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J&K HC grants bail to separatist leader Masarat Alam

An FIR under section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other relevant sections of the Ranbir Penal Code was registered in the Budgam police station against Alam and other separatist leaders. Alam was released in March this year, soon after the PDP-led government came to power, after over four years of detention in connection with the 2010 summer agitation in the Valley.

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Also ReadIndiaGujarat HC extends bail of Naroda-Patiya convict on health groundsIndiaJ&K HC grants bail to separatist leader Masarat AlamIndiaRajnath Singh visits Mufti Sayeed in AIIMSIndiaNo interviews for government jobs from January 1; skill test may continue: DoPTIndia’Awakened’ Hindus can lead world on path of peace: RSS Gen Sec Suresh JoshiIndiaNo Rs 2000 for people violating Kejriwal’s Odd-Even rule in Delhi <!– /.block –>

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Kashmir flood victims forced to take shelter in Ahmedabad slum to avoid cold

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According to them, this is the first time when they have been left with no other option than to shift their base due to the nature’s fury.

Kashmir floods

PTI
Hit by severe flood last year followed by extreme cold conditions, at least 400 people from Jammu and Kashmir have been compelled to leave their native place and take refuge in a slum locality in city’s Saraspur area, till the situation improves there.These 60-odd families, after arriving in the city, have taken shelter at an open compound in Saraspur area where they are living in make-shift huts made of plastic sheets. The families belong to places like Badgam, Anantnag, Drass, Leh and Kargil in Jammu and Kashmir.”There are many other families who have been forced to migrate during this winter. We came to Gujarat because we learnt that people here are very friendly. Now, we are expecting some help from them till we are here, as we don’t have money to buy anything,” said a native of Badgam.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to them, this is the first time when they have been left with no other option than to shift their base due to the nature’s fury. “Heavy floods have swept away our homes, farmlands and our businesses. Majority of us are either farmers or craftsmen having very marginal income. Before the government could build homes for us, heavy snowfall started in the Valley, which stalled the construction,” Kargil resident Bashir Ahmed said.”For the very first time, we have to shift our base. We came here one month earlier and are living in this camp, where we don’t have food or water. I urge the local people and leaders to help us as many women and small children are also with us,” he said.According to an Anantnag native, they have been apperhensive of locals’ reaction to their coming here. “The place where we are staying at present is an open ground…. We would be grateful if we get some help.” On learning about their plight, municipal corporator Haji Mirza Baig has come forward to help them.”These people are our guests and it is our duty to help them. Since Saraspur is not in my ward, I have asked my men to go to the spot and find out their problems. I along with other leaders will extend all the help required. I will also talk to local police to ensure their safety,” said Baig, who represents the Sarkhej ward.The families plan to return home in March after cold conditions subside there. According to them, many other families too have taken refuge in other parts of the country.

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

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

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

After 25 years, separatists have rethink on hartals

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

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

Intolerance row: Return of awards by intellectuals ‘beauty of democracy’, says PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti

The strength of India is in its democracy which is being misplayed, said Mehbooba.

PDP President Mehbooba Mufti

dna Research & Archives
Amid the intolerance debate, BJP’s alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party, on Saturday, said return of awards by intellectuals was not manufactured but the “beauty of democracy”.”We should be proud of Indian democracy that we can register our protest like this as well,” she said talking at the ‘Aaj Tak Agenda’.The PDP leader also said that India is a unique nation with unity in diversity as its core strength and some “fringe elements, who combine pseudo-Hinduism with nationalism”, lead to the problem.Asked about the charge levelled by certain quarters that the return of awards was “manufactured” and not “spontaneous”, she said, “I don’t think so. The award winners are intelligent and can’t be swayed by anyone.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is a message for everyone that intolerance will not yield anything beneficial for the country and that too when “we want to move on a path of progress,” she said.Terming the entire debate on which meat to eat and not to eat as “sickening”, she said, adding, “Here we talk about this even when the prices of dal have gone up”.”All this discourse is sickening. All religions have contributed to India’s growth where Hinduism has taught us to be tolerant, Islam has taught us equality and Christianity shows us compassion,” she said.Speaking about ISIS, she said the banned terror group was not a threat to Kashmir and the waving of ISIS or Pakistani flags in the Valley was nothing put a publicity stunt aimed at grabbing media attention.”ISIS does not represent Islam, they are killing Muslims, preaching that atrocities be committed. Islam in Kashmir is different and teaches us to live with neighbours in peace. ISIS will never be a threat to Kashmir,” she said.She asked the media not to give publicity to such elements and recalled an incident of August 15. “There were nearly 20-25,000 people at the venue. We took a conscious decision of keep private television channels out of the venue.””We were apprehensive that one of the TV channels will pass on a Pakistani flag or an ISIS flag to someone in the audience and then the focus will shift from the function and this visual will be repeated again and again.”This would have followed by various debates and at the end we would have to hear that the nation wants to know…” she said as the audience in the hall burst into peals of laughter.

ISIS flag hoisting in Kashmir bid to portray contradictory picture: CRPF

CRPF Special DG Bhagat said radicalisation of Kashmiri youths was a “critical issue” which posed much wider threat.

ISIS Flag waved in the Valley

The CRPF on Friday said the incidents of hoisting of ISIS and Pakistani flags in parts of Kashmir were an attempt to portray a contradictory picture of patriotic Kashmiris, and described the radicalisation of youths as a “critical issue”.”There are reported incidents of waving of Pakistani and ISIS flags, but I would rather like to submit that these could just be an attempt by some people, perhaps, to sway it otherwise. “Otherwise, I can always say the people of Kashmir are as patriotic and as heroic as anybody else from the country can be,” CRPF Special DG S K Bhagat told reporters here. Bhagat said radicalisation of Kashmiri youths was a “critical issue” which posed much wider threat.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The situation of the Valley is a bit complex. There are foreign militants and then there are militants who get the local support. So in that situation, especially, there is an attempt from across the border to put in militants who could disrupt the situation which is day-by-day improving,” he said. “One thing which I think is very very important is that apart from the challenge of militancy, the radicalisation of youths becomes a critical issue. Perhaps this radicalisation poses a much wider and a much diverse threat viz-a-viz the militancy situation,” he said.The CRPF Special DG, however, said that radicalisation was not religion specific. “That is not the issue. We are not hinting at religion as such because that interpretation is wrong,” he said. He said that radicalised youths could be some people who could be “misguided” but there was a need to look into what the people at large want.”They want a good life, they want a secure life. They want a life in which they can prosper and their aspirations can be met. They can have a grand life. They can actualise what they aspire for.”So, those issues are very important and radicalisation is one thing that is a challenge not only for the country…but has international dimensions also,” Bhagat said. Bhagat said the state government faces many challenges in terms of development, education, better networking facilities and also in terms of meeting the aspirations of the people. “The more it is able to do, the better the situation shall be…it is only through the process of development, education, outreach and other things that you are able to take care of these issues which are coming up in large numbers,” the senior CRPF officer said.He said nobody should think the security forces feel that the citizens of Kashmir were different from the citizens from the rest of the country.”That is just not the issue. Not just the CRPF, the Army, the BSF have taken a sizeable number of people from here into the forces, including some ex-militants also, but there has been no complaint. When we have no complaints from them, including the ex-militants, why should we have complaints from the citizens? he asked.The officer was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a passing-out parade of CRPF where 648 new recruits joined the force.

Senior National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal pitches for freedom for Kashmir

Kamal said that his elder brother and the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, following the 1996 assembly elections, had said even if he tore his heart out to show he is an Indian, he would not be believed

File photos of protests by Kashmiris

Senior National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal on Saturday stoked a controversy saying Kashmir will be independent as neither India nor Pakistan loves the people of the Valley. “By heart, both of them do not treat us as their own. Neither India nor Pakistan loves us…. In my opinion, Allah has destined independence for us and we will get it,” Kamal said here after paying tributes to his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 110th birth anniversary.Kamal said that his elder brother and the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, following the 1996 assembly elections, had said even if he tore his heart out to show he is an Indian, he would not be believed. “Same is the case with Pakistan. They (India and Pakistan) do not trust us,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Dreaded ISIS a live threat, says top army commander

The army commander’s statement comes just 12 days after the Jammu and Kashmir director general of police (DGP) K Rajendra Kumar said there was no ISIS ideology in the valley.

Indian Army on Saturday pressed an alarm button calling the dreaded Islamic State (IS) a “live threat”, even as the top cop of Jammu and Kashmir had just 12 days ago categorically ruled out the influence of ISIS ideology in the valley.”The IS is a live threat that cannot be ignored. It is a cause of concern and we are monitoring it… All the security forces and the intelligence agencies are monitoring this. That is all I can say,” Lieutenant General Satish Dua, General Officer Commander (GOC) of Army’s 15 Corps, told mediapersons in Srinagar on Saturday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The army commander’s statement comes just 12 days after the Jammu and Kashmir director general of police (DGP) K 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 (ISIS) ideology in Kashmir,” Rajendra told reporters at Kishtwar in Jammu division on November 16.Lieutenant General Dua’s statement comes two days after inspector general of Border Security Force (BSF) Jammu frontier Rakesh Sharma said it is being believed that ISIS can support Pakistani terrorists who are operating on the Line of Control and International Border.”It is being believed that ISIS can support Pakistani terrorists who are operating on the LOC and IB. Intelligence agencies accept it and there are also inputs. Let us see how things pan out in future”, Sharma said.IG BSF however hastened to add that there are no inputs (about ISIS trying to sneak into the state). “However, we are keeping pace with what is happening in the world. Terrorist can do anything anywhere in the world. We also become vulnerable. We have taken adequate measures. We have sensitized our ground commanders that they should be carefully examining the situation developing in front of them,” he said.Kashmir valley has been witnessing hoisting of ISIS flags and banners by some masked youth particularly in old city after Friday prayers.Sources said police had picked up several youth since the hoisting of the flags last year, but investigation did not reveal any organizational 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.

Jammu and Kashmir: ISI brings LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish together for attacks – Intelligence

The JeM, which was out of favour of the ISI after an unsuccessful assassination attempt on former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf a few years ago, seems to be back under the ISI fold.

Representational Image

At least 30 terrorists have been brought into the PoK region by ISI to carry out attacks in Jammu and Kashmir with the help of terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), intelligence inputs have suggested. According to the inputs, these terrorists were brought from Peshawar under the guidance of ISI and kept in a launching pad across the Line of Control in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir region.The ISI has instructed the terrorists to carry out terror attacks in Kashmir valley over the next one month and before the routes in the upper reaches closes down due to heavy snowfall, the sources said quoting the inputs. The ISI also organised a meeting of LeT, Hizbul Mujahideen and JeM in the PoK and it was held under the supervision of ISI handler Shaukat Khan alias Abu Suleman, the sources added. The Pakistani intelligence agency wants the three terrorist groups, which are active in the Jammu and Kashmir, to let the 30 terrorists to carry out the attacks in the Valley, the sources said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The JeM, which was out of favour of the ISI after an unsuccessful assassination attempt on former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf a few years ago, seems to be back under the ISI fold. The attack yesterday at an Army camp in Tangdhar in Kashmir, near the Line of Control, was carried out by three heavily-armed militants of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad.After the intelligence inputs, the Centre has asked all security organisations to beef up security along the border and in Jammu and Kashmir.

Army ready to face IS if it joins hands with LeT to attack India, says top commander

Jammu: A top Army commander on Thursday said there was a “possibility” that global terror outfit Islamic State (IS) may join hands with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba to launch attacks in India.

“Yes, that (IS joining hands with LeT to launch attacks in India) can be a possibility as the motive of the terrorists is to spread their propaganda.

“They want their name and for that, they can do anything. And if they get successful, they can take advantage of it by using any name. Yes it is a possibility,” General Officer Commanding of the 16 corps of the army Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar told reporters on Thursday.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He was replying to a question whether IS can join hands with other terrorists outfits like LeT to launch Paris-type attacks in India.

Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar also said there are around 700 active militants in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).

On a question about the number of terrorist training camps active across the Line of Control in the POK, he said that from the inputs that the captured terrorist Navid has given there are around 37 active camps in that region.

“See, there are a number of launching pads and we are all aware of it as it is in the open domain. So, therefore, I will not exactly say as to how many are there,” he said.

The army commander said,”There are sufficient number of launching pads and if you calculate that way… take the statement which is given by terrorist captured in Udhampur attack so you can easily co-relate what he said and calculate…

“So to my mind in the entire PoK there may be about 600-700 terrorists.”

He said that out of the 700 militants present in the PoK, half of them are ready and waiting for a chance to infiltrate into the Indian side.

“Out of them, half are ready to be launched so they can come in the launch pad and get launched,” he said.
The army commander said Navid had revealed that 35-37 terrorist camps were active in the PoK region.

“Thirty-five to thirty-seven camps are there and if in every camp there are 20-30 (terrorists), then the total figure reaches to 600-700 and out of them half are ready to be launched,” he said.

Lt Gen RR Nimbhorkar said the militants were looking for ways and means to infiltrate.

“We cannot say this with certainty whether the number has increased or decreased. In my opinion, it is their job to find ways and means to infiltrate and whenever they get a chance they do it and our job is to stop them and if one of them slips in and our job is to clear them. It is an ongoing game which keeps on going,” he said.

Replying to a question about radicalisation of Kashmiri youth and their attraction towards IS ideology, he said that if any organisation wants to grow then it is bound to recruit people into its folds.

“See, right now, these are speculation and we cannot say anything about it. If any organisation wants to grow, they will definitely go for recruitment, it is their job and it is to be seen in how much area they get success. It depends on their propaganda,” he added.

He said, “I cannot say this with any degree of certainty if they are present or not. IS flags which are being raised we have seen these are scattered incidents, in Srinagar we cannot say with certainty about their influence having increased.”

He said that the need of the hour was to remain alert and be ready to face any eventuality.

“Right now, we have to do detailed analysis but at the end it is our job that we have to be ready all the time. We have to remain alert. Whatever the name be, be it the IS, the LeT, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen etc if they attack the final result would be the same. We have to guard against that final result and I want to assure you that we are always ready,” he said.

On the question about the presence of IS in terrorist training camps in the PoK, Lt Gen Nimbhorkar said that nothing can be said with certainty about the presence of IS in PoK.

On reports about youth in Kashmir being radicalised by the use of Internet and that IS was trying to spread its ideology in the Valley through social media, the officer said that it has become a global problem.

“See management of the Internet is a worldwide problem. It is a power that can be used by anyone, who is not empowered by other means. They can use this media to their advantage. So how to fight it, is a different issue altogether and that has to be dealt and looked into its perspective,” he said.

“This stance of yours that the IS is using the (social) media is correct and I have read it on the net that they are using it to their advantage. But I am quite certain people at the helm of affairs are aware of this and they will take necessary measures to counter it in a manner which is legal and firm,” he said.

On another question about the threat of IS penetrating into the Kashmir Valley, he said, “I feel that and I have said it that IS is a worldwide problem and people are aware of this issue.

“As far as our area is concerned, whether it is IS whether it is LeT, they all are inimical to us and we have to be guarding against this. Our basic philosophy of not allowing them to intrude or infiltrate and we are geared up for the same. And so therefore any action on their part we are ready to counter them,” he said.

He said that if militants would get a chance they would try to target the civilian areas as they have done in the past, but the methodology adopted by the army was helping prevent such attempts.

On the issue of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Lt Gen Nimbhorkar said that the top brass of the force was aware of the issue and it was being discussed at the highest level in the government.

“They are aware about the issue of AFSPA and they will take up appropriate decision on it,” he said.

PTI

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.’

Tension in Jammu and Kashmir after youth is killed in security forces’ firing

The incident occurred in the evening when clashes broke out between the protesters and forces.

Representational Image

Tension has gripped the Kashmir valley after a youth was killed in the security forces’ firing on the mob at Mustafabad-Zainakote area in the Srinagar outskirts on Saturday. Police sources said a youth was hit on his head when security forces lobbed smoke shells, fired shots and used lathicharge to disperse a violent mob. He was grievously injured and shifted to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences where he was declared brought dead by the doctors.The incident occurred in the evening when clashes broke out between the protesters and forces. Protesters were trying to lead a march when they were intercepted by the forces. They fired smoke shells and charged the crowd with canes to chase them away. The engagement continued for hours.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As the news of injury reached the area, people came out of their homes and started protesting. Youth blocked several road junctions and pelted stones. Security forces have rushed in reinforcements to bring the situation under control.”There is tension in the area”, said a police official. Earlier Jammu and Kashmir government foiled the `Million March’ announced by the separatists to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium but imposing curbs and curfew like restrictions across the parts of the Valley. Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the sensitive areas of old city to prevent the people from marching towards TRC grounds, which is just 300 meters away from the venue that Modi was to address the crowd. Thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers were deployed to prevent the march. Barbed wires were rolled out at important road junctions to restrict movements and prevent the separatist march. A few women separatist supporters tried to lead a march but they were detained by the police. Awami Ithaad Party (AIP) led by independent MLA from Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid tried to lead a march in the civil lines area but the security forces swung into action and dispersed the mob. In a first of its kind, protestors set off 2,000 black balloons in the air, carrying black flags and slogans against the Prime Minister’s rally. “The protestors were dispersed by police by using force, leaving three party workers injured”, said a spokesman of AIP. Stone pelting and clashes were also reported from different parts of the Valley with youth engaging security forces. The battle-like engagement continued for hours between the two sides. Kashmir Valley also observed strike on Saturday against the curbs imposed on the Million March. Most of the separatists were either detained or put under house arrest.

Tension in Valley after youth is killed in security forces’ firing

As the news of injury reached the area, people came out of their homes and started protesting. Youth blocked several road junctions and pelted stones.

Tension has gripped the Kashmir valley after a youth was killed in the security forces’ firing on the mob at Mustafabad-Zainakote area in the Srinagar outskirts on Saturday. Police sources said a youth was hit on his head when security forces lobbed smoke shells, fired shots and used lathicharge to disperse a violent mob. He was grievously injured and shifted to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences where he was declared brought dead by the doctors. The incident occurred in the evening when clashes broke out between the protesters and forces. Protesters were trying to lead a march when they were intercepted by the forces. They fired smoke shells and charged the crowd with canes to chase them away. The engagement continued for hours.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As the news of injury reached the area, people came out of their homes and started protesting. Youth blocked several road junctions and pelted stones. Security forces have rushed in reinforcements to bring the situation under control.”There is tension in the area”, said a police official. Earlier Jammu and Kashmir government foiled the `Million March’ announced by the separatists to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium but imposing curbs and curfew like restrictions across the parts of the Valley. Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the sensitive areas of old city to prevent the people from marching towards TRC grounds, which is just 300 meters away from the venue that Modi was to address the crowd. Thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers were deployed to prevent the march. Barbed wires were rolled out at important road junctions to restrict movements and prevent the separatist march. A few women separatist supporters tried to lead a march but they were detained by the police. Awami Ithaad Party (AIP) led by independent MLA from Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid tried to lead a march in the civil lines area but the security forces swung into action and dispersed the mob. In a first of its kind, protestors set off 2,000 black balloons in the air, carrying black flags and slogans against the Prime Minister’s rally. “The protestors were dispersed by police by using force, leaving three party workers injured”, said a spokesman of AIP. Stone pelting and clashes were also reported from different parts of the Valley with youth engaging security forces. The battle-like engagement continued for hours between the two sides. Kashmir Valley also observed strike on Saturday against the curbs imposed on the Million March. Most of the separatists were either detained or put under house arrest.

Mobile internet services blocked in Kashmir for PM Modi’s rally in Srinagar

Srinagar: Mobile internet services in Kashmir Valley were blocked on Saturday morning as a precautionary measure in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s rally in Srinagar.

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

“Mobile internet services have been temporarily discontinued in the Valley in the wake of the PM’s visit,” officials said.

They said it was a precautionary measure in view of the high profile visit.

The officials said all service providers had been directed to disconnect the mobile internet services from 10 AM till the Prime Minister leaves the Valley.

However, broadband services on BSNL were working.

Modi is scheduled to address a public rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium at Sonawar in Srinagar.

The Prime Minister, after addressing the rally, is scheduled to inaugurate 450 megawatt Baglihar Phase II power project in Ramban district on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

He is also scheduled to lay the foundation stone of four-laning of Udhampur-Ramban stretch of the National Highway. The project, once completed, will reduce the travelling time between Srinagar and Jammu – the twin capitals of the state – by nearly two hours.

PTI

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

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

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

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

First foray into the Valley: Hope and scepticism in J&K ahead of PM Modi’s rally

Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a rally in Srinagar’s Sheri-e-Kashmir Stadium on 7 November — his first after the Peoples Democratic Party and the BJP stitched an alliance in the state in March early this year. While Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Sayed has already described the upcoming rally as a “turning point in the history of Jammu and Kashmir”, people in general are sceptical of the claim.

The prime minister is scheduled to first inaugurate phase-II of the Baghlihar hydroelectric power project in Jammu, and then visit Srinagar to address a rally. “I see this visit as an opportunity for history to repeat itself,” Sayed said on Sunday, while recalling an earlier address by former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to the people during his visit in 2003, at the same venue.

This scepticism is drawn from the fact that the Central government, according to people, has failed to deliver when it comes to reconstruction and rehabilitation of the flood effected people. By far the most serious natural disaster in living memory of the state, the flood of September 2014 affected at least two million people. At least 2.61 lakh structures, including residential houses, were damaged — 21,485 of them completely in the flood.

File image of PM Narendra Modi addressing a rally. PTI

File image of PM Narendra Modi addressing a rally. PTI

Mehraj-ud-Din Bhat, a resident of Jawahar Nagar area of Srinagar, whose house was marooned in the floods, said he expected little from Modi’s visit. “The rehabilitation and reconstruction was part of the Agenda of Alliance between the PDP and the BJP, but despite that both parties have failed to deliver on ground,” Bhat told Firstpost, while emphasizing that it took him more than Rs 10 lakh just to make his house livable for his family.

“We were paid Rs 75,000 for a fully damaged house, which has a market value of Rs 1 crore. We expect little from the government now,” he added.

However, the PDP is optimistic and has mobilized its cardre and leaders to attract as many people as possible for the 7 November rally. For the party’s leadership it would be a litmus test as the Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has given a call for a ‘Million Man March’, on the same day Modi is scheduled to address the rally in Srinagar. This has prompted the state government to launch a crackdown on several separatist leaders who have been allegedly detained ahead of the propose march.

Finance minister in the BJP-PDP coalition government, Haseeb Drabu, said the fresh visit by the prime minister would give “fresh impetus” to implementation of the PDP-BJP Agenda of Alliance. People are expecting him to announce tangible confidence-building measures aimed at addressing the political and economic challenges confronting the state, he added.

“The priority has to be the young people of Jammu and Kashmir who feel alienated. Apart from that the Centre should ensure long-term economic prosperity of the people in all the regions of the State,” Drabu said recently while addressing a rally in south Kashmir. “The government has identified power, agriculture, tourism, horticulture and handicrafts as thrust areas which have not only the potential to boost the state’s economy but create huge employment avenues for the local youth,” he added.

People in the Valley are curiously waiting for what the prime minister will say at the rally as an announcement regarding the supposed economic package that has been delayed for the past eight months.

Newspapers in Kashmir reported on Sunday that the state government is likely to get just Rs 5,000 crore in flood assistance. Of the Rs 5,000 crore, Rs 2,500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore has been earmarked for the rehabilitation of people whose houses were either partially or fully damaged in the flood and for compensating losses suffered by traders and business community. The previous government than led by the National Conference had submitted a proposal of Rs 44,000 crore to New Delhi for the financing the reconstruction programme.

“There is a sense of loss and fatigue from this alliance in Kashmir valley, I suppose, people are waiting for some political initiative rather than an economic one. But that doesn’t mean there is no need for a massive economic package that would be a face saver for the Peoples Democratic Party in the Valley,” industrialist Shakeel Qalander, told Firstpost.

Sources said PDP leaders are aiming at getting 25,000 people for the PM’s rally. “Had Geelani not called for a counter rally, the target would have been at least 50,000 but since restrictions are likely to be imposed in the Valley we are aiming half the number,” a senior PDP leader told Firstpost.

RSS slams writers’ protest, says it is no ‘punching bag’

It is indeed a political, desperate, frustrated act of these people to keep their shop running: RSS

“Their desperate act shows that they want to be in the news, otherwise people will forget them,” he said.

The RSS on Friday hit back at those who have returned their awards, saying it was a “politically motivated” move by a “handful of pseudo-secularists” who were using the Sangh as a ‘punching bag’ out of frustration. “A handful of people returning awards are losing ground… It is indeed a political, desperate, frustrated act of these people to keep their shop running…They feel they can make RSS the punching bag in the name of intolerance. “The RSS is not a punching bag for any of these so-called liberal, pseudo-secular, intolerant people,” RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale said. The Sangh questioned why these writers, filmmakers and scientists did not speak up in the past when the Godhra train burning incident occurred or when Kashmiri Pandits were targeted in the Valley.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It accused them of political conspiracy to create an atmosphere that religious intolerance had increased after the formation of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, and added “the reality is just the opposite”. “Because some people could not stomach the change in the country, the change for the better, the change towards nationalism, the change towards the pride of India, change towards better life and development. “These things they cannot stomach, because their ideological shops are being closed. They are frustrated, their desperate act shows that they want to be in the news, otherwise people will forget them,” he said. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh leader said the so-called intelligentsia are finding themselves misfit and are desperately trying to be in the news through such “politically motivated acts”. Hosabale said the “intolerance” of such kinds has been there for the last 60 years, but such people preferred to remain quiet. “I want to ask, when hundreds of people in the Kashmir Valley were being killed, what happened to these people…Why it did not happen when kar-sewaks were burnt alive. Then these people did not raise their voice,” he said. Hosabale said Dadri incident and attack on the litterateur in Karnataka took place in non-BJP ruled states and asked why they were trying to blame the Narendra Modi government instead of raising questions to governments in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka.Stressing that RSS had always condemned such incidents, Hosabale said the developments show “intolerance” on the part of the handful of people who linked such incidents to BJP and RSS. Asked about scientist P M Bhargav returning his Padma Bhusan, Hosabale asked, “If he is a scientist why not take part in a scientific debate? What scientific issue he has debated upon? What he has to do with politics? Why didn’t he and his ilk return awards during the phase of intolerance in the past?””RSS is not a punching bag that anyone could level any allegation,” he said, adding, the Sangh had been popular for its patriotism and a handful of litterateurs and filmmakers cannot damage its image as the people knew and understood everything.Writers, filmmakers and scientists have joined a growing protest against “climate of intolerance” in the country with many giving away their awards after the lynching of a Muslim man over rumour of eating beef in Dadri and killing of rationalist and Kannada writer M M Kalburgi. The RSS leader claimed that people are supporting the RSS and its people were coming to power in every state, which they are unable to digest.Hosabale is here to attend the executive body meeting of the RSS which was inaugurated by Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat.As the RSS hit back at a “handful” of people returning awards as part of spiralling protests against the Modi government over the “climate of intolerance”, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis took a dim view of this trend and urged them to help the government with “constructive criticism”. Echoing Fadnavis’ view, Mumbai-born music maestro Zubin Mehta said he failed to understand why artists, writers filmmakers and scientists were returning their state awards and suggested those protesting against the government should engage in a dialogue with it.CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury demanded that the Modi government listen to what the “eminent minds” have to say. A statement by a group of 250 academics including professors from leading institutions like Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Madras Institute of Development Studies, IIT Delhi and IIM Calcutta, expressed “shock” at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “late response” to the incidents of intolerance. “We as social scientists, scholars, teachers and concerned citizens, feel extremely concerned about the lynching at Dadri, and the murders of scholars and thinkers like M M Kalburgi, Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare and others and wish to register our strong protest,” it said.

Devastating earthquake jolts Afghanistan, Pakistan and India; at least 180 dead

A massive earthquake of magnitude 7.5 struck Afghanistan near its border with Pakistan on Monday afternoon, sending shockwaves as far as north India and resulting in the loss of at least 180 lives.

At least 180 people have died due to the Afghanistan earthquake. AP

At least 180 people have died due to the Afghanistan earthquake. AP

The US Geological Survey said the epicentre of the 7.5-magnitude earthquake was near Jurm in the Hindu Kush mountains, in the sparsely populated province of Badakhshan, which borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China. It said the epicentre was 213 kilometres deep and 73 kilometres south of the provincial capital, Fayzabad.

The massive earthquake, which lasted for at least a minute, was followed by at least two aftershocks of magnitudes 4.8 and 4.7 respectively, according to the USGS.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on the incident, expressing condolences for the lives lost in the tragedy. He also spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, offering support to all the three.

Pakistan worst-hit country

Even though the epicentre was in Afghanistan, Pakistan was the country worst hit by the disaster.

Pakistani officials said the death toll in their country from the Afghan earthquake had risen to 145. Inayatullah Khan, Pakistan’s provincial minister, said the death toll from earthquake in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province alone had jumped to 123. Pakistani media also reported that five people were killed in Punjab province, and four in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

More than 1,300 others were injured, according to PTI. 956 of the injured were from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa alone. Malakand Division in the province was the worst hit with 74 dead.

The temblor collapsed buildings, triggered landslides and stampedes, prompting the government to rush army personnel to the affected areas for rescue operations.

Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif flew to some affected areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to assess the rescue operation in the region that is the worst hit.

“The army chief has landed at Corps Headquarters in Peshawar. Corps Commander (Peshawar Hidayat-ur-Rehman) has briefed him on damage assessment,” Director-General of Pakistan military’s media wing ISPR Lt-Gen Asim Bajwa tweeted.

The army chief took aerial view of quake-hit areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and was also briefed about army rescue and relief operation.

Bajwa also said that Quick Rapid Forces (QRFs) have spread out in respective areas.

“QRFs are busy in rescue work mainly in Malakand, Dir, Chitral and Bajaur while continuous damage assessment is under way,” he added.

The Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) has directed the district administration to utilise rescue and relief funds. Emergency has been declared in all government hospitals and food and necessary items were dispatched to the affected areas.

Reportedly, several buildings collapsed in various areas of the province mostly in northern parts in Chitral, Swat, Shangla, Dir and Buner districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) said that the quake hit the country at about 2:09 pm local time.

Several landslides have been reported in mountainous areas of the country, leading to fears that the death toll may increase.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has directed all federal, civil, military and provincial agencies to declare an immediate alert and mobilise all resources to ensure the security of citizens of Pakistan. All agencies have been directed to move out with their resources.

The Prime Minister also told the Gilgit Baltistan governor to mobilise tribal administration immediately for relief, rescue and damage assessment in the affected regions.

Afghanistan

At least 31 people were confirmed dead in Afghanistan, reported AFP. The death toll is expected to rise in Afghanistan also.

Over 1000 people have been injured in the earthquake. Reuters

Over 1000 people have been injured in the earthquake. Reuters

Horrifying news emerged of at least 12 schoolgirls being trampled to death in a northern Afghan province.

“The students rushed to escape the school building in Taluqan city (capital of Takhar), triggering a stampede,” Takhar education department chief Enayat Naweed told AFP. “Twelve students, all minors, were killed and 35 others were injured.”

The death toll in Afghanistan also included nine in Badakhshan province near the epicentre, eight in Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan and at least two in northern Baghlan province, according to local officials.

“Initial reports show a big loss of life, huge financial losses in Badakhshan, Takhar, Nangarhar, Kunar and other regions, including the capital Kabul,” said Afghanistan’s chief executive Abdullah Abdullah.

“Exact numbers are not known because phone lines are down and communication has been cut off in many areas,” Abdullah said, adding that the government has asked aid agencies for relief.

“The quake wrecked huge devastation in some districts,” said the governor of Badakhshan province, Shah Wali Adib. “So far 1,500 homes are reported to be damaged or destroyed.”

Gul Mohammad Bidar, deputy governor of Badakhshan, told AFP lines were down and it was difficult to reach stricken communities.

“The earthquake was very powerful – buildings have been damaged (in Faizabad) and there are possible casualties,” he said.

India

Tremors were also felt in most parts of North India including Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, New Delhi and even Gujarat.

Two elderly women died of cardiac arrest in Kashmir Valley apparently due to panic triggered by earthquake, which also killed a youth in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir, reported PTI.

Ten people, including two army soldiers, were injured in the earthquake. Nearly three dozen buildings and public infrastructure were also damaged due to it in Kashmir Valley.

Sixty-five year old Zoona Begum of Mohalla Mir Sahab in old town Baramulla suffered a massive heart attack as she was rushing towards a safer place when the earthquake hit around 2:40 pm, police said.

Another elderly woman died in similar circumstances in Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, a police official said. Fatima, 80, of Ahangar Mohalla was pronounced dead by doctors as she was taken to district hospital Anantnag, the official said.

In Reasi district, a 16-year-old youth was killed while his father received serious injuries after they were hit by shooting stones triggered by earthquake.

Meanwhile, two army personnel were injured when their bunker collapsed after tremors in Sopore town of Baramulla district, 55 kms from Srinagar.

The bunker collapsed inside Ganjoo house, where an army unit is camping, injuring to two soldiers, following which they were taken to the hospital, an official said.

He said six persons were reported injured in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, while another person jumped from the window of his house during the tremor and suffered fracture.

Quoting preliminary information, the official said over two dozen residential houses and six police buildings suffered damages in different parts of Kashmir Valley.

“We are still collecting the details and the figures of the damage to the public and private infrastructure might go up,” he said.

(With agency inputs)

Jammu and Kashmir: One dead in Baramulla after earthquake rocks state

Fear and panic gripped the valley as heavy tremors were felt at around 2:45 pm on Monday.

At least one person is feared dead in Baramulla area of North Kashmir. A woman has died due to cardiac arrest during the earthquake which rocked the state on Monday.Fear and panic gripped the valley as heavy tremors were felt at around 2:45 pm on Monday. “A lady has died due to heart attack when the earthquake occurred,” Divisional Commissioner Asgar Hasan Samoon told dna.The state police also confirmed damage in several public and private properties from several areas in the valley. Several trees including hundreds of year old Chinar tree were uprooted at several places in the valley and caused damage to vehicles parked near them. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A few houses have also suffered severe damages due to the jolt, which had its epicenter near Hindukush region in Afghanistan. Damage in infrastructure was reported from several areas of the valley including the main fly-over near the city centre Lal chowk area which developed a crack.The chaos following the earthquake, which lasted for about a minute, caused a massive traffic jam in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk. Reports of a crack in the fly over also discouraged commuters to the use the pass. As the tremors, which measured 7.5 on the Richter scale, jolted the city center, people evacuated all shops, offices and buildings and sat down on the roadside due to the fear which, according to many was reminiscent of the earthquake which rocked the valley in year 2005. “The intensity of the earthquake was as high as the one which occurred ten years ago,” an eyewitness Mohammad Hanif said. Meanwhile, several bridges including Safa Kadal in the valley have been closed for traffic movement.

Politics of religious hatred needs to be snuffed out: J&K Governor NN Vohra

The Governor said that the damage done to the heritage of coexistence and to the “rishi-sufi traditions” has severely fractured the fabric of the society.

He suggested that it would be fruitful if universities were to take appropriate initiatives for the students to get acquainted with the fundamentals of the Rishi-Sufi thought

Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra on said the “politics of religious hatred”, which is causing death and destruction across the globe, needs to be snuffed out. “The politics of religious hatred, which is causing death and destruction across the globe, needs to be snuffed out,” the Governor said addressing the inaugural function of three-day international symposium on Sufi-Rishi traditions of Kashmir at Kashmir University here. The Governor observed that the symposium is being held at a time when, in the name of religion, the world is being torn apart by radical and fundamental ideologies and conflicts are taking place in many parts of the world. “Terrorist violence has emerged as an international phenomenon, the values of tolerance, communal harmony and brotherhood have been severely eroded and the world at large appears disinclined to resolve disagreements through peaceful means, civilised debates and discussions,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Governor said that the damage done to the heritage of coexistence and to the “rishi-sufi traditions” has severely fractured the fabric of the society. “Today, we witness repeated incidents of terrorist violence in which dozens of innocent persons are getting killed. If peace and normalcy is to be restored and humanity is to remain civilised, radical ideologies shall have to be denounced and collective efforts shall need to be made to revive the centuries old traditions of tolerance and brotherhood which transcend the barriers of religion, language, caste, colour and creed,” he added.The Governor said that centuries ago Kashmir witnessed intensive spiritual and philosophic debates among eminent religious scholars, historians, travellers and other important personages from Iran, Turkey, Central Asia, China and other countries, making it a cradle which fostered the birth of invaluable spiritual philosophies and traditions. “The fact that the people of Kashmir are still devoted to the belief systems which emanate from the Rishi Sufi traditions is evidenced by the admirable existence of a very large number of shrines in the Valley and elsewhere in the State which attract devotees not only from among the Hindus and Muslims but from all other communities,” he said. “These shared traditions have proven to be crucial for promoting lasting connectivities and close understandings across the communities,” Vohra added.The Governor called for efforts to revive the aesthetic orientation of the unique inter-religious debates and dialogues which laid the foundations of harmony and brotherhood in the past and for resurrecting respect for the secular values encouraging plurality of faith and belief.He suggested that it would be fruitful if universities were to take appropriate initiatives for the students to get acquainted with the fundamentals of the Rishi-Sufi thought, the mystic love poetry of Rumi and the great Persian poet Hafiz and revive the great traditions of aesthetics, culture, literature, music, dance, calligraphy, architecture, costumes and languages for which Kashmir was known in the centuries past.The Governor observed that the revival of the erstwhile philosophic traditions and values would be also relevant and productive from the point of view of combating the serious problems which are already being caused by the fast progressing phenomenon of global warming and climate change.

Jammu and Kashmir trucker’s killing: Fresh protests, clashes breakout in Anantnag

A strike was observed across the Valley to protest against Zahid’s death. Shutdown is being observed in many parts of the district in the valley.

The opposition National Conference has blamed the BJP which rules Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Several hundred local residents protested in South Kashmir’s Anantnag District against the killing of a Kashmiri trucker by a mob in the Udhampur area of Jammu region on Tuesday here. Clashes also broke out between protesters and the security forces. Unrest has started in the valley since Clashes took place in Anantnag on Sunday and Monday, when Zahid’s funeral took place.A strike was observed across the Valley to protest against Zahid’s death. Shutdown is being observed in many parts of the district in the valley. Unrest has started in the valley since Clashes took pace in Anantnag on Sunday and Monday, when Zahid’s funeral took place. A strike was observed across the Valley to protest against Zahid’s death. Even today, a shutdown is being observed in many parts of the district. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The opposition National Conference has blamed the BJP which rules Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Mr Abdullah said it was a “needless death” in the name of beef ban for which the “BJP and its allies” were responsible. Nine men, all locals, have been arrested for the attack on Zahid. Sources say three of them belong to political parties and one is a suspended police constable.

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BJP claims party gaining strength across Jammu and Kashmir

Addressing media persons at party headquarters in Srinagar, election incharge and state treasurer Chander Mohan Gupta said the organisational elections at 80 % polling booths had been completed in Kashmir which saw huge participation.

Claiming that the BJP was getting stronger in Jammu and Kashmir, the state unit of the party on Monday said more than 80% booth-level committees have been constituted under the ongoing organisational elections.Addressing media persons at party headquarters in Srinagar, election incharge and state treasurer Chander Mohan Gupta said the organisational elections at 80 % polling booths had been completed in Kashmir which saw huge participation.”It has happened for the first time that BJP witnessed massive participation of party activists in organisational elections in Kashmir and we succeeded in constituting such a large number of booth committees,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He claimed that the enthusiasm among the youth in particular during this exercise reflects that BJP has gained popularity in Kashmir and created a strong foothold.”People are getting attracted towards the ideology and principles of BJP and its efforts towards developing the state in all fields,” he said adding that the people in Valley were impressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan – ‘Sabka saath, Sabka vikaas’.”Be it north, south or central zone of Kashmir, the party activists are displaying deep interest and enthusiasm in the election process. BJP is getting further strengthened in entire Valley,” he said.After the successful conduct of booth level elections under the first phase, Gupta said the mandal and district level exercise for the same will be completed by October 30 and finally by November 20, the entire exercise upto the state level will be completed.”The party organisational elections in entire Jammu province and Kashmir province are going smoothly and the exercise in Ladakh, which were delayed due to LAHDC elections, will be commencing soon,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir: Protesters and police clash in Anantnag over trucker Zahid Bhat’s death

Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in eight police station areas in Kashmir and several separatist leaders put under house arrest in the view of the protest. Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and JKDFP leader Shabir Ahmad Shah were among several separatists placed under house arrest.

Anantnag: Kashmiri youths pelting stones on police and paramilitary forces protesting against death of a trucker who was injured when a mob set his vehicle afire in Udhampur, in Anantnag district of South Kashmir on Sunday.

PTI
Clashes erupted on Monday morning between protesters and security forces at Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir during the funeral of Zahid Ahmed, who died of severe burn injuries sustained in Udhampur petrol bomb attack.Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in eight police station areas in Kashmir and several separatist leaders put under house arrest in the view of the protest. Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and JKDFP leader Shabir Ahmad Shah were among several separatists placed under house arrest.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Both factions of separatist Hurriyat Conference and JKLF have called for a shutdown in the Valley. A Kashmiri pandit organisation, Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh Samiti, Kashmir High Court Bar Association, traders’ bodies and transport union have extended support to the shutdown call.Meanwhile, Zahid was laid to rest with residents of Batengoo, his native village in South Kashmir, taking his body in a procession amid tight security.Zahid Ahmed’s body was taken from his residence for funeral prayers and later buried in the ancestral graveyard in the village amidst sloganeering by the mourners, a police official said.A youth was seen carrying a Pakistani flag during the funeral procession which passed off peacefully as authorities had made stringent security arrangements.

Kashmir truck attack victim, targetted over beef, dies, violence erupts in Kashmir

Srinagar: Violence erupted in parts of the Kashmir Valley on Sunday after a 16-year-old injured in a bomb attack on a truck on 9 October died in Delhi, police and witnesses said.

Zahid Rasool Bhat, who was being treated for burn injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital, died on Sunday, a senior police officer told IANS in Srinagar.

Representational image. Image courtesy: APRepresentational image. Image courtesy: AP

Representational image. Image courtesy: AP

Bhat and another Kashmiri from Anantnag district, Showkat Ahmad Dar, 35, sustained serious injuries when their parked truck was attacked by a mob with a petrol bomb at Udhampur town on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

The attack, allegedly by a Hindu mob, took place in the aftermath of a beef party hosted by independent legislator Engineer Rashid in Srinagar.

As news of the death in Delhi spread, mobs took to the streets in the southern district of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley and blocked the Jammu-Srinagar highway by burning tyres.

The highway is the only road link between the Kashmir Valley and the rest of India.

They also shouted slogans against the government, and pelted stones at security personnel who tried to disperse them, witnesses said.

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the government was to blame for Bhat’s death as it failed to provide security to the truckers.

The separatists called for a shutdown in the Kashmir Valley on Monday.

Both the victims of the attack were flown to Safdarjung Hospital which specializes in treating burn injuries.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had visited them at the hospital three days back.

IANS

Valley of Flowers trek opens for public after 45 years

After almost 45 years, the Uttarakhand forest department has again opened the trek route near the Valley of Flowers.The government sources said that besides providing a new and adventurous virgin trail to explorers, the route will also act as an alternate route to rescue teams in case of natural calamities like the Kedarnath flash floods.Director of Nanda Devi Biosphere, SS Rasaily said, “The Kunthkhal-Hanuman Chatti trek route was lying closed since 1970 as people began opting for the much easier route from Ghanghariya to approach the valley. Because it was lying unused, the trek trail soon became overgrown with dense vegetation. During the recent disaster, a need was felt for an alternate route which could be used to evict people. This route is suitable for this purpose,” an English daily reported.Talking about the trail, divisional forest officer of Joshimath, Chandresh Joshi said, “The 15-km route is dotted with glaciers, gorges and rivers. The ideal time to trek here is from July to October during which nature lovers can spot a variety of flora and fauna. In particular, the exquisite Brahm Kamal flower, which is found at an elevation of over 4500 meter above sea level, can be seen flowering on this trail.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel praises Bengaluru, Indian innovation and creativity

Stating that she was immensely “impressed” with the innovations coming out of India in general and Bengaluru in particular, Merkel said while German researchers are great, those in India are very creative and innovative.

Angela Merkel and PM Narendra Modi at an event in Bengaluru during her India visit early this month.
File Photo
PTI
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was all praise for Indian innovation on Wednesday, saying a lack of resources in the country is leading to greater creativity, which she saw recently in Bengaluru and described the city as the “Silicon Valley of India”.Stating that she was immensely “impressed” with the innovations coming out of India in general and Bengaluru in particular, Merkel said while German researchers are great, those in India are very creative and innovative.”Only a few days ago, I was in the Silicon Valley of India in Bangalore. I had the opportunity to visit your (Bosch) research centre there. Researchers here in Germany are probably wonderful and great, but those in India are quite creative and innovative,” Merkel said after inaugurating Bosch GmBH’s integrated research campus here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>She went onto add that “sometimes when you don’t have anything to go by really, that makes you more creative.” Stating that she was very impressed with the engineers of Bosch’s Bengaluru facility, she said, “I was looking at what they’ve invented in their spare time and was quite impressed. For example a medical equipment that allows you to control your eyesight.”As part of her state visit to India earlier this month, Merkel had flown to Bengaluru along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Bosch’s research centre.The Bengaluru centre houses 12,000 researchers working on a host of technologies including the Internet of Things (IoT), and image processing among others. This is the second biggest R&D facility for Bosch after Germany. Bosch global chairman Volkmar Denner said the company has invested 310 million euros in the Renningen facility spread over 100 hectares near Stuttgart, Germany’s fifth biggest city that also houses the group’s headquarters.The Bosch researchers at the new facility housing 1,700 associates from various disciplines, will be working to find solutions in electro-mobility with work on batteries, improving the internal combustion engine and automated driving, among other things in an environment designed to make them work like a start-up, he said. He said the company hopes to drive an automated car on an autobahn or an expressway by 2020. It invested 5 billion euros or around 10 per cent of its sales in R&D last year.Merkel exhorted German firms to invest more in R&D, saying target of raising research spends to 3 per cent in the Euro Zone is possible only if they invested more.Nearly two-thirds of the R&D spends on an absolute basis come from private sector while the state contributes only one-third. The state has also sufficiently funded educational institutions to help enable research, Merkel said, replying to a complaint by Denner, who blamed the Germans for not being courageous enough to start businesses.

After beef ban politics, deeply flawed BJP-PDP coalition in Kashmir must work as a whole

By David Devadas

The reduction of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly chamber to a wrestling arena on Thursday has been roundly condemned — rightly so. But one needs to go beyond shock, anger and despair. For the unsavoury incident (a member thrashed in the House for having hosted a public beef party) highlighted a systemic malaise: The deeply divisive frame that the PDP and the BJP have adopted for their alliance.

Both major coalition partners talk of representing the state’s two main regions, Jammu and Kashmir, respectively. The sub-text is that each represents one of the state’s two main religions. They insist on reading the mandate of 2014 thus. This is dangerous. The experiment in Lebanon showed the fragility of such specifically religion-based political alliances. In this case, it points inexorably towards a communal division of the state. Not only could that cause rivers of blood in the Chenab basin, but it would further blight the future of South Asia.

Screengrab from the video of an MLA being thrashed in the J&K Assembly. IBNLive

Screengrab from the video of an MLA being thrashed in the J&K Assembly. IBNLive

It is true that the BJP won all its seats from the Jammu division and the PDP from the Kashmir Valley. But to reduce that to a communal-regional polarity is to play politics with geography. Think of it this way: The pan-Indian mandates of 1977 and 1980 too were to a large extent geographically polarised, but nobody spoke of dividing south India from north India.

Last winter’s Jammu and Kashmir verdict certainly means that the two regions have divergent aspirations at this point, but that calls for nuanced policies to satisfy both sets of aspirations and for a political initiative to bridge the divide. Most of all, it calls for concerted coalition unity. Competitive communal politics will not only deepen the wedge, it could set off a spiral. For unexpected more-religious-than-you players have a way of gliding out of the woodwork.

The fact is that sociological conflicts based on religion, ethnicity, region, sect or tribe are symptoms of structural – economic and administrative – root causes. Powers must devolve to Panchayati Raj institutions, civil society institutions must be strengthened and corruption controlled so that entrepreneurship, investment, industry and other legitimate economic and social activity may thrive. The current dole economy combines with patronage politics to not only stifle the economy but also to generate sloth, repression, extortion, alienation – and finally, violent responses. Without appropriate curative measures, dividing the state into two, three or even ten portions will only multiply the problem, not solve it.

A coalition government must work cohesively to forge a united future for the state. Failure to do so will pave the way for what leading Pakistanis have described as `completing the incomplete task of Partition.’ Ironically, Mr Jinnah used exactly this issue to illustrate the Two-Nation Theory. Hindus worship the cow and Muslims eat it, he pointed out, so how could they be one nation?

At another level, Thursday’s violence in the Assembly chamber highlighted the fact that democracy in Jammu and Kashmir has never functioned through debate and consensus. It has either been conducted through demonstrative protest, as in the Independent MLA’s beef party, or violence, as by RSS members in the Assembly chamber. In fact, the structures of democracy have remained a sham for the most part.

Until recently, most elections have been rigged. Chief ministers have repeatedly been changed at New Delhi’s whim. Assembly resolutions have been dismissed out of hand.

Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed had changed the discourse substantially during his first stint in power (2002-2005) following elections that were universally said to be free and fair. He gave his deputy chief minister due regard, consulted his coalition partners and the opposition, and nurtured democratic space in the traumatised Valley. However, he could not adequately accommodate, or perhaps even grasp, the aspirations that had rapidly grown in Jammu since the 1990s.

Jammu’s rapid economic expansion since the early 1990s gave Jammuites’ longstanding resentment against perceived domination political ballast. Ghulam Nabi Azad’s dynamic development work, particularly across the Jammu division, when he came to power from 2005 to 2008, made it likely that the Congress would win the 2008 election with a near-majority. The panicking PDP seized upon land transfer to the Amarnath Shrine Board, Governor SK Sinha’s pet project for expanding the Hindu pilgrimage. It became a convenient political issue. The resultant conflagration severely damaged the social fabric of the state.

None of the political parties that played land transfer politics in 2008 realised quite how divisive it would become. Now that the chief gainer, the BJP, has joined hands with the party that had hoped to gain, the duo seems to have got involved in a more dangerous game, even if inadvertently. Any leaders worth their name in either party would do well to point their party strategists to lessons about the costs of mixing religion with politics which could be learnt from the US-Pakistan axis’ lethal experiment with the geopolitics of jihad three decades ago.

Javed Akhtar comes out in support of Nayantara Sahgal’s decision to Sahitya Akademi award

Sahgal, who had received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1986 for her English novel ‘Rich Like Us (1985)’, on Tuesday had returned her award.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Eminent poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar on Wednesday came out in support of noted author Nayantara Sahgal’s decision to return her Sahitya Akademi award, saying the recent incidents of intolerance were not expected from a country like India and that it must have pained the writer.”I can understand her agony. She comes from a tradition of secularism and better values and when she feels this thing, she must be very pained,” Akhtar told PTI when asked about Sahgal returning her award in protest against rising intolerance in the society.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I understand… what can one say? It is a protest but I think much more has to be done in the society because whatever is happening now-a-days, is not desirable at all,” he said.”And one does not expect this from our society at least. I don’t expect such things to happen in India. One used to hear such things happening in some other society; not ours,” the noted poet and successful film script writer said, adding, “One does not feel proud of what is happening here.””The writers should actually communicate and write more and they should see to it that writings should reach people. Who am I to say whether she should have done it or not but the fact is that this is also a protest and draws attention and makes people think why she has done it,” he said.Akhtar spoke to the PTI on occasion of the launch of the book ‘Pigeons of the Domes’ by noted author and translator Rakhshanda Jalil. The book is a compilation of 19 short stories by various Hindi and Urdu authors and includes stories on Hindu-Muslim relations, the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley, marginalisation of Hindus in Punjab and the persecution of Sikhs in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.Sahgal, who had received the Sahitya Akademi award in 1986 for her English novel ‘Rich Like Us (1985)’, on Tuesday returned her award saying, “The ruling ideology today is a fascist ideology and that is what is worrying me now. We did not have a fascist government until now… I am doing whatever I believe in.”

Three soldiers, one militant killed in separate gun battles in J&K’s Kupwara district

Srinagar: At least three soldiers and one militant were killed on Monday as two gunbattles raged in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Representational image. Image courtesy: PTIRepresentational image. Image courtesy: PTI

Representational image. Image courtesy: PTI

Three soldiers were killed in an ongoing encounter with militants in Hafruda forests of Kupwara district near the Line of Control (LoC) today (Monday),” a senior police officer told IANS.

“Earlier on Monday, one militant was killed in Darpora village of Kupwara.”

Both the gunfights took place in two different areas of Kupwara district.

“It is being confirmed whether the group of militants engaged in an encounter near the LoC had infiltrated into the Kashmir Valley Sunday or earlier,” the officer added.
IANS

One militant killed after two separate encounters with security forces in J&K

Srinagar: A militant was killed on Monday as two gunbattles started in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

Representational image. Image courtesy: PTIRepresentational image. Image courtesy: PTI

Representational image. Image courtesy: PTI

“One militant was killed in an encounter between the security forces and militants in Darpora today (Monday),” a senior police officer told IANS here.

“Another encounter is going on in the Hafruda forests near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara.”

“It is being confirmed whether the group of militants engaged in an encounter near the LoC had infiltrated into the Valley on Sunday or earlier,” the officer added.

IANS

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

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

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

Guess who gatecrashed Modi-Hollande UN meeting after seeing window of opportunity

“Look who dropped by! Missed in Silicon Valley, the original tech entrepreneur @BillGates says hello to PM & President,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of Modi, Hollande and Gates engaged in discussions.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi got a surprise visitor on Sunday when Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates dropped by during his bilateral with French President Francois Hollande.Gates, who was not present at the meeting Modi had with technology leaders in San Jose over the weekend, dropped in while the Prime Minister was meeting Hollande at the UN.”Look who dropped by! Missed in Silicon Valley, the original tech entrepreneur @BillGates says hello to PM & President,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted along with pictures of Modi, Hollande and Gates engaged in discussions.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the largest private foundation in the world, has a significant presence in India.The foundation began its work in India a decade ago with an initiative to curtail the spread of HIV. Since then, its scope in India has expanded tremendously to include maternal and child health, health and nutrition services, vaccines and routine immunisation, family planning, agricultural development, sanitation, and the control of infectious diseases.

Here’s how western media covered PM Modi’s emotional moment at Facebook Townhall meet

The western media covered and highlighted the emotional moment between the most influential people in the world.

Narendra Modi and Mark Zukerberg during the Townhall meet

Imgae credit: MEA Twitter
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently on his six-day long visit to the United States and he is trying to promote the Digital India initiative heavily among the top executives of the states.In a bid to do so, Modi met Facebook head Mark Zukerberg for a Townhall meet where he invited questions from people on Sunday, during the Q&A round he teared up while answering a question from the Facebook CEO. The western media covered and highlighted the emotional moment between the most influential people in the world. Here is how some of the top western news brands covered the event:<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The most amazing moment this morning was when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and I talked about our families, and he shared stories of his childhood and the impact his mother had on his life. His answer is deeply moving and inspiring, and it’s worth watching all the way through.
Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Sunday, 27 September 2015BBCIndia’s Narendra Modi tears up at Facebook Q&A sessionOn a visit to Facebook headquarters in California, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to cry as he talked about the sacrifices made by his mother during his childhood. Some 1,200 people attended the Q&A session, which was streamed live on Facebook, and moderated by company chief Mark Zuckerberg. Read more here.Los Angeles TimesHere’s the question Mark Zuckerberg asked that almost made the Indian prime minister cryFacebook’s Town Hall Q&As — where Facebook users around the world get to ask Mark Zuckerberg questions — aren’t typically emotional events. This changed Sunday during a special Q&A Zuckerberg held with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. During the 50-minute event held at the social network’s Menlo Park, Calif., campus, Modi fielded questions about government investments, the ease of doing business in India and what was being done to empower women. But it was a question from Zuckerberg himself, about family, that got an unexpectedly emotional response from the prime minister. Read more here.TimeModi Breaks Down in Tears Discussing Mother at Facebook EventIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi broke down in tears Sunday discussing the role his mother played in allowing for his success with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. “When we were young, what we did to get by: we went to our neighbors’ houses nearby to clean dishes, fill water, do hard chores. So you can imagine what a mother had to do to raise her children. What she must have gone through,” said Modi in a broken voice. Read more here.While some news platforms preferred to focus on Prime Minister’s emotional moment, some highlighted potential of India’s economy and how reform in the technological space can further bolster it. New York TimesIndia Replaces China as Next Big Frontier for U.S. Tech Companies​Indians have long loved to connect with one another online, accounting for much of the growth of early social networks like Friendster. So it’s not surprising that Facebook already has 132 million Indian users, trailing only the United States. Red more here.Washington PostHow Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley can spark India’s tech economySilicon Valley often hosts world leaders, but rarely gives them the rock-star reception that it is planning for India prime minister Narendra Modi. Seats for an 18,500-person event where he will be speaking, at the SAP Center in San Jose, disappeared within days, and tens of thousands more could have sold. The Indian community is abuzz with more excitement than when Bollywood troupes visit. Companies such as Google, Facebook, and Tesla are rolling out the red carpe​t. Read more here.

PM Modi to meet Obama, Hollande and Cameron in New York

San Jose: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today hold bilateral talks with US President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron in New York, three of the five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, a top official has said.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

The meetings have been scheduled with a number of other world leaders including Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas which will begin a few hours after his return to New York on an overnight flight from San Francisco, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said on Sunday.

Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Silicon Valley in more than three decades. During his weekend stay, he visited the campuses of Tesla, Facebook and Google, and held a series of meetings with top Silicon Valley CEOs including Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Modi’s meeting with the British Prime Minister David Cameron was a last minute addition, the official said. In addition to these bilateral meetings, Modi will attend a lunch hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and address a United Nations summit convened by Obama on UN Peacekeeping.

PTI

‘Building I-ways is as important as highways’: Modi promotes Digital India in Silicon Valley

San Jose: Pitching his pet Digital India initiative with the titans of the IT world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday promised to make governance more accountable and transparent while assuring data privacy and security.

Speaking before a gathering of Silicon Valley CEOs, Modi announced plans to create more public WiFi spots including at 500 railway stations across India and an aggressive expansion of the National Optical Fibre Network to take broadband to 600,000 villages.

“As our economy and our lives get more wired, we are also giving the highest importance to data privacy and security, intellectual property rights and cyber security,” he said at a dinner interaction attended among others by Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayan, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Qualcomm executive chairman Paul Jacobs and Google CEO Sunder Pichai.

PM Narendra Modi with tech CEOs at the Digital India dinner. Image courtesy: @MEAIndia/Twitter

PM Narendra Modi with tech CEOs at the Digital India dinner. Image courtesy: @MEAIndia/Twitter

“We will transform governance, making it more transparent, accountable, accessible and participative,” Modi said, adding that E-Governance is foundation of better governance – efficient, economical and effective.

In a nation of one billion cell phones, M-Governance or mobile governance has the potential to make development a truly inclusive and comprehensive mass movement. “It puts governance within everyone’s reach,” he said.

“I see technology as a means to empower and a tool that bridges the distance between hope and opportunity. Social media is reducing social barriers,” said the Prime Minister.

“Today, technology is advancing citizen empowerment. Technology is forcing governments to deal with massive amount of data and respond in not 24 hours but 24 minutes,” he said.

Modi said Digital India was born out of conviction that it was possible to rapidly transform the lives of people on margins and touch the lives of the weakest, farthest and the poorest citizen of India as also change the way our nation will live and work.

“We will connect all schools and colleges with broadband. Building I-ways are as important as highways,” he said.

“We are expanding our public WiFi hotspots. For example, we want to ensure that free Wi-Fi is not only there in airport lounges, but also on our railway platforms. Teaming up with Google, we will cover 500 railway stations in a short time,” he said.

The government, he said, wants to free citizens from the burden of excessive paper documents in every office.

“We want paperless transactions. We will set up a digital locker for every citizen to store personal documents that can be shared across departments,” he said.

Setting up of Ebiz portal has made approvals for businesses and citizens easy and efficient, technology is being used to impart scale and speed to development, he said.

Calling for bridging the digital divide and promoting digital literacy, Modi said in the same way that we seek to ensure general literacy, technology must be accessible, affordable and value adding.

Modi said that by using space technology and internet, 170 applications have been identified that will make governance better and development faster.

“Today, technology is advancing citizen empowerment and democracy that once drew their strength from Constitutions. Technology is forcing governments to deal with massive volume of data and generate responses, not in 24 hours but in 24 minutes,” Modi said.

To achieve the vision of Digital India, the government must also start thinking a bit like corporate world, he said.

“So, from creating infrastructure to services, from manufacture of products to human resource development, from support governments to enabling citizens and promoting digital literacy, Digital India is a vast cyber world of opportunities for you,” he said.

Also Common Service Centres will be set up in villages and towns as also use information technology to build smart cities. “We want to turn our villages into smart economic hubs and connect our farmers better to markets and makes them less vulnerable to the whims of weather,” he said.

Stating that access means content being made available in local languages, he said that affordability of products and services is critical for success.

“We will promote manufacture of quality and affordable products in India. That is part of our vision of Make in India, Digital India and Design in India,” he said.

“Since my government came to office last year, we have attacked poverty by using the power of networks and mobile phones to launch a new era of empowerment and inclusion: 180 million new bank accounts in a few months; direct transfer of benefits to the poor; funds for the unbanked; insurance within the reach of the poorest; and, pension for the sunset years for all,” he said.

Stating that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the neighbourhoods of the new world, he said if Facebook were a country, it would be the third most populous one and the most connected.

“Google today has made teachers less awe-inspiring and grandparents more idle. Twitter has turned everyone into a reporter. The traffic lights that need to work the best are on CISCO routers,” he said.

“The status that matters most is not whether you are awake or asleep, but whether you are online or offline. The most fundamental debate between our youth is a choice between Android, iOS and Windows,” he said in a lighter vein as the audience applauded and laughed.

Technology is helping a mother in a distant hill village save her new born infant and giving a child in a remote village better access to education, he added.

A small farmer is more confident about his land holding and getting better market price. A fisherman on the sea has a better catch. And, a young professional in San Francisco can Skype daily to comfort her sick grandmother in India, Modi added.

“When you think of the exponential speed and scale of expansion of social media or a service, you have to believe that it is equally possible to rapidly transform the lives of those who have long stood on the margins of hope,” Modi said.

He said Digital India is an enterprise for transformation on a scale that is, perhaps, unmatched in human history.

“For nothing else will do in a country with 800 million youth under the age of 35 years, impatient for change and eager to achieve it,” said the Prime Minister.

“We have set up Ebiz portal to make approvals for businesses and citizens easy and efficient so that they concentrate their energy on their goals, not on government processes. We are using technology to impart scale and speed to development,” he said.

Information, education, skills, healthcare, livelihood, financial inclusion, small and village enterprises, opportunities for women, conservation of natural resources, distributed clean energy – entirely new possibilities have emerged to change the development model, he said.

“But for all this, we must bridge the digital divide and promote digital literacy in the same way that we seek to ensure general literacy. We must ensure that technology is accessible, affordable, and adds value,” he said.

The government, he said, wants its 1.25 billion citizens to be digitally connected. “We already have broadband usage across India go up by 63 percent last year. We need to accelerate this further,” he said.

“For me, access also means that content should be in local languages. In a country with 22 official languages, it is a formidable, but an important task,” he said.

“Affordability of products and services is critical for our success. There are many dimensions to this. We will promote manufacture of quality and affordable products in India. That is part of our vision of Make in India, Digital India and Design in India,” Modi said.

Pointing out to Shantanu, John, Satya, Paul and Sunder sharing the stage with him, Modi said, “If there was ever a gathering under one roof that could claim to be shaping the world, it is this.”

“It’s a great pleasure to be here in California. It is one of the last places in the world to see the sun set. But, it is here that new ideas see the first light of the day,” he added.

(With inputs from PTI)

DU seminar on Vedas questions Aryan Invasion theory, challenges Marxist narrative of history

he scholars also questioned the period of composition generally ascribed to the Rig Veda which is about 1,500 BC, placing it after the decline of the Harappan Civilization, during the national symposium on “Chronology of Vedic Literature- A Reassessment” at Delhi University here.

Amid a raging debate over incorporation of Vedic education in curriculum, Sanskrit scholars from various universities on Saturday engaged over a discourse over the origin of the Rig Vedas and on the influx of Aryans in the country.The scholars also questioned the period of composition generally ascribed to the Rig Veda which is about 1,500 BC, placing it after the decline of the Harappan Civilization, during the national symposium on “Chronology of Vedic Literature- A Reassessment” at Delhi University here. “The original date of Rig Veda has been debated for long.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Marxists have gone all out to establish that Indus Valley civilisation is older than Rig Vedic era. The fact that Aryans came to the plains of India and pushed the Dravidians southwards is also not true,” said HOD, DU’s Sanskrit Department, Ramesh C Bharadwaj, in his keynote address. “Much before the Indus Valley civilisation, the plains of India had a flourishing culture of its own, which can be established through the Rig Vedic texts. The history needs correction and chronology needs to be fixed,” he added.Bhardwaj who has also submitted a project to Indian Council for Historical Research, seeking funding to conduct research on the subject, said, “Our dates do not match with the main stream dates established by the historians.” The scholars also dismissed the view-upheld by historians and archaeologists and presented in textbooks – as Marxist and “Max Muellerist.” Bhardwaj said there is evidence to suggest the Aryans never invaded but were indigenous and developed into the Harappan civilization.”That is the only way to explain the highly evolved and urban culture of the Harappans. Marxist historians begin with Indus Valley but they can’t provide information on what preceded the Harappan cities. This gap is filled by Vedic literature,” he said. The three-day meet at DU, is being supported by HRD Ministry and organised in association with Maharshi Sandipani Rashtriya Veda Vidya Pratisthan, Ujjain. Notable academicians including the Chairman of the Indian Archaeological Society, K N Dikshit, Director of Bhogilal Leherchand Institute of Indology GC Tripathi, and scholars from Shantiniketan, Calcutta University and Benares Hindu University are among those attending the conference.Talking about the agenda, Sushil Kumar, PhD scholar at the department said, “this is an issue of international importance. It is a first of its kind seminar that has been convened keeping in mind new findings in Aryan origin, and the department will use its resources to give a date and promote debate.”Another PhD student Hemant Joshi said, “For long we have been relying on Max-Mueller’s concept of judging the age of a language by looking at the rate of its development. But a new method of taking Astrology as the base was proposed by Bal Gangadhar Tilak. This, I believe, is the right way. It changes our perceptions about the age of many languages including Sanskrit, and this is what this debate is about.” The seminar assumes significance in light of the fact that there has been a renewed debate about saffronisation of education ever since Narendra Modi government came to power.Various right-wing organisations have pressed for incorporating Vedic literature and Vedic maths in school curriculum, lamenting that the existing education pedagogy is heavily influenced by the colonial past.

Modi in US 2015: PM Modi meets Apple CEO Tim Cook, tech titans in Silicon Valley

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a two-day trip to Silicon Valley on with a visit to “green” car maker Tesla Motors Inc and a meeting with Apple Inc’s CEO, Tim Cook.

Image Courtesy: PIB

Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a two-day trip to Silicon Valley on with a visit to “green” car maker Tesla Motors Inc and a meeting with Apple Inc’s CEO, Tim Cook.Modi, 65, is the first Indian leader to visit the US West Coast in more than 30 years. His trip follows a US visit by China’s president, Xi Jinping, who met with several tech leaders in Seattle earlier this week.”Apple has a unique relationship with India as its founder Steve Jobs went to India for inspiration,” Apple CEO Tim Cook has said in a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi here.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Cook, who met Modi at his hotel, was among the first top CEOs to meet the premier on the first day of his arrival. “Dialling India for Digital,” Swarup added.At Tesla, Modi met with Chief Executive Elon Musk and discussed renewable energy, which Modi is eager to bring back to India.”Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Prime Minister Modi discussed Tesla’s developments in battery technology, energy storage, and renewable energy and the positive implications of this innovation for India,” Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes said.Prime Minister Modi also interacted with members of the Indian community at San Jose, California.”Straight to the community. PM @narendramodi attends Diaspora event in San Jose, greets leading Indians/PIOs,” tweeted Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Vikas Swarup.Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Silicon Valley with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship as he became the the first Indian premier to visit the world’s leading tech hub.The trip to Silicon Valley forms part of Modi’s visit to the US’ west coast – the first by an Indian prime minister in more than three decades.At the hotel lobby, the Prime Minister was warmly welcomed by Indian Americans raising pro-Modi slogans.”With Prime Minister Narendra Modi in office, we have the opportunity to reinvigorate US-India relations and bring our partnership to new heights,” Congressman Ed Royce, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee said in a welcome statement as soon as Modi landed at San Jose Airport.Royce and several other lawmakers would be attending Modi’s address to the Indian community tomorrow night.”Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Silicon Valley will undoubtedly bring the US and Indian tech sectors closer together, helping to deepen our strong and growing economic ties,” Royce said.Earlier, Modi left New York after hosting a crucial G-4 summit on UN Security Council reforms to begin another crucial part of his US visit with a packed agenda of meetings with corporate honchos in Silicon Valley.(With agency inputs)

Indo-US meet: After addressing G-4 summit, PM Modi leaves for Silicon Valley

During his two-day stay in Silicon Valley, he would begin and conclude his engagements with the Indian-American community, the last one being an address to a crowd of over 18,500 Indian-Americans at the SAP Centre in San Jose.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures before his departure for San Jose, in New York on Saturday.

PTI
After hosting a crucial G-4 summit on UN Security Council reforms, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday left for San Jose to begin another crucial part of his US visit with a packed agenda of meetings with Silicon Valley honchos Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and others. Modi left New York immediately after he hosted the leaders of Brazil, Japan and Germany for the G-4 summit on the long pending UNSC reform process.During his two-day stay in Silicon Valley, he would begin and conclude his engagements with the Indian-American community, the last one being an address to a crowd of over 18,500 Indian-Americans at the SAP Centre in San Jose.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sandwiched between the two community events would be Modi’s visits to the campuses of Tesla, Facebook and Google where he would hold meetings with the who’s who of Silicon Valley ranging from Apple chief Cook to Satya Nadella of Microsoft, Sundar Pichai of Google, Shantanu Narayen of Adobe, and Facebook’s Zuckerberg.After reaching San Jose later in the afternoon, Modi will visit Tesla Motors, followed by meetings with Apple CEO Cook, Microsoft CEO Nadella and Google CEO Pichai. Modi would also be meeting members of the Sikh and Gujarati communities.On the morning of September 27, Modi will visit the headquarters of social network giant Facebook, where he will hold a town-hall meeting with CEO Zuckerberg. He will then head to Google, part of his strong push to drive technological innovation in India.Modi will also have bilateral meetings with US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, California Governor Edmund Brown. He will also meet Salman Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a free online education platform that produces thousands of video lessons on diverse subjects for students. He will also attend a roundtable on renewable energy and an India-US start-up meet.The first-ever Indian Prime Minister to visit Silicon Valley after it became the hub of global innovation and entrepreneurship, Modi’s first engagement after the community dinner tonight would be to drive down to the Tesla campus.The Prime Minister decided to visit Silicon Valley to experience and learn firsthand the success story of iconic companies and leaders here with the sole objective of building a similar ecosystem of innovation and entrepreneurship in India, said Indian Ambassador to the US Arun K Singh.

VIDEO: India’s complicated relationship with Facebook

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s much-hyped visit to Silicon Valley highlights the complicated ties between India and Facebook.

PM Modi eyes Silicon Valley even as euphoria fades due to slow pace of reforms

A firm believer in the new economy and power of social media, Modi will be welcomed by Apple, Facebook and Google, who want to grow in a market where the world’s third-largest internet user base is set to multiply in coming years.

Picture Courtesy: PIB
Tech titans will court Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Silicon Valley this weekend, but away from the glitz, the euphoria of his first trip to the United States a year ago has faded as promised deals stall and key reforms flounder.A firm believer in the new economy and power of social media, Modi will be welcomed by Apple, Facebook and Google, who want to grow in a market where the world’s third-largest internet user base is set to multiply in coming years. Apple CEO Tim Cook is due to drop by Modi’s hotel in San Jose, before the Indian leader joins Mark Zuckerberg for a “townhall” session broadcast live from Facebook headquarters.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He will be able to relive some of the glory of 2014’s rock star-like Madison Square Garden rally in New York when he addresses 17,000 Indian expatriates at San Jose’s “Shark Tank” sports arena on Sunday. Modi’s standing in the United States rose further when US President Barack Obama visited India in January and the two tightened defence and civil nuclear cooperation with a promise of billions of dollars of business.The relationship is still evolving, with the world’s two biggest democracies agreeing on Tuesday to jointly train peacekeepers in Africa, a step in a growing military alignment partly aimed at balancing China’s expansion.But in other areas, progress has been slow. Western businesses and diplomats in Delhi privately say Modi’s reputation as a man of action has been hurt by setbacks on economic reform. Some carp that he is better at speeches and launching projects than seeing them through.The Thomson Reuters/INSEAD Q3 Asian Business Sentiment Survey found on Wednesday that optimism among Indian companies, while still high, had been dented by the slow pace of reform. US lawmakers wrote to the Obama administration on Monday complaining about barriers to trade they said had got worse under Modi, as well as disputes over copyrights and patents. “The sheen is off, certainly. He is no longer the new kid on the block,” said Neelam Deo, a former Indian diplomat in Washington now at Gateway House, a think-tank. “The first trip was euphoric, this one is much more a consolidation phase of the relationship.” CHOPPER RED TAPEOn Tuesday, India’s cabinet approved a $2.5 billion purchase of 37 Apache and Chinook helicopters from Boeing, giving Modi something concrete for when he meets Obama on Monday. But the clearance came more than a year after the deal was agreed by the defence ministry, highlighting the lack of funds due to a slower-than-expected pick-up in India’s economy and the bureaucratic morass that plagues ties between the countries.”We have formidable bureaucracies on both sides,” with residual mistrust from the Cold War, said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian ambassador to Washington, referring to India’s previous strong ties with the Soviet Union.”Things are bound to be slow.” While the clearance has been given, India and Boeing must still sign a commercial contract.GE Chairman Jeff Immelt this week said India’s nuclear accident liability law was not in line with global standards and his company would not be investing, a blow for hopes that an insurance pool announced by Modi and Obama in January would break an impasse over a historic 2007 civil-nuclear deal.India had worked around the liability law “to the extent possible,” a top government source said in response. HOUR IN THE SUNOn the Sept. 24-29 trip, Modi’s mind will be focused more on solar power than nuclear; he has an ambitious target to build 100 GW of solar capacity in seven years. On Saturday he visits Tesla Motor’s Elon Musk to learn about battery technology that could help harness the power of the sun. He will also attend a renewable energy talk at Stanford.On the first trip by an Indian prime minister to Silicon Valley, Modi hopes to attract funds and skills from U.S. innovators to help India’s burgeoning start-up scene grow, and he will seek to encourage some Indians who have thrived around San Jose to bring their knowledge back home. “He’ll be building a bridge,” said Rajat Tandon, who heads a programme focused on startups at Indian IT group NASSCOM and was among the dozens of Indian entrepreneurs flying to California to join Modi this week.For GE, which helped start India’s IT revolution 30 years ago with an early commitment to outsourcing, the future in India is less about startups and more about Modi’s flagship “Make In India” programme, Immelt said, but only time will tell if it works. “The most interesting thing in India today is on how big a manufacturing place can it be; to me that is the unanswered question – whether or not it can really compete,” he told Reuters.

Local markets in Kashmir Valley abuzz ahead of Eid-ul-Azha

Eid rush picked up from early this week, though rains played a spoilsport as the Valley witnessed widespread rains for three days from Sunday

Representational Image

Attracting Eid rush, local shops selling mutton, chicken, baked goods and other assorted items in Srinagar and other major towns of Kashmir valley saw a large number of customers a day before Eid-ul-Azha. Shopping outlets dealing with clothing including kids wear and footwear especially saw brisk sales from early in the morning. Roadside bazaars sprung up in most parts of the city to woo the shoppers. They have also set up stalls in Lal Chowk and adjoining areas selling all kinds of merchandise. Also, serpentine queues were witnessed at ATM outlets and banks.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Eid rush picked up from early this week, though rains played a spoilsport as the Valley witnessed widespread rains for three days from Sunday.The heavy rush prompted the authorities to take several measures to streamline traffic and check profiteering. The traffic department barred the entry of heavy passenger vehicles into the commercial hub of Lal Chowk as it leads to traffic jams.No passenger vehicles were allowed to ply on Residency Road from Radio Kashmir to Hari Singh High Street on one side. The restrictions would remain in force till Eid prayers. However, the heavy rush of people on the streets lead to frequent traffic jams giving the authorities a tough time clearing the clogged roads.

Activisits and organisations launch anti-Modi campaign in US

The campaign in various shape and form primarily includes multiple levels of protests in both New York and San Jose where the Prime Minister would be travelling.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi being greeted by the people on his arrival outside Waldorf Astoria in New York on Wednesday.

PTI
A group of activists, organisations and some members of the Patel community have launched a campaign in the US against Prime Minister Narendra Modi who arrived in Washington on Thursday.The campaign in various shape and form primarily includes multiple levels of protests in both New York and San Jose where the Prime Minister would be travelling. It also includes a massive campaign on social media and even a big bill board from the new “Modifail” campaign launched by Alliance for Justice and Accountability (AJA).Describing itself as a coalition of progressive groups in the US, the AJA has put up a huge billboard on a freeways in Silicon Valley. The saffron-colored billboard has a huge mugshot of the Prime Minister addressing a rally.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We stand against Modi’s regressive agenda,” the bill board in Milpitas says.In a statement, AJA hoped that this series of billboards in the Bay Area will inform the American people that Modi’s upcoming “Silicon Valley PR tour is being used as an excuse to whitewash his dismal record” as Prime Minister.AJA plans protests outside the SAP Center in San Jose on September 27, where Modi is scheduled to address to some 18,500 Indian-Americans. New York-based Sikh for Justice has said it will hold similar protests before the United Nations here and also in front of the SAP Center in San Jose on September 27. It has also announced a reward of USD 10,000 to any one who asks questions to Modi and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg during their upcoming Townhall meeting at Facebook HQ.A section of the Patel community, who are agitated against police action in Gujarat, has said they would raise “black flags” against Modi in both New York and San Jose. US-based Human Rights Watch urged CEOs of American technology companies to tell the Indian leader that they will oppose any steps that erode free expression or privacy rights.”While India presents significant business opportunities, CEOs should tell Modi that they will oppose any steps that erode free expression or privacy rights,” Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.During his stay in the US primarily in New York and Silicon Valley — Modi will meet the CEOs of top technology firms such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, Adobe and Facebook.The Patels-dominated Asian American Hotel Owners Association or AAHOA has welcomed the US visit of the Prime Minister, describing him as a leader who has a distinguished record of fostering economic development and innovation.

33 US lawmakers write to PM Modi expressing hope of trip deepening bilateral relations

On the eve of Modi’s arrival in New York, where during over the next three days he would interact with the leaders of the top American companies from financial and media sector, as many as 33 eminent Congressman wrote a joint letter to the Prime Minister welcoming him to the land of opportunities.

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PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip to the Silicon Valley would bring in new dimension to the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, a bipartisan group of American lawmakers has said while hoping that his second US visit will help attract Indian investments.On the eve of Modi’s arrival in New York, where during over the next three days he would interact with the leaders of the top American companies from financial and media sector, as many as 33 eminent Congressman wrote a joint letter to the Prime Minister welcoming him to the land of opportunities.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It was clear that your last trip to the United States provided the momentum needed to refocus the US-India relationship. We are hopeful that your second visit will lead to the continuation and deepening of the Indian investment into the US economy, as well as the use of US technological knowledge to drive more development in India,” the 33 Congressmen, from both the Republican and Democratic parties, said. Looking forward to Modi’s upcoming trip to California, which marks the first time an Indian head of government has visited the Golden State in 33 years, the Congressmen said this trip to Silicon Valley will help showcase the exciting contributions Indians and Indian-Americans make to the US technology industry.The letter among others was signed by Congressmen Ami Bera and George Holding, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans — Ed Royce, Chairman of powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee and Tulsi Gabbard. “We applaud your and President Obama’s commitment to the strategic partnership which has already led to several accomplishments including the Delhi Declaration of Friendship, the adoption of a Joint Strategic Vision for Asia and Pacific and Indian Ocean region, and the announcement of renewal of the ten-year Defence Cooperation Agreement,” the lawmakers said.”Close collaboration between our governments has led to progress in several areas including counter-terrorism, non-proliferation, cyber-security, science and technology, knowledge economy, energy, space, and health to name just a few,” they said. “We are excited to see how it progresses in the near future for both countries. Additionally, your decision to open up domestic markets to foreign direct investment has helped grow US investment into India to US $28 billion. And at the same time, trade between our countries has reached about US $120 billion,” the lawmakers said in their letter.

Will trade with Pakistan if VHP creates economic blockade, says Kashmir’s business community

President of Kashmir Traders and Manufactures Federation (KTMF), Yasin Khan said,”We want to send a clear message to our counterparts in Jammu to explain their position on the VHP statement. Do they want to do business with us or support the radical group like VHP which is hell-bent to divide the state on communal lines?”

he business community in Kashmir on Sunday warned of snapping ties with Jammu-based traders and using Muzaffarabad Srinagar route for trade while Hurriyat’s Ali Shah Geelani warned of a public movement in the event of an VHP-sponsored economic blockade of the Valley.President of Kashmir Traders and Manufactures Federation (KTMF), Yasin Khan said,”We want to send a clear message to our counterparts in Jammu to explain their position on the VHP statement. Do they want to do business with us or support the radical group like VHP which is hell-bent to divide the state on communal lines?”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The statement comes in the wake of VHP threat, on Friday, to launch “2008-like agitation” in Jammu and enforce economic blockade to Kashmir if State Legislative Assembly allowed any discussion regarding revocation of ban on the sale of beef.”The ball is in the court of Jammu business community.We want them to go public on the issue and their silence will be taken as acceptance to the designs of the communal forces,” he said.Khan, who is also chairman of Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), said if such a situation arises, they would use Muzaffarabad Srinagar route for their business activities.”We won’t hesitate to use Muzaffarabad Srinagar route for a full-fledged trade so that Kashmir does not remain dependent on Jammu region,” he said.Khan also said the traders want Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to clear stand on the threat by the VHP.He said the business community of the Valley supported amending the law to allow consumption of beef in the state.Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani warned of a public movement if any such thing was enforced on the Valley.”The economic blockade of the Kashmir will have very serious consequences and the situation will be out of control for everybody,” Geelani said in a statement here.The Hurriyat chairman said the economic blockade of Kashmir would create serious situation in the Valley and the population would heavily suffer due to the lack of food items and medicine.”If the communal forces enforced any type of economic blockade on Kashmir, a public movement will be started against that and the people will protest this act of terrorism on roads,” he said.Meanwhile, the CPI(M) has termed the economic VHP’s economic blockade threat as “provocative and disastrous”.”The VHP’s statement on discussion on repeal of 298 A, 298 B, 298 C and 298 D of Ranbir Panel Code (which criminalises slaughter of bovine animals) is provocative and disastrous,” CPI(M) leader and MLA M Y Tarigami said here.VHP had on Friday threatened to launch a massive agitation and enforce an economic blockade in Jammu and Kashmir if the assembly allowed a discussion to revoke provisions criminalising bovine slaughter and sale of beef in the state.

Patels v/s Patels in US ahead of Modi’s visit; one group to hold protest while the other calls it politically motivated

“Modi is coming here to further a bigger vision that he holds for India and instead of supporting his vision some people are trying to thwart his vision for petty political gains which the majority of us feel is not right,” said Ravi Patel of Sree Hotels.

An influential section of the Patel community on Sunday said they are opposed to a planned rally against Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits the US this week while another group in the Silicon Valley said they would hold protests against him over the handling of the recent reservation agitation in Gujarat.In a media statement, the group of Patels, said they believe that the agitation in India is politically motivated and these protests do not represent the voice of the entire Patidar (Patel) community.”We Patels in the US are not taking any sides. Our intention is to make everybody aware that not every Patidar is against Prime Minister Modi. We do not support people who are tarnishing the reputation of our community and great country of India,” said Danny Patel, CEO of Peach State Hospitality.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>There are about 150,000 Patels living in the US and those supporting the rally against Modi at the UN are a minuscule number who are misrepresenting the community, said the statement.”Modi is coming here to further a bigger vision that he holds for India and instead of supporting his vision some people are trying to thwart his vision for petty political gains which the majority of us feel is not right,” said Ravi Patel of Sree Hotels.”Patidars in the US are an industrious and peace loving community that has the progress of India close to their hearts,” the statement added.”As members of the overseas Patidar community, we condemn it. This is an exercise in political mudslinging and we do not want to be a part of it,” said Baldev Thakor, president of Maya Hotels and a Patel community member.”We wholeheartedly support Modi in his initiatives to take the country to greater heights,” he added.Meanwhile, another section of the Patel community held a meeting in Silicon Valley to organise the protest rally against Modi when he visits California next week.”While we are honoured to have the Prime Minster of India and fellow Gujarati Narendra Modi in Silicon Valley next week, we must not ignore the facts that gross violations of human rights and brutality by Gujarat police has occurred and the state and central governments have failed to serve and protect innocent civilians,” they said in an emailed statement to community members.”Please note that this is not against or pro any political party. This is not against Modi. However, as the Prime Minister of India, we need Modi to recognise that those who are responsible for unconstitutional brutal actions must be punished. We demand justice,” they said.

Silicon Valley will be laughing at the anti-Modi ‘moral advisory’ by academics

By Madhu Purnima Kishwar

Even if Narendra Modi doesn’t do any other good as prime minister of India, he has made one historic contribution to politics: he has exposed the hollowness, hypocrisy and sheer venality of what masquerades as secularism and human rights activism with regard to India.

Recently a moral advisory has been issued by a group of US academics to Silicon Valley professionals that they should boycott India as an investment destination because its current prime minister is allegedly a tainted man and is “almost certainly” going to misuse information technology for spying on its citizens (see full text of original letter here).

To quote the advisory in its own words, “As it stands, ‘Digital India’ seems to ignore key questions raised in India by critics concerned about the collection of personal information and the near certainty that such digital systems will be used to enhance surveillance and repress the constitutionally protected rights of the citizens.”

In a democracy everyone has a right to criticise, oppose and even hate politicians whose actions are out of sync with their expectations. Modi certainly deserves criticism on several counts. I myself have critiqued various acts of commission and omission of the Modi government. These academics are also welcome to critique or even display open hostility to Modi provided they don’t distort facts and masquerade their hatred of the man as defence of “academic freedom” and “civil liberties.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Dubai. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Dubai. PTI

Several signatories to this ridiculous appeal are my friends. Some of them have hosted my lectures in the US and offered me warm hospitality. Some of them have even contributed insightful articles to Manushi, the journal I edited. Knowing them well, I can only say that they seem to have signed this absurd appeal under peer pressure, without applying critical thought that is expected of academics in premier universities. To my old friends in this group, I can only appeal that they should do a reality check before they undertake political interventions where they end up being used by vested interests with devious agendas. The rest of my rejoinder is addressed to those who have made a religion out of nursing mortal enmity towards Modi and BJP at the behest of vested interests.

It is noteworthy that there is not a single scientist, engineer, lawyer or IT professional in this list of signatories. This campaign, and several other anti-Modi ones, have almost always come from the domain of feminist studies and the departments of South Asian studies which have been systematically nurtured by the US establishment to breed anti-India propaganda under the guise of upholding human rights and social justice. It is in the domain of science and technology that Indians have excelled and emerged winners in open competition with their American colleagues. Their relationship with India is far more constructive than that of academics employed in the ghettos of South Asian studies.

The Emperor has no clothes: It is hard to believe that this learned faculty does not know that they their own “Emperor has no clothes”. Residing in the US and bankrolled by its agencies or institutions, these “neo-Anglo-Saxons” choose to forget that the US and Britain have been running the equivalent of a worldwide police state for the past several decades, where almost any phone call or communication could be tapped by their intelligence agencies.

As pointed out by Prof K Gopinath of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, “the Silicon Valley honchos they appeal to have pioneered countless technologies that are routinely used for offensive and defensive intelligence operations. They petition technologists and businessmen in Silicon Valley to be wary of privacy violations (only in India?) when, for many of them, it is part of their daily bread and butter! As one of their tribe announced in 1999 (Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems), “You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it.”

“Note that this quote applies to US citizens; it goes without saying that non-US citizens are completely at the mercy of US/British agencies without any recourse! Microsoft, AT&T, Yahoo, Google and other companies have routinely assisted (under duress/subpeona sometimes) “US national security operations”. Many Silicon Valley companies have actively sought out customers among well-known autocratic regimes. A well-known video-calling product, Skype, though certified by a leading cryptographer as being secure, was revealed to have a backdoor that provided the Chinese authorities access to every conversation in real time with almost no effort. If they had dared meddle with American investors going to China or even Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, they would have been asked to go see a shrink and certainly ruled out of tenured jobs!

“Have these worthies already forgotten the National Security Agency (NSA) classified information leaked in 2013 by Edward Snowden, a former CIA employee and government contractor? These leaks revealed numerous global surveillance programmes, many run by the NSA and the Five Eyes with the cooperation of telecommunication companies and European governments. Any unbiased observer can see how persistently (across six decades or more) the US, Britain and Europe have been taking the rest of the world for a privacy/security ride with the active collaboration of Silicon Valley.”

Though their pious appeal is bound to be laughed at by Silicon Valley, it can’t be ignored because it seems to have been inspired by vested interests who wish to keep India mired in poverty, promote strife among its people, and keep it vulnerable to terror attacks.

Witch-hunting under the guise of piety: This coterie of Modi baiters reminds Silicon Valley entrepreneurs of their moral “responsibilities and obligations” but seems to be oblivious to their own “responsibilities and obligations” as academics, where they are expected to rely on facts rather than manufacture demonology around a leader whose popularity they cannot stomach. So blinded are they by their malevolent prejudice that they can’t tell the difference between hating Modi and hurting India. By calling upon the global community to go for an economic boycott of India and declare it an apartheid state simply because of their hatred of one man, they have more likely been acting as pawns – some of them knowingly and others unwittingly – in the hands of forces inimical to India. The investments that come to India are by no means going to Modi’s pocket.

This is not the first time American academics have crossed the Lakshman Rekha that divides honest, well-meaning criticism from witch-hunting for ideological reasons. They, along with their collaborators in Indian academia, had launched a similar campaign in 2005 addressed to the US government demanding that Modi be denied a US visa because they, not the Indian courts, consider him guilty of “masterminding” the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. The fact that they launched this campaign three years after the riots and only after the Sonia Gandhi-headed Congress came to power indicates whose game they were playing, and whose interests they were serving.

Since the appeal had the backing of well-entrenched hardcore evangelical groups in the US who hate the BJP for opposing conversion drives in India, the US government readily obliged and announced a ban on Modi’s entry from 2005 and till he became prime minister in 2014. They wouldn’t even let him address a video-conference when invited by American universities or NRIs. It is noteworthy that not a single FIR had been registered against Modi at that time (or even till date), and no police station or court had registered any case against him. And yet the US academics began a McCarthy type witch-hunt against a popularly elected chief minister for the simple reason that vested interests in the US and India had failed to defeat Modi politically. They, therefore, began using patently lawless means to dislodge him from power.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the US establishment is uncomfortable with the rise of Modi and the BJP to power. Otherwise such hate campaigns would not have repeatedly emanated from American campuses. A majority of these academics are of Indian origin but the brains behind the whole move are undoubtedly white American. Rabid evangelical organisations are backing and funding anti-BJP hysteria because they find that, unlike the Congress Party, the BJP is unwilling to open up India for large-scale conversions to Christianity.

Absurd charges against Modi: The academics’ claim that Digital India is a Modi conspiracy for citizen surveillance, but are they so disconnected from reality that they are unaware that digitisation pre-dates Modi’s assumption of power as PM?

Digitisation is the magic wand that can help transform the face of governance in India, by making it transparent and more accountable. It is the only way the administration can deliver efficient and speedy services and welfare measures to citizens. The e-governance mantra has been adopted by all major political parties in India due to strong pressure from citizens to move in that direction. India has already lost precious time and fallen behind the rest of the world because leftist trade unions obstructed computerisation for nearly two decades. But now nobody in India is willing to brook delays and obstruction in this regard.

Yes, some of these technologies are bound to be used for surveillance, including crime detection, surveillance of hawala networks, monitoring terror networks and beefing up border security. But no one is complaining in India because people realise that India is among the most endangered countries in the world, thanks to its misfortune of having Pakistan as a next-door neighbour, whose self-declared policy is bleeding India to death through a thousand cuts! If these academics are genuinely bothered about the misuse of digital technologies for violating citizens’ right to privacy, let them first persuade the US to dismantle its global snooping systems. They rest of the world, including India, will gladly follow the example.

Incompetents in key posts: The academics also indict the Modi government for appointing incompetent people in key jobs. It is noteworthy that they cannot cite more than three cases. In each

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Madison Square Garden. PTI image

Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Madison Square Garden. PTI image

of these three cases, the Modi government has indeed chosen very incompetent persons to head those institutions. But the list does not stop at these three. Many of us are dismayed that the Modi government has allowed too many incompetents and mischief mongers appointed by the Congress regime to either continue in key jobs or even be elevated to higher posts. These are far more glaring examples because they involve officers who were established cronies of the Congress Party and yet managed to get patronage even under the current regime. But such people don’t rankle the signatories of this ludicrous appeal because they are “secular crooks.”

I am sure there are plenty of such questionable appointments even in American universities. Did people stop investing in the US on that account? The merits of an appointment under any and every regime, in every country of the world, are often questioned and even challenged. This has happened during all regimes in India. But is it their case that before investing in India (and no other country) American investors must scrutinise all government appointments as per the norms set by these self-appointed guardians of academic excellence?

Most important of all, those critiquing the Modi government’s appointments should remember that none of them can beat the unsuitability of Gopa Sabharwal’s anointment as Vice Chancellor of Nalanda University by none other than the venerable Amartya Sen – who is well known to be the intellectual godfather of this academic gang. Gajendra Chauhan is no doubt a poor choice to head the FTII, but Sabharwal is by all accounts even less worthy of the job she was handpicked for in violation of rules, regulations and qualifying criteria. In fact, Sen himself may have been a celebrated economist, but he has earned a lot of ignominy by treating Nalanda as a personal fief, running its affairs through remote control and with little accountability. (Read some of the details here).

Sen’s mismanagement of the affairs of Nalanda caused former President APJ Abdul Kalam, who was the prime mover behind this project, to publicly dissociate himself from it. Sen went around complaining about “political interference in academic institutions” just because the NDA government did not renew his tenure in office when his term ended in July 2015. In fact, Amartya Sen landed this prestigious job only because of nepotism, as he is a personal friend of Manmohan Singh and a leading courtier in Sonia Gandhi’s durbar.

The truth of the matter is that a small coterie of leftist intellectuals and academics have been allowed total monopoly on prized institutions, and have thus come to expect such jobs as their birth right. Whenever this monopoly has been questioned or touched, they rise in outrage and make life hell for whichever regime dares bring in a different set of people. Eminent academics, artists and intellectuals whose credentials are widely respected have been hounded out of their jobs if they do not have the stamp of approval of this intellectually tyrannical coterie. Anyone who dares fall out of line with their agendas and ideological prisms has their careers marred for life.

As far as their charge of government interference in academic institutions is concerned, I wish the Indian signatories to this naïve petition had stayed on in India and launched a determined campaign to free educational institutions from statist controls which were institutionalised when regimes of their choice were in power! Have they forgotten that under CPM rule in West Bengal, leave alone a professor’s job, one could not get even a peon’s job without being a card-carrying member of the Communist party? But since these academics chose greener pastures for themselves, let them not waste their precious efforts fretting about the sorry fate of our educational institutions, for the rot began with the Congress party, which ruled India for over five decades. The Congress institutionalised the idea of political interference in institutions. They can rest assured that many of us in India are committed to changing the rules of the game in favour of academic freedom – a task these worthies failed to undertake when they had a chance to do so

NDA crackdown on some NGOs: The statement in their letter, that Modi’s first year in office has meant “bans and restrictions on NGOs” is product of paranoia. They are crying wolf simply because same of their allies among US-funded NGOs have been issued notices to explain why year after year they have knowingly avoided filing audited accounts for the hefty funds they received from western donor agencies, thus violating income-tax laws and FCRA regulations.

A handful of NGOs have had their FCRA registrations cancelled following enquiries which yielded solid documentary evidence of gross corruption, including siphoning of funds to personal accounts, as well as spending money for purposes that were different from the ones originally stated. The most notorious case is that of a Mumbai-based NGO, whose founders Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand, are great favourites with this clique. These celebrities have been accused of using crores of rupees from a fund collected in the names of the victims of the 2002 Gujarat riots. Teesta and her family allegedly used the money for purchasing personal luxuries, beauty treatments, wine, branded clothes, feasts and foreign travel. It is noteworthy that the investigation into Teesta’s misdemeanors began only after the concerned riot victims filed a police complaint alleging fraud and misappropriation against this NGO. And yet they are being treated as victims of Modi’s wrath!

Is it their case that their favoured NGOs are above the law of the land? Don’t they know how people accused of fraud and non-compliance would have been treated in the US? Yes, Greenpeace has been deprived of FCRA registration. But adverse reports were filed by the Intelligence Bureau against this international NGO under the “secular” UPA regime. In any case, cancellation of FCRA registration only means it cannot receive foreign funds for its political activism. It is free to carry on its propaganda and advocacy campaigns with locally raised resources, as lakhs of NGOs in India do. The FCRA law enacted under the Congress regime mandates that political activity cannot be carried out with foreign funds. Even political parties are banned from doing so. In such a situation, if NGOs indulge in political campaigns for or against this or that party using foreign funds, it cannot by any stretch of imagination be treated as a crackdown on dissent. There is no bar on their activism, provided they abide by the country’s laws like the others. No self-respecting country can allow its politics and economy to be held to ransom by a coterie of organisations propped up by foreign powers, especially those that have a history of harming India’s interests.

As for the charge that Modi’s regime has brought in harassment and censorship of opinions critical to his government, even a casual glance at our newspapers, magazines, TV debates, news programmes and academic writings would show that Modi is under the harshest possible public scrutiny by both media and academia. Some of the criticisms levelled against Modi are well deserved but a good part of it is malicious. Not a single journalist or academic can claim to have suffered on account of Modi bashing. There is only one person in the Modi government who the media chooses not to criticise because he has been their loved one for many long years – much before Modi came to the national scene. The rest in BJP, including Modi, are easy prey!

Then there is the charge of violation of “religious freedom” under the BJP government. This is nothing but a sinister way of painting India as a rogue nation where religious minorities, meaning Christians and Muslims, are under grave threat and being forever massacred. They have mastered the Goebbelsian technique of endlessly repeating lies with vehemence till they acquire the force of truth.

This sustained propaganda has put India on top of the hit-list of jihadi terrorists and created prejudice and fear among global investors. They are thus endangering India by making Islamic terror groups feel justified in executing bomb blasts and other murderous attacks in India. Many among this worthy list had signed similar appeals to Indian voters to prevent Modi from becoming PM, alleging that under his reign India would be engulfed by communal riots and rivers of blood would flow. They are outraged that nothing of the sort has happened. Therefore, they are reduced to gross exaggeration and outright lies by presenting half a dozen minor cases of theft or vandalism of some churches by local hoodlums as proof of the NDA’s anti-minority policy. As per police records, in the same period, over 258 cases of theft and vandalism took place in Hindu temples of Delhi, without evoking any hysteria among Hindus or words of sympathy from the votaries of “religious freedom.”

Whatever be their other faults (and the BJP has many), none of the BJP-ruled states – be it Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan or Chhattisgarh – has witnessed communal riots that became the hallmark of Congress regimes. Even Gujarat, which was the most riot-prone state during Congress rule, became totally riot-free for 12 years after Modi understood and brought under control the forces that had instigated the 2002 killings. Since Modi became PM, communal riots have taken place in states ruled by “secular parties” such as the Samajwadi Party in UP and the Congress Party in Manipur and Assam.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Canada. Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Canada. Reuters

It is no coincidence that this pious group of global conscience-keepers has never lobbied for apartheid or economic boycott of military-dominated Pakistan, a state well known for having decimated religious minorities – Hindus, Christians and Sikhs alike – and promoted the most hostile policies against the minuscule non-Muslim minorities that have survived murders, abductions, tyranny, extortion, forced conversions and lack of full citizenship rights. The Pakistani state doesn’t even spare Muslim sects like Ahmediyyas that are considered heretical by Sunni Muslims. At the time of partition, Hindus constituted over 28 percent of the population in the areas that became Pakistan. Today, Hindus constitute about 1.8 percent of Pakistan’s population and 8.2 percent of Bangladesh’s. By contrast, the population of Muslims in India has grown from 9.8 percent in 1951 to 14.2 percent in the 2011 census. Yet, it is India and not Pakistan that is consistently targeted by these self-appointed guardians of political morality. These worthies have never mobilised world opinion against Pakistan even though, in pursuit of its undying hostility towards India, Pakistan has made itself the fountainhead of global terrorism. Why? Because Pakistan’s regimes have been bankrolled by the US and act as its puppets.

Would these academics dare petition foreign governments to ban the entry of US presidents whose devious political interventions have wrecked numerous countries and caused mass slaughters in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria?

For the n’th time, they have raised yet again the charge that during Modi’s tenure 1,000 Muslims died in communal riots. However, for once they got their figures somewhat close to reality. Earlier they wouldn’t stop at less than 3,000 Muslim deaths. But they deliberately fail to mention that the total number of killings were as follows: 262 Hindus killed, either by Muslims or in police/army firing on riotous mobs, as against 863 Muslims done to death by Hindus or in police firing. Riots have taken place in several states of India under non-BJP regimes. How is it that their heart bleeds only for the victims of the 2002 riots? How come they have never grieved for the 58 Hindu men, women and children who were burnt alive in a train coach at Godhra by a Muslim mob – an incident that triggered off the retaliatory violence? Their harping on Modi’s complicity even after the Supreme Court of India found no evidence against him, after subjecting Modi’s handling of the riots to intense scrutiny for three long years, shows that their motive is not so noble.

Incidentally, the officers of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigative Team (SIT) which grilled Modi and his administration were handpicked with due approval of the professional Modi-baiter, Teesta Setalvad. Yet Modi emerged unscathed. I would feel very privileged if these self-appointed guardians of Indian Muslims would care to challenge and rebut my detailed fact-sheet detailing day-by-day handling of the 2002 riots by Modi’s government, including his public statements. This has been published in my book Modi, Muslims and Media. (It is available on Amazon.com)

I can only conclude by telling the ‘Hate Modi’ Brigade, that the more irrational and malicious their rants against Modi, the more they strengthen public opinion in his defence. The vigorous protest on social media against this petition have not all come from Modi admirers. Many of us who signed the rejoinder to the Silicon Valley petition (read here) are fairly critical of the current functioning of the Modi government. And yet we feel compelled to rise in his defence because the ‘Hate Modi’ campaign has clear ‘Hurt India’ overtones and motivated by the desire to reinstall a scam-ridden regime which has been junked by Indian voters for being venal and harmful for the country.

Those who wish their criticism to be taken seriously have to earn the right by being visibly non-partisan. This includes having the courage to acknowledge the positive aspects and good deeds of the person targeted for scrutiny. There are as many serious lapses being committed by Modi government as there are attempts to improve things. But the petitioners’ blind prejudice is not tempered by reason or a reality check. Therefore, they are only damaging their own credentials and taking attention away from important issues.

The author is a Professor at CSDS and founder of Manushi

Why the Gurgaon police is worried about MSG 2: The Messenger

A post by their Facebook page read: Traffic Advisory for the premier of the film MSG-2 (15-09-2015)

Talk about having an impact. The Gurgaon police actually put up an advisory asking people to take public transport because of the sudden rush that will be caused by Gurmeet Ram Raheem Singh Insaan’s latest release MSG 2: The Messenger. It’s believed that movie’s premier will be attended by over 50,000 people which could congest the city. The movie premieres at Leisure Valley Park at 11 AM and the Gurgaon police took to Facebook to warn the denizens of Gurgaon. (Read: MSG 2 trailer will leave you speechless)<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A post by their Facebook page read: Traffic Advisory for the premier of the film MSG-2 (15-09-2015)Gurgaon has large volume of traffic with Approximately 12 lakh vehicles on Gurgaon roads at a time. Tomorrow i.e. 16.09.2015 for the premier of MSG-2 film starting at 11:00 am, 50,000 or more people are expected to come to Gurgaon. In view of the same, it is a request to all Gurgaon road users, to use buses and other public transport means. Please minimize the use of individual cars to keep the roads congestion free and also avoid travel delays.During this program, Gurgaon Traffic Police has made parking arrangements at Leisure Valley Ground to park vehicles comes from other district or from Gurgaon to watch the premier of the Film MSG-2.Also, since the event is planned at Leisure valley park, it is advised to avoid the following routes – IFFCO chowk, Signature tower, HUDA city center, Westin, Leisure valley and Power Grid area. Request support from all Gurgaon road users, so that inconvenience in minimal. Traffic Advisory for the premier of the film MSG-2 (15-09-2015)Gurgaon has large volume of traffic with Approximately…
Posted by Gurgaon Police on Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Over 150 American academicians support PM Modi’s ‘Digital India’ campaign

“We, the undersigned, as faculty representing diverse disciplines in the American academy, join fellow Americans in welcoming India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to California’s Silicon Valley on his inaugural visit there September 26-27, 2015,” the letter said.

A group of American academicians on Tuesday backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ campaign asserting that it heralds a new era of participatory democracy and enhances transparency, weeks after prominent US-based academics raised privacy concerns over the project.”We welcome, Prime Minister Modi’s support for the Digital India initiative that heralds a new age of participatory democracy and enhances transparency in governance in India, leveling the playing field for vast numbers of India s citizens,” more than 150 American academicians said in a statement.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Signatories include holders of prestigious endowed professorships, deans of schools and educators in engineering, medicine, business and the humanities from many of the most prestigious institutions in the US.”We, the undersigned, as faculty representing diverse disciplines in the American academy, join fellow Americans in welcoming India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to California’s Silicon Valley on his inaugural visit there September 26-27, 2015,” the letter said.”We note that Prime Minister Modi’s visit comes at a transformational moment in a relationship between the two largest democracies in the world representing 1.5 billion people one-fifth of humanity,” it said.In the statement, the academicians recognised the indigenous talents of Indian scientists to develop the infrastructure to effectuate ‘Digital India’ and other initiatives predicated on technological advancements.At the same time, the academicians hoped that Modi will seek partnership with American academic and business leaders with the expertise and experience to ensure that Digital India realizes its potential without imperilling India s privacy laws and individual liberties.”We are encouraged by reports that 170 million new bank accounts have opened, accompanied by government-backed catastrophic insurance, bringing hope to the most needy in India. Tying these accounts into the Aadhar identity document program could give many citizens their first clear symbol of empowerment,” the statement said.The letter comes weeks after over 100 prominent US-based academics, most of them Indian-Americans, said that they were concerned that the Digital India’s potential for increased transparency in bureaucratic dealings with people is “threatened by its lack of safeguards about privacy of information, and thus its potential for abuse”. “We acknowledge that under Prime Minister Modi, India’s civilisational contributions of yoga, spirituality, religious pluralism, art, and music are enjoying renewed patronage and public acceptance globally,” the signatories added.Praising the ‘Clean India’ campaign, they said that as educators, they recognise that India is home to the largest youth population in the world, and success in improving basic facilities at over 400,000 government schools this past year, inspires confidence in Modi’s commitment to education.”We believe that partnerships in Silicon Valley and knowledge exchange with the American academy have the potential to offer solutions in educational entrepreneurship necessary to reach and inspire those 356 million young Indians and prepare them for the 21st century,” they said.Joining several prominent professors of engineering schools, having membership in prestigious societies such as the National Academy of Engineering, Executive Director of the American Society of Engineering Education Dr Norman Fortenberry provided a welcome letter on behalf of the society of over 12,000 engineers and 400 engineering institutions.”We express our hope that your visit will further provide opportunities to enhance partnerships between ASEE member institutions in the US and Indian engineering and technological institutions, which will result in the engineering and technological skills development of the youth of India,” Fortenberry wrote.

NIA to conduct polygraph test on alleged LeT operative from south Kashmir

Bhat (36) was produced before district judge Amar Nath during an in-camera proceeding after the NIA arrested him on September 1.

A special court on Monday allowed a plea by National Investigation Agency seeking permission to conduct polygraph test on Showkat Ahmed Bhat, a south Kashmir resident, accused of transporting Lashkar-e-Taiba militants, who on August 5 ambushed a BSF convoy in Udhampur district in Jammu and Kashmir. The NIA in their application stated that Bhat’s statements have been found inconsistent and that a polygraph test is essential “to expose the larger conspiracy behind the instant terrorist attack.Bhat (36) was produced before district judge Amar Nath during an in-camera proceeding after the NIA arrested him on September 1.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”During the custodial examination of the accused, certain facts regarding larger conspiracy behind the instant terror act which includes but is not limited to the entire network of conspirators, supporters, financers, facilitators and handlers of arrested accused Mohammad Naveed and other co-accused persons came to light which needs to be further verified/ strengthened by conducting the polygraph test of accused person,” the NIA said.The probe agency contended that the inconsistent statements during Bhat’s interrogation have been ‘hampering the leads in the investigation’ into the Udhampur terror attack. The agency told the court that investigation so far has revealed that Bhat was part and parcel of the larger conspiracy hatched by LeT to wage war against the government of India.”The accused possesses the knowledge of intricate details of the conspiracy being furthered by the senior functionaries of the LeT, who are operating from Pakistan and in various parts of State of Jammu and Kashmir,” said the NIA. It also said that Bhat had facilitated Mohamad Naveed, his accomplice Noman and two other LeT militants, identified as Abu Okasa and Zargham, “by transporting them from near the Indo-Pak border till the place of their hideout in district Pulwama (Jammu and Kashmir).”While Noman was killed during the fierce encounter, Naved was captured by a group of villagers whom he had attempted to take as hostages. He was later handed over to the police.While allowing NIA’s plea, the court said that Bhat’s polygraph test will be conducted at Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) at Lodhi Road here on Tuesday.Bhat, a resident of south Kashmir’s Pulwama, is the second driver to be arrested by the NIA. The agency last month arrested another truck driver identified as Khursheed Ahmed who initially was accused of ferrying the militants to Udhampur on two occasions one on July 20 and on August 5, the day of the attack.On August 23 dna had reported that in fact Khursheed was not the driver who had transported the LeT men on August 5. Sources had told dna that the agency was searching for Showkat,and had added that in fact Khursheed was driver who had brought the three men back to the Valley when a third militant, an Afghan National, showed reluctance to be a part of the ‘mission’ which at that time was to take place on August 4.

Jammu and Kashmir police get custody of Masarat Alam for a week

CID produced Alam in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate

A court here on Wednesday remanded senior separatist leader Masarat Alam, who was arrested yesterday, to police custody for a week.CID produced Alam in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Jammu Suneet Gupta who allowed seven days’ police remand of the separatist leader after the police sought time to investigate the cases against him. Alam was arrested on Tuesday soon after his release from high security Kotbalwal jail in Jammu. He was incarcerated at Kotbalwal jail since April 17 for waving Pakistani flags and chanting anti-national slogans during a separatist rally in Srinagar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had quashed Alam s detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) and ordered the government to release him. He has been arrested by CID and taken for questioning. Alam had also been detained for four years in connection with the 2010 summer agitation in the Valley and was released in March this year.His release had created a furore across the country and the issue had figured in parliament with Prime Minister Narendra Modi making a statement on the floor of the House.

Dr Subhash Chandra talks about the 10 commandments to success

Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show is aired every Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7 pm on Zee Business with a repeat telecast on Sundays at 11 am on Zee News and Zee Business.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
The latest episode of Dr Subhash Chandra Show was held live at Aamby Valley in Pune where he addressed 2000 students from Indian International Model United Nations. The students came from 30 different countries. He discussed with them about success and explained that there are no shortcuts to success. He also listed the ten commandments for being successful.Subhash Chandra started the show by asking a poignant question– what is success? He then indulges into a brief interaction with the audience where they tell him what success means to them. “Sometimes it happens in our life that despite all efforts, we see failure. Failure is only a part of success I think. When do you accept failure? It is only when you accept failure. But until you dont accept, there is no failure in anybody’s life,” Dr Subhash Chandra said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Subhash Chandra then went on to speak about the 10 commandments to success. The following are those 10 commandments:1) Be happy and keep every one happy2) Give your best to everything you do3) Be punctual4) Remain alert5) Positive thinking6) Know about your capabilities as well as your weaknesses7) Work on all factors that could lead to your failure8) Only words won’t help you succeed, your actions will help you succeed9) Be honest10) Do not imitate othersWatch the latest episode here:The session was organised as part of the episodes of the Dr. Subhash Chandra Show. Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show is aired every Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7 pm on Zee Business with a repeat telecast on Sundays at 11 am on Zee News and Zee Business. This show is also aired on other channels of Zee Media.

Jammu and Kashmir: Rahul Gandhi takes tea break in separatists’ bastion

Rahul also visited the party headquarters here his first visit there after the last years’ flood

Rahul Gandhi

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday made a surprise visit to Maisuma locality, the hub of separatist protests in the city, near the city centre of Lal Chowk for a tea and snacks break at a local vendor.”Just after leaving the Congress party office (at M A Road here) for airport, Rahul ji expressed a desire to visit Lal Chowk, so the cavalcade made a u-turn at Jehangir Chowk and halted at Maisuma Chowk (near Lal Chowk),” Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) President G A Mir told PTI. At Maisuma, which is the bastion of separatist leader and JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, Rahul walked up to a local vendor at the busy market place, sending his security team into frenzy.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Rahul had tea, pakoras (snacks) and Bakirkhani (local bread) at the vendor. He also bought potato chips and ‘nadrumunj’ (the famous Kashmiri snacks made from lotus stems) from the vendor and took them home,” Mir said.The JKPCC president said Rahul felt very happy after visiting Maisuma. “He was extremely happy and excited,” he said.Earlier, the congress vice-president visited many religious places in the Valley including the revered shrines of Kheer Bhawani and Hazratbal. “Rahul paid obeisance at the temple of Kheer Bhawani (in Ganderbal district), at Hazratbal Shrine (on the banks of the famous Dal Lake here) and at a temple in Ishber Nishat,” Mir said. He said Rahul also wanted to visit the shrine of Makhdoom sahib atop the Hariparbat hillock in downtown Srinagar.”However, the security agencies did not allow the visit at such a short notice,” Mir said.Rahul also visited the party headquarters here his first visit there after the last years’ flood. “He visited the party office and interacted with the party cadre,” Mir said. Rahul, who was on a three-day visit to the state, concluded his tour after his Ladakh visit was cancelled earlier.”The Ladakh visit could not fructify as there was some change in his earlier schedule. Rahul will visit the state again in the coming months and that time he will only go to Ladakh,” the Congress sources said.

On three-day visit to J&K, Rahul Gandhi makes surprise visit to separatist hub

Srinagar: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Friday made a surprise visit to Maisuma locality, the hub of separatist protests in the city, near the city centre of Lal Chowk for a tea and snacks break at a local vendor.

“Just after leaving the Congress party office (at M A Road here) for airport, Rahul ji expressed a desire to visit Lal Chowk, so the cavalcade made a u-turn at Jehangir Chowk and halted at Maisuma Chowk (near Lal Chowk),” Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) President G A Mir told PTI.

File photo. Image courtesy: PTIFile photo. Image courtesy: PTI

File photo. Image courtesy: PTI

At Maisuma, which is the bastion of separatist leader and JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, Rahul walked up to a local vendor at the busy market place, sending his security team into frenzy.

“Rahul had tea, pakoras (snacks) and Bakirkhani (local bread) at the vendor. He also bought potato chips and ‘nadrumunj’ (the famous Kashmiri snacks made from lotus stems) from the vendor and took them home,” Mir said.

The JKPCC president said Rahul felt very happy after visiting Maisuma. “He was extremely happy and excited,” he said.

Earlier, the congress vice-president visited many religious places in the Valley including the revered shrines of Kheer Bhawani and Hazratbal.

“Rahul paid obeisance at the temple of Kheer Bhawani (in Ganderbal district), at Hazratbal Shrine (on the banks of the famous Dal Lake here) and at a temple in Ishber Nishat,” Mir said.

He said Rahul also wanted to visit the shrine of Makhdoom sahib atop the Hariparbat hillock in downtown Srinagar. “However, the security agencies did not allow the visit at such a short notice,” Mir said.

Rahul also visited the party headquarters – his first visit there after the last years’ flood.

Rahul, who was on a three-day visit to the state, concluded his tour after his Ladakh visit was cancelled earlier. “The Ladakh visit could not fructify as there was some change in his earlier schedule. Rahul will visit the state again in the coming months and that time he will only go to Ladakh,” the Congress sources said.

PTI

NIA arrests truck driver who ferried Pakistan militant Mohammed Naved

The driver is said to be an overground operative of the banned LeT.

Information about Khursheed was given by Naved, who is in Srinagar in NIA custody.

NIA on Friday arrested the truck driver who allegedly ferried Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Mohammed Yakub Naved to Jammu on two occasions, including on August four, a day before he and his accomplice ambushed a BSF bus, killing two of its personnel. The driver, identified as Khursheed Ahmed alias ‘Surya’, said to be an overground operative of the banned LeT, is a resident of Awantipura.The NIA sources said Khursheed had taken Naved and his accomplice Mohammed Noman alias Momin to Jammu on July 20 on a reconnaissance mission during which the timings of convoys of BSF and Army were marked. The militants initially wanted to attack either of the convoys then and there but decided against it at the last minute and were ferried back to the Kashmir Valley, officials said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Khursheed, 35, has already served a prison term of two-and-a-half years for alleged drugs smuggling and cases are registered against him for involvement in stone-pelting incidents in 2010 and 2011, they said.Information about Khursheed was given by Naved, who is in Srinagar in NIA custody. The arrest was made by the NIA after receiving the go ahead from the anti-terror agency’s chief Sharad Kumar, who was here to review the progress of the case. NIA was handed over the Udhampur case on August seven, two days after Naved and Momin attacked a BSF convoy killing two personnel. Momin was killed in retaliatory fire.Naved was captured by locals whom he had held hostage.

Dr.Subhash Chandra speaks at world’s largest residential youth conference

Indian International Model United Nations 2015 is the world’s largest residential youth conference.

Taking the Dr. Subhash Chandra (DSC) Show to the next level, Essel Group & ZEE Chairman, Dr. Subhash Chandra, addressed over 3000 students from 30 different nations at the 4th Indian International Model United Nations (IIMUN) at Aamby Valley on Thursday, August 20. IIMUN 2015 is the world’s largest residential youth conference and is run completely by students in the age group of 16-22 years. It provides the youth a platform to voice their opinions by forwarding their drafted resolutions to the United Nations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hosting a mega-episode on the topic ‘There is no shortcut to success’ at IIMUN 2015, Dr. Chandra said, “All of us want to become capable enough to give back to society. To do that, we need to work with passion, purity and patience. Purity, for me, is living in the present. If we do this, our actions are dynamic and we get a positive reaction. Often, when we are working, our minds are distracted by either the past or the future, with the result that the action at that moment is neither pure nor dynamic. Hence, the first key to success is to live in the present.”Elaborating on the topic, Dr. Chandra said, “Sometimes, in our lives, despite our best efforts, we meet with failure. However, failure is a part of success. We feel failure only when we accept it and make it a part of our lives. At times, we need to realize that certain things are not going to be successful and just move on with our lives. Failure, in fact, teaches us more than success.”Dr. Chandra further added, “When we study the success stories of different people, we notice that there are certain qualities like happiness, dedication, punctuality, alertness, positivity, honesty and humility that they all possess. When these important qualities work together, they make the person successful in every sphere of life.”Dr. Chandra’s DSC Show has successfully completed over 50 episodes travelling to various cities across India, including Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida, Kolkata, Jaipur, Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Ghaziabad, Pune, Jalandhar, Chandigarh, Manipal, Gurgaon and now Aamby Valley.The show is aired every week on Saturday at 10 pm on Zee News and 7pm on Zee Business and on Sundays at 11 am on both Zee News & Zee Business. The show is also aired on other channels of Zee Media Corporation Limited.

The shattered calm: In Kashmir, homegrown terrorism rears its ugly head again

Early on Thursday (13 August) morning, blaring sirens shatter the silence on Srinagar’s famous Boulevard Road. As police jeeps and fire tenders scream past the Dal Lake, the traffic stops, shikaras come to a halt and passersby ponder the same question: where have terrorists struck today?

Frequent terror strikes are becoming part of Kashmir’s daily life again. Insurgency is returning to the Valley after four years of uneasy calm, reviving memories of the state’s dark past, making security agencies nervous, locals fearful, separatists excited and early morning headlines ominously gloomy.

On Thursday morning, the racket on the Boulevard was caused by a grenade blast in a mosque near Shopian, Mehbooba Mufti’s home turf 50 kilometres from Srinagar.

Army officials during a search operation in Kashmir. PTI imageArmy officials during a search operation in Kashmir. PTI image

Army officials during a search operation in Kashmir. PTI image

The blast in the Shopian mosque came within hours of two more attacks in the Valley. On Wednesday afternoon, a soldier was critically injured when militants fired at an army patrol passing through the road linking Shopian to Srinagar. And a few hours later, three policemen, one CRPF trooper and a civilian were injured when separatists lobbed a grenade at a temporary checkpost Srinagar’s Khanyar area.

Meanwhile, Pulwama district in South Kashmir has been shut since Tuesday to protest the death of two militants and a civilian in firing by security forces. The militants, both local youth, dragged the army into a 19-hour gun battle, forcing security agencies to deploy choppers in South Kashmir for the first time since 1991.

Within hours of the death of militants, hundreds of Kashmiris spilled out on the streets, chanting pro-freedom slogans and pelting stones on government forces. A local youth was killed in retaliatory fire by security forces, further incensing the people and stoking more violence.

New Militancy Ominous Signs, says an editorial (August 12) in Kashmir Observer, pointing at the frequency of terror attacks in the state and their coverage in local media.

“This resurgence of violent news comes as a chilling echo to the nineties when violence was the staple of the media coverage about Kashmir,” the newspaper says.

Adjacent to the editorial is former CM Omar Abdullah‘s warning to the state government. In a signed article, Abdullah says: “Terrorism once again reared its ugly head in J&K this week with an attack on a bus of the BSF, killing two jawans and injuring many more. In this case, the worrying factor was the location of the attack–south of Jawahar tunnel on the National Highway in the Udhampur area. This was an area that had been freed of militancy and hadn’t seen an attack in a decade.”

There is another worrying trend. The attacks this year are being executed by home-bred terrorists and not by infiltrators from across the border.

“For the first time in decades, local militants have outnumbered foreigners. Out of the 142 active militants in the Valley, 88 are locals. In 2014, according to an army estimate, 70 local youth joined the militancy, the highest in many years, with most of them joining the LeT,” reports the Kashmir Monitor.

According to the army, the number of fresh recruits could be over 40 this year, slightly more than the preceding years.

“Yes, to that extent there is an increase and it is something of a concern,” General Officer Commanding of Srinagar-based 15 Corps Lt General Subrata Saha told the press at a function on Tuesday.

Fear of the government forces is also diminishing. A few days ago, TV channels and newspaper photographs showed several youth in camouflage fatigues openly waving ISIS flags and chanting jihadi slogans.

“They were all new recruits and seemed completely relaxed in this new avatar. Their confidence is evinced by the fact that only one amongst them bothered to hide his identity behind a handkerchief,” says Abdullah.

Sardar Surendra Singh Channi, a general secretary of the state Congress, has witnessed the peak of insurgency in Kashmir. A resident of Tral, locally referred to as Kandahar by virtue of being the favourite hideout of terrorists in south Kashmir, Channi is on the hitlist of insurgents since he defied a poll boycott and contested the 1996 assembly elections. He still lives in a high-security zone in Kashmir and moves around with a police escort.

“At the peak of militancy, almost every village in Tral had a few militants. The numbers went down after 2000. But they are going up again. Just a day ago, two engineering graduates from my village joined a militant group,” he says.

Channi argues that terror sympathisers had gone underground because of the diminishing influence of terrorists. But now that militants have begun to strike again, some of the hidden sympathisers are resurfacing.

“Every successful strike acts as a recruitment drive,” says Channi.

At the moment, most of the new attacks and recruits are being reported from Pulwama, Tral, Shopian and Kulgam in south Kashmir.

The situation could have been worse but for the tight security on the border. Indian forces have successfully choked the supply lines to local terrorists from Pakistan, depriving them of weapons and money. Desperate militants now try to snatch weapons from local police and army personnel. Get a weapon, become a member, has, thus, become the new catchline of terror organisations.

Udhampur attack: NIA shifts captured terrorist Naved to Delhi from J&K

Jammu: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday shifted Udhampur terror attack accused Muhammad Naveed alias Usman to New Delhi from Jammu and Kashmir.

“A special team of the NIA, headed by senior superintendent of police Atul Goel, shifted the accused today (Thursday) to New Delhi in a BSF helicopter,” police sources told IANS in Jammu.

The NIA obtained a 14-day remand for the custodial interrogation of the accused from a special NIA designate court in Jammu on August 10.

Image courtesy: PTIImage courtesy: PTI

Image courtesy: PTI

“NIA Director General Sharad Kumar reviewed the progress of the case during his two-day visit here. The DG was also present during one questioning session of the accused,” sources said.

Naveed and another terrorist had attacked a BSF bus on August 5 at Narsu Nallah in Udhampur district, killing two troopers and injuring 11 others.

While Naveed’s accomplice was killed in the gunfight with BSF troopers, he managed to escape to Samroli, 15 km from the attack site on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. He later took three people hostage in a house in Chirdi village.

The Lashkar-e-Toiba terrorist was, however, overpowered by his hostages and handed over to local police.

The NIA team brought Naveed to the Valley last week to establish his terror links.

The NIA rounded up around a dozen people who allegedly sheltered the terrorist and facilitated his passage from the Valley to the terror attack site.

A local businessman, alleged to have given Rs.5 lakh to Abu Dujana, the LeT mastermind of the Udhampur attack, is still absconding.

IANS

Udhampur terror attack: NIA to take over probe, question captured Pakistani terrorist

The investigation of the Udhampur terror attack will be handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) who are expected to reach Jammu on Thursday. The team will interrogate the terrorist who was captured on Wednesday in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir.

The investigation of the Udhampur terror attack will be handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) who are expected to reach Jammu on Thursday. The team will interrogate the terrorist who was captured on Wednesday in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir.On Wednesday, two BSF jawans were martyred in a gun battle where a militant was shot dead. Usmani aka Mohammed Naved Yakub, the lone captured terrorist after the first round of investigation said that he hailed from Faisalabad, Pakistan and had been on Indian soil for the past 12 days.Usmani had earlier made an attempt to enter the Kashmir Valley two months ago but retreated as he could not make any headway only to return a few days later from Baramulla successfully.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also read: Udhampur attack: BSF jawan Rockey stood like a rock against militants in Jammu and KashmirDuring interrogation, Usmani aka Naved disclosed that he along with four other terrorists had entered Kupwara district in the Kashmir Valley two months ago on a similar terror mission but had crossed back into Pakistani occupied-Kashmir because they could not make headway.Later, he along with three others had entered through Baramulla area by cutting the fencing. During interrogation, he said that he had stayed at Tangmarg and Baba Reshi and shifted their base to Awantipura Pulwama where he remained inside a cave located on a hill side.He had undergone two types of training with Lashker-e- Taiba terror group, it said.A resident of Ghulam Mustafabad (Faisalabad) in Pakistan, Naved, believed to be in early 20s, has two brothers and one sister. One of them is a lecturer while the other runs a hosiery business.

Udhampur attack: Captured terrorist identified as Naved from Pakistan

The lone terrorist captured after the attack on BSF convoy in Udhampur had made an attempt to enter the Kashmir Valley two months ago but retreated as he could not make any headway only to return a few days later from Baramulla successfully.

LeT terrorist Mohammed Naved Yakub

The lone terrorist captured after the attack on BSF convoy in Udhampur had made an attempt to enter the Kashmir Valley two months ago but retreated as he could not make any headway only to return a few days later from Baramulla successfully.Official sources here identified him as Mohammed Naved Yakub, son of Mohammed Yakub from Faisalabad in Pakistan, who had entered Kupwara in North Kashmir last month in the company of four other terrorists but had to return as their guide did not turn up to receive them.During interrogation, Naved disclosed that he along with four other terrorists had entered Kupwara district in the Kashmir Valley two months ago on a similar terror mission but had crossed back into Pakistani-occupied-Kashmir because they could not make headway.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Later, he along with three others had entered through Baramulla area by cutting the fencing. During interrogation, he said that he had stayed at Tangmarg and Baba Reshi and shifted their base to Awantipura-Pulwama where he remained inside a cave located on a hill side.The group split into two and he along with Noman moved to Kulgam in South Kashmir from where they boarded a truck to Jammu yesterday. They got down at Udhampur after staying at Patnitop for night.During today’s action he fired two magazines at the BSF convoy before fleeing and taking three villagers hostage, who overpowered him and captured him, according to a report submitted to Home Ministry. He had undergone two types of training with Lashker-e- Taiba terror group, it said.A resident of Ghulam Mustafabad (Faisalabad) in Pakistan, Naved, believed to be in early 20s, has two brothers and one sister. One of them is a lecturer while the other runs a hosiery business.Naved identified the fellow terrorist killed on Wednesday in the retaliatory fire by BSF as Noman alias Momin, who hailed from Bhawalpur in Pakistan.The duo carried out an attack on a BSF convoy at Simroli near Udhampur killing two constables. In the gun fight, Noman was killed while he managed to escape before being nabbed by the Village Defence Committee members, they said.

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