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Jammu & Kashmir

5 security forces personnel, 1 civilian, 3 terrorists killed in Pulwama gunfight

Four Army soldiers, including a Major, a policeman, a civilian and three terrorists were killed in an ongoing encounter between terrorists and security forces in Pulwama in south Kashmir on Monday.

 
5 security forces personnel, 1 civilian, 3 terrorists killed in Pulwama encounter
Four Army soldiers, including a Major, a policeman, a civilian and three terrorists were killed in an ongoing encounter between terrorists and security forces in Pulwama in south Kashmir on Monday.
 
The four Army men killed in the exchange of fire were identified as Major Vibhuti Shankar Dhoundiyal, Hawaldar Sheo Ram, Sepoy Hari Singh and Sepoy Ajay Kumar.
 
The policeman who died in the encounter was identified as head constable Abdul Rashid.
 
Official sources said the identities and affiliations of the killed terrorists were being ascertained. Arms and ammunition had been recovered from the scene, they said.
 
According to the sources, the Jammu and Kashmir Police and security forces launched a cordon and search operation jointly late last night in the Pinglena area of Pulwama after receiving credible inputs about the presence of terrorists there.
 
"As the searches were going on, terrorists from inside the target house fired indiscriminately on the search party," they said.
 
In the initial burst of fire, four soldiers and one civilian sustained critical gun shot injuries. They were evacuated to hospital for medical attention, where the four soldiers and the civilian succumbed to their injuries.
 
"The fire was retaliated by the security forces leading to an encounter. In the ensuing encounter so far, two terrorists have been killed and their bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. The identities and affiliations of the killed terrorists are being ascertained. The encounter is still in progress and the security forces are on the job," the sources said.
 
Later, the police said in an update that a third terrorist and a policeman had also been killed.
 
Police urged citizens not to venture inside the encounter area, pointing  out that it was a prohibited zone and could prove dangers due to stray explosive materials.
 
The police requested people to cooperate with them till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials if any.
 
Today's encounter came just four days after 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed in a car bomb attack on their convoy in Pulwama on February 14.
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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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Minor earthquake jolts Jammu and Kashmir

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An earthquake of slight  intensity, measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale, shook Jammu and Kashmir early this morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 33.3°N and longitude 76.5°E, occurred at 0423 hours at a focal depth 10 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Rajnath reviews security scenario in J&K at high-level meeting in Srinagar

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Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today visited Srinagar to take stock of the ground situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the heinous terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama yesterday, which left about 40 men dead.
 
He laid wreath on the coffins of  martyred  soldiers at the Regional Training Centre of CRPF in Srinagar. 
 
Rajnath Singh was accompanied by Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, DG, CRPF Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar and other senior officials of CRPF and JK Police.
 
Two minutes silence was observed in remembrance of the supreme sacrifice made by the brave soldiers. Later, Rajnath Singh shouldered a coffin in a symbolic gesture and bodies were taken to be handed over to their respective families.
 
The Union Home Minister also visited the Army Base hospital to inquire about the health of five injured soldiers and expressed satisfaction at their speedy recovery.
 
Later, at a high level meeting attended by the Governor, senior security and police officers, the Union Home Minister reviewed the security situation in the state. Senior CRPF officials narrated the details of the terrorist attack on the CRPF convoy. Senior police officials assured that the perpetrators of the dastardly attack would be brought to justice.
 
Rajnath Singh directed them to take all possible measures to enhance IED detection capabilities and undertake additional measures to restrict civilian traffic during troop movement.
 
Before leaving for New Delhi, Rajnath Singh addressed a press conference. He said the whole country salutes the brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice. He said all state Governments have been asked to extend maximum possible assistance to their families.
 
The Union Home Minister said the country is fighting a decisive battle against terrorism unitedly and will certainly emerge victorious. He said the world stands with India and the morale of the security forces is very high.
 
He reiterated that only a miniscule numbers of misguided youth have joined hands with those across the border in their evil design to spread terrorism.
 
Rajnath Singh said these elements are enemies of the people of Jammu & Kashmir. He called for a review of personal security of those  elements who take money from Pakistan's ISI. 
 
The Union Home Minister appealed the  people to maintain communal harmony.
 
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Modi says those behind Pulwama attack would have to pay "a very heavy price"

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the terror outfits that carried out the attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir yesterday in which 40 men were killed, and those aiding and abetting them had made a "big mistake" and would have to pay a "very heavy price" for their actions.
 
"We have given full freedom to the security forces. We have full faith in the bravery and valour of our security forces," he said while speaking to a gathering here before flagging off the Vande Bharat Express between New Delhi and Varanasi from the New Delhi Railway Station.
 
"Let me assure the nation that those behind this attack, the perpetrators of this attack will be punished," he declared.
 
At the outset, Modi paid tributes to the security personnel killed in Pulwama on Thursday.
 
"They have laid down their lives for the country. My heartfelt condolences to the families who have lost their near and dear ones in this hour of grief.
 
"I know there is deep anger, your blood boils looking at what has happened. At this moment, there are expectations and the feelings of a strong response which is quite natural," he said.
 
The Prime Minister hoped that the patriotic fervour would ensure that the people will provide correct information to agencies so that the nation could intensify its efforts to crush terror.
 
"I also understand the sentiments of those who are criticising us. They have full rights. However, it is my request to all my friends that it is a very sensitive and emotional moment and the nation stands united in its fight against terror. We should speak in one voice and rise above politics.The message which should go across the world is that we are one nation, one voice in our fight against terror, the fight which we have to win," he said.
 
"Our neighbour which is already isolated by the global community is in a state of illusion, if it thinks that it can demoralize India with its dastardly acts and nefarious designs," Modi said, without naming Pakistan.
 
"Let me state categorically that it should stop day dreaming to destabilize India.  This neighbour of ours which is in a state of economic despair must know that any such attempt is destined to fail and will be foiled," he said.
 
"Times and again it has been proved that those which follow such routes are destroyed themselves. The course which we have adopted is one of progress and development," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said 130 crore Indians would give a befitting reply to any such act or attack.
 
"Many big countries have strongly condemned this terror attack, have stood behind India and expressed support for India. I am thankful to all these nations and appeal to them to join hands in the global fight against terrorism. The menace of terror can be contained only when the nations are united in the fight against terrorism. 
 
"After Pulwama terror attack, we are in a state of grief as well as deep anger. However, let me tell you, nation will counter such attacks strongly. India will not be intimidated. Our brave soldiers have laid down their lives. The martyrs live for two dreams - for suraksha - safety of the nation and for sammridhi- prosperity of the nation. I salute our martyrs, seek their blessings and assure you that we will leave no stone unturned to fulfil their dreams for which they have laid down their lives for the nation. We will strive hard to gather momentum on the road to development as a mark of our respect to the martyrs," he added.
 
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Pulwama attack: India moves to isolate Pakistan, withdraws its MFN status

A day after 40 CRPF men were killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, the Cabinet Committee on Security met on Friday and decided that India would take all diplomatic steps possible to isolate Pakistan in the international community, saying there was incontrovertible evidence of its involvement in the heinous crime.

 
40 CRPF men killed in blast in J&K
A day after 40 CRPF men were killed in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir, the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) met here today and decided that India would take all diplomatic steps possible to isolate Pakistan in the international community, saying there was incontrovertible evidence of its involvement in the heinous crime.
 
The CCS, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also decided to withdraw the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status accorded to Pakistan in matters of trade.
 
The meeting, held at the Prime Minister's residence, was also attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
 
In a rare media briefing after a CCS meeting, Jaitley said the meeting assessed and discussed the Pulwama attack "in which a large number of CRPF personnel had sacrificed their lives".
 
He said the meeting observed two minutes of silence in memory of the men who had made the supreme sacrifice and placed on the record the gratitude of the whole nation to them. The meeting also conveyed its condolences to the families of the deceased CRPF personnel.
 
He said the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would make detailed arrangements for transporting the bodies of the slain men to their families in different parts of the country.
 
Jaitley said that, after a detailed assessment of the incident, the meeting decided that the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) would initiate all possible diplomatic steps to ensure the "complete isolation from the international community of Pakistan", saying that there was incontrovertible evidence available that it had a hand in the the gruesome incident.
 
He said the MFN status to Pakistan stood withdrawn and the Ministry of Commerce would issue the necessary notification in this regard.
 
Jaitley said the MEA would also engage with the international community to ensure the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism mooted by India at the United Nation.
 
He noted that the convention was pending in the world body for more than three decades now for various reasons, including the inability of member-nations to agree on a definition of the world "terrorism".
 
Jaitley said the security forces would take all possible steps to ensure that full security is maintained in Jammu and Kashmir and elsewhere.
 
They will also ensure that those who had committed and supported the heinous crime would be made to pay a "heavy cost".
 
He said the Home Minister would leave for Srinagar today, accompanied by senior officials of his Ministry and various agencies, for an on-the-spot assessment of the situation. On his return, most probably tomorrow, the Home Minister would convene an all-party meeting to brief leaders of all political parties about the situation.
 
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About 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.
 
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 2,500 CRPF personnel from Jammu to Srinagar.
 
Some 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 Thursday, 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.
 
The Pulwama 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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20 CRPF men killed in terror attack in Pulwama district of J&K

At least 20 CRPF personnel were killed and 40 others 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.

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At least 20 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and 40 others suffered injuries after terrorists attacked a convoy of vehicles carrying security forces with a car bomb at Awantipora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir today.
 
According to initial reports, a Mahindra Scorpio vehicle with more than 200 kg of explosives rammed into the convoy.
 
About 13 of the injured CRPF men were said to be in a critical condition and were rushed to the Army hospital in Srinagar.
 
Reports reaching here said terrorist group Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed responsibility for the attack. 
 
Official sources said terrorists triggered the explosion when the convoy of about 70 vehicles, carrying about 2500 security personnel, was passing through the Goripora area on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. The men were moving from Jammu to Srinagar.
 
Television pictures from the scene showed that one of the buses, which bore the brunt of the explosion, was completely gutted.
 
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.
 
Home Minister 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.
 
"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.
 
Today's terror strike is said to be the worst on security personnel since September 18, 2016 when 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.
 
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Minor earthquake shakes Jammu and Kashmir

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An earthquake of slight intensity, measuring 4.3 on the Richter scale, shook Jammu and Kashmir late tonight, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 35.0°N and longitude 74.1°E, occurred at 2339 hours at a focal depth of 80 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
Earlier, another minor earthquake, measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale, was recorded in the Chandel region of Manipur. The quake, which had its epicentre at latitude 24.3°N and longitude 94.1°E, occurred at 2151 hours at a focal depth of 26 km, the bulletin added.
 
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Magnitude 5.6 earthquake shakes Northwestern Kashmir

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Two earthquakes, including one of moderate intensity, measuring 5.6 on the Richter scale, shook Northwestern Kashmir late on Tuesday night and in the early hours of Wednesday, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The first quake, of magnitude 5.6, occurred at 2217 hours on Tuesday night, with its epicentre at latitude 34.8°N and longitude 74.3°E and a focal depth of 80 km.
 
The second tremor, measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, was recorded at 0241 hours today, with its epicentre at latitude 34.7°N and longitude 74.1°E and a focal depth of 50 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Minor earthquakes shake J&K-Pakistan border region, Himachal Pradesh

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Two earthquakes of slight intensity shook the border region between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan and the Mandi region of Himachal Pradesh late this evening, the  India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
 
The first quake, measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale, occurred in the border region between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan at 1908 hours, with its epicentre at latitude 35.1°N and longitude 74.2°E and a focal depth of 35 km.
 
The second tremor, measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale, occurred at 1933 hours, with its epicentre at latitude 31.7°N and longitude 76.8°E and a focal depth of 15 km, an IMD bulletin added.
 
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Modi lays stone of AIIMS at Vijaipur, launches several other projects in J&K

 
Modi inaugurates several developmental projects in Jammu
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today laid the foundation stones of a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Vijaipur in Samba district and the new terminal building of KBR Airport in Leh beside inaugurating several development projects in Jammu and Leh regions of Jammu & Kashmir. 
 
Inaugurating the 624 MW Kiru Hydroelectric project and 850 Megawatt Ratle Hydro Electric project in Kishtwar, Mr Modi said the new power projects in J&K region will provide employment to the youth.
 
At the foundations stone laying of the AIIMS, he said the facility will provide quality healthcare to the people and address the shortfall of healthcare professionals in the region. He said another 500 seats in the state medical colleges would be added soon. 
 
Inaugurating the University Institute of Engineering & Technology in Kathua, Mr Modi expressed his happiness that the youths from Jammu will benefit from the 10% Economically Weaker Section (EWS) quota. 
 
He also laid the foundation stone for the construction of Northern Regional Centre Campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication at Jammu. The campus, set up in the academic year 2012-13 has been working from a temporary building since then. 
 
Laying the foundation stone for hydro projects in Kishtwar, he said, “New power projects in the region will provide employment to youth”. He also declared 100% electrification of households in the Jammu and Kashmir under the Saubhagya Scheme (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana), a project to provide electricity to all households. 
 
The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone for construction of Transit accommodation for Kashmiri migrant employees in the valley. He announced that the work was afoot to employ displaced Kashmiris in 3,000 posts. 
 
“India will not forget the circumstances in which the Pandits had to leave their homes. The country must stand with those being persecuted in the neighbouring countries,” he added.
 
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Mr Modi laid the foundation stone of the project aimed at reducing pollution of Rivers Devika & Tawi under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP). This project is scheduled for completion by March 2021. 
 
He said 14,000 bunkers have been built along the border for the safety of the soldiers. “While the previous Government tried to hoodwink One Rank, One Pension (OROP) with a grant of Rs. 500 crore, we have allotted Rs. 35,000 crore. Had the former rulers been proactive, Kartarpur Sahib would have been part of India,” he added.
 
Another highlight of the Prime Minister’s visit to Jammu was laying the foundation stone of 1640 metre span double lane bridge over River Chenab at Sajwal. It will provide an alternative route for the population of Sajwal and Indri Pattian reducing the commuting distance from 47km to just 5km. He said Rs 40,000 crore has been sanctioned to improve connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
During his visit to Leh, applauding the crowd at a meeting for braving a chilly winter, he said, “Those who live in difficult situations, they challenge every difficulty. Your affection gives me a great motivation to keep working hard.”
 
Inaugurating the University of Ladakh, Mr Modi said, “Young students constitute 40% of the population of Ladakh. There has been a long-standing demand for a University in this region. With this launch, this demand would be fulfilled.” 
 
This University will be a cluster comprising degree colleges of Leh, Kargil, Nubra, Zanskar, Drass and Khaltsi and will have administrative offices at Leh and Kargil for the ease of students.
 
He inaugurated 9 MW Dah Hydroelectric project in Dah near Datang village and 220 KV Srinagar-Alusteng-Drass-Kargil–Leh transmission system. 
 
Five new tourist and trekking routes in Ladakh were opened as well. “Life gets easier, economically as well once a city is well connected. Once the Bilaspur-Manali-Leh rail line is completed, the distance from Delhi to Leh will be reduced,” he added.
 
He laid the foundation stone of the new terminal building of Kushok Bakula Rimpochee (KBR) Airport in Leh by unveiling a plaque. The new terminal will provide seamless passenger movement with all modern amenities.
 
These projects will ensure better availability of electricity, improved connectivity and thus result in more tourist footfalls in the region. It will also open better livelihood opportunities to many villages.
 
In addition, the Protected Area Permit’s validity has been increased to 15 days. Now tourists will be able to enjoy their journey to Leh for a longer time.
 
He said a few changes have been made in the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Act and the Council have been given more rights concerning the expenditure. Now the Autonomous Council releases the money sent for the region’s development, he added.
 
About the interim budget, Mr Modi said there has been a hike in allocation by 30% for Scheduled Tribes and nearly 35% hike for the development of Scheduled Castes.
 
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Modi to visit Jammu, Srinagar and Leh on Sunday

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Jammu, Srinagar and Leh in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday when he will inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of various development projects. He will also inspect Dal Lake in Srinagar.
 
An official press release said Modi would unveil the plaque to mark the laying of the foundation stones of the new All India Institutes of Medical Science (AIIMS) at Vijaypur and Awantipora.
 
The Union Cabinet had approved setting up of AIIMS at Vijaypur in Jammu and AIIMS at Awantipora in Pulwama, Kashmir. Setting up of the new AIIMS would transform the health care facilities, health education and training in the region, an official press release said.
 
He will also lay the foundation stone for the construction of Northern Regional Centre Campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication at Jammu through the unveiling of plaque.
 
He will also launch the University of Ladakh, which will be the first university in the Ladakh region, established under University of Ladakh Act 2018. It will be a cluster university comprising degree colleges of Leh, Kargil, Nubra, Zanskar, Drass and Khaltsi. The university will have administrative offices at Leh and Kargil.
 
Modi will also digitally launch various projects under the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA). He will lay foundation stone of 54 new Model Degree Colleges, 11 Professional Colleges and one Women’s University in the country.
 
He will inaugurate 16 Model Degree Colleges and 66 Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Career Hubs in the country. He will also lay the foundation stone of three Model Degree Colleges in J&K, at Kishtwar, Kupwara and Baramulla, and the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Career Hub in University of Jammu.
 
The University Institute of Engineering & Technology, Kathua will be dedicated to the nation by the PM. He will then lay the foundation stone for construction of transit accomodation for Kashmiri migrant employees in Kashmir valley through the unveiling of plaque. 
 
The Prime Minister will  declare 100% electrification of households in the State Of Jammu And Kashmir under the Saubhagya Scheme. He will also lay foundation stone of 624 MW Kiru Hydroelectric project in Kishtwar, Jammu Kashmir. It is a run of river project across River Chenab and once completed, the project will generate 2272 million units of electricity annually.
 
He will inaugurate the 9 MW Dah Hydroelectric project. Located in Dah near village Datang, the project is a run-of–the-river scheme, by Jammu & Kashmir State Power Development Corporation Limited.
 
He will dedicate to the nation the 220 KV Srinagar-Alusteng-Drass-Kargil -Leh transmission system. The foundation stone of this prestigious project was also laid by him in August, 2014. 
 
The 400 KV D/C Jalandhar-Samba-Rajouri-Shopian-Amargarh (Sopore) transmission lane will be dedicated to the nation by Modi. The project has augmented the grid connectivity in Jammu & Kashmir.
 
Modi will lay the foundation stone of 1640 m span double lane bridge over River Chenab at Sajwal. The project will provide an alternative route for the population of Sajwal and Indri Pattian. With the completion of this bridge, the distance between Sajwal and Indri Pattian shall be reduced to 5 kms from 47 kms earlier.
 
He will also lay the foundation of the project aimed at reducing pollution of Rivers Devika and Tawi under the National River Conservation Plan (NRCP). Upon completion, the project will have a significant and direct beneficial impact in terms of reduction of pollution load in the two rivers and improvement in their water quality.
 
The Prime Minister will will lay foundation stone of the new terminal building of Kushok Bakula Rimpochee (KBR) Airport in Leh by unveiling the plaque. The new terminal will be a modular, energy efficient and self-sustaining building of 18,985 sq.m.
 
He will then open new tourist and trekking routes in Ladakh. This will offer diverse tourist activities in Ladakh and will result in more tourist flow. It will also open better livelihood opportunities to many villages.
 
Facilities for launch of Rural BPO, Bandipora will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister. This will enhance employment opportunities for the youth in Bandipora and neighbouring districts. He will inaugurate Multipurpose Indoor Sports Facility at Sephora, Ganderbal. The indoor sports facility will be an invaluable asset for the youth of the district Ganderbal, where they will get the chance to play indoor games.
 
In Srinagar, the Prime Minister will interact with students from the states of Assam, Gujarat, Haryana, Odisha, Maharashtra and Telangana. He will also hold an interaction with the newly elected Sarpanches.
 
Modi had earlier visited Jammu, Srinagar and Leh on May 19, 2018 to lay the foundation stone for various infrastructure projects in the state.
 
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Ginger signs its second hotel in Jammu and Kashmir

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Leading budget hotels chain Ginger has announced the signing of its second hotel in Jammu and Kashmir in popular destination Srinagar, the summer capital of the state.
 
Deepika Rao, managing director and chief executive officer, Ginger, said, “We are happy to partner with Mr Habib Ullah Mir to develop this hotel in Srinagar. This will be our second hotel in Jammu & Kashmir, after Ginger Katra.”
 
Ginger Srinagar will have 64 rooms including nine suites. It will also have an all-day diner. 
 
The hotel is located at Barzulla, and is a comfortable drive from the airport and key tourist spots like Dal Lake, Shalimar Bagh, Pari Mahal, Shankaracharya Temple and Jama Masjid, a press release from Ginger said.
 
The hotel is a management contract and is slated to commence operations in 2019, it said.
 
Famed for its snow-capped mountains surrounding the serene Dal Lake, Srinagar is a key leisure market and has been a popular destination on the global traveller’s list. It lies in the Kashmir valley on the banks of the river Jhelum and is known for its vast expanses of greenery, waterfronts and houseboats. 
 
Launched in June 2004, operated under the company name Roots Corporation Limited, Ginger's investors are Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL) and Tata Capital.
 
With the addition of this hotel, IHCL will have four hotels across its brands Vivanta and Ginger in Jammu & Kashmir.
 
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Gadkari inaugurates bridge over River Ravi in J&K

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Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday inaugurated a 1210-metre span-bridge over river Ravi in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
Dedicating the bridge to the nation, Gadkari said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had set a new mark in timely delivery of public goods by completing various projects on or before time.
 
He said that the government was focused on providing corruption-free and transparent governance to the people without compromising on quality. 
 
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik and Union Minister Jitendra Singh were amongst those present on the occasion.
 
The bridge over Ravi  at Keerian-Gandial will benefit over 2,20,000 people living on the two sides – Kathua in Jammu, and Pathankot in Punjab. It will reduce the distance between the two cities from 45 kms to 8.6 kms, which will save on both time and fuel cost. 
 
The Keerian-Gandial bridge has been constructed at a cost of Rs 158.84 crore to improve inter-state connectivity, an official press release said.
 
Gadkari said the national highway (NH) network in Jammu and Kashmir had increased by 969 kms in the last ofur years, from 1695 km in 2014 to 2664 kms in 2019. In addition, four state roads of 400 kms had also been approved, he said.
 
He said the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways is executing 16 projects worth Rs 45,107 crore through NHAI, NHIDCL, State PWD and BRO under the Prime Minister’s special development package (PMDP) for J&K announced on 7th November 2015. Of these, works worth Rs 30,000 crore have already started. NHAI is executing eight projects worth Rs 14,987 crore, NHIDCL/BRO – six projects costing Rs 24120 crore, and PWD – two projects for Rs 6,000 crore.
 
He said two major road corridors are being built in J&K – Jammu-Srinagar and Srinagar-Leh. The Chenani-Nashri tunnel road under the first is the largest highway tunnel in the country. It has resulted in reducing the travel time between Jammu and Srinagar by two and a half hours, while the distance between the two has come down by 30 kms. The tunnel is benefitting by way of making travel possible throughout the year and saving of upto Rs 27 lakh worth fuel on the route, he said.
 
A 62-km long 4-lane ring road is being constructed in Srinagar city at a cost of Rs 1,860 crore. The road begins from Ganderbal on NH-44 and ends at Vayul on NH-1D. It will connect 54 villages in six districts. Also, about 25 per cent work on the 58.255 km 4-lane Jammu Ring Road has been completed. The total cost of this project is Rs 1,891 crore. The project involves construction of eight major bridges, 22 minor bridges, six flyovers, and two tunnels of 770 meters and 710 meters, respectively, he said.
 
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Cabinet approves three new AIIMS in Samba, Pulwama and Rajkot

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The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of three new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Vijaynagar, Samba in Jammu, Awantipura, Pulwama in Kashmir and Rajkot in Gujarat.
 
The AIIMS at Vijaynagar and Awantipura will be set up at a cost of Rs 1828 crore and the one in Rajkot at a cost of Rs 1195 crore. These institutes will be set up under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), an official press release said.
 
One post of Director in the basic pay of Rs 2,25,000/- (fixed) plus NPA (pay + NPA would not exceed Rs 2,37,500) will be created for each of the three AIIMS.
 
The AIIMS in Vijaynagar will be built in 48 months. It will broadly comprise a pre-construction phase of 12 months, a construction phase of 30 months and stabilization/ commission phase of 6 months.
 
The AIIMS in Awantipura will be built in 72 months, with a pre-construction phase of 12 months, a construction phase of 54 months and stabilization/commission phase of 6 months.
 
The AIIMS in Rajkot will be built in 45 months with a pre-construction phase of 10 months, a construction phase of 32 months and stabilization/commission phase of 3 months.
 
Establishment of new AIIMS involves the creation of Hospital, Teaching Block for medical & nursing courses, residential complex and allied facilities/services, broadly on the pattern of AIIMS, New Delhi and other six new AIIMS taken up under Phase-I of PMSSY. 
 
The objective is to establish the new AIIMS as Institutions of National Importance for providing quality tertiary healthcare, medical education, nursing education and research in the region.
 
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Each new AIIMS will add 100 UG (MBBS) seats and 60 B.Sc. (Nursing) seats. Each will have 15-20 Super Specialty Departments.
 
Each of them will add around 750 hospital beds which will include Emergency/Trauma Beds, AYUSH Beds, Private Beds and ICU Speciality & Super Speciality beds.
 
It is expected that each new AIIMS would cater to around 1500 OPD patients per day and around 1000 IPD patients per month.
 
There will be a Medical College, AYUSH Block, Auditorium, Night Shelter, Guest House, Hostels and residential facilities.
 
Construction of the new AIIMS is fully funded by the Central Government. The Operations & Maintenance expenses will be fully borne by the Central Government, an official press release said.
 
The establishment of the new AIIMS will create capital assets for which requisite specialized manpower will be created, based on the pattern of the six new AIIMS, for their maintenance and upkeep, it said.
 
"Setting up of new AIIMS would transform health education and training and address the shortfall of health care professionals in the region. It will serve the dual purpose of providing super speciality health care to the population.
 
"It will also help create a large pool of doctors and other health workers in this region that will be available for primary and secondary level institutions/facilities being created under the National Health Mission (NHM).
 
"Setting up new AIIMS in Jammu & Kashmir and in Gujarat will lead to employment generation for nearly 3000 people in various faculty & non-faculty posts in each of the AIIMS. Indirect employment generation will take place due to facilities & services like a shopping centre, canteens, etc. coming in the vicinity of new AIIMS. The construction activity involved in the creation of the physical infrastructure for the various new AIIMS is also expected to generate substantial employment in the construction phase as well," the release added.
 
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Shah Faesal, 2009 IAS topper, quits in protest against "unabated killings" in Kashmir

Shah Faesal (Photo: Facebook)
Shah Faesal (Photo: Facebook)
Shah Faesal, the 2009 Indian Administrative Service (IAS) topper from Jammu and Kashmir today resigned from the service in protest against the "unabated killings" in Kashmir and the "lack of any sincere reach-out from the Union Government".
 
"To protest against the unabated killings in Kashmir, and lack of any sincere reach-out from the Union Government; the marginalization and invisiblization of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of Hindutva forces reducing them to second-class citizens; insidious attacks on the special identity of the J&K State and growing culture of intolerance and hate in the mainland India in the name of hypernationalism, I have decided to resign from Indian Administrative Service," Faesal said in a post on his Facebook page.
 
"Kashmiri lives matter," he said in a similar post on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"I wish to remind the regime of the day that subversion of public institutions like RBI, CBI and NIA has the potential to decimate the Constitutional edifice of this country and it needs to be stopped. I wish to reiterate that voices of reason in this country cannot be muzzled for long and the environment of siege will need to end if we wish to usher in true democracy.
 
"I am thankful to my family, friends and well-wishers for supporting me in this amazing journey in IAS. One of my important tasks hereafter will be train and guide aspiring civil servants to help them in achieving this dream.
 
"I will be addressing a press conference on Friday to share my future plans. I will look forward to your support and blessings in this new mission," he added.
 
Faesal, 35, a medical doctor who had opted for the civil services, had returned recently to India from a stint at the Harvard Kennedy School as a Fulbright fellow. In the Jammu and Kashmir government, he served as Director of School Education.
 
Last year, he had faced an inquiry ordered by the Government for remarks made by him about rampant rapes in South Asia.
 
"The bureaucracy’s loss is politics’ gain. Welcome to the fold," National Conference vice-president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Twitter.'
 
This set off speculation that Faesal was likely to join the National Conference. 
 
Following this, the former Union Minister clarified his remark. "Actually I welcomed him to the fold of politicians. His future political plans are his to announce," he said.
 
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CRPF trooper shoots self after firing at colleagues

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A Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) trooper has shot himself dead after firing at two colleagues in a camp in the outskirts of Srinagar, police said.
 
The trooper, identified as Mukesh Babu, opened fire at his colleagues in Pantha Chowk camp following a heated argument on Saturday evening.
 
"After injuring his colleagues, the CRPF jawan locked himself in a bathroom where he shot himself dead with his service rifle," police said. 
 
The injured are hospitalised.
 
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Helicopter, cable car services to Vaishno Devi shrine suspended

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Helicopter and cable car services to the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine were suspended on Saturday due to heavy snowfall in Jammu and Kashmir's Reasi district.
 
Officials said the services from Katra base camp to the shrine were suspended following the snowfall on the Trikuta hills.
 
"The services have been temporarily suspended," an official said. "They will resume when the weather improves."
 
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Flight operations halted at Srinagar airport

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All flight operations to and from the Srinagar international airport were halted on Saturday due to heavy snowfall, officials said.
 
An airport official said due to poor visibility and snow accumulation on the runway, no flight would be operated to and from the the Sheikh ul-Alam International Airport on Saturday.
 
"Five flights which landed here on Friday were not allowed to take off due to bad weather," he added.
 
After night-long snowfall in Srinagar and other places in the Kashmir Valley, more snow fell on Saturday morning.
 
Road links, including the Srinagar-Jammu highway and the Mughal Road, which connect the Kashmir Valley with Jammu region, have also been closed due to the snowfall.
 
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Three militants, soldier killed in Kashmir gunfight

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Three militants and a soldier were killed on Thursday in a gunfight in Tral area in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
 
Police said bodies of the slain militants had been recovered from the site in Gulshanpora village.
 
"Believed to belong to Hizbul Mujahideen, the exact identity of the militants is being ascertained," a police officer said.
 
One of the three soldiers injured at the start of the gun battle succumbed to his critical injuries in hospital, the police said.
 
"A search operation is still going on in the area," the officer said.
 
Security forces started a cordon and search operation in Gulshanpora village after receiving information about the presence of militants.
 
"As the cordon around the militants was tightened, they fired at the surrounding security forces, triggering an encounter," the officer said.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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