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

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

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

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A gunfight started on Wednesday between the security forces and hiding militants in Jammu and Kashmir's Sopore area, police said.
 
The gun battle started after security forces comprising the Special Operations Group of the state police (SOG) and Rashtriya Rifles (RR) surrounded the Gund Brath area on the outskirts of the town following the receipt of information about the presence of militants there.
 
"As the security forces closed in, the hiding militants fired triggering the encounter," an officer said.
 
Authorities have suspended mobile Internet service in Sopore and also ordered closure of the Sopore Degree College as a precautionary measure.
 
IANS

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Drowned boy's body handed over to Pakistan Army

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The body of a seven-year-old Pakistani boy, recovered from a river in Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora district, was handed over to Pakistan authorities on Thursday, police said.
 
Abid Sheikh, who had drowned in the Kishenganga river on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control (LoC), was handed over to Pakistan authorities at Dudgai post in Chorwan area of the LoC at 2 p.m., police said.
 
"The body was handed over by district officials, police and the Army to Pakistan Army," police said.
 
The body of the boy, who belonged to Astor district of Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan, was pulled out on Wednesday from the river in Gurez area of Bandipora district.
 
Indian authorities had made three attempts to hand over the body to the Pakistan Army, but they had refused to take it.
 
IANS
 

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NIA attaches property of J&K separatist leader Asiya Andrabi

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The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday attached a property of Asiya Andrabi, chief of women's separatist group, 'Dukhtaran-e-Milat' (Daughters of Faith).
 
Vikas Katharia, Superintendent of Police, in his capacity as the chief investigator of the terror funding case, has obtained the approval of the Director General of Police (DGP), Jammu and Kashmir to attach the house of Andrabi in Srinagar city.
 
The order of attachment said the property represents proceeds of terrorism and has been used for furtherance of terrorist activities.
 
Andrabi and two of her close associates are in NIA custody in connection with the terror funding case being investigated by the agency.
 
IANS
 

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One militant killed in J&K gunfight

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One militant was killed on Friday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district, police said.
 
"The identity of the slain militant is being ascertained. Firing exchanges have stopped but search operations are going on," police sources said.
 
The gunfight took place in the orchards of Narwani village of Imamsahab area.
 
As a precautionary measure, authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in Shopian. 
 
IANS
 

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'Dangal' girl Zaira quits Bollywood over 'damaged peace, imaan'

Zaira Wasim (File photo: IANS)
Zaira Wasim (File photo: IANS)
Zaira Wasim, the Kashmiri girl who became famous overnight after her superb debut in Aamir Khan's Bollywood blockbuster "Dangal" on Sunday said she has decided to say goodbye to her film career as "relationship with my religion threatened".
 
In a detailed post on her Facebook page the 18-year-old cited religious reasons for her decision to quit her promising career in Bollywood.
 
"Five years ago I made a decision that changed my life forever. As I stepped my foot in Bollywood, it opened doors of massive popularity for me. 
 
"I started to become the prime candidate of public attention, I was projected as the gospel of the idea of success and was often identified as a role model for the youth.
 
"However, that's never something that I set out to do or become, especially with regards to my ideas of success and failure, which I had just started to explore and understand.
 
"As I complete 5 years today, I want to confess that I am not truly happy with this identity, that is, my line of work. 
 
"For a very long time now it has felt like I have struggled to become someone else. 
 
"As I had just started to explore and make sense of the things to which I dedicated my time, efforts and emotions and tried to grab hold of a new lifestyle -- it was only for me to realise that though I may fit here perfectly, I do not belong here.
 
"This field indeed brought a lot of love, support, and applause my way, but what it also did was to lead me to a path of ignorance, as I silently and unconsciously transitioned out of 'Imaan' (a Muslim's steadfast path in Allah's devotion). 
 
"While I continued to work in an environment that consistently interfered with my Imaan, my relationship with my religion was threatened.
 
"As I continued to ignorantly pass through while I kept trying to convince myself that what I was doing is okay and isn't really affecting me, I lost all the 'barakat' (fulfilment bestowed upon a devout Muslim by Allah) from my life. 
 
"Barakat is word whose meaning isn't just confined to happiness, quantity or blessing, it also focuses on the idea of stability, which is something I struggled with extensively.
 
"I was constantly battling with my soul to reconcile my thoughts and instincts to fix a static picture of my Imaan and I failed miserably, not just once, but a hundred times. No matter how hard I tried to wrestle to firm my decision, I ended up being the same person with a motive that one day I will change and I will change soon."
 
"I kept procrastinating by tricking and deluding my conscience into the idea that I know what I am doing doesn't feel right but assumed that I will put an end to this whenever the time feels right and I continued to put myself in a vulnerable position where it was always so easy to succumb to the environment that damaged my peace, imaan and my relationship with Allah," said the actress who also starred in "Secret Superstar".
 
"I continued to observe things and twist my perceptions as I wanted them to be, without really understanding that the key is to see them as they are. I kept trying to escape but somehow I always ended up hitting a dead end, in an endless loop with a missing element that kept torturing me with a longing I was neither able to make sense of nor satisfy.
 
"Until I decided to confront my weakness and began to strive and correct my lack of knowledge and understanding by attaching my heart with the words of Allah. In the great and divine wisdom of the Quran, I found sufficiency and peace.
 
"Indeed the hearts find peace when it acquires the knowledge of its Creator, His Attributes, His Mercy and His commandments.
 
"I began to heavily rely upon Allah's mercy for my help and guidance instead of valuing my own believability. I discovered my lack of knowledge of the basic fundamentals of my religion and how my inability to reinforce a change earlier was a result of confusing my heart's contentment and well being with strengthening and satisfying my own (shallow and worldly) desires." 
 
IANS
 

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Militant killed in J&K gunfight

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One militant was killed on Sunday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Badgam district, police said.
 
The gunfight started after the militants fired at the security forces who were carrying out a search and cordon operation in Bugam village of Chadoora area.
 
"The identity of the slain militant is being ascertained. The operation is still going on," police sources said.
 
As a precautionary measure, authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in Badgam district.
 
IANS
 

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Youth injured in protests near J&K gunfight site

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A youth suffered a gunshot injury on Friday in clashes with the security forces near the site of a gunfight in Jammu and Kashmir's Badgam district.
 
Doctors at the S. M. H. S. Hospital said a youth identified as Shabir Ahmad was admitted to the hospital with a gunshot injury in his abdomen. "He is being operated upon," attending doctors said.
 
Reports from Checkpora locality of Nowgam area said the youth received the injury during clashes with the security forces at the gunfight site where one militant was killed earlier today.
 
Police sources said three other protesters receivedminor injuries during the clashes.
 
IANS
 
 

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One militant killed in J&K gunfight

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One militant was killed on Friday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Badgam district, police said.
 
The gunfight took place in Checkpora locality of Nowgam area.
 
"One militant has been killed in the encounter so far. The operation of is still going on," police sources said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Amit Shah concludes two-day visit to Jammu & Kashmir

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah today concluded his two-day visit to Jammu & Kashmir during which he held a number of meetings with officials to assess the security scenario, reviewed preparations for the Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage and discussed developmental issues.
 
He also interacted with a representative group of Sarpanches from the state to gain an insight into the current state of functioning of Panchayats. He also visited the home of the martyred Inspector of J&K Police, Arshad Khan.
 
The meetings in Srinagar were attended by the Governor, Union Home Secretary, all four Advisors, the Chief Secretary and senior officials of the State and Central Governments, of security agencies and the Armed Forces.
 
The review of development programmes focused on improving the lives of the common man, an official press release said.
 
The review covered a wide range of issues connected with improving the economic condition of the people of Jammu & Kashmir, providing them with employment and livelihood opportunities, the benefit of social security schemes and raising their incomes, it said.
 
The review included, among others, good governance, accelerating development, strengthening the Panchayat and Municipal system, fast-tracking the implementation of the Prime Minister’s  Development Package, building first rate infrastructure, inclusive growth for all communities, balanced regional development with special emphasis on employment generation, and reaching out to the youth.
 
Shah’s focus was primarily on ensuring that the benefits of growth and development reach the poorest of the poor. He asked the State Government to focus on a better and more efficient implementation of development schemes so that corruption and leakages were plugged and the citizens received the intended benefits.
 
While reviewing the preparations for Amarnath Yatra, the Union Home Minister’s focus was on a safe and smooth conduct of the Yatra. The review focused on the preparations made so far by security forces in this regard, the improvements made in the arrangements as compared to the previous years and any further requirements of security forces.
 
The review also examined the administrative and other arrangements made for ensuring smooth conduct of the Yatra.
 
In the security review, the security agencies gave a detailed briefing on the security scenario in the state, the results of the last one year’s efforts in containing militancy and their future plans. While the improvements in the security scenario were noted and appreciated, there was a detailed discussion on what further improvements could be made for restoring peace normalcy in the state.
 
The Home Minister gave directions on a number of issues. He said the State Government should ensure that old age, disability and widow pensions reach all those entitled to these, in a timely manner. There should be quick scrutiny of all eligible people who are left out and ensuring that they are included. The Central Government will ensure additional funds.
 
He said the dairy and animal husbandry sector had great potential in the state. The State should work towards signing an MoU with Amul or Mother Dairy and create a programme for ensuring that it becomes surplus in this sector. This is a sector whose benefits would flow to even small households, he said.
 
The poultry sector too has great potential with the state importing large volumes of poultry products. The State should create schemes for improving the poultry sector as this sector improves the livelihoods of the poorest. The Central Government would support efforts in this direction, he said.
 
Shah said the Handloom and Handicraft Sector is one of the brightest spots on J&K’s economic landscape. The potential in this has not been fully captured. The state should take the help of the Khadi & Village Industries, MSME and Textiles departments of the Central Government to improve nearly 40 various spheres in this sector. The growth of this sector would increase the employment and livelihoods of poor households.
 
He said the state should ensure that the newly established Panchayati Raj and Urban Local Body system takes deep roots and establishes itself as the third tier of government. There should be a drive to ensure that Panchayats and ULBs spend the funds given to them. These funds run into thousands of crores of rupees and ensuring their proper utilization would benefit the people.
 
There are many socially disadvantaged groups in the state such as Paharis, Gujars, Bakarwals and other Economically Weaker Sections. The reservation benefits extended to them should be implemented vigorously and no posts in these classes should go vacant, he said.
 
The State Government should take steps to ensure that the newly created Anti-Corruption Bureau focuses on cases of rampant corruption by the high and the mighty, the Minister said.
 
Women being the key to any development process need to be at the centre of all programmes. The state should work in this direction so that women can get better employment opportunities and livelihoods, he said.
 
Similarly, the state should prepare a programme for reaching out to the youth who are highly skilled such as MBBS, Engineers, MBAs etc. and do not have gainful employment or livelihood.
 
State Officers should be sensitive towards balanced development of all the three regions, - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, he stressed.
 
During the review of the preparations for the Amarnath Yatra, the Union Home Minister directed all security agencies to be fully alert and take all preventive steps to ensure violence-free Yatra. He directed that there should be no laxity in the enforcement of the SOPs. Senior officers should personally supervise the arrangements at all levels.
 
Forces should ensure best possible optimum use of the latest technologies and the gadgets not only for the security of the Yatra but also to facilitate the movement of the devotees and the tourists. He specifically drew the attention of the Forces towards anti-sabotage as well as anti-subversion drills and access control procedures.
 
Appreciating the whole-hearted cooperation of the people of the State in the successful conduct of the Yatra, the Minister reassured his commitment towards the best possible arrangements.
 
After a detailed briefing on the prevailing security scenario in the state, the Minister, while appreciating the significant improvement in all the parameters relating to the security situation directed that there should be zero tolerance towards terrorism and terrorists; there should be continued strict action against terror funding and the Rule of Law should be enforced.
 
Shah also visited the home of the martyred Inspector of J&K Police, Arshad Khan and consoled his bereaved family. He handed over an appointment letter to his wife for a job in the State Government.
 
He praised the work of J&K Police in countering terrorism and militancy and directed that the State Government should commemorate the martyrdom of its policemen in their hometowns/ villages in an appropriate manner each year. Prominent public places should also be named after martyred policemen.
 
The Minister said he would review periodically the performance of the state on multiple fronts.
 
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Explosion kills one person in J&K's Kulgam

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One person was killed and two others were injured on Thursday in an explosion in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district, police said.
 
The victim was identified as Nazir Ahmad Bhat. The incident took place in Chuder-Ban village of Khudwani area.
 
"Preliminary investigation suggests that these persons were setting trash on fire when some explosive material went off. The matter is still under investigation," police sources said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Injured militant apprehended, another's body found in Anantnag

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Security forces have found the body of a militant and apprehended another in an injured condition in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, police said on Thursday.
 
The body of Adil Ahmad was recovered from Sirhama village of Bijbehara area on Wednesday evening. The other militant, Arif Bhat, was apprehended, police said.
 
There has been no word about the militant's killing or injury to another in any operation by the security forces.
 
Police sources, however, said there was a dispute between the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Ansar Ghazwatul Hind about Adil Ahmad deciding to join the later outfit.
 
"Reports indicate that LeT wanted him to return the weapon that had been given to him by the outfit. The shootout resulting in his death and the injury to Bhat looks like the result of this gang rivalry," THE sources said.
 
An official word is awaited about the details of the incident, although the killing of Adil and injury to Arif in any operation by the security forces is presently ruled out.
 
IANS

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Shah visits J&K, reviews development schemes, security arrangements for Amarnath Yatra

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During his first visit to Jammu and Kashmir after assuming office, Union Home Minister Amit Shah yesterday undertook a detailed review of various development schemes and projects in the State as well as the security arrangements for the Amarnath pilgrimage.
 
The review meeting in Srinagar was attended by Governor Satya Pal Malik, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, all the four Advisers of the Governor, State Chief Secretary and senior officials of the State and Central Government
 
The development review meeting focused on accelerating development, building infrastructure, good governance, inclusive growth for all communities and employment generating schemes for the youth, among other issues, an official press release said.
 
Shah asked the State Government to ensure that poorest of the poor of Jammu and Kashmir received the benefits of good governance in all spheres. The State Public Service Delivery Act should be strictly enforced. Wide publicity should be given to the services already covered under the Act and more services should be brought under its ambit,  he said.
 
The newly established Anti-Corruption Bureau should be strengthened. Cases of rampant corruption by the high and mighty should be taken up on priority for fast track investigations, he said.
 
Shah said state officers should be sensitive towards a balanced development of all the three regions, - Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. An inclusive approach should be adopted towards all communities. No one, namely, the border population, migrants, SCs/STs, socially and educationally backward classes and residents of backward areas and economically weaker sections of society should feel neglected, he stressed.
 
He said the public hearing programmes should be supervised by the Advisers, Secretaries and Collectors. A regular time should be fixed for public hearings at all levels - Village, Tehsil, Sub Division, Division, District and Secretariat. Public Grievances should be disposed of in a time-bound manner.
 
Investments for generating large-scale employment opportunities for the local youth should be facilitated. Renowned educational and health institutions should also be motivated to establish their Institutions in the State.
 
The Home Minister said all vacancies in the State Government should be filled up in a time-bound manner. Demonstrative improvements should be achieved in all the major flagship programmes of the Central Government such as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, Himayat, Ayushman Bharat, Swach Bharat Mission, Smart Cities Mission, Saubhagya, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and PM's Jan Dhan Yojana.
 
All the major development projects announced by the Prime Minister should be completed in a time-bound manner. Out of Rs 80,068 crore, 82% of funds have already been sanctioned for 63 projects. Major projects include 2 AIIMS, 2 IIMs, IIT, Ring Roads in Jammu and Srinagar, widening and strengthening of national highways, tourism, health and power projects, he said.
 
The Minister said he would regularly review the performance achieved in all the development projects.
 
Reviewing security arrangements for the Amarnath Yatra annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan hill shrine housing the ‘Swayam Bhu’ (self-created) ice ‘Shiva Linga,’ in a separate meeting in Srinagar, Shah directed the security agencies to be fully alert and take all preventive steps to ensure a violence-free pilgrimage.
 
In previous instances, on July 10, 2017, eight pilgrims were killed in a terror attack. Terrorists had also targeted the pilgrims at least three times in 2000, 2001 and 2002, killing at least 54 and injuring another 105 people.
 
Shah said there should be no laxity. Strict enforcement of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) should be ensured. Senior officers should personally supervise the arrangements.
 
The security forces should ensure the best possible optimum use of the latest technologies and gadgets not only for the security of the Yatra but also to facilitate the movement of the devotees and the tourists. He specifically drew the attention of the forces towards anti-sabotage as well as anti-subversion drills and the access control procedures.
 
He underlined the importance of the Standard Operating Procedure for convoy movement and specifically stressed timely dispatch of convoys, erection of barricades after the cut-off timings at suitable locations and no differentiation should be made between pilgrims and tourists.
 
Barricades should be used at all lateral entry points during convoy movement. All lateral points should be manned 24x7.
 
Besides attending to a medical emergency, preparedness must also be ensured to deal with any type of calamity or contingency. Specialized units and trained personnel should be in place with due focus on the prescribed drills for the purpose.
 
The best possible facilities should be provided in the base camps. While laying emphasis on the essential facilities for those deputed on the arrangements of the Yatra, he underscored the need for all the duty personnel to ensure proper conduct all throughout.
 
There should be no complacency on the part of security forces or duty staff at any point of time during the whole Yatra period.
 
Shah advised all the security forces and various agencies to continue taking strict action against miscreants. He also reiterated the need to cover all the sensitive and vulnerable places including possible points of infiltration throughout the State, in order to obviate any type of risk to the Yatra.
 
Appreciating the whole-hearted cooperation of the people of the State in the successful conduct of the Yatra, the Union Home Minister reassured the commitment towards the best possible arrangements.
 
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Militant killed in gunfight in J&K's Tral

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A militant was killed on Wednesday morning in a gunfight with the security forces in Tral area of Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
 
A Defence Ministry statement said: "A terrorist has been killed in Branpathri forest area encounter today. Arms and ammunition have been recovered. The operation is still going on".
 
Police sources said security forces started a cordon and search operation in Branpathri forest area of Tral tehsil following information about the presence of a group of militants there.
 
"Hiding militants opened fire at the security forces after the cordon around them was tightened," sources said.
 
IANS

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Kashmiri newspaper owner arrested, released on bail

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The owner of an Urdu daily newspaper, arrested on Monday in a nearly three-decade-old case, was on Tuesday released on bail by a court here.
 
Ghulam Jeelani Qadri, editor, printer and publisher of 'Afaq', was picked up from his home here in connection with a case registered against him in 1990 when he ran the JAK (Jammu and Kashmir) news agency, police said.
 
Police said Qadri, 62, had been declared an 'absconder' since the registration of the case against him, in which eight other local journalists were named. Three of them have died since then.
 
Releasing Qadri against a bail bond of Rs 20,000, the court asked the station house officer (SHO) concerned to explain the action taken in the case since the FIR was lodged on December 15, 1990.
 
The SHO has also been asked to explain how Qadri was twice issued passports during this period when the police said he had been an absconder.
 
The next hearing of the case will be held on July 31.
 
IANS
 

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Kashmiri cab driver returns tourist's bag with valuables

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A Kashmiri taxi driver has returned the lost bag of a tourist family containing valuables worth over Rs 10 lakh in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district, sources said on Tuesday.
 
Tariq Ahmed, the driver belonging to Shopian district, had taken the family from Bhopal to the famous Aharbal falls four days ago.
 
After returning from the trip, the family forgot their bag in the vehicle.
 
"Tariq worked hard to trace the family and finally returned the bag that contained cash, gold and smartphones worth over Rs 10 lakhs," the Tourism Department sources said, adding that the family has expressed gratitude at Ahmed's noble and honest gesture.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 

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Amit Shah to pay two-day visit to J&K from June 26

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah will visit Jammu and Kashmir for two days beginning June 26, sources said.
 
Earlier, Shah was scheduled to visit the Valley for a day on June 30.
 
"The visit has been advanced due to the Home Minister's busy schedule connected with the Union Budget. The Home Minister will chair a high level security meeting in Srinagar during his visit. He will also address BJP workers and Panchayat members separately during this visit.
 
"He will also meet the state governor, Satya Pal Malik and discuss the prevailing security scenario in the state with the governor.
 
"Amit Shah will pay obeisance at the Shri Amarnathji Shrine during his visit. This will be his first visit to J&K after he took over as the home minister of the country," the sources said.
 
Shah is not visiting the Jammu or the Ladakh divisions of the state during this week's visit.
 
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Four militants killed in J&K gunfight

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Four militants were killed on Sunday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Shopian district, police said.
 
Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said: "Four terrorists have been killed in Daramdora village of Shopian district. Weapons and other incriminating material have been recovered from their possession."
 
The operation is now over and identities and group affiliations of the four slain militants are being ascertained, police said.
 
The gunfight broke out after the security forces started a cordon and search operation in Daramdora village.
 
"The operation was focused on the orchard area. As the security forces tightened the cordon around the militants, they opened fire and that triggered the encounter," police said.
 
As a precautionary measure, the authorities have suspended mobile Internet services in Shopian district.
 
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J&K: Militant killed in gunfight in Baramulla

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A non-local militant was killed on Saturday in a gunfight with the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district.
 
An encounter started in the morning between militants and the Rashtriya Rifles and the Special Operations Group of the state police in Boniyar area of Uri sector, police sources said.
 
"An unidentified non-local militant has so far been killed in this encounter. The operation against the militants is still on," sources said.
 
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10 injured in grenade attack in J&K's Pulwama

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

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

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

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