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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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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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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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Indian soldier killed in Pakistan shelling along LoC

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An Indian soldier was killed on Friday along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir following a ceasefire violation by Pakistan.
 
Naik Rajib Thapa was killed in shelling by the Pakistani forces in Nowshera sector, Rajouri district.
 
The Indian Army issued a statement that, in retaliatory firing, heavy damage was inflicted upon the Pakistani Army posts which resulted in casualties of Pakistani soldiers as well.
 
The exact number of casualties on the Pakistani side was not known.
 
Thapa, 34, belonged to West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district.
 
"Thapa was a brave, highly motivated and sincere soldier. The nation will always remain indebted to him for the supreme sacrifice and devotion to duty," said an Army official.
 
This is the second Indian casualty this week due to unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistani forces. 
 
On Tuesday, Naik Ravi Ranjan Singh was killed in the Krishna Ghati sector. On August 17, another soldier was killed in Nowshera sector.
 
Till July, there had been six casualties on the Indian side due to ceasefire violations. 
 
IANS
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Prohibitory orders withdrawn in Jammu

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Restrictions announced across Jammu and Kashmir late on last Sunday, ahead of the announcement of the abrogation of Article 370, were withdrawn in Jammu on Friday, an official statement said.
 
Schools and colleges can open from August 10, read an order from District Magistrate Sushma Chauhan.
 
"The order No DCJ/PS/2019/376-407 dated 05-08-2019 issued under Section 144 CrPC within Municipal Limits of Jammu District is hereby withdrawn," the order said.
 
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Machail Yatra in J&K suspended due to security reasons

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An unexpected fallout of the Jammu and Kashmir government's decision to call off the Amarnath Yatra due to security reasons has been the suspension of the annual Machail Mata Yatra in the Kishtwar district of Jammu region.
 
The Yatra to the temple of Chandi Mata deity has been going on for the last 10 days, but Kishtwar District Magistrate Angrez Singh Rana announced its suspension on Friday.
 
The district magistrate has cited security reasons for the suspension of the Yatra saying that the pilgrimage would be resumed during the next two to three days.
 
Scores of pilgrims have already visited the temple shrine situated 28 kms from Kishtwar town.
 
Each year, over 5,000 pilgrims visit the temple who, according to the belief of the devotees, had her original abode in the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. 
 
This is the reason that in addition to 'yatris' from the Jammu region, the pilgrimage draws a lot of pilgrims from Himachal Pradesh as well.
 
This Hindu pilgrimage was started in Kishtwar district in 1984 when a local police officer Thakur Kulbir Singh discovered the abode of the deity. 
 
Thakur Kulbir Singh became the custodian of the shrine. In 2018, due to some tension among the devotees, the state government transferred the management of the shrine into the hands of the local district magistrate.
 
The 'Mata's Chhari' (mace of the goddess) is carried by devotees in a procession on August 17 each year to the deity's temple.
 
The procession of 'sadhus' and devotees passes through Udhampur, Kishtwar, Gul Gulabgarh and Musu till it reaches the shrine on August 21 when the Yatra officially ends with the final 'puja'.
 
A helicopter service is also available for devotees from Gul Gulabgarh.
 
The journey from Kishtwar town to the shrine is spread over 17 kms of road and 11 kms of a treacherous, uphill trek to the shrine.
 
So far, over 5,000 pilgrims have paid obeisance at the shrine, officials said.
 
IANS
 

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Amarnath Yatra suspended due to blockade of Jammu-Srinagar highway

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The Amarnath Yatra was suspended on Wednesday due to the blockade of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway even as more than 3.30 lakh pilgrims performed the pilgrimage during the last 30 days.
 
The police said that, due to blockade of the Jammu-Srinagar national highway, no Yatri will be allowed to move towards the Valley today from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas.
 
Officials of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), that manages the affairs of the Hindu pilgrimage, said since it started on July 1 this year, 3,31,770 Yatris had "darshan" at the cave shrine during the last 30 days.
 
As many as 10,360 pilgrims paid obeisance at the shrine yesterday.
 
SASB officials also said: "One critically sick Yatri Usha, age 60 years, belonging to Ganganagar, Rajasthan was evacuated by helicopter yesterday from Sheshnag to Srinagar on the direction of Governor, Satya Pal Malik. In all 16 critically sick Yatris have been evacuated by air by the Shrine Board for immediate specialised treatment till date."
 
Situated at a height of 3,888 metres above sea level in the Himalayan ranges in Kashmir, Amarnath cave houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva according to the devotees. The ice structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon.
 
The Yatra started on July 1 and will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.
 
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3 militants killed, army foils infiltration bid on LoC

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Three infiltrating militants were killed late Tuesday by the army near the line of control (LoC) in Gurez sector of Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora district, sources said on Wednesday.
 
Defence sources said a group of infiltrating militants were challenged by alert troops of the army in Baktur area of Gurez sector on Tuesday.
 
"In the ensuing encounter, three infiltrating terrorists were killed. The operation is still going on in the area," defence sources said.
 
Meanwhile, Pakistan army resorted to unprovoked shelling and firing at Indian positions on Wednesday on the LoC in Rajouri district.
 
Defence sources said in winter capital Jammu: "At about 12.30 a.m. today Pakistan army initiated ceasefire violation by firing of small arms and shelling with mortars along the LoC in Nowshera sector of Rajouri district.
 
"Indian Army responded strongly and effectively".
 
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Soldier killed in Pakistan firing on LoC

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An Indian Army soldier was killed on Tuesday in firing by the Pakistan Army on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district.
 
Naik Krishan Lal, 34, who belonged to Ghagriyal village in Akhnoor area of Jammu district, was killed after the Pakistan Army resorted to unprovoked ceasefire violation in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district, defence sources said.
 
"Heavy damage and casualties were caused to Pakistan Army posts and troops in retaliation by the Indian Army," the sources said.
 
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Amarnath yatra resumes after day-long suspension

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The Amarnath Yatra resumed on Monday after its day-long suspension due to bad weather on Sunday.
 
A batch of 2,675 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in two escorted convoys for the valley. "Of these, 1,131 yatris are going to Baltal base camp while 1,544 are going to Pahalgam," police said.
 
Officials of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) that manages the affairs of the yatra said: "On the 28th day of the ongoing Shri Amarnathji yatra, 1,629 yatris paid obeisance at the Holy Cave. Till date 3,19,355 yatris had the darshan of the Shivling at the Holy Cave."
 
Situated at a height of 3,888 metres above the sea-level in the Himalayan ranges in Kashmir, the Amarnath cave houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva according to the devotees.
 
The ice structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon.
 
The yatra started on July 1 and will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the "Shravan Purnima" festival.
 
IANS

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Indian, Pakistani troops trade heavy fire on LoC

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The Indian and Pakistani armies exchanged heavy fire on the Line of Control (LoC) on Sunday in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district after Pakistan troops resorted to unprovoked firing, a defence official said.
 
Defence Ministry spokesman, Lt Col Devender Anand said: " At about 5 p.m., Pakistan initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing small arms and shelling with mortars along the LoC in Shahpur and Saujiyan sectors of Poonch."
 
"The Indian army is retaliating befittingly," he added.
 
An Indian soldier was killed in a Pakistani ceasefire violation on the LoC in Machil sector of Kupwara district on Saturday.
 
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Amarnath Yatra suspended due to bad weather

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Authorities suspended the Amarnath Yatra on Sunday due to bad weather in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
Officials said no pilgrim will be allowed to move towards the Valley today due to bad weather. 
 
It has been intermittently raining along the nearly 300-km long Jammu-Srinagar national highway since yesterday. Moderate rain also lashed the twin tracks of Baltal and Pahalgam, which are used by the pilgrims to reach the cave shrine from the two base camps.
 
Officials said since it started on July 1 this year, 3,17,726 pilgrims had "darshan" at the cave shrine during the last 27 days.
 
Situated at a height of 3,888 metres above the sea-level in the Himalayan ranges in Kashmir, Amarnath cave houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva, according to the devotees. The ice structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon.
 
The Yatra started on July 1 and will conclude on August 15 coinciding with Raksha Bandhan on the Shravan Purnima day.
 
IANS
 

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Amarnath yatra crosses 3 lakh in 24 days, highest since 2015

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Over 3 lakh pilgrims completed the ongoing Amarnath yatra during the last 24 days, breaking the record of the last four years.
 
Officials said 3,01,818 pilgrims have been to the cave for "darshan" during the last 24 days.
 
"This number is higher than those who underwent the yatra during the entire 59-day long period in 2015," the officials said.
 
Police said another batch of 2,416 yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in two escorted convoys for the valley on Thurday from Jammu.
 
"Of these, 893 are going to Baltal base camp while 1,523 are going to Pahalgam base camp", police said.
 
Situated at a height of 3,888 metres above the sea-level in the Himalayan ranges in Kashmir, Amarnath cave houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva according to the devotees. The ice structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon.
 
The Yatra started on July 17 and will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the "Shravan Purnima" festival. 
 
IANS
 

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Indian, Pakistan Army exchange heavy fire on LoC

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The Indian and Pakistan Army exchanged heavy fire on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri district on Monday.
 
Defence Ministry spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Devender Anand said here: "In early morning hours on Monday, Pakistan initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation with firing of small arms and shelling with mortars along LoC in Sunderbani Sector of Rajouri district.
 
"The Indian Army retaliated befittingly," he added.
 
IANS
 

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Over 2.70 lakh perform Amarnath Yatra in 21 days

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Over 2.70 lakh pilgrims have performed the ongoing Amarnath Yatra during the last 21 days as another batch of 3,178 pilgrims left Jammu for the Kashmir Valley on Monday, officials said.
 
Officials of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) said since the Yatra started on July 1, a total of 2,72,004 pilgrims had 'darshan' inside the cave shrine.
 
Police said another batch of 3,178 pilgrims left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in two escorted convoys.
 
"Of these, 1,544 are going to Baltal base camp while 1,634 are going t o Pahalgam base camp," a police officer said.
 
Situated 3,888 metres above the sea level in Kashmir's Himalayas, the cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva according to the devotees.
 
The ice structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the Moon. Pilgrims approach the cave shrine either through the longer 45 km long Pahalgam route or the shorter 14 km long Baltal route.
 
Those using the Baltal route return to the base camp the same day after performing the Yatra. Helicopter services are available for the pilgrims at both the base camps. 
 
Local Muslims are lending a helping hand to ensure that their Hindu brethren can perform the Yatra with ease and convenience to uphold the centuries-old tradition of Kashmir, abode of saints and Sufis.
 
This year's Amarnath Yatra will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.
 
IANS
 

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Pakistan troops violate ceasefire on LoC in Poonch

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Pakistan Army on Saturday violated the bilateral ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) at three places in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district, defence sources said.
 
The ceasefire violation has come on a day when Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is visiting the state.
 
Defence sources said Pakistan Army resorted to unprovoked shelling with mortars and firing of small arms first in Krishna Ghati, then in Mankote and Shahpur sectors of the LoC.
 
"Ceasefire violation at all these three places by Pakistan Army started within one hour today morning.
 
"Our troops are retaliating effectively. Firing exchanges are still going on between the two sides," sources said.
 
During his daylong visit to Jammu and Kashmir, the Defence Minister is scheduled to review security situation on the LoC and the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh region.
 
He will chair a security review meeting to take first hand account of the security situation in the hinterland as well.
 
Before flying back to Delhi, he will inaugurate two bridges in Kathua and Samba districts.
 
IANS

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BSF shoots intruder on international border in J&K

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Border Security Force (BSF) troopers on Monday shot and killed an intruder on the international border in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba district.
 
The incident took place in Ramgarh sector at 3 a.m. after the intruder crossed into the Indian territory, police said.
 
"The body has been recovered and investigation started," police said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Five killed, three injured in J&K road accident

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Five people were killed and three injured in a road accident in Jammu and Kashmir's Ramban district on Saturday.
 
Police said that a taxi carrying passengers from Ukhral village to Alinbass went out of the driver's control and dropped into a deep gorge. 
 
Three women and two men including the driver of the taxi were killed in the mishap and three others were injured.
 
Police said that they started a rescue operation immediately and the injured have been shifted to hospital. 
 
IANS

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Heavy firing on LoC in Jammu and Kashmir

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Heavy firing exchanges took place between Indian and Pakistani troopers on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir's Poonch district on Friday, police said.
 
"At 8 a.m., the Pakistani troops resorted to shelling and firing of small arms to target Indian military and civilian facilities in the Krishna Ghati sector.
 
"Some shells fell in the civilian areas. No loss of life has been reported. Indian troops retaliated effectively," police sources added.
 
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Over 5,000 pilgrims leave Jammu on Amarnath Yatra

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Another batch of 5,486 pilgrims left from here on Thursday to perform the ongoing Amarnath Yatra.
 
Since it started on July 1, over 1.30 lakh pilgrims have had 'darshan' inside the cave shrine situated 3,888 metres above the sea-level in Kashmir Himalayas.
 
The cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva according to the devotees.
 
Police said here on Thursday another batch of 5,486 Yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in two escorted convoys for the Valley today. 
 
"Of these, 2,129 yatris are going to Baltal base camp while 3,357 are going to Pahalgam base camp," police said.
 
Pilgrims approach the cave shrine either from the shorter 14-km long Baltal trek or through the longer 45-km long Pahalgam trek.
 
Helicopter services are also available for pilgrims at both the base camps.
 
Local Muslims have always lent a helping hand to ensure that their Hindu brethren are able to perform the Yatra with ease and convenience.
 
Acknowledging this, state governor, Satya Pal Malik said the smooth and peaceful conduct of the Amarnath Yatra has been possible because of the support and active engagement of the local Muslims.
 
The cave shrine was discovered in 1850 by a Muslim Shepherd, Buta Malik. 
 
This year's Amarnath Yatra will end on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.
 
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50,000 complete 'darshan' at Amarnath, as 5,000 more set out

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A batch of 4,722 pilgrims left Jammu on Friday to perform the Amarnath Yatra as 50,483 devotees completed 'darshan' at the cave shrine till Thursday.
 
While 2,147 pilgrims left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in an escorted convoy for the Baltal base camp, 2,575 proceeded to Pahalgam, police said.
 
Pilgrims taking the 14-km long Baltal trek return back after darshan on the same day while those using the 45-km traditional Pahalgam trek take four days to reach the shrine. Helicopter services are available at both camps.
 
Since July 1, a total of 50,483 pilgrims have had darshan inside the Himalayan shrine situated at 3,888 metres. It houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva, according to devotees.
 
This year's 45-day long annual Yatra will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival. 
 
IANS
 
 

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Over 5,500 pilgrims set out for Amarnath from Jammu

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A batch of 5,522 pilgrims on Thursday left Jammu for the Himalayan cave shrine Amarnath, after 33,694 yatris completed paying obeisance before the ice stalagmite structure of Lord Shiva over the past three days.
 
Two escorted convoys left for the valley, police said, adding that 2,520 were headed to the Baltal base camp while 3,002 to Pahalgam. The Met Office has forecast generally fair weather along both tracks. 
 
The annual Amarnath Yatra started on July 1 and will end after 45 days on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima.
 
The cave shrine situated at 3,888 metres above the sea level houses the ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva, according to the devotees.
 
According to local lore, it was a Muslim shepherd named Buta Malik who had discovered the cave shrine in 1850. A Sufi saint gave the shepherd a bag of charcoal that turned out to be gold.
 
Symbolically, the lore turned out to be true as the shepherd family shared a portion of the offerings at the cave shrine for more than 150 years.
 
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Three killed, four injured in J&K road accident

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Three people were killed and four injured on Tuesday in a road accident in Jammu and Kashmir's Samba district.
 
The accident took place at 1 a.m. when a van travelling to Ghagwal from Samba town rammed into an army vehicle at Sandh Bari on the highway.
 
"Three people were killed on the spot. The injured have been shifted to hospital and an FIR lodged into the incident," police said.
 
Thirty five people were killed and 16 injured on Monday in a dastardly road accident in Kishtwar district of the state.
 
IANS
 

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

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Nearly 6,000 pilgrims from Jammu head for Amarnath

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Close to 6,000 pilgrims on Tuesday left Jammu for the Amarnath caves amid tight security after over 8,000 devotees offered puja in the cave shrine on the first day of the annual pilgrimage.
 
A total of 2,239 yatris left the Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in a secured convoy at 3.05 a.m. for the Baltal base camp, while another 3,670 headed for the Pahalgam camp in another escorted convoy at 4.25 a.m., police said.
 
On the first day on Monday 8,403 pilgrims paid obeisance to the ice stalagmite structure, which devotees believe, symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva. It is situated at 3,888 metres above the sea level in the Kashmir Valley.
 
The 45-day long Amarnath Yatra in the Himalayas will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.
 
The Met office has installed weather forecasting equipment all along the twin tracks to the cave shrine for accurate forecast.
 
According to Tuesday's forecast, weather along the tracks is likely to remain generally dry with the temperature around the cave shrine expected to hover around 5 degrees Celsius.
 
IANS
 

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

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