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Jammu & Kashmir

40 killed in terror attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama district of J&K

At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and an equal number suffered injuries when terrorists attacked a convoy of vehicles carrying security forces with a car bomb at Awantipora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
 
40 CRPF men killed in blast in J&K
At least 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and an equal number suffered injuries when terrorists attacked a convoy of vehicles carrying security forces with a car bomb at Awantipora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday.
 
According to initial reports, it appeared to be a suicide attack in which a Mahindra Scorpio sports utility vehicle (SUV) with about 350 kg of explosives rammed into the convoy of about 78 vehicles transporting about 2500 CRPF personnel from Jammu to Srinagar.
 
About 13 of the injured CRPF men were said to be in a critical condition and were rushed to the Army hospital in Srinagar, official sources said.
 
Officials said the exact number of those killed and injured as well as other details of the incident would take some time to ascertain. However, a senior official told a news agency that at least 40 CRPF men had died.
 
Reports reaching here said terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the attack. 
 
Official sources said terrorists triggered the explosion around 3.30 pm when the convoy, which had left Jammu in the early hours of today, was passing through the Goripora area on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, about 30 km short of Srinagar.
 
Television pictures from the scene showed that one of the buses, which bore the brunt of the explosion, was completely destroyed in the massive explosion.
 
According to preliminary information, the explosives-laden car was driven by a local youth. But officials said they were trying to verify this and other details, including the manner in which the attack was carried out. Senior officials of the Jammu and Kashmir Police and the CRPF had reached the scene and were carrying out investigations into all these aspects.
 
"Attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs. May the injured recover quickly," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"Spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh Ji and other top officials regarding the situation in the wake of the attack in Pulwama," he added.
 
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Rajnath Singh said the "dastardly attack" was extremely painful and disturbing.
 
"I bow to each and every CRPF jawan who has sacrificed his life in service to the nation. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured.
 
Mr. Rajnath Singh spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, the Director General of CRPF and the Home Secretary about the attack. They have apprised him of the situation.
 
The Home Minister has cancelled a scheduled visit to Bihar tomorrow. The Ministry of Home Affairs is closely monitoring the situation, official sources said.
 
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval is understood to have briefed the Prime Minister about the incident.
 
Mr. Rajnath Singh and Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, who cut short an official visit to Bhutan, will fly to Srinagar tomorrow, the sources said.
 
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) team with forensic experts is being sent to Srinagar to assist the Jammu and Kashmir Police in evaluation of the scene of the crime.
 
The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) is likely to meet here tomorrow morning to discuss the situation.
 
"I’m deeply disturbed by the cowardly attack on a #CRPF convoy in J&K in which many of our brave CRPF men have been martyred and a large number wounded, some critically. My condolences to the families of our martyrs. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured," Congress President Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter.
 
Today's terror strike is said to be the one of the worst on security personnel in Jammu and Kashmir and much worse than the September 18, 2016 incident in which 18 soldiers were killed when a group of four heavily armed terrorists attacked an army administrative base at Uri in Baramulla district near the Line of Control.
 
Ten days later, the Indian Army responded with "surgical strikes" at launch pads across the LoC to prevent Pakistani terrorists positioned there from crossing over into the country and striking at targets in Jammu & Kashmir and other places. While details were not given out, the Army said it had inflicted "significant number of casualties" on the terrorists and those who were trying to support them.
 
For the CRPF, it was the biggest loss of men after the April 6, 2010 attack in which 75 personnel were killed in an ambush on their vehicle by left-wing extremists in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh.
 
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Hundreds attend slain journalist Shujaat Bukhari's funeral

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of English daily "Rising Kashmir" Shujaat Bukhari in his ancestral hometown of Kheeri in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.
Shujaat Bukhari
Shujaat Bukhari
Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of English daily "Rising Kashmir" Shujaat Bukhari in his ancestral hometown of Kheeri in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.
 
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, state Public Works Minister Naeem Akhtar, senior Congress leader Saifuddin Soz, local journalists and other members from all sections of society attended the funeral.
 
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was also present in Kheeri.
 
Three motorcycle-borne militants killed Bukhari and two of his security guards as he was getting into his car in Srinagar's Press Enclave area at around 7.15 p.m. on Wednesday to reach home in time for Iftar.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Senior Kashmiri journalist Shujaat Bukhari shot dead in Srinagar

Senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of English daily "Rising Kashmir" Shujaat Bhukhari was on Thursday shot dead by militants outside his office in Srinagar, police said.
Shujaat Bukhari
Shujaat Bukhari
Senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of English daily "Rising Kashmir" Shujaat Bhukhari was on Thursday shot dead by militants outside his office here, police said.
 
State police chief S.P.Vaid said that it was around 7.15 p.m., the Iftar time, that Bukhari came out of his office in Press Enclave and was getting  into his car when he was attacked by militants.
 
"Three motorcycle-borne militants came and fired at Bukhari and his guards. Bukhari and one guard were killed and another security guard critically injured," he said.
 
The killing drew wide condemnation from politicians across India and media organisations.
 
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said: "Shocked & deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family." 
 
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in a tweet, recited the Muslim prayer on hearing about a Muslim's death, and said: "Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat & May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time."
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed it an "act of cowardice".
 
"The killing of @RisingKashmir editor, Shujaat Bukhari is an act of cowardice. It is an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir. He was a courageous and fearless journalist. Extremely shocked & pained at his death. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family," he said on his Twitter handle.
 
The Congress said it was anguished, with party President Rahul Gandhi terming Bukhari "a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace".
 
"He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu and Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed," Gandhi said in a tweet.
 
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "Anguished beyond words. Security situation in J&K has hit its nadir. Demand the Centre to take swift action to nab the killers. They can silence us but not our thoughts." 
 
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday expressed shock.
 
"Saddened and shocked at the brutal killing of respected editor and senior journalist @bukharishujaat. With a few hours to go for Eid this is terrible," Banerjee tweeted.
 
Several journalist bodies condemned the killing and demanded swift action against the forces responsible for his killing. 
 
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Condemning what it called a "dastardly attack", the Editors Guild of India said that Bukhari was "a voice of moderation and a courageous, big-hearted editor who mentored a large cadre of young journalists from Kashmir". 
 
"The guild calls upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir to take urgent steps to bring to book the culprits and ensure safety and security for the media in the state," it said in a statement. 
 
It added that an attack on a journalist challenges the very foundations of a free press and vibrant democracy and more so in a state like Jammu and Kashmir that is going through militancy, and called upon the state and Central government to enhance security for all journalists in the state. 
 
"Recent weeks have also seen threats of violence against many journalists in different parts of the country," it added. 
 
The Press Club of India also "strongly condemned" the killing in the holy month of Ramadan and said that "forces inimical to restoring peace in Kashmir Valley had silenced a voice of reason, logic and peace".
 
"Press Club of India deeply mourns the loss of Shujaat Bukhari's life and extends its condolences to the bereaved family in this hour of crisis," it said in a statement.
 
It added that the "terror attack" showed that lives of journalists were not safe.
 
"Press Club of India has time and again underlined the threat to the lives of journalists working under difficult and challenging circumstances and demanded protection for them," it said.
 
The Indian Women's Press Corps, Press Association and Federation of Press Club of India also expressed "deep shock and outrage at the brazen murder" of Bukhari. 
 
They said that Bukhari was a respected journalist known for his wide range of analytical writings on Kashmir and that he continued to write actively despite the death threats issued to him. 
 
"His murder can only be viewed as yet another attempt to muzzle the media and the freedom of the press in the valley," a joint statement said. 
 
Bukhari started his career as a young reporter with Kashmir Times and moved to The Hindu in the 1990s. Later, he established his own English daily Rising Kashmir.
 
IANS
 
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Senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari shot dead in Srinagar

Senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of English daily "Rising Kashmir" Shujaat Bhukhari was on Thursday shot dead by militants outside his office in Srinagar, police said.
Shujaat Bukhari
Shujaat Bukhari
Senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of English daily "Rising Kashmir" Shujaat Bhukhari was on Thursday shot dead by militants outside his office here, police said.
 
State police chief S. P. Vaid said that it was around 7.15 p.m., the Iftar time, that Bukhari came out of his office in Press Enclave and was boarding his car when he was attacked by militants.
 
"Three motorcycle-borne militants came and fired at Bukhari and his guards. Bukhari and one guard were killed and another security guard critically injured," he said.
 
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed shock at the killing.
 
"Shocked & deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family," she said in a tweet.
 
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also expressed shock at the gruesome murder of this senior Kashmiri journalist. Reciting the Muslim prayer on hearing about a Muslim's death, he said: "Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat & May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time."
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh also expressed shock at the incident.
 
"The killing of @RisingKashmir editor, Shujaat Bukhari is an act of cowardice. It is an attempt to silence the saner voices of Kashmir. He was a courageous and fearless journalist. Extremely shocked & pained at his death. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family," he said on his Twitter handle.
 
The murder also sent shock waves in the media fraternity.
 
IANS
 
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16 trapped in landslide in J&K as authorities issue flood alert in state

At least 16 persons were believed trapped after a landslide buried several houses in the Chadoora area of Budgam district of Jammu & Kashmir on Monday even as the authorities issued a flood alert after incessant rains in the state since Saturday.
 
Water level in Jhelum rises in Kashmir, rescue efforts underway
At least 16 persons were believed trapped after a landslide buried several houses in the Chadoora area of Budgam district of Jammu & Kashmir today even as the authorities issued a flood alert after incessant rains in the state since Saturday.
 
The police and the army, along with the people of the area, have launched a major effort to rescue those feared trapped under the tons of mud in Laiden village of Chadoora area, official sources said.
 
The continuous rains of the past few days have raised fears of a repeat of the devastating floods that hit the state in September last year -- the worst in six decades.
 
But officials said the rain gods had relented a bit today and they were hopeful of an improvement in the situation.
 
However, the Jhelum was flowing close to the danger level in many areas and the authorities have alerted those living on its banks to be vigilant and be prepared to move to safer areas if necessary.
 
Schools have been closed for the next two days as a precautionary measure, they said.
 
In New Delhi, the Ministry of Home Affairs said it was in touch with the state government and closely monitoring the situation of increasing water levels in the Jhelum. No breach of embankment has been reported, it said.
 
'However, as a precautionary measure, to assist the state government authorities, two teams of NDRF have been deputed and another four teams kept stand-by. 
 
"The state government has been asked to indicate the assistance required by them," an official press release added.
 
Officials said they had learnt from last year's disaster and are taking several precautionary steps to prevent a repeat of that kind of tragedy. Boats, sandbags and other facilities are being made available in all the vulnerable areas.
 
In particular, a close watch is being kept on the embankments of the river, which had suffered breaches at many places last year and which were not plugged fully yet.
 
"There is no reason for panic, but we have asked the people to be alert," the officials said.
 
Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed went around some parts of Srinagar to take stock of the situation.
 
Meanwhile, with the meteorological department forecasting more rains over the next few days, the civil administration has reached out to the Arm for rescue and relief efforts in Srinagar and Pulwama districts.
 
The Army is keeping a close watch on the situation and 20 columns with rescue boats and other equipment have been kept on alert.
 
An official spokesperson said the Army was assisting the civil administration in flood control measures in Baramulla since yesterday and a relief operation is under progress in South Kashmir to rescue people trapped in collapsed houses. 
 
Army engineers are also undertaking strengthening of identified weak spots on the bunds of Jhelum river near Sonwar in Srinagar. 
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh discussed the situation in the state with Mr Sayeed and assured him of full Central assistance to tackle any eventuality.
 
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A meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) was held here today under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary, Ajit Seth to take stock of the situation and to review the arrangements made or required to be made to deal with it.
 
The meeting was attended by the Secretaries and other senior officers of the relevant departments of the Government of India. The Chief Secretary of Jammu & Kashmir and other officers of the State Government participated through video conferencing. 
 
The Chief Secretary gave an account of the ground situation indicating that the Jhelum is flowing above the danger mark at certain places and as a result, flood alert has been issued by the State Government.
 
He said the State Government was geared up to deal with the situation and all steps had been taken to safeguard life and property from the flood waters. They have adequate sand bags and river bank reinforcement material. As a precautionary measure adequate quantities of rice, potable water and medical supplies are being stocked at various locations. There is no shortage of various types of fuel as there is a minimum stock level of all varieties of fuel for 10 days. 
 
The National Highway 1-A between Jammu and Srinagar, which is blocked due to landslides, is likely to be cleared for vehicular traffic later today.
 
Mr Seth reviewed the preparatory arrangements made to handle the flood situation and issued necessary directions to all departments of the Government of India to provide all possible assistance to tide over the crisis. 
 
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Centre not consulted, informed: Modi tells Lok Sabha on Masarat Alam's release

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the Lok Sabha on Monday that the Centre was not consulted or informed by the Jammu & Kashmir government on its decision to release separatist Masarat Alam and made it clear that he shared the anger of the house on the issue.
 
Modi says Centre not consulted on Masarat Alam release
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today told the Lok Sabha that the Centre was not consulted or informed by the Jammu & Kashmir government on its decision to release separatist Masarat Alam and made it clear that he shared the anger of the house on the issue.
 
"There is outrage in the house and outside and I would like to add my voice to that," he said after the Congress and other Opposition parties raised the issue, demanding a statement from the Prime Minister clarifying the Government's position on Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed's decision.
 
Mr Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is a partner of Mr Sayeed's People's Democratic Party (PDP) in the J&K government.
 
"This country, on the issue of separatism, terrorism, does not think in partisan terms and will not do even now," he said, noting that the house had expressed its outrage in one voice today.
 
"I wish to assure the house, the people of the country that whatever steps, decisions have been taken in Jammu & Kashmir, were not taken in consultation with Government of India  and they were done without informing the Government of India," he said.
 
He urged members not to politicise the issue, though he acknowledged that they had the right to criticise the BJP as a partner in the J&K government.
 
"But let us not speak in different voices on issues related to national security, let us not give that message to the world or to Jammu and Kashmir or to the rest of the country.
 
"That is why I would like to assure the house and the entire country that this government will not accept any such steps. We do not approve of any compromise with the unity and integrity of the country," he said.
 
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"Decisions can be taken only within the limits of the Constitution, now and in the future also," he said.
 
Mr Modi said it was wrong to suggest that he was staying silent on the issue because he had spoken about such issues only a few days ago in the house.
 
"We are those people, who for these principles, had sacrificed the life of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee. Therefore, kindly do not give us lessons in patriotism," he told the Opposition.
 
Mr Modi said the Centre had sought some clarifications from the state government on the decision and would provide more information to the house as and when they are received.
 
"This is not the anger of any one party, but of the entire country...not of those benches or these benches, it is of the entire house," he said.
 
"And in one voice, we want to convey to separatist forces, their supporters and those who misuse the law, our outrage. This house is committed to the unity and integrity of the country and the government will take all the steps needed in this regard," he added.
 
The Congress was not fully satisfied with Mr Modi's statement, suggesting that, if he felt so strongly about it, the BJP should withdraw its support to the PDP.
 
Earlier, Mr Rajnath Singh said the Home Ministry had sought a report from the J&K government on the release of Alam and some clarifications.
 
He said that, after receiving the clarifications, the Centre would take appropriate steps in the matter.
 
Alam, 44, had been arrested by the previous Omar Abdullah-led government in J&K in 2010 for his alleged role in fanning trouble during street protests, in which more than a hundred people had died. He was released on Saturday from the Baramullah jail, within days after Mr Sayeed assumed office.
 
The PDP has justified the release, saying it was part of its efforts for reconciliation and that the government could not engage with separatists and bring them into the mainstream when they were in prison.
 
Mr Sayeed had caused the BJP some embarrassment within hours of being sworn in on March 1 when, addressing mediapersons, he thanked "people from across the border", which was taken as a reference to Pakistan and militants -- for allowing the smooth conduct of the recent Assembly elections in the state.
 
The Congress and other parties had raised a similar ruckus on the issue in the Rajya Sabha, too.
 
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10 injured in grenade attack in J&K's Pulwama

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At least 10 people were injured in a grenade blast in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama town on Tuesday, police said.
 
Police sources said militants hurled a grenade at Pulwama police station, but it exploded outside the compound wall, injuring 10 people, three of them critically.
 
"Three critically injured civilians have been shifted to hospital in Srinagar for specialised treatment. The area has been surrounded for searches," a police source said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 

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2 killed, 5 injured in J&K river rafting accident

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Two people were killed and five others injured on Tuesday in a rafting accident in Lidder river in Jammu and Kashmir's Pahalgam hill station.
 
Tourism Department officials said the injured had been shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment.
 
Officials clarified that the accident had nothing to do with the rafting championship being held in Lidder in the memory of Rouf Ahmad Dar, who died while saving five tourists during a rafting accident on June 1, 2019.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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4 soldiers lost in one day, as key Pulwama attack man killed

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The Indian Army on Tuesday killed yet another militant linked to the Pulwama attack that took away the lives of 40 CRPF troopers earlier this year. Despite losing four soldiers in the past 24 hours in Jammu and Kashmir, the Army was successful in killing the Jaish man whose car was used in the February 14 attack.
 
The Jaish-e-Muhammad militant was killed on Tuesday in a gun fight with the security forces in the Anantnag district, police said.
 
Sajad Ahmad Bhat, whose car was used in the suicide bombing in the Lethpora area of Pulwama which killed 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers and put the two neighbours -- India and Pakistan -- on the brink of a major showdown, was among the two militants killed in Waghama.
 
"Sajad Ahmad Bhat alias Afzal Guru had joined militancy days before the Lethpora terror attack. He belonged to Marhama village," police sources added.
 
A soldier was also killed and two others injured in the Waghama gunfight, the police said.
 
Besides two soldiers, brought to the hospital with severe contusions/ concussions after the Arihal village IED explosion on Monday) also succumbed to their injuries while undergoing treatment in 92 Base Hospital on Tuesday, Defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said. 
 
The fourth one to die was Major Keran Sharma belonging to Meerut Cant (Uttar Pradesh) who died on Monday in the gunfight in Bidoora village of Anantnag.
 
The number of injured soldiers during this period has gone up to 22, police said. Two soldiers were injured during the Waghama gunfight while 19 were injured in Monday's IED attack on military vehicle in Arihal village of Pulwama district.
 
IANS
 

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Major, militant killed, three soldiers injured in J&K gunfight

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An Indian army major and a militant were killed and three soldiers including another major injured in a gunfight between security forces and militants in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district on Monday.
 
Earlier, police sources had said two militants had been killed in the gunfight in Bidoora village of Anantnag and their bodies recovered, but now say that that only one militant's body was recovered from the site.
 
"An army officer was killed and three other soldiers including an officer were injured in the gunfight that ended Monday evening.
 
"The injured army soldiers have been shifted to army's base hospital in Srinagar city," a police officer said.
 
Police sources said a major, critically injured during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village, died while being taken to hospital.
 
"The army officer, critically injured during fresh firing exchanges at the gunfight site, succumbed while on way to the hospital," a source said.
 
The gunfight broke out as personnel of the Rashtriya Rifles and the Special Operations Group of state police surrounded the Bidoora village in Achabal area following information about the presence of militants there.
 
The body of the slain militant has been recovered and his identity is being ascertained, a police officer added.
 
IANS
 

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Nine soldiers injured in IED attack on army patrol in J&K

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Nine soldiers suffered minor injuries after militants attacked an army vehicle with an improvised explosive device (IED) in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on Monday, officials said.
 
"A failed attempt was made to attack a mobile vehicle patrol of 44 Rashtriya Rifles with a vehicle-based IED while the army patrol was moving in the general area of Arihal in Pulwama on Monday evening," defence spokesman, Col. Rajesh Kalia told IANS. 
 
"Troops all safe. Few minor injuries. Reports of attack on an Army convoy are unfounded and baseless," he added.
 
Police sources said nine soldiers had suffered injuries in this explosion and have been shifted to army's base hospital in Srinagar city.
 
With reinforcements of security forces immediately reaching the explosion site, the area has been cordoned off and searches are in progress, officials said.
 
Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal village. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck. 
 
Caspers are landmine proof vehicles used by the Indian Army in the militancy-prone areas of Jammu and Kashmir to avert damage to the troops during convoy movement. They usually move ahead of the convoy to avert the threats posed by landmines.
 
IANS
 

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Two militants killed in J&K gunfight

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Two militants were killed and three soldiers, including an Army officer, injured on Monday in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, police said.
 
"The three injured have been shifted to a hospital and some militants were still engaged in the ensuing gunfight," the police said.
 
The gunfight took place after personnel of the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) and Special Operations Group (SOG) of state police personnel surrounded the Bidoora village in Achabal area following information about the presence of militants.
 
The bodies of the slain militants have been recovered. Their identities are being ascertained, the police added.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Three civilians injured in Pakistan firing on LoC

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Three civilians were injured as the Pakistani army violated the ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district on Sunday, police said.
 
The three, including two girls, were injured in Pakistani firing in Kirni, Qasba and Bandi Chechian areas of Poonch.
 
"The injured civilians have been shifted to hospital where attending doctors said they are out of danger," police said.
 
Indian and Pakistan troops traded heavy fire on the LoC in Poonch after the Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked shelling and firing on Indian positions, Defence Ministry spokesman, Lt Col. Devender Anand, said.
 
Pakistan army targeted Indian positions in Kirni, Qasba and Mendhar areas in Poonch and the Indian positions retaliated effectively, he said.
 
IANS
 

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Indian, Pakistani troops in heavy gunfight on LoC

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Indian and Pakistan troops traded heavy fire on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district on Sunday, defence sources said.
 
The sources said that the Pakistan army violated LoC ceasefire by resorting to unprovoked shelling and firing on Indian positions.
 
"Pakistan army targeted Indian positions in Kirni, Qasba and Mendhar areas in Poonch. Indian positions retaliated effectively," a defence source said.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Gunfight between militants and security forces in J&K's Pulwama

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A gunfight started on Friday between the security forces and holed-up militants in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district, police said.
 
Acting on specific information, the security personnel began a cordon and search operation in Graw-Bandina village of Awantipora earlier in the day when the hiding militants started firing.
 
This triggered the encounter that is still underway, police said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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CRPF trooper killed, 6 injured in Anantnag militant attack

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A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper was killed and six others, including five security personnel and a civilian, were injured in a militant attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district on Wednesday afternoon.
 
Police sources said two masked militants in a car attacked a joint party of local police and the CRPF in K. P.Road area of Anantnag.
 
"One CRPF jawan was killed in the attack while six others, including five security men and a civilian, were injured. The injured security personnel also included one Station House officer (SHO).
 
"The militants have been engaged in a sustained encounter at the site of the attack. Firing exchanges are on. Reinforcements have been rushed to the spot," police sources said.
 
IANS
 

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I-T raids on Srinagar Deputy Mayor's businesses

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Close on the heels of raids by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) at the corporate headquarters of J&K Bank in Srinagar, of the Income Tax (I-T) Department on Tuesday raided 10 business premises of Srinagar Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran who owes Rs 120 crore to the bank.
 
Informed sources said the I-T officials raided eight business premises of Sheikh Imran in Srinagar and Jammu and one each in Delhi and Bengaluru.
 
Twenty three accounts related to Sheikh Imran's business enterprises -- collectively known as Kehwah group -- have been declared as non-performing assets (NPAs) by the Bank.
 
Pervez Ahmed, the ousted chairman of J&K Bank, is alleged to have granted loans to habitual defaulters and subsequently given huge remissions to such beneficiaries as 'bad debts'.
 
Interestingly, some of the beneficiary business units given huge amounts of remission as 'sick units and bad debts' have been publishing certified balance sheets showing profits.
 
The I-T raids carried out today are part of the cleansing operation involving J&K Bank's functioning, informed sources said.
 
In the past, RTI applications seeking details of bad debts, granting of loans way beyond the requirement of business concerns and other irregularities have been brushed aside by the Bank authorities asserting that J&K Bank does not fall under the purview of the state's RTI Act.
 
IANS
 

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J&K: Two AGH militants killed in gunfight in Shopian

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Two local militants belonging to Ansar Ghazwatul Hind (AGH) outfit were killed on Tuesday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district.
 
Police sources said the bodies of two slain militants have been recovered along with their weapons from the encounter site in Awneera village of Zainapora area in Shopian district today.
 
"The slain militants have been identified as Shakir Ahmad of Shopian and Sayar Bhat of Kulgam district...Both of them were affiliated with AGH outfit," police sources said.
 
Zakir Musa, the chief of AGH outfit was killed by the security forces in a gunfight in Tral area of Pulwama district on May 24 this year. Before he became the first militant commander to head AGH, Musa had succeeded Burhan Wani, the Hizbul poster boy of homegrown militancy in the Valley.
 
Burhan was killed on July 8, 2016 in a gunfight in Kokernag area of Anantnag district.
 
"Firing exchanges have now stopped, but searches are still going on at the gunfight site.
 
"Security forces started a cordon and search operation in Awneera village of Shopian district yesterday evening following information about some militants hiding there.
 
"When challenged today morning, the hiding militants opened fire, triggering an encounter in which two militants were killed," police sources said.
 
As a precautionary measure authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in Kulgam and Shopian districts.
 
IANS
 

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Life term for mastermind, 2 others in Kathua rape-murder case

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A Special Court in Pathankot on Monday convicted six people for the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua last year. It pronounced life imprisonment of 25 years for three -- temple priest and mastermind Sanji Ram, Deepak Khajuria and Parvesh Kumar.
 
Investigating officers Raj and Dutta, and Special Police Officer Surinder Kumar were sentenced to five years in jail for destroying crucial evidence in the case. 
 
Sanji Ram's son Vishal was acquitted due to lack of evidence, but the fate of his minor nephew, the eighth accused in the case, will be decided by the juvenile court.
 
His trial is yet to begin as a petition to determine his age is awaiting judgment in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
 
Pathankot District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh announced the verdict in open court. The in-camera trial in the case ended on June 3.
 
All the six accused can move the High Court against the trial court verdict within one month.
 
Families of the convicted, who were present in the court in Pathankot, some 100 kms from Jammu and 30 kms from Kathua, blamed the media for the verdict. "This is a bad judgment and we are going to challenge it in appropriate court," said a defence counsel.
 
Elaborate security arrangements had been made at the trial court for the verdict because of the high-profile nature of the case.
 
According to the charge sheet, the girl, who belonged to a Muslim nomadic tribe, was kidnapped and held captive at a village temple in Kathua district on January 10, 2018.
 
The 15-page charge sheet against the accused said that the eight-year-old girl was starved, sedated and repeatedly raped in captivity over the next four days before being bludgeoned to death.
 
Her mutilated body was found in a forest on January 17. Three days later, one of the accused -- reportedly a juvenile -- was arrested by the police, the charge sheet said.
 
The abduction, rape and killing of the child were part of a carefully planned strategy to remove the minority nomadic community from the area, it added.
 
The case sparked outrage across the state, forcing the government to hand over the case to the Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police.
 
The case strained relations between the then ruling coalition partners, the PDP and the BJP after two ministers of the latter, Chowdhury Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, participated in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in support of the arrested accused.
 
The Supreme Court later ordered that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir and be heard on a daily basis by the trial court in Punjab's Pathankot.
 
Hailing the judgment, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: "Relieved about the Kathua verdict. Credit goes to the Crime Branch team for ensuring facts came to light despite hindrances. People all across too galvanised support & stood up for this child."
 
IANS
 

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Kathua rape-murder case: Six held guilty

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A Special Court in Pathankot of Punjab on Monday convicted six out of the seven accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua last year.
 
Pathankot District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh announced the verdict in open court. 
 
Those convicted include former revenue official Sanji Ram, Special Police Officers Deepak Khajuria and Surinder Kumar, two investigating officers -- head constable Tilak Raj and sub-inspector Anand Dutta and Parvesh Kumar.
 
Ram's son Vishal was acquitted due to lack of evidence, while an accused juvenile faces a separate trial. His trial is yet to begin as a petition to determine his age is waiting judgement in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
 
Families of the convicted present at the court blamed the media for the verdict.
 
"We are going to challenge the judgment," said a defence counsel, after coming out of the court.
 
The quantum of punishment will be pronounced at 2 p.m.
 
The in-camera trial in the case ended on June 3, following which District and Sessions Judge Tejwinder Singh announced that the verdict would be delivered on June 10.
 
Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place because of the high-profile nature of the case.
 
According to the charge sheet, the girl, who belonged to a Muslim nomadic tribe, was kidnapped and held captive at a village temple in Kathua district on January 10 last year.
 
The 15-page charge sheet against the accused had said that the eight-year-old girl, who was kidnapped on January 10 last year, was raped in captivity in a small village temple in Kathua district after having been sedated for four days before she was bludgeoned to death.
 
She was drugged, starved and repeatedly raped for days. She was finally strangled and her head was bashed in with a rock. Her mutilated body was found in a forest area on January 17. Three days later, one of the accused -- reportedly a juvenile -- was arrested by police, the charge sheet said.
 
The Supreme Court had ordered that the case be shifted out of Jammu and Kashmir and be heard on a daily basis by the trial court in Pathankot.
 
The case had strained relations between the then ruling coalition partners, PDP and the BJP, after two ministers of BJP, Chowdhury Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, participated in a rally organised by the Hindu Ekta Manch in support of the accused arrested by the state crime branch.
 
The rape and killing of the girl had sparked outrage across the state, forcing the government to hand over the case to the Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police.
 
IANS
 

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J&K Bank CMD sacked; office, residence raided by ACB

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In a sudden development, Jammu and Kashmir Bank Chairman and Managing Director Parvez Ahmed was sacked on Saturday and soon after his office and residence were raided by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).
 
There was no official word on the reasons for the sacking of Ahmed, who had been appointed to the post in 2016, or the grounds for the raids.
 
A government order issued on Saturday said: "Parvez Ahmed shall cease to be Director on the Board of Directors of the Bank and consequently be no longer the Chairman-cum-Managing Director of the board.
 
"R. K. Chhibber is hereby nominated as the Director on the Board and may be further appointed as the Interim Chairman-cum-Managing Director."
 
The order, addressed to the company secretary of the bank, comes into effect immediately.
 
Hours later, the sleuths of ACB carried out simultaneous raids at Ahmed's office located in the corporate headquarters of the bank and his residence.
 
The state government owns 59 per cent shares of J&K Bank.
 
This is the only private sector bank designated as the Reserve Bank of India's agent for banking business and carries out the banking business of the Central government besides collecting central taxes for CBDT.
 
The action came six months after the State Administrative Council (SAC), headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik, approved a proposal for treating the bank as a PSU, bringing it under the purview of the Right to Information Act, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) guidelines and the state legislature.
 
The decision came under widespread criticism from mainstream political parties and business and trade groups but the Governor, who is administering the state because of the President's Rule, later said safeguarding the autonomy and operational independence of the institution would remain the key objective of the state administration.
 
He insisted that "nothing new" was being imposed and that transparency was good for the bank in the long term.
 
Malik had said the bank, as a government company, is a public authority under the RTI Act and hence is automatically subject to the transparency provisions of the RTI.
 
"Safeguarding the autonomy and operational independence of the bank is key objective of the administration at all times," the Governor had said.
 
IANS
 

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J&K: Nine killed in Leh road accident

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Nine people were killed on Saturday in a road accident in Jammu and Kashmir's Leh district.
 
Police said the tragedy occured when a truck went out of the driver's control at Lamayuru in Leh district.
 
"The truck plunged into a deep gorge killing nine people who were travelling in the truck. All the killed persons belonged to two families of labourers from Rajasthan", police said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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J&K: JeM militant killed in gunfight in Anantnag

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A Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) militant was killed on Saturday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, police said.
 
According to police sources, the slain militant has been identified as Iqbal Ahmad of Anantnag's Dooru area. The gunfight took place in Nowgam village of Verinag area.
 
"The militant's body has been recovered. Search operation is still going on in the area," the sources added.
 
The gunfight occurred after the militants fired at the security forces who were carrying out a search and cordon operation in the area.
 
"Reinforcements have been rushed to the area to trace the militants," the police sources said.
 
Mobile Internet facility has been suspended in Anantnag as a precautionary measure.
 
IANS
 

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J&K: Three militants killed in Pulwama gunfight

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Three militants have been killed in an overnight gunfight between security forces and holed up militants in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district, police sources said.
 
While one of the militants was killed on Thursday, two others were brought down after the encounter resumed at dawn. Their bodies along with a large cache of weapons were recovered on Friday from the encounter site in Panjran village of Lassipora area.
 
Exact identities and group affiliations of the slain militants were being ascertained, the sources said adding that searches were still underway.
 
The operation was launched on Thursday on specific information about the presence of a group of militants hiding in Panjran village. 
 
As the cordon around the hiding militants was tightened, they opened fire, starting the encounter.
 
As a precautionary measure, mobile Internet services in Pulwama district were suspended.
 
IANS
 

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Indian, Pakistan security forces exchange sweets on LoC, IB

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Indian and Pakistan security forces on Wednesday exchanged sweets and greetings on the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr.
 
Defence sources said Indian soldiers greeted Pakistan soldiers on the LoC in Chakan Da Bagh area of Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district and the two sides exchanged sweets.
 
The Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers deployed on either side of the International Border in the state's Samba district also had an exchange of goodwill and greetings, BSF sources said.
 
BSF troopers also exchanged sweets with the Rangers counterparts at the Attari-Wagah joint checkpost, some 30 km from Amritsar, in Punjab to celebrate the festival.
 
It is for the first time after Narendra Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India for the second five-year term that security personnel have exchanged greetings with each other.
 
Exchange of greetings and sweets takes place on the Independence Days, national days and festivals like Eid and Diwali.
 
In recent years, both sides have not greeted each other or exchanged sweets on some occasions due to tensions between both countries following ceasefire violations on the Line of Control and the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir or terrorist activities in the state.
 
IANS
 

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