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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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Cabinet approves inclusion of 5,300 DP families of Jammu & Kashmir-1947 in rehabilitation package

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The Union Cabinet today approved the inclusion of 5,300 DP families of Jammu & Kashmir-1947 who initially opted to move outside the State but later on, returned and settled there, in the Rehabilitation Package approved by the Cabinet on November 30, 2016, for Displaced Families PoJK and Chhamb under the PM’s Development Package 2015 for Jammu & Kashmir.
 
The approval will enable such DP Families to become eligible to get one-time financial assistance of Rs 5.5 Lakhs under the existing scheme, and in turn, be able to get some sustained income which the existing scheme is aimed at, an official press release said.
 
In the wake of the 1947 Pakistani aggression in J&K, 31,619 families migrated from Pakistan Occupied Areas of J&K (PoJK) to the state of J&K. Of these, 26,319 families settled in the state of J&K and 5,300 families initially opted to move out of the state of J&K to other parts of the country.
 
During the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971, 10,065 more families were displaced from Chhamb Niabat area. Of these 3,500 families were displaced during the 1965 war and 6,565 families were displaced during the 1971 war.
 
The 36,384 displaced families covered under the package approved by the Cabinet on November 30, 2016, included 26,319 displaced families from PoJK settled in J&K and 10,065 Displaced Families displaced from Chhamb Niabat area.
 
The 5,300 DP families of PoJK who initially opted to move out of the state of J&K to other parts of the country were not included in the approved package. Now those DP families out of the 5300 who initially opted to move out of the State but later returned and settled in J&K are being included in the package.
 
Inclusion of those DP Families out of 5,300 DP families of PoJK 1947 who have returned and settled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir in the existing scheme, who have suffered on account of wars and hostilities, will enable them to earn a reasonable monthly income and be part of mainstream economic activities, the release said.
 
"This will also upgrade the Government’s capacity to respond effectively to such DP families' need of financial assistance. The requirement of funds will be met out of the already sanctioned funds for the existing scheme," it added.
 
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Amit Shah flags off New Delhi-Katra 'Vande Bharat' Express

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Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah flagged off the New Delhi-Katra 'Vande Bharat' Express here on Thursday.
 
This is the second semi-high speed train after the New Delhi - Varanasi Vande Bharat express was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February this year. The coaches of this train are indigenously manufactured at the Chennai Rail coach factory.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Shah said that religious tourism has a very important role in the development and progress of Jammu-Kashmir.
 
Every citizen of India has a desire to visit Vaishno Devi Temple at least once in the lifetime. From the day he took charge, Modi put forward a vision to connect places of religious interest across the country with a safe, efficient and comfortable high-speed railway network, he said.
 
A number of steps have already been taken by the government to facilitate pilgrims to visit the places of their religious interest. The ‘Vande Bharat’ express is one big step in that direction while keeping in mind speed, scale and service as the prime priority, Shah said.
 
The Prime Minister also visualises Railways as the lifeline to achieving his vision of a $5 trillion economy. ‘Vande Bharat’ is a hallmark of the success of 'Make in India' and the potential that it holds in giving a boost to the economy. This is evident with the speed at which the development and modernisation of railways is taking place under Modi's leadership, he added.
 
"Railways must keep this fast-paced development profile going on in full steam and achieve Prime Minister's vision of a $5 trillion economy,” he said.
 
Remembering Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th anniversary, Shah said Bapu gave a philosophy to the world of how to derive simple solutions to the biggest of problems.
 
One such idea during the freedom movement was 'Swadeshi' and railways played an integral part in Gandhiji's struggle for freedom by forming a connect with the people of India.
 
Speaking on the removal of Article 370, Shah said it was a roadblock in Jammu-Kashmir's development and its true integration with India. He expressed confidence that after its removal, the evil of terrorism would be completely eliminated from Jammu Kashmir.
 
"I believe that in the next 10 years, Kashmir would be the leading state on development parameters. The beginning has happened with the flagging off of the Vande Bharat express. It is a big gift from PM Modi to the people of J&K by bringing development in the state and giving a boost to religious tourism there, " he said.
 
Speaking on the occasion, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal said railway stations will be converted into hubs of technology and expansion of Indian Railways will connect villages to the rest of the country.
 
Today, 5,000 stations have been equipped with the free wi-fi facilities. Indian Railways have also succeeded in making all its stations healthy and clean by conducting cleanliness programmes across 6,500 stations.
 
CCTVs in trains and stations will provide a safe environment to the railway passengers, he added.
 
Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan praised the Indian Railways for furnishing the state-of-the-art facilities. Indian Railways has provisioned all its stations with escalators, waiting-room with class features, LED lights, special toilets, digital board at the entrance and exit. Indian Railways has brought a sea-change in the development of trains and stations.
 
Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh said that the train will carry the message of PM’s ‘New India’ to Jammu and Kashmir.
 
The Vande Bharat Express has been tested at 180 kmph and can run up to a maximum speed of 160 kmph on passenger service.  It has more seating capacity than the conventional Shatabdi train with equal number of coaches.  The train has 16 highly advanced air-conditioned coaches including twoexecutive class coaches. 
 
All coaches are equipped with automatic doors; GPS based audio-visual passenger information system, onboard hotspot, wi-fi for entertainment purposes, and very comfortable seating.  The chairs in executive class can rotate freely to face the direction of motion or the fellow co-passengers. 
 
All toilets are bio-vacuum type.  The lighting is dual mode, viz. diffused for general illumination and personal for every seat.  Every coach as a pantry with the facility to serve hot meals with hot and cold beverages.  Advanced insulation has been provided to keep heat and noise to very low levels for additional passenger comfort. 
 
Facility to enter Driving Trailer coach using wheelchair and persons-with disabilities-friendly toilets have also been provided.
 
The train has continuous windows for modern and sleek look.  Aerodynamic shape of the nose cone and fully sealed gangway are in line with the overall theme of the modern train set and will lead to lower energy requirement by reduction of air drag. 
 
As another step toward green initiatives, the train has been provided with regenerative brake system which can lead to savings of up to 30% in electrical energy consumption.
 
The Vande Bharat Express to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra will be running at a maximum speed of 130 km and cover the distance in eight hours, a reduction of 4 hours running time from the current fastest train.
 
The regular service of 22439/22440 New Delhi - Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra- New Delhi Vande Bharat Express train will commence from October 5. The train will depart from New Delhi at 06.00 a.m. to reach Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra  at  02.00 p.m. the same day. In return direction, it will depart from Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra at 03.00 p.m. to reach New Delhi at 11.00 p.m.
 
The train will  run  six  days  a  week  except on Tuesdays. Comprising 2 Executive AC Chair Car & 12 Chair Car coaches, it will stop at Ambala Cantt., Ludhiana and Jammu Tawi stations in both the directions.
 
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SC dismisses Vaiko's plea seeking Farooq Abdullah's release

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed MDMK General Secretary Vaiko's habeas corpus petition seeking the release of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah from detention.
 
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that "nothing survives" in the petition after taking note of his detention under the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act.
 
However, the top court said that the petitioner is at liberty to challenge the detention order before the appropriate authority.
 
Most political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), including Abdullah, have been under detention since August 5, when the government announced abrogation of Article 370 that granted a special status to the erstwhile J&K state.
 
Vaiko, a Rajya Sabha member, had filed a plea asking the top court to allow Abdullah to attend a conference in Chennai. The conference was organised by Vaiko on September 15. However, the event is over now.
 
Vaiko told the court that, for several years, he has been organising a conference in Chennai on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai.
 
This year, he had invited Abdullah to grace the occasion and he had agreed to attend it. Vaiko said that Abdullah had also attended previous editions of the conference.
 
However, on or around August 5, Abdullah was placed under detention in Srinagar and despite many efforts, Vaiko was unable to contact him.
 
Vaiko said that the denial of permission to Abdullah to attend a peaceful and democratic conference is illegal and arbitrary and violative of Articles 21, 22 and 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
 
IANS

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Six militants, a soldier killed in J&K gunfights

Six militants, including three from Pakistan, and a soldier were killed and two policemen injured in two encounters in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.
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Six militants, including three from Pakistan, and a soldier were killed and two policemen injured in two encounters in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.
 
Three militants were killed in the Naranag forest area of the Ganderbal district in an encounter with security forces, a police source said. They, according to the source, could have entered the Valley from across the Line of Control (LoC) in the Gurez sector.
 
The Pakistan army had been violating the ceasefire in the Gurez sector for the last three days with the aim to facilitate infiltration of terrorists, said defence sources.
 
In another encounter, three militants were killed in Thor village of Ramban district. The militants had entered a house and taken its inmates hostage, who were rescued. A soldier was also killed and two cops were injured in the gunfight.
 
The slain terrorists belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen. Arms and ammunition were seized from them. They had infiltrated with an aim to revive militancy in the Chenab Valley, the police said.
 
Meanwhile, militants hurled a grenade at the security forces at Nawa Kadal in the old Srinagar area. The grenade exploded without causing any damage, the police said.
 
IANS
 

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Soldier, three militants killed in J&K gunfight

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Three militants have been killed in a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir that broke out on Saturday.
 
The police said three militants were killed and all the hostages were rescued in Thor village of Ramban district where the militants had entered a house and took the inmates hostage. An army soldier was also killed during the gunfight.
 
All the three slain terrorists belonged to the Hizbul Mujahideen outfit and arms and ammunition were also recovered from their possession, the police said, adding that these terrorists were involved in reviving militancy in the Chenab Valley region of the state.
 
Besides, security forces engaged a group of militants in Naranag forest area of north Kashmir's Ganderbal district.
 
Reports from the area said two militants have been killed so far in this gunfight. But an official confirmation is still awaited.
 
"The encounter in Naranag forest area is still going on," a police source said.
 
This group of militants, according to sources, could have recently infiltrated into the Valley from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Gurez sector.
 
The Pakistan army has been violating the ceasefire in Gurez sector during the last three days and defence sources said the ceasefire violation is intended to facilitate the infiltration of terrorists into the state.
 
Meanwhile, militants hurled a grenade at the security forces in Nawa Kadal in the old city area of Srinagar.
 
The police said the grenade exploded without causing any damage.
 
IANS

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Two gunfights break out in Jammu and Kashmir

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Two gunfights broke out between the security forces and militants in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday.
 
Police said security forces engaged a group of militants in Naranag forest area of north Kashmir's Ganderbal district on Saturday.
 
Reports from the area said two militants have been killed so far in this gunfight. But an official confirmation is still awaited.
 
"The encounter in Naranag forest area is still going on," a police source said.
 
This group of militants, according to sources, could have recently infiltrated into the Valley from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Gurez sector.
 
The Pakistan army has been violating the ceasefire in Gurez sector during the last three days and defence sources said the ceasefire violation is intended to facilitate the infiltration of terrorists into the state.
 
In another incident, security forces exchanged fire with a group of militants in Thor area of Ramban district in the Jammu region.
 
"The militants have reportedly entered a house in Thor area. Security forces have surrounded the house," the police said.
 
Meanwhile, militants hurled a grenade at the security forces in Nawa Kadal in the old city area of Srinagar.
 
Police said the grenade exploded without causing any damage.
 
IANS
 

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SC notice on Vaiko's plea for Farooq Abdullah's release

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The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre on MDMK General Secretary Vaiko's habeas corpus petition seeking the release of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah from detention.
 
Most political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), including Abdullah, have been under detention since August 5, when the government announced the abrogation of Article 370 that granted a special status to J&K.
 
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the Centre as well as the J&K administration to file their responses on Vaiko's plea and listed the matter for further hearing on September 30.
 
However, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed the plea saying that Vaiko does not have locus standi in the matter as he is not a relative of Abdullah.
 
Vaiko's counsel told the court that there is no information about Abdullah and the provisions in which he has been detained.
 
"We don't know if the constitutional provisions were followed or not", Vaiko's counsel said.
 
The court asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta whether constitutional provisions were followed or not in the case. He replied that he would have to take instructions in this regard.
 
Vaiko, a Rajya Sabha member, has filed a plea asking the top court to allow Abdullah to attend a conference in Chennai. The conference was organised by Vaiko on September 15. Mehta said the date of the event had already passed.
 
Vaiko told the court that for several years he has been organising a conference in Chennai on the occasion of the birth anniversary of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C. N. Annadurai.
 
This year, he had invited Abdullah to grace the occasion and he had agreed to attend it. Vaiko said that Abdullah had also attended previous editions of the Conference.
 
However, on or around August 5, Abdullah was placed under detention in Srinagar and despite many efforts, Vaiko was unable to contact him.
 
In his plea, Vaiko said he had written to the J&K authorities urging them to allow Abdullah to travel to Chennai in order to attend the conference in the interest of freedom of speech. However, he did not get any response.
 
"The actions of the respondents (government) are completely illegal and arbitrary and violative of the right to the protection of life and personal liberty, the right to protection from arrest and detention and also against a right to free speech and expression which is the cornerstone of a democratic nation," said the plea filed by advocate G. Ananda Selvam on Vaiko's behalf.
 
"The right to free speech and expression is considered to have paramount importance in a democracy as it allows its citizens to effectively take part in the governance of the country," said the plea.
 
Vaiko said that the denial of permission to Abdullah to attend a peaceful and democratic conference is illegal, arbitrary and violative of Articles 21, 22 and 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
 
IANS
 

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I will visit J&K, if required, says Chief Justice of India

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Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi on Monday said he would personally visit Jammu and Kashmir, if required, after a petitioner said people there were not able to access courts for legal redressal of their grievances.
 
The top court also wanted the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to give a status report on the legal situation in J&K, where restrictions continue since August 4, even though these are being eased gradually.
 
"If required, I will go and personally check. I will speak to the Chief Justice (of J&K High Court) today," Gogoi said.
 
He was responding when senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi claimed that there are extreme difficulties in accessing the High Court in J&K.
 
The advocate was arguing for child rights activists Enakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha, who moved the apex court through a petition challenging the alleged "illegal detention" of children in Jammu and Kashmir following abolition of its special status granted under Article 370 and reorganization of the state.
 
The court observed that it is a serious concern if people are facing issues to access justice.
 
"You have made a statement that you cannot move the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. Is anybody coming in the way... Not being allowed to access the High Court is a serious concern," said the Chief Justice, replying to the advocate who contended that under the existing restrictions, it was not possible to move the High Court.
 
Gogoi also warned the lawyer that if the information placed before the apex court was found to be incorrect, then he would face consequences.
 
Meanwhile, the Central government told the top court that restrictions have been eased in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir High Court and lower courts are operating normally.
 
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Jammu and Kashmir Code of Criminal Procedure have been relaxed in 88.57 per cent police stations of the Kashmir Division and 100 per cent in the Jammu and Ladakh divisions.
 
 
IANS
 

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Not one bullet fired, no life lost in J&K: Centre to SC

The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that not a single bullet had been fired and not a single life had been lost after the abrogation of Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and the region is moving towards a stage when no restrictions may be necessary.
 
The Centre's reply came after the apex court asked both the Centre as well as the Jammu and Kashmir government to restore normalcy in the erstwhile state as soon as possible. 
 
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal along with Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court that the best possible steps have been taken in the national interest for preventing any loss of life or property, which would otherwise have been inevitable, if the restrictions which have been placed had not been implemented.
 
"Every move should be made keeping in mind national interest," said the top court.
 
District Magistrates have issued prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC as per necessity. In addition to this, temporary blocking of various communication channels like internet and mobile services has been resorted to in order to minimise law and order violations.
 
"It is to the credit of the government that these measures have succeeded in full, as not a single bullet has been fired till date and there has not been any loss of life on account of any police firing," said Mehta before the court. According to an internal note, in the last few weeks the restrictions have been gradually eased in a phased manner to ensure a smooth return to normalcy for the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.
 
The Centre's counsel emphasised that the restrictions are only temporary in character, as the fact-sheet mentioned before the court showed that step by step and stage by stage there has been a relaxation in the restrictions.
 
"Dish TV Channels, Doordarshan and local channels like JK Channel, Gulistan are being broadcast. Radio Kashmir and FM channels are being broadcast. Supply of drinking water and electricity has been ensured since the beginning and round-the-clock maintenance services are being provided," said the internal note.
 
Primary, middle and high schools are functioning normally across Jammu and Ladakh division (100 per cent) while in Kashmir division 97 per cent of all schools are functioning.
 
"Special Market Intervention Price Scheme of government of India has been introduced to procure apples this season from the apple growers of all apple growing districts. Cash availability has been ensured by keeping open all ATMs of J&K Bank and of other banks," said a source in the legal team of the Centre.
 
IANS
 

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Farooq Abdullah detained under PSA, can go sans trial for 2 yrs

In a major development in Kashmir, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah was on Monday detained under the Public Safety Act.
Farooq Abdullah (File photo: IANS)
Farooq Abdullah (File photo: IANS)
In a major development in Kashmir, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah was on Monday detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
 
Not just that, the place where Abdullah senior will be housed has been declared a temporary jail, through an order.
 
The PSA allows detention of any individual for up to two years without a trial. Ironically, the law was first promulgated during Sheikh Abdullah's tenure, father of Farooq Abdullah.
 
Farooq Abdullah, also a sitting Lok Sabha member from Srinagar has been under house arrest since August 5, when the Government of India abrogated Article 370 of the constitution that gave special powers to Kashmir.
 
Recently, National Conference MPs were allowed to visit Farooq and his son Omar Abdullah, another former J&K Chief Minister, but with restrictions that they cannot interact with media following the meeting. That was after Justice Sanjeev Kumar had allowed the petition filed by MPs Justice (retd.) Hasnain Masoodi (Anantnag) and Akbar Lone (Baramulla).
 
The Supreme Court on Monday also issued notice to the Centre, and the J&K administration on the detention of the NC chief. The bench was responding to a plea by Rajya Sabha MP and MDMK general secretary Vaiko seeking production of Abdullah senior.
 
IANS
 

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Education worst hit during 42 days of clampdown in Valley

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While schools, colleges and universities are functioning normally in the Jammu and Ladakh divisions of the two Union Territories, the same cannot be said for the Kashmir Valley where education has taken the worst beating because of the clampdown.
 
Authorities have opened schools up to the 10th standard in the Valley, but the attendance of children in these educational institutions has been disappointing so far.
 
"All the teaching staff have been attending their duty regularly in the Valley's government-run schools, though the attendance of children has not improved," said an official of the School Education Department.
 
Parents have been reluctant to send children to school as they are unable to keep track of them because of the suspension of mobile phone services.
 
"During normal days we would keep a track of our children through mobile phones by calling the school authorities, or the bus drivers in case of private schools.
 
"In the present uncertain situation, no one wants to take a chance with the child's safety especially when mobile phones are not working," said Javaid Shah father of two school-going children in Srinagar old city.
 
Submission of examination forms for the 10th class has already started in the Valley even though the students said they had not covered all the topics of their academic syllabus.
 
"We have not yet been taught many topics in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Social Sciences. How can we answer all the questions unless they ignore the untaught topics?," said a class 10th student.
 
The general demand of the class 10th student for curtailment of the syllabus has not yet been accepted by the authorities.
 
Farooq Ahmad Khan, the advisor on education to the Governor, has said all school exams will be held in the Valley even if their conduct is delayed by some days.
 
Khan also dispelled rumours of any mass promotion of students to higher classes on account of the prevailing uncertainty in the Valley.
 
Colleges and universities, however, continue to remain shut for the last 42 days.
 
"All colleges and universities will start functioning soon in the Valley as the situation is fast returning to normal," said an official of the Higher Education Department.
 
The opening of colleges and universities is likely to have a cushioning effect on the attendance of students in schools.
 
It is, however, believed that the authorities do not want any student unrest to add to their law and order problems.
 
"We do not want anti-social elements to play with the future of our students by stoking passions through unfounded rumours. Institutions of higher learning in the Valley will start functioning after the situation improves further in the coming days," said another government officials.
 
IANS
 

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3 JeM men held with major arms consignment in Kathua

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A possible terror strike in Kashmir has been foiled by the Jammu and Kashmir police with the seizure of a large cache of arms and ammunition, including 6 AK assault rifles, and the arrest of three operatives of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) group here on Thursday.
 
The recoveries were made from a truck that was on its way to Kashmir from Punjab, the police said, adding that the vehicle was intercepted here in the Jammu region on the basis of an intelligence tip-off.
 
The consignment included four AK-56 rifles, two AK-47 rifles, six magazines and 180 live rounds of ammunition, the police said.
 
The police also recovered Rs 11,000 in cash from the arrested persons who were travelling in the truck.
 
With the recovery, the police said it has managed to "unearth the sinister design of the terrorist organisation and their sponsors to disturb peace and harmony" in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
The three men were identified as Ubaid-ul Islam and Sabeel Ahmed Baba, both from Rajpora in Pulwama district of Kashmir, and Jahangir Ahmed Parrey from Budgam in Kashmir.
 
An FIR has registered against them, including under the Arms Act.
 
IANS
 

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Top LeT militant who attacked Sopore apple trader shot dead

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In a major operation, Jammu and Kashmir Police on Wednesday gunned down a top Lashkar-e-Taiba militant who was responsible for attacking a leading apple trader's family in which a girl child had also been injured. 
 
Some policemen were also injured in the exchange of fire but are said to be out of danger.
 
Asif Maqbool Bhat was killed in a brief shootout with the police and security forces in Sopore around 9 a.m.
 
"When we intercepted Bhat today (Wednesday), he attacked us. He threw a grenade at us. A few police personnel were injured but they are out of danger. In the ensuing encounter, the militant was neutralised," Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said in a press briefing.
 
He said Bhat had attacked the family of Haji Hamidullah Rather, a prominent fruit grower of Sopore and a resident of Dangerpora area, on September 8.
 
"The militant fired at the family members of Rather, injuring four of them including a girl aged between four and seven years. The girl is admitted here in a hospital. Other members of the family were also evacuated from that place."
 
The girl was Rather's daughter Asma.
 
Bhat, and his associates, had also shot and injured a migrant labourer, identified as Shafi Alam, the same day, the DGP added.
 
"The injured boy has been brought to a Srinagar hospital. I am told that his condition is fine and he is likely to be discharged any moment."
 
Bhat was also responsible for making use of overground workers (OGWs) to print and publish posters threatening people to stay away from the fruit business, not to open shops and refrain from normal day-to-day activities, he said.
 
"We were watching those activities. We were after these people who are involved in this. Eight people who are indulging in this kind of activities were apprehended by Sopore police along with the computers and other equipment they were using for printing those threatening letters and pasting them at various locations."
 
The DGP said that Bhat, along with two other fellow militants Sajjad and Mudassar, was very active in the area over the last one month and had created a lot of terror.
 
"They were roaming around in villages, going to the people and threatening them, telling them not to go for daily chores... So we were tracking him."
 
On a specific input, police, along with other security forces, laid some "nakas" (checkpoints) close to Sopore town, the DGP said, adding Bhat was challenged to stop when he came.
 
"Bhat, however, did not stop and threw a grenade on our party in which a couple of our police personnel were injured but they are out of danger. He was later neutralised in the encounter.
 
"With the killing of Bhat, I believe that the area will heave a sigh of relief. The terror which he was creating there would be taken care of to some extent. We also know his other two associates and we are after them. We will see it in the near future. We will take care of them," he said.
 
The elimination of the top LeT member comes two days after the police, along with the army and other security forces including the Central Reserve Police Force, busted a terror module of the LeT in the Sopore area with the arrest of eight militants.
 
Sopore's Senior Superintendent of Police Javaid Iqbal said the men had hatched a conspiracy to print posters threatening locals from venturing out of their homes, either for trade, travel, schools or office. They used to distribute these posters in local villages.
 
IANS
 

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How assets will be divided between Ladakh and J&K UTs

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The Central government on Tuesday announced the formation of a three-member advisory committee to supervise the division of assets between the two newly-formed Union Territories (UTs) of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, which will formally come into existence on October 31, 2019.
 
A notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that the three-member advisory committee will include former Defence Secretary Sanjay Mitra, former IAS officer Arun Goyal and Giriraj Prasad, a former Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) officer.
 
The division of assets between the two UTs coming into existence on October 31, coinciding with the birth anniversary of the country's first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, involves an elaborate financial and administrative exercise.
 
A top bureaucrat here said: "The major administrative decision will involve the allotment of civil servants drawn out of the various existing services of the state for the Ladakh UT. Every department of the state government will have to be considered while allotting officers to the UT of Ladakh. There are lesser number of officers belonging to that region who are presently serving the state government.
 
"It is, therefore, unlikely that the serving officers belonging to state and central services in the Valley and the Jammu region would voluntarily opt to be part of the Ladakh UT service.
 
"To address this problem, officers of the state would be sent on a three-year deputation to the Ladakh UT. They would be drawn from among the presently serving central and state government officers in the state. As the Ladakh UT cadre will start developing gradually, the practice of deputation can be called off at a later stage."
 
The official said that division of assets will involve proportionate division of arms and ammunition for the police force, division of vehicles, infrastructure and other resources.
 
"Similarly, division of assets of all the other state departments such as revenue, finance, power development, healthcare, education, social welfare, rural development, public works and tourism will take place proportionate to the population and other determining parameters of the newly carved out UTs.
 
"Legally, the exercise has to be in place before the UTs come into existence. The exercise has already started and once the advisory committee sits to take the final call, the division of assets will become formal," the bureaucrat said.
 
Interestingly, even before the announcement to make Ladakh a UT, the state administration headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik had announced the creation of a separate division for the Ladakh region on the pattern of the Valley and the Jammu divisions.
 
IANS
 

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Four injured in Kashmir terror attack

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A toddler was among four injured in a militant attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Sopore district on Saturday, police said.
 
"In a merciless act of terrorism. Terrorists fired and injured four persons, including a baby girl (Usma jaan) at Dangerpora, Sopore. All injured shifted to hospital and stated to be stable," a police statement said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 

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First-ever mobile science exhibition inaugurated in Leh for Ladakh region

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Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel flagged off the first-ever Mobile Science Exhibition (Science Explorer) for the Ladakh region in Leh on Thursday.
 
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said the exhibition would benefit all the people of the region.
 
The Mobile Science Exhibition (MSE) programme, originally launched as Mobile Science Museum (MSM) in 1965, with a mission "If the people cannot visit the museum, let the museum visit the people at their doorsteps", is the largest and the longest-running outreach programme of the National Council of Science Museums (NCSM).
 
It has been successful in supplementing formal education with non-formal mode of science education. It has helped create a scientific awareness in the society and nurtured scientific temper and creative potential of the young people, he added.
 
Patel simultaneously launched 25 new Mobile Science Exhibition buses for Aspirational Districts of India.
 
He said it was a rare moment to carry out the national launch of 25 new Mobile Science Exhibition buses from Leh.
 
"Considering the vastness of our country and the need to reach out to the unreached, Ministry of Culture has undertaken a drive to launch 25 new MSE buses this year in the Aspirational Districts," he added.
 
The Union Government aims to upgrade the districts which have shown relatively less progress in achieving key social outcomes through a mass movement. This will help to quickly and effectively transform these districts named as "Aspirational Districts".
 
In order to fulfil this objective, NCSM, an autonomous S&T institution under the Ministry of Culture jointly with the Department of Science & Technology (DST), is launching 25 new Mobile Science Exhibition Buses specifically for these aspirational districts. The buses will travel to schools in throughout the year except during the vacations to create a scientific awareness among the rural children.
 
Each specially-designed bus contains 20 interactive exhibits and other demonstrations related to children and rural life. More exhibition buses will be added in the coming years, he added.
 
The Union Minister also said that several other buses will roll out with exhibition the same day in different parts of the country simultaneously. The programme has been fully funded by Ministry of Culture, he added.
 
The topics chosen for these exhibitions are Measurement, Machines in everyday life, Food & Health, Chemistry & Life with focus on Water, Energy, Hygiene & Sanitation and Space Science for Human Welfare.
 
The first MSE on the theme "Our Familiar Electricity" was inaugurated at Ramakrishna Mission Boys’ School, Narendrapur, near Kolkata on  November 17, 1965. The first MSE Bus was flagged off in 1966 from Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, Kolkata.
 
Mounted on a specially designed bus, a Mobile Science Exhibition carries a number of interactive exhibits related to everyday science. The MSE or Museo-bus travels from school to school in rural areas and organizes exhibitions throughout the year.
 
Along with the exhibition, some other programmes like Sky Observation Programme through telescope, science films show, Science Demonstration Lectures are also organised.
 
The Science Explorer MSE programme in the Leh, Ladakh region will be the first of its kind in the region with a broad objective to popularize science and technology among the students and general public, an official press release said.
 
It will create a scientific awareness in the society and inculcate a spirit of enquiry among the young people. It will inspire youngsters to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It will supplement formal education imparted in schools and colleges with non-formal science education. It will promote a culture of science in the society, the release added.
 
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SC directs to shift Tarigami to AIIMS

The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered to shift ailing CPI-M leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, who is under detention in Jammu and Kashmir, to the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) here, saying that his health is top priority.
 
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi also sought the Centre's response on a plea filed by CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury challenging the detention of Tarigami.
 
Yechury's counsel and senior advocate Raju Ramachandran told the court that during his recent visit to Srinagar, Yechury had found that Tarigami's movement has been restricted and his security vehicles have been withdrawn.
 
Ramachandran stressed to pursue the habeas corpus petition filed in this regard.
 
Yechury on Monday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court after his visit to the Valley to meet his detained party colleague Tarigami.
 
On August 28, the top court had allowed Yechury to meet Tarigami. It had, however, restrained him from getting involved in any other activity.
 
The order came on Yachury's habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of Tarigami ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. The plea also stated that Tarigami was not in good health and that Yechury wanted to meet him.
 
IANS
 

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J&K to have 100% landline connectivity from Thursday

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After nearly a month of communication blockade in Jammu and Kashmir, all landline connections across the Valley will be restored from Thursday, it was announced on Wednesday.
 
Jammu and Kashmir's Department of Information and Public Relations said that the remaining 19 telephone exchanges, which are still under communication restrictions, will be opened on Wednesday night
 
The central government had imposed communication restrictions in the valley, by clamping down upon landline, mobile and internet connections, after special status was withdrawn from the state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5.
 
"Most telephone exchanges to be functional tonight across Valley. Mobiles being restored gradually, already buzzing in Kupwara. Thanks for patience and regrets for inconvenience," tweeted Shahid Choudhary, DM and Development Commissioner, Srinagar.
 
Telephone exchanges have been opened in batches over the past 30 days for re-establishing communication lines. Mobile phone connections are gradually being restored across the Valley too.
 
However, there is no word yet from the authorities on the restoration of internet connectivity in the valley.
 
IANS
 

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Yechury submits report on his Kashmir visit in SC

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Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury on Monday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on his visit to Jammu and Kashmir to meet his detained party colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, sources said.
 
On August 28, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice S. Abdul Nazeer had allowed Yechury to go to the state and meet Tarigami. 
 
It had, however, restrained him from getting involved in any other activity.
 
The order came on Yachury's habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of Tarigami ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. The plea also stated that Tarigami was not in good health and Yechury wanted to meet him.Pakistan Foreign Office in Islamabad on December 25, 2017. 
 
IANS
 
 

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