police official said.The official said a brief exchange of firing took place between the two sides even as reinforcements of security forces were rushed to the area to prevent the militants from escaping. “An officer of the rank of Lt Colonel has been injured in the encounter in Handwara area of Kupwara today,” an army official said. He said the officer has been evacuated to the Drugmulla Military Hospital where his condition is said to be “stable”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is second incident of an army officer getting hit in an anti-militancy operation in Kashmir within a week. Colonel Santosh Mahadik was killed in an operation against militants in Kupwara on Wednesday. The firing resumed this morning and was going on intermittently till reports last came in, the official said.

Guerilla hideout busted in Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu: Security forces on Sunday busted a guerrilla hideout in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, said the police.

Security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. PTISecurity personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. PTI

Representative image. PTI

“Security forces comprising the 39 Rashtriya Rifles and Special Operations Group (SOG) busted a militant hideout in Mendhar area of Poonch district today (Sunday),” a police officer said.

A pistol with magazine, 61 pistol rounds, 105 rounds of AK-47, one AK-47 magazine, four Chinese grenades and one radio set were recovered from the site, he said adding that there were no arrests.

IANS

Jammu & Kashmir Mufti Sayeed urges India, Pakistan to bring down the ‘walls of hatred’

“Indo-Pak bonhomie will enable us to deliver the rich dividends of peace to the people in the form of development,” Sayeed said to the large crowd gathered at the rally.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed addresses a public meeting in Poonch district on Saturday.

PTI
Batting strongly for creating an environment of reconciliation between India and Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed on Saturday urged the two nations to bring down the “walls of hatred” for lasting peace and development in the region.”We urge India and Pakistan to bring down the walls of hatred… I will continue to aspire for friendly relations between the two countries for embedding lasting peace in the region,” he said while addressing a public meeting in Poonch.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that cordial relations between New Delhi and Islamabad have had a positive impact on the state, the chief minister emphasised on the need for creating an environment of reconciliation to break the deadlock and signal a new thaw between the two neighbours.”Indo-Pak bonhomie will enable us to deliver the rich dividends of peace to the people in the form of development,” Sayeed said to the large crowd gathered at the rally.He further said that the time had come for the cross-LoC travel to be taken beyond the ritual of members of the divided families meeting each other. “The scope of people-to-people contact across LoC has to be enlarged to include tourism, education and culture within its ambit.”Referring to the fractured mandate in the 2014 Assembly elections, the PDP patriarch said he was in a predicament as to which side he should align with.”After thoughtful consideration, he realised that the indecisive mandate had actually thrown a historic opportunity in his lap to bind the three regions of the state together. “I have grabbed this and you will see the results,” he assured.During his Poonch tour, the CM also visited cross-LoC trade and travel point at Chakan da Bagh and laid foundation stone of Loran-Basam Gali Road at Loran. Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Kumar Singh along with state ministers Ch. Zulfkar, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, Naeem Akhtar and legislators Shah Mohammad Tantray and Yashpaul Sharma was also present on the occasion.

J&K MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid calls all party meet on Nov 28 for IIT, IIM in Kashmir

He said even as Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had sought votes for his party the PDP in the name of development of Kashmir, “what has he achieved by allying with the BJP”

Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid on Saturday called for a united campaign to press the Centre for sanctioning an IIT and an IIM for Kashmir Valley at par with Jammu region of the state. “I am organising an all party round-table meeting on November 28, so that we all unite to pressurise New Delhi to sanction an IIT and an IIM for Kashmir in a similar way like both the institutions were sanctioned for Jammu,” Rashid told reporters here.He said he would invite all mainstream parties, trade bodies, bar association and students’ organisations for the meeting to put up a united platform. “I am in touch with (opposition National Conference (NC) working president) Omar Abdullah and have written to PDP MPs as well. I hope all the parties and other organisations unite on this issue so that we get what we deserve,” Rashid, who represents north Kashmir’s Langate assembly constituency, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The MLA said he would reach out to separatists as well over the issue and take their suggestions. “We will try to reach to them and I am ready to take their suggestions. There is no politics involved in this and there will be no impact on anyone’s ideology,” he said.He said even as Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had sought votes for his party the PDP in the name of development of Kashmir, “what has he achieved by allying with the BJP”. “AIIMS was sanctioned for Kashmir only and Jammu were granted an IIT and an IIM. But the BJP planned an agitation there and they also got an AIIMS. I am not against Jammu, but Kashmir should also have been given IIT and IIM. What has Sayeed achieved?” he said.

India’s role in resolving Kashmir issue won’t stop, says Omar Abdullah

Omar also hit out at Pakistan, saying the country was hoping for the US to change its stand by asking it often to intervene in the matter

Omar Abdullah

With the US distancing itself on Kashmir issue, former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said the absence of a third party does not absolve India of its responsibility to find a solution to the problem.”The absence of 3rd party intervention doesn’t absolve India of its responsibility to find a solution…,” Omar wrote on social networking site Twitter, referring to US State Department Spokesperson John Kirby’s statement on the issue today. Earlier, Kirby had said that the US has no role to play in Kashmir issue and it is for India and Pakistan to address the problem through dialogue, a day after Pakistan Army Chief General Raheel Sharif raised the matter with US Secretary of State John Kerry.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Omar also hit out at Pakistan, saying the country was hoping for the US to change its stand by asking it often to intervene in the matter. “For some reason Pakistan thinks that if it asks often enough, the answer from the US will somehow change!!!” Omar said.

Tremors felt in parts of Kashmir

Tremors were felt in parts of Kashmir after an earthquake jolted the region on Wednesday.Reports say that the tremors lasted for close to five seconds. The magnitude and epicentre of the earthquake is yet to be known.No causalities or loss of property has been reported so far. Last month, at least 13 people were killed in Pakistan after the deadly 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush region, sending tremors to Kashmir and northern India.

Colonel dies, policeman injured in Kashmir operation to flush out militants

Srinagar: An Army Colonel of the elite Para Commando force was on Tuesday killed and a policeman injured after coming under fire from militants in a forest area of Kashmir where the officer was leading a search party to flush out the hiding ultras.

39-year-old Colonel Santosh Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, was critically injured during the operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara near the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, officials said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He was immediately evacuated to a hospital but he succumbed to injuries, the officials said.

A police constable was also injured in the firing and was undergoing treatment.

Santosh, who hailed from Maharashtra and was commissioned in the Army in 1998, was originally from the Special Forces. He had received Sena Medal for exhibiting gallantry and leadership in counter terrorist operations, Defence spokesman said.

The operation to track down the militants was continuing when last reports were received, the officials said.

The party of army and police came under fire when it was conducting searches as part of an operation started on November 13 to flush out terrorists hiding in the forest area on the basis of a specific information.

An Army jawan was injured on the first day of the operation.

After the initial contact on November 13, the militants fled deep into the forests and the security forces continued the chase them, leading to fresh contact today, the officials said.

Col Santosh leaves behind wife and two children, aged 11 and five years, the defence spokesman said, adding the Army is committed to providing all support to the family in this hour of grief.

The spokesman said the Colonel was a true soldier and had conducted many successful counter-terrorist operations.

General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command Lt Gen DS Hooda has expressed deep condolences on the loss of this brave Commanding 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.

PTI

Manohar Parrikar pays tribute to Colonel killed in Kupwara encounter

The Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles Colonel Santosh, who was leading a search party, was critically injured when militants hiding in a dense forest area of Haji Naka opened fire.

“We are proud of our young officers like him who lead from the front and did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives to protect the nation,” he said.

File Photo
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Tuesday paid his tributes to Colonel Santosh Mahadik who was martyred in an encounter in Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir today.In a message, he said, “We are proud of our young officers like him who lead from the front and did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives to protect the nation.” The Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles Colonel Santosh, who was leading a search party, was critically injured when militants hiding in a dense forest area of Haji Naka opened fire.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read- Jammu and Kashmir: Militants kill army colonel in Kupwara encounter Santosh, who was from the elite regiment of Para Commandos, was evacuated to a hospital but he succumbed to injuries.

No ISIS presence in Kashmir, says Jammu and Kashmir DGP

On the day Shiv Sena called for strict action against the people involved in unfurling ISIS, also called IS, flags in Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir director general of police (DGP) Koondaveeti Rajendra Kumar said there was no ISIS ideology in the valley.

On the day Shiv Sena called for strict action against the people involved in unfurling ISIS, also called IS, flags in Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir director general of police (DGP) Koondaveeti Rajendra Kumar said there was no ISIS ideology in the valley.”Every case (or raising ISIS flags) is being investigated. We have not seen such ideology in Kashmir,” Rajendra told reporters at Kishtwar, in Jammu division.Kashmir valley has been witnessing hoisting of ISIS flags and banners by some masked youth particularly in old city after Friday prayers. It follows the heavy stone pelting on the security forces deployed at most of the places.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sources said police had picked up several youths since the hoisting of the flags last year, but investigation did not reveal any organisational structure for the ISIS in the valley. Even separatist leaders have openly condemned ISIS and stated that there are no traces of the dreaded outfit in the valley.”Anti infiltration and counter terrorist operation is a continuous process. It is a regular feature. Situation is under control. Terrorist actions and crime is on decline,” said Rajendra.DGP’s statement comes on the day when Shiv Sena demanded strict action against the people unfurling ISIS flags in Kashmir. Sena’s mouthpiece Samana said India should deal with periodic incidents of waving of ISIS flags in Kashmir with an ‘iron hand.’

Nawaz Sharif lauds separatist leader Andrabi, says Pakistan will continue raising Kashmir issue

“Received your letter and I respect your feeling and appreciate you being a well wisher for the people of Pakistan. The issue of Kashmir is an international one and has been pending since 1947. Pakistan knows its responsibility about Kashmir issue and will continue to raise this issue on all international levels,” Sharif said in his letter addressed to the Separatist leader.

File photo

Getty Images
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has written a letter to Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi appreciating her struggle in raising the Kashmir issue and said that Pakistan will continue raising this issue on all ‘international’ levels.According to Daily Pakistan, Sharif said this while responding to a letter by Andrabi and asserted that Pakistan will continue its moral and political support to the people of Kashmir in their struggle for right to self-determination that has been acknowledged by the United Nations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Received your letter and I respect your feeling and appreciate you being a well wisher for the people of Pakistan. The issue of Kashmir is an international one and has been pending since 1947. Pakistan knows its responsibility about Kashmir issue and will continue to raise this issue on all international levels,” Sharif said in his letter addressed to the Separatist leader.He also accused India of going back on its promise to the international community that Kashmir would be given the right to choose its political future through the exercise of self determination and that this was a betrayal, the daily reports.Sharif appreciated the ‘sacrifices’ made by Andrabi saying that the people of Kashmir were carrying out an ‘exemplary’ struggle under her leadership.”No matter what India says, the resolution of Kashmir can be only achieved through a free and fair right to self determination,” Sharif wrote.The Prime Minister had earlier called for a third party intervention into the Kashmir issue since Pakistan had not received adequate response from India.India, however, has rejected any third party intervention to the Kashmir issue and has maintained that all outstanding matters in the Indo-Pak ties should be resolved bilaterally.

PM Modi not under pressure to talk reconciliation with Pakistan: Mufti

Jammu: Facing questions over Prime Minister’s silence on Pakistan during his Srinagar rally last week, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Friday said Narendra Modi is not under “any pressure” to talk about it even as he observed that reconciliation with the neighbour is “my dream”.

Sayeed said reconciliation with Pakistan is on the agenda of the ruling PDP-BJP alliance of Jammu and Kashmir and that he will pursue it with Modi as it is important for ushering in peace in the militancy-hit state.

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mufti Sayeed. AFPJammu and Kashmir CM Mufti Sayeed. AFP

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mufti Sayeed. AFP

“Modi is not under any pressure to talk about Pakistan,” the PDP leader said at a press conference here when asked why he termed the Prime Minister’s rally in Srinagar on November 7 as “historic” even though he did not talk about reconciliation with Pakistan.

“It (reconciliation with Pakistan) is there. I have high hope on that. (But) why should we make Prime Minister say everything like that (talk about reconciliation with Pakistan)? Why should he say that? He is not under pressure to say that,” Mufti said while replying to a volley of questions on the Prime Minister’s rally in Srinagar.

Modi, during his rally, focussed on development of Jammu and Kashmir and made no mention about Pakistan even though Mufti had wanted him to make some ice-breaking announcement like the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in 2003.

“I met the Prime Minister in private and impressed upon him that it will be good to talk to Pakistan the way Atal Bihari Vajpayee did. But he is PM of the country,” Mufti said.

Underlining that “there is no option except reconciliation” with Pakistan, he said, “I have been insisting on that. It is a process. It is not necessary that the PM will accept everything like this as of now. In the end, it is PM’s own choice whether to touch any subject or not; I am not a dictator who will dictate all things to him.”

Asserting that “I will not give up my effort”, the Chief Minister said, “it will be my endeavour to pursue it with the PM to have reconciliation and that is my dream.”

In response to questions, he said, “You (media) should not jump to conclusions. Everything is an evolutionary process… Reconciliation with Pakistan, it is on the agenda of the alliance.”

He said if there is friendship with Pakistan, “we will be bestowed with peace here (in the state). During the Vajpayee’s period, he got peace and everything was peaceful.”

Asked whether Modi is proving to be difficult for him as compared to Vajpayee as far as holding talks with Pakistan is concerned, Mufti said, “during my previous meetings with him, Modi has been totally focused on Jammu and Kashmir on development front. Good governance and development.”

He said, “When he (Modi) entered into alliance with me, it (reconciliation with Pakistan) is written there, that there will be friendly relations with the neighbouring country. It is not possible that Mufti will achieve everything in one go. It is important that I be able to create atmosphere of friendship between two countries.”

PTI

Jammu and Kashmir: Two more held in Udhampur terror attack case

With the arrest of these two, the number of people nabbed in this case has gone up to five.

Two more persons have been arrested in connection with the terror attack on a BSF convoy in Udhampur in August, taking to five the number of those held in the case being probed by the NIA. Khursheed Ahmed Ittoo and Fayaz Ahmed Ittoo were arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir Police over the last two days and handed over to the NIA, the investigating agency said. They were arrested after their names surfaced during the investigation in the terror attack in which two BSF personnel were killed and a number of others injured on August 5, NIA said.With the arrest of these two, the number of people nabbed in this case has gone up to five. This includes Pakistani terrorist of banned Lashker-e-Taiba Mohammed Naved, one of the two attackers overpowered by locals after the terror strike. His associate was killed in the return fire by BSF. NIA alleged that Khursheed used his car as pilot vehicle for the truck in which Naved and his accomplice Mohammed Noman travelled from the Kashmir valley to Udhampur for executing the attack at Samroli in Udhampur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Khursheed is alleged to be in constant touch with the truck driver Fayaz Ahmed Ashwar and he coordinated with the militants regarding the place of attack and other logistics, the NIA said in a release. The entire conspiracy of Udhampur terrorist attack was executed in the house of Fayaz in Kudwani of South Kashmir. NIA had announced a cash reward of Rs two lakh on information leading to his arrest. The two arrested accused will be produced before the Special NIA court. The NIA is expected to seek their custody for interrogation.A group of four LeT terrorists Mohammad Naved Yakub, Zhargham alias Mohammed Bhai, Abu Okasa and Noman had entered India from Baba Reshi in Baramulla district to south Kashmir. The group split into two. One group attacked BSF convoy in Udhampur on August 5, during which Naved was arrested and his associate Mohammed Noman alias Momin was killed. The main conspirator of the case Abu Qassim, the Lashker’s terror group’s top commander, was killed last month during an encounter at Kulgam.The NIA had already arrested Showkat Ahmed Bhat and Khursheed Ahmed who were also involved in the alleged transportation of the terrorists in Kashmir.

Cause of PoK refugees high on PM Modi govt’s agenda: Jitendra Singh

He assured the PoK refugees that their cause is “very high” on the agenda of the Modi government and the Prime Minister is very clear about providing whatever help and assistance required for a fair redressal of their grievances.

The delegation has urged that the state government that his package should be distributed immediately, he said.

Union minister Jitendra Singh on Friday met a delegation of PoK refugees here and said that the redressal of their grievances is “very high” on Modi Government’s agenda. Singh, a Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), also urged the Jammu and Kashmir government to utilize Rs 80,000 Crore package “discreetly” and maintain an account of it. “We hope that, as desired by the Prime Minister, the state government will utilize the package discreetly and maintain an account of it,” Singh told reporters here today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He assured the PoK refugees that their cause is “very high” on the agenda of the Modi government and the Prime Minister is very clear about providing whatever help and assistance required for a fair redressal of their grievances. A delegation of PoK refugees led by Jammu Kashmir Sharnarthi Action Committee President, Gurdev Singh and Advocate Amrik Singh today met Singh and conveyed their gratitude to Narendra Modi for having announced the biggest ever financial package for J&K and also having earmarked fund for PoJK refugees. They also lauded the efforts of Singh and said this package was possible because of his untiring efforts to project their cause in the true perspective. “If there is need for more money, the (state government) should formulate and send the report to Centre so that Centre also considers it”, he said. “It has been stated by the Prime Minister that there is no dearth of money,” he said. The delegation has urged that the state government that his package should be distributed immediately, he said. The delegation has thanked the Prime Minister for the package for PoK refugees that such a decision has been taken after long time, he added. In a meeting that lasted for over 45 minutes, the members of delegation discussed the various modalities of the package with Jitendra Singh and offered their suggestions about the mode of utilization of the funds.A three-page memorandum presented to Jitendra Singh stated that all the Central and state governments in the past had left the issue of refugees unresolved, but Prime Minister Modi’s announcement during his visit to the state on November 7 has kindled a ray of hope for all the displaced persons.

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