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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.
 
NNN
 
 

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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. 
 
NNN
 
 
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Two terrorists killed in Kashmir encounter

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One more terrorist was killed in Kashmir's Bandipore on Monday, taking the number of slain terrorists in the encounter that started on Sunday to two. The identity of the slain ultras is being ascertained, police said.
 
According to the police, the encounter started late on Sunday afternoon, following a tip-off about the presence of three Lashkar militants in the area in Vijhara area of Bandipore, North Kashmir. It is a joint operation by the police and the Army.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 

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One militant killed in encounter in Bandipore, J&K

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One militant was killed in an ongoing encounter in Vijhara area of Bandipore, North Kashmir, the police said.
 
The encounter, which started late in the Sunday afternoon, is a joint operation by the police and the Army.
 
There was an input about the presence of a group of three Lashkar militants in the area which led to the encounter.
 
The identity of the slain militant is yet to be ascertained.
 
IANS

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Srinagar grenade attack: Civilian killed, over dozen injured

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One civilian was killed and over a dozen others injured on Monday when militants hurled a grenade at the busy Amira Kadal near city centre Lal Chowk here in the Kashmir Valley, police sources said.
 
Militants hurled the grenade at the market area a week after 15 civilians were injured in a similar terror attack in Sopore town of north Kashmir. The attack came on a day when normal life had started to get back to normal after a hiatus of nearly three months following the abrogation of Article 370 on August 6.
 
"The injured, most of them civilians, have been shifted to hospital for treatment as the area has been cordoned off for searches," police said. Footage on television showed a large security presence as the place was being sanitised.
 
Monday's militants attack came when markets were open and traffic was moving normally in the civil lines area of the Srinagar city.
 
After nearly three months, public transport was also visible in the Civil Lines and the Srinagar city outskirts.
 
Public transport in these areas had remained suspended for nearly 90 days.
 
IANS
 

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Murmu, Mathur sworn in as Lt Governors of J&K, Ladakh

Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Geeta Mittal administering the oath of office to Girish Chandra Murmu as the first Lieutenant Governor of the newly-formed Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar on October 31, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Geeta Mittal administering the oath of office to Girish Chandra Murmu as the first Lieutenant Governor of the newly-formed Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar on October 31, 2019. (Photo: IANS)
Girish Chandra Murmu and Radha Krishna Mathur were on Thursday sworn in as the first Lieutenant Governors of the newly-formed Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, respectively.
 
Mathur was first administered the oath by Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Geeta Mittal, at Leh.
 
This was followed by the oathtaking ceremony of Murmu at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar.
 
The ceremony was kept low key despite being a historic occasion and the media was not invited.
 
Senior officials from the civil administration and security, including advisors to former Governor Satya Pal Malik, GOC, 15 Corps, Lieutenant General K.J.S. Dhillon and BJP MP from Jammu Jugal Kishore attended the ceremony.
 
Malik has been made Governor of Goa for the rest of his tenure.
 
Murmu's wife and niece were also present at the ceremony.
 
Born in Odisha in 1959, the 1985-Gujarat cadre IAS officer Murmu has served as Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
 
After the scrapping of Article 370 on August 5, Home Minister Amit Shah told Parliament that the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir would be restored when the situation is conducive. Ladakh, however, will remain a UT.
 
After the revocation of Article 370, a lockdown and communications blockade was imposed in Kashmir that was eased later.
 
There has been a general shutdown in Kashmir against the scrapping of Article 370 which has taken a toll on business and daily life. Public transport is also off the roads since August 5. Mobile and high speed internet continues to remain suspended. Post-paid mobile voice calls have been restored but the same is yet to be restored for pre-paid service.
 
Key political leaders of Kashmir like former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti continue to remain under preventive detention since the scrapping of Article 370.
 
IANS
 

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Six labourers from West Bengal shot dead in J&K's Kulgam

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At least six non-local labourers were killed and another one seriously injured in a sudden attack by militants on Tuesday in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district. All the killed were from West Bengal's Murshidabad, police sources said.
 
While the Kashmir Police's Twitter handle said five labourers were killed, police sources said that the toll was six.
 
Police sources said that the militants came to Katrasoo village of Kulgam, took out the masons and carpenters from outside the state working there and opened fire at them, killing five of them on the spot. The sixth succumbed to his injuries while being taken to a hospital.
 
Five of those killed were identified as Sheikh Kamrudin, Sheikh M. Rafiq, Sheikh Murnsulin, Sheikh Nizam ud Din and Mohd Rafiq Sheikh. The injured labourer was Zahoor ud Din.
 
Sources said that some more labourers could be missing.
 
Security forces have rushed to the spot and thrown a cordon around the area, while a high alert has been sounded.
 
The attack came as a delegation of Members of European Parliament arrived in Srinagar to see the ground situation, amid sporadic incidents of violence and a shutdown.
 
Their visit triggered violence with incidents of stone pelting and clashes were reported from several areas in Srinagar including Chanpora, Rambagh, and Maisuma among others, leaving six people reportedly injured.
 
Shops and businesses remained closed and even private transport was playing less than routine in view of heightened tension.
 
In some areas, youths had blocked the road to prevent the movement of traffic.
 
There were also reports of firing on a security patrol in Drubgaon in Pulwama in south Kashmir, but no injuries were reported.
 
However, on Monday night, a truck driver was shot dead by terrorists in Anantnag.
 
It was the fourth attack in a week in the Kashmir Valley.
 
Earlier, two truck drivers, both from outside the Kashmir Valley, were killed by terrorists in Shopian.
 
Before that, two terrorists, including a suspected Pakistani national, shot dead a truck driver from Rajasthan, and assaulted an orchard owner, also in Shopian.
 
IANS
 

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EU parliamentary delegation leaves for Kashmir

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A European Union (EU) parliamentary delegation that met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on Monday, left for Srinagar on Tuesday, in the first visit by a foreign delegation to Kashmir after the revocation of its special status.
 
The delegation of the MEPs, who were briefed by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval on Monday, also called on Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu.
 
In Kashmir, they will be briefed by the Chief Secretary on why the blockade was necessary, the measures taken to alleviate the woes of the local populace under stress due to the dragnet and how these will be systematically removed.
 
They will also be briefed by the Director-General of Police (DGP) explaining the overall security grid, the presence of sleeping modules, both local and state-sponsored proxies from across the border, actions taken against these desperados and the heightened vigil across the security perimeter so that a repeat of the Pulwama attack doesn't happen.
 
Details will also be given about the recent terror incidents where Pakistan sponsored proxies were trying to target institutions so that normal life didn't get restored.
 
Their visit comes just ahead of the October 31 formal bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories (UT) - of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
 
Ahead of the bifurcation, the Union government has appointed two Lieutenant-Governors (LGs) for the two new UTs, with former close aide of Modi, G. C. Murmu going as the LG to Srinagar.
 
The opposition parties, including the Congress, have slammed the government over the visit, saying while it was allowing the MEPs, it was preventing Indian leaders from visiting Kashmir.
 
IANS
 

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19 civilians injured in Sopore terror attack, six critical

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At least 19 people have been injured in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Sopore and the condition of six of them is critical, Army sources said on Monday.
 
As per sources, all the 19 persons injured in the grenade attack are civilians out of which six were shifted to a hospital in Srinagar after their health condition deteriorated.
 
No fatalities had been reported in the incident at the time that this report was being filed.
 
"Unidentified terrorists lobbed a grenade at Iqbal Market near Sopore Bus Stand at around 4.20 pm on Monday. Six critically injured persons have been shifted to Srinagar for treatment. Investigations are underway," said an Army source.
 
Jammu and Kashmir Police cordoned off the area after the incident.
 
This is the second grenade attack in the last 48 hours in Jammu and Kashmir. On Saturday, four personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were injured in a grenade attack at Karannagar, Srinagar.
 
The terrorist incident comes a day ahead of a scheduled visit of a delegation of Members of the European Parliament to the valley to closely monitor the ground situation there.
 
As many as 35 terrorist-initiated incidents were reported from Jammu and Kashmir from August 5, when India withdrew special status to the state, till October 25. Eight civilians have lost their lives in these terror incidents.
 
IANS
 

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EU delegation to visit Kashmir on Tuesday

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A European Parliament delegation is arriving in Kashmir for a day-long 'unofficial' visit on Tuesday. The visit has been arranged by a European NGO and comprises members from different EU member states.
 
This is the first foreign delegation visiting Kashmir after the scrapping of Article 370 on August 5.
 
The delegation met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval also in Delhi.
 
"Their visit to Jammu and Kashmir should give the delegation a better understanding of the cultural and religious diversity of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh apart from giving them a clear view of the development and governance priorities of the region," a statement quoting Prime Minister issued by Press Information Bureau said.
 
The delegation will meet cross sections of people in Srinagar and fly out the next day.
 
The J&K government has prepared a presentation for the delegation.
 
Senior officers of J&K police will also brief the delegation about the situation in Kashmir and threat of Pakistan sponsored terrorism, sources said.
 
The members will also get an opportunity to access the ground situation on their own, sources said.
 
The visit assumes significance in view of the focus on Kashmir due to the lockdown and suspension of cell phones and internet services after the revocation of Article 370 on August 5 by the government.
 
The visit of the delegation comes in the wake of hearing in the United States on Kashmir and denial of permission to US Congressman to Kashmir.
 
The EU Parliament in a meeting over Kashmir has urged the government of India to ease restrictions and release political prisoners.
 
The arrival of the delegation in Kashmir could also help debunk the propaganda by Pakistan that there is a humanitarian crisis in Kashmir.
 
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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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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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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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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50,000 vacancies in J&K to be filled on priority: Governor

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The Jammu and Kashmir government will fill 50,000 vacancies in various departments in the next few months, Governor Satya Pal Malik said here today.
 
Addressing a press conference at Raj Bhavan, he urged the youth to come forward and participate actively in this recruitment process as this would be the single largest recruitment drive ever in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
 
He further announced that his government is working with various Central agencies to put together a scheme to provide a minimum support price for the apple crop in the state and that NAFED was willing to commit over Rs 5,000 crore for procuring over 50 per cent of apple production of the Union Territory. This would benefit over 7 lakh apple farmers.
 
The Governor also announced that in order to provide relief to the people, it had been decided to open up mobile phones in all 10 districts of Jammu (barring one location) and that mobile phones would also be made functional in the entire revenue district of Kupwara and Handwara Police districts in the Kashmir valley. 
 
The government has already announced the opening of landline connections in the Kashmir valley.
 
Referring to the recent situation in the Valley, the Governor mentioned that a number of important decisions had recently been taken regarding Jammu and Kashmir. He observed that these decisions are historic and will open new vistas for the growth of all three regions -- Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. 
 
The Governor mentioned that the decisions were taken keeping the interests of the people of Jammu & Kashmir in mind and to ensure that they benefit from the rapid economic growth happening in the rest of the country. He assured the people that the Government would take every step to ensure that the heritage, language and identity of the region would be preserved and protected and that no assault of any kind would be allowed on its culture.
 
The Governor also announced that restoration of normalcy and deepening of democracy remained the government's priority and as a first step, elections to Block Development Councils would be conducted and completed before the end of October.
 
He said that keeping in view the magnitude of the decisions that were taken, it was necessary to ensure that there is no loss of human life and that peace and public order are maintained. However, there had been a constant endeavour to relax restrictions as quickly as possible and that as of now 81 out of 111 police stations in the Kashmir had already got day-time relaxations and further relaxations would be considered in the days to come. 
 
He also said that schools are also being gradually opened up and that over 3,000 primary schools and 1,000 middle schools are open and efforts would be made to gradually open up more.
 
Asserting that the Narendra Modi government's decision to abrogate Article 370 is for the betterment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Malik said the administration was "not hiding" the figures of "deaths" in the Kashmir Valley as no lives have been lost.
 
"In 2016 agitation over 80 people had died. Every life is precious. Is this not a singular achievement (the fact that no one has died)? It's the result of the government's efforts to maintain peace, and all have worked day and night to ensure that normalcy is gradually restored without causing harm to individuals," he said.
 
He said the people have been most cooperative and patient. "The results of these restrictions are there for you to see. Not a single person has died so far in police action in the state. In the 2008 agitation, over 50 people died. In the 2010 agitation over 100 people had died," Malik said. 
 
He said there has been no civilian casualties, and "only the few who got violent are injured". "Those who are injured have injuries below the waist," he said. He wondered how his administration could hide any data on deaths when Central teams were regularly meeting him. 
 
The Governor said that, to prevent loss of life, it was necessary for the government to impose restrictions primarily to ensure that militants and terrorists do not succeed in creating fear and terror. "Rumours such as state police has been disarmed, hospitals have no medical supplies and deaths are being hidden were and are still being spread, with absolutely no basis," he said.
 
Citing the menace of terrorism in the Valley, the Governor said, "Jammu and Kashmir has been suffering for over 30 years from cross-border terrorism supported and fed by our neighbour. This cross-border terrorism has cost over 40,000 human lives." He said due to the cross-border terrorism, economy of the state has stagnated. 
 
"There is no growth, no jobs nor investment. Tourism has been badly affected," he said. 
 
Announcing that the government was easing restrictions in the Valley, he said that government is conscious of difficulties faced by people. "Hence, from day one we have been trying to improve the situation. Relaxation has been gradually made, step by step, and more will happen."
 
Malik pointed out that, as of now, 81 out of 111 police stations in Kashmir have daytime relaxations. "A few more areas will open in a few days. Only a few hardcore trouble spots will remain closed longer. In the state, 167 out of 197 police stations have no daytime restrictions on movement," he said. 
 
Announcing the government was opening mobile phone connectivity in Kupwara and Handwara districts, he said: "And soon we will open connectivity in other districts as well." 
 
Malik said the medium of phone and internet is used less by the people and more by terrorists and Pakistanis as for mobilisation and indoctrination.
 
"It is a kind of weapon used against us, so we have stopped it. Services will be resumed gradually," he said.
 
He said the statements from across the border and also by terrorist organizations were a cause for great concern. It is an open invitation for violence, killings and disruption of economic activity. 
 
Malik underlined that the government's objective is to work maximum for the people so that in the long-term, everybody realizes that it was indeed done for their benefit.
 
"J&K and Ladakh will see so much of development in the coming days that people in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir will also start asking for the same kind of development," he said. 
 
NNN

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First bid by militants to disrupt apple economy: J&K Admin

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The Jammu and Kashmir administration claimed on Monday that the militants made the first attempt to disrupt the apple economy by threatening the owner of a large orchard in village Wattoo, Shopian, and asking him to stop shipments of the crop.
 
The J&K administration tweeted that the militants forced the orchard owner to unload the apple consignment.
 
The administration claimed that this was the first such incident ever and an attempt to disrupt the apple economy to create resentment among public.
 
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir police said that the situation remained peaceful in the Valley on Monday with no incident of violence reported from any area.
 
The authorities also refuted reports about shortage of life-saving drugs at the SMHS Hospital in Srinagar. The administration claimed that there were sufficient medicines for a month and a half.
 
The administration shared the drug controller's report which said that medicines worth Rs 31.76 crore were supplied to pharmaceutical dealers and distributors in the Valley in the last 35 days and stocks were being replenished regularly.
 
Apart from that, 30,000 LPG cylinders were distributed in Srinagar in the last four days.
 
The authorities had claimed that a truck driver was killed and a girl was seriously injured in separate stone pelting incidents.
 
IANS
 

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