Tuesday, 26 February 2019

The facility was headed by JeM chief Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar, says Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale
The Balakot camp run by the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) that was hit by the Indian Air Force in the early hours of Tuesday “housed more than 200 terrorists”, a senior government official said.
The camp was headed by Jaish chief Masood Azhar’s brother-in-law Yusuf Azhar, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said. It is located around 200 km from Islamabad on a hilltop in a forest far from the civilian area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

On the banks of the Kunhar river, the camp offered the possibility of aquatic training to terrorists. Trainers at the camp were “ex-Army personnel”, the official said.
The camp was initially used as a training camp by the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM), another terrorist outfit active in Jammu and Kashmir and supported by Pakistan.
A former Intelligence official told The Hindu that Yusuf Azhar, alias Mohammad Salim, alias Ustad Ghouri, was a Hindu who converted to Islam and married Azhar’s sister.
He was one of the main conspirators involved in the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight IC 814 to Kandahar in 1999. The JeM chief was released by India in exchange for the hijacked passengers. His name was on a list of 20 fugitives handed over by India to Pakistan in 2002.

In 2000, the Interpol on the basis of a request by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) opened a red corner notice against Yusuf Azhar. The notice said that his place of birth was in Karachi, Pakistan and he was fluent in “Urdu and Hindi”, He is wanted in India for “hijacking, murder and kidnapping”.
The ex-official said the JeM was run like a “family enterprise”. “After Azhar, his brothers, Rauf and Ibrahim, are the most important functionaries. The next in line is Yusuf. While the main recruiter continues to be Masood Azhar, Yusuf’s job is to mainly train recruits. Masood likes to remain in the background post-2001 Parliament attack,” he said.
“The precision hit was conducted on a vast, advanced training camp. It was an important training centre for the JeM and other terror organisations. It had several structures to accommodate terrorist trainees and facilities to train them and was used for battle inoculation,” he said.
Masood Azhar and other terrorist leaders had delivered “inspirational” lectures on several occasions. “The terrorists were imparted the advanced Daura e Khaastraining in weapons, explosives and field tactics, tactics for attacking the convoys of security forces, planting and making IEDs, preparations for suicide bombing, rigging vehicles for suicide attacks and survival tactics in high altitudes and extreme-stress situations. The JeM specialises in fidayeen actions and gives immense importance to religious indoctrination and ideological brainwashing,” the ex-official said.
Masood Azhar’s relatives and cadres were trained at Balakot in advanced weapons and tactics, he said.
According to him, the first camp handed over to JeM was between Mansera and Balakot in 2001. “These camps were located in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) earlier but after pressure built on Pakistan post-2001 Parliament attack, they were shifted to deep inside Pakistan,” he said.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

India vs Australia 1st T20I | Australia scampers home off the final delivery in tight finish

Coulter-Nile, Maxwell and Short the architects of the win; Bumrah bowls a brilliant penultimate over but his efforts go in vain
Pat Cummins and Jhye Richardson combined to score 14 off the final over as Australia snatched a dramatic three-wicket victory over India in the first T20 international. A capacity crowd at the ACA-VDCA stadium was treated to a remarkable game on Sunday as fortunes swung this way and that.
Chasing a far-from-imposing 127, the touring side appeared to be cruising towards the target, needing 29 off the last five overs with seven wickets in hand.

But D’Arcy Short was run out in silly fashion before Krunal Pandya bowled Ashton Turner as India glimpsed an opportunity. As the tension rose and Australia’s batsmen sweated, Jasprit Bumrah sent down a superb 19th over, taking two wickets and conceding only two runs. The home side seemed the favourite from that stage but Umesh Yadav was unable to prevent one last twist.

Terrible start

Australia began its reply poorly, slipping to five for two after Marcus Stoinis and Aaron Finch fell cheaply. But Glenn Maxwell soon took control. The Victorian is a delightful striker of the ball and he was on song here, attacking Umesh Yadav before launching towering sixes off Yuzvendra Chahal and Mayank Markande. When he fell for 56, the touring side was still firmly in charge but in T20 cricket, things can often unravel at break-neck speed.

Rahul is back!

Earlier, K.L. Rahul’s breezy 50 on his return to the side proved to be the top score of the Indian innings. The Karnataka batsman will have been relieved with his effort: he had endured a difficult tour of Australia, before his suspension forced an early flight home. Here, Rahul looked in fine form from the outset, opening alongside Rohit Sharma while India rested Shikhar Dhawan. He clipped Richardson off his hips before driving him through the covers. Adam Zampa was thumped down the pitch, and later deposited beyond the sight-screen.
At the other end, Rohit fell early, caught at short fine-leg trying to paddle-sweep Jason Behrendorff. Virat Kohli was involved in a lively 55-run stand for the second wicket with Rahul, a partnership broken when the captain was caught at long-on in his attempt to clobber Zampa.
Rishabh Pant was cheered to the crease, a sign of his stature as an entertainer with the bat, but his stay lasted all of five balls. He was run out for three, Behrendorff making a diving, one-handed stop at point before releasing the ball in a flash. Pant was a long way down the pitch.

The slide

When Rahul perished, caught at mid-off one ball after completing his half-century, India was still some distance away from achieving an imposing total. A big contribution would be needed in the final third of the innings, but there simply wouldn’t be any. Dinesh Karthik followed Rahul to the pavilion three balls later, Nathan Coulter-Nile uprooting middle-stump with one that moved in off the seam.
Krunal Pandya was dismissed for one, clumsily trying to heave the same bowler over the leg-side. Coulter-Nile finished with three for 26, just reward for his efforts on the evening. The Australian was also named the Man-of-the-Match.
India handed Markande his international debut, omitting Vijay Shankar from the side. The pitch would take turn, Kohli had felt at the toss, as he fielded three spinners. What this meant, however, was that Umesh walked in at eight: tails do not come much longer.
Cummins, who was excellent during his four-over spell of one for 19, swiftly accounted for the Vidarbha quick. From 76 for two at the end of the ninth over, India had slid to 109 for seven in the 17th. Even M.S. Dhoni could not help India mount a serious recovery: too much damage, it seemed, had already been done.


India: Rohit Sharma c Zampa b Behrendorff 5 (8b), K.L. Rahul c Finch b Coulter-Nile 50 (36b, 6x4, 1x6), Virat Kohli c Coulter-Nile b Zampa 24 (17b, 3x4), Rishabh Pant run out 3 (5b), M.S. Dhoni (not out) 29 (37b, 1x6), Dinesh Karthik b Coulter-Nile 1 (3b), Krunal Pandya c Maxwell b Coulter-Nile 1 (6b), Umesh Yadav lbw b Cummins 2 (4b), Yuzvendra Chahal (not out) 0 (4b); Extras (lb-2, w-9): 11; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 126.
Fall of wickets: 1-14 (Rohit, 2.3 overs), 2-69 (Kohli, 8.4), 3-80 (Pant, 9.6), 4-92 (Rahul 12.2), 5-94 (Karthik, 12.6), 6-100 (Krunal, 14.6), 7-109 (Umesh, 16.5).
Australia bowling: Behrendorff 3-0-16-1, Richardson 4-0-31-0, Coulter-Nile 4-0-26-3, Zampa 3-0-22-1, Cummins 4-0-19-1, Short 2-0-10-0.
Australia: D’Arcy Short run out 37 (37b, 5x4), Marcus Stoinis run out 1 (5b), Aaron Finch lbw b Bumrah 0 (1b), Glenn Maxwell c Rahul b Chahal 56 (43b, 6x4, 2x6), Peter Handscomb c Dhoni b Bumrah 13 (15b), Ashton Turner b Krunal 0 (5b), Nathan Coulter-Nile b Bumrah 4 (8b), Pat Cummins (not out) 7 (3b, 1x4), Jhye Richardson (not out) 7 (3b, 1x4); Extras (w-2): 2; Total (for seven wkts. in 20 overs): 127.
Fall of wickets: 1-5 (Stoinis, 1.6), 2-5 (Finch, 2.1), 3-89 (Maxwell, 13.3), 4-101 (Short, 15.2), 5-102 (Turner, 16.2), 6-113 (Handscomb, 18.5), 7-113 (Coulter-Nile, 18.6).
India bowling: Bumrah 4-0-16-3, Chahal 4-0-28-1, Umesh 4-0-35-0, Krunal 4-0-17-1, Markande 4-0-31-0.
Toss: Australia.
Man-of-the-match: Coulter-Nile.
Australia won by three wickets off the last ball to take a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
Next match: Feb. 27, Bengaluru.z.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Trump says India looking at something ‘very strong’ after Pulwama attack

The international community led by the US pressed Pakistan to deny safe haven to terror groups operating form its soil and bring the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack to justice.
Asserting that there is a lot of problems between India and Pakistan, US President Donald Trump has said New Delhi is looking at something “very strong” in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.
Forty CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) rammed a vehicle carrying a huge quantity of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

India launched a major diplomatic offensive against Islamabad after the attack and highlighted Pakistan’s role in using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
The international community led by the US pressed Pakistan to deny safe haven to terror groups operating form its soil and bring the perpetrators of the Pulwama attack to justice.
Mr. Trump, after his meeting with a visiting Chinese trade delegation led by Vice Premier Liu He, told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House on Friday that “in Kashmir, it’s very dangerous”.
The President referred to the possibility of a strong response from India in the wake of the terrorist attack.
“India is looking at something very strong. And I mean, India just lost almost 50 people with an attack. So, I could understand that also,” he said when asked about India’s right to self-defence.
Responding to questions on the tense situation between the two South Asian neighbours, Mr. Trump said the US is talking so does some other nations, without mentioning them.
“We are talking and a lot of people are talking. But, it is a very, very delicate balance going on right now. There’s a lot of problems between India and Pakistan because of what just happened,” said the US President.
“We’re very much involved in that, if that’s what you’re referring to,” he said.
Mr. Trump described the current situation between India and Pakistan as very dangerous.
“It’s a terrible thing going on right now between Pakistan and India... it is a very, very bad situation and it’s a very dangerous situation between the two countries. We would like to see it stopped. A lot of people were just killed and we want to see it stopped,” he said.
Mr. Trump claimed that his administration has developed a much better relationship with Pakistan, even after he stopped $1.3 billion in financial aid to Islamabad.
“I stopped Pakistan, the $1.3 billion that we were paying them. In the meantime, we may set up some meetings with Pakistan.
“Pakistan was taking very strong advantage of the United States under other presidents and we were paying Pakistan 1.3 billion a year. I ended that payment to Pakistan because they weren’t helping us in a way that they should have. And honestly, we’ve developed a much better relationship with Pakistan over the last short period of time than we had,” Mr. Trump said.
In the wake of the Pulwama attack, US National Security Adviser John Bolton told his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval last week that America supports India’s right to self-defence as both sides vowed to work together to ensure that Pakistan ceases to be a safe haven for JeM and other terror groups.
India has asked Pakistan to take immediate and verifiable action against terrorists and terror groups operating from territories under its control.
New Delhi also announced the withdrawal of the Most Favoured Nation status for Pakistan and hiked the customs duty by 200 per cent on goods originating from Pakistan.

JKLF chief Yasin Malik, Jamaat-e-Islami members arrested in Kashmir

Multiple raids were conducted in south Kashmir to arrest JeI’s leadership; Mehbooba questions clampdown
Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik and socio-religious group Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JeI) 30 members, including the top leadership, were arrested after a night-long clampdown in Kashmir on Saturday.
Security agencies started the operation on Friday night when they arrested Malik from his residence at Maisuma around 11 p.m. He was shifted to a local police station.

An official said multiple raids were conducted in south Kashmir to arrest JeI’s leadership.
“Forces agencies launched a mass arrest drive on Friday night and dozens of central and district level leaders have been arrested,” said a JeI statement.
Those arrested included JeI chief Dr. Abdul Hamid Fayaz, spokesman advocate Zahid Ali, former secretary general Ghulam Qadir Lone and Anantnag head Abdur Rouf. The organisation has around 5,000 members in the State.
“Any attempt of eroding or tempering Article 35(A) is unacceptable for the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” it added.
Former Chief Minister and People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti questioned the government’s move. “In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders and workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. I fail to understand such an arbitrary move, which will only precipitate matters in J&K. Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas,” she tweeted.

100 companies sought for Valley

In the run up of the parliament and Assembly elections, the Union Home Ministry has sought 100 companies of the security forces for J&K.
The 100 companies included 45 companies of CRPF, 35 companies of the Border Security Forces, 20 of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and 10 of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).
The fresh deployment also comes ahead of the hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court, likely on Monday.
According to the police, the additional forces were called for election purposes, while the arrests of some leaders and activists were a move to prevent any disturbance during the election process.
An election commission team would be arriving in Kashmir on March 5 to assess the situation and to take a call on holding polls. “We took some measures to ensure peaceful elections,” said the police.
Jammu and Kashmir is now under President's rule. The PDP-BJP government fell apart in June last year.
Meanwhile, clashes broke out in Anantnag where youth clashed with security forces. The clashes impacted traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway

Arvind Kejriwal announces hunger strike, movement for Delhi Statehood

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said he would start an indefinite hunger strike and the Aam Aadmi Party would launch a “movement” to demand statehood for Delhi on March 1.
Speaking on day three of the Budget session of the Delhi Assembly, Mr. Kejriwal announced in the House that he would go on indefinite hunger strike to push for the status of a full state for Delhi. The Assembly also passed a resolution in support of the demand for statehood, making it the second such resolution in less than a year after a similar resolution was passed on June 11, 2018.

Addressing the House, the Chief Minister said he was ready to give up his life for the cause, terming it the “aar paar ki ladai” or final battle. He said both the BJP and the Congress had promised statehood for Delhi during previous election campaigns, but had forgotten the promise once elected.
Later in the evening, Mr. Kejriwal said in a tweet: “I cannot repay the debt of my Delhi for all that the people here have given me in my life. It will be my proud privilege to lay down my life fighting for Delhiites rights. Delhi deserves full statehood & must get it at all costs (sic).”
The AAP chief’s announcement came at the end of a day of discussion in the Assembly on the issue of powers of the elected government vis-a-vis the Lieutenant-Governor and the Centre.
Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Kejriwal said: “The Prime Minister should deal with Pakistan, which he is not being able to do, and leave Delhi Police and the municipal corporations to the people of Delhi”.
Earlier during the proceedings, which started off with a motion of thanks for L-G Anil Baijal’s address on Friday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said the Centre had tried to stall various projects of the AAP government.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta said the AAP was raising the demand for statehood as the Lok Sabha elections are near and the party used the lack of powers of a full state as an excuse.

Airlines, CISF put on alert after Air India receives hijack threat

A call has been received at the Air India’s Airport Operation Control Centre in Mumbai regarding a threat to an Indian Airlines flight getting hijacked to Pakistan.
Air India’s Mumbai control centre on February 23 received a phone call threatening to hijack its plane, following which the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) ordered all airlines and CISF to follow specific enhanced measures to ensure security, according to an official note.
“A telephonic message received by the station duty office, AI (Air India) AOCC (Airport Operation Control Centre) Mumbai, stating information regarding a threat to Indian Airlines flight getting hijacked to Pakistan on 23.2.2019,” stated the BCAS note dated February 23.

The note added, “In view of the above, APSU (Airport Security Unit)/ASG (Aviation Security Group) and all aircraft operators shall adopt the following (eight) measures with immediate effect.”  Both APSU and ASG are part of the Central Industrial Security Force.
According to BCAS note, the measures to be followed are: Strict access control to regulate entry to terminal building, airside, all operational area and other aviation facilities. Intensive checking of vehicles entering car parking area to preclude possibility of car bomb attacks. Enhanced screening of passengers, staff and visitors including enhanced random screening at the main gate. Enhanced screening and protection of hold baggage, cargo, cargo terminal, catering, mails, etc. Surveillance through CCTV cameras as well as manual surveillance in and around the terminal building and operational areas. Quick reaction team and perimeter patrolling to be strengthened. Manning of all cargo gates and vehicle entry gates will be strengthened with strong armed support. Any other security measures based on local intelligence inputs.
The Parliament passed Anti-Hijacking (Amendment) Bill in 2014 in order to lay down new protocol to deal with hijacking of an airplane.
“The Bill provides death punishment for the offence of hijacking, where such offence results in the death of a hostage or of a security personnel; or with imprisonment for life and the moveable and immoveable property of such persons shall also be liable to be confiscated,” the central government said in a statement on December 3, 2014.

Friday, 22 February 2019

A drop in an ocean of debt: how farmers have benefited from Rythu Bandhu.

The first transfer of money under the PM-KISAN scheme is scheduled for Sunday. Priscilla Jebaraj reports from villages in Warangal, Telangana on how farmers have benefited from Rythu Bandhu, the income support scheme seen as the inspiration behind PM-KISAN
Early one morning in the second week of February this year, A. Kumaraswamy, 30, set out from his home in Devanoor village in Telangana’s Warangal district and walked towards his cotton field. He was staring at a third straight year of crop failure due to rainfall shortages, but he still took out his plastic canister of expensive pesticide — he uses at least ₹2,000 worth of the chemicals each week — and began spraying. Once done, he took a costly drink.
Two weeks later, Kumaraswamy sits slumped on the steps of his unplastered brick home, his fingers shaky, his eyes averted. “I was in the fields, feeling quite depressed. So I decided to drink the rest of the pesticide I had used for that morning’s spraying.” Seeing him fall down, a farmer in the neighbouring field had run across, thrown him on the back of his motorcycle and rushed him to the government hospital in Warangal town 35 km away. It’s now a week since he was discharged, and he has spent his first day in the fields again. “I still feel dizzy,” he says.

Five days before Kumaraswamy’s suicide attempt, the Union Interim Budget had announced the launch of a new scheme meant to provide income support for small farmers like him: the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, or PM-KISAN scheme. It promises ₹6,000 per year to all families who own less than two hectares — that is, five acres — of farmland. The first instalment of ₹2,000 is to be paid by this March, before the Lok Sabha polls.
In many ways, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at the Centre is following in the footsteps of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government in this State. Last May, just four months before dissolving the State Assembly and calling for fresh polls, the Telangana government launched the Rythu Bandhu or farmers’ investment support scheme, offering farmers ₹8,000 per acre in a bid to “enhance agricultural productivity and… break the vicious cycle of rural indebtedness”. Only land-owning farmers are eligible beneficiaries and there is no cap on the number of acres owned. The scheme has a budget of ₹12,000 crore for 2018-19 for a total of 57 lakh targeted beneficiaries, although farmers groups say that at least nine lakh beneficiaries are yet to receive any money.
When Assembly elections were held in December, after the first instalment of Rythu Bandhu had been paid, the TRS swept the polls, winning 88 out of 119 seats, including the entire Warangal area. Rythu Bandhu was seen as one of the major reasons for the victory.

‘It solves no problems’

Kumaraswamy had been a beneficiary of the Rythu Bandhu scheme, receiving ₹8,000 for the one acre he owns. However, he received no benefit for the five acres he leased.
He had started leasing land six years ago, lured by the solid profits then enjoyed by cotton farmers. He hoped that a higher investment would rake in higher returns, help him pay off some pending loans, and finance his children’s education. It paid off for a couple of years, before three consecutive years of drought and poor rainfall threw him into a nightmare of higher investment, higher losses, and higher debt. He says: “I need to pay for labour, tractor rental, 10 bags of fertilizer per acre, plus lease of ₹10,000 per acre per year. Every week, I spend ₹2,000-₹3,000 on pesticides because every week there is a new pest, even though Bt cotton was supposed to cut down on pesticides. I have no money to dig borewells.” He used the money from Rythu Bandhu to buy fertilizer, but it was merely a drop in an ocean of bills. He now has pending loans of more than ₹6 lakh, mostly taken from family and friends at an interest rate of 2% per month.

U.P. Police drop sedition charges against 14 Aligarh Muslim University students

Police have dropped sedition charges slapped against 14 Aligarh Muslim University after the recent protests on the campus, citing lack of evidence.
The students were booked for sedition after Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) district president Mukesh Lodhi alleged he was assaulted by some students who chanted pro-Pakistan slogans, police said.

Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhari said on February 22 the charges were dropped three days back as there is no evidence to support them.
He said there was no video proof or any other evidence to support the claim that anti-India or pro-Pakistan slogans were raised by the students during the clash between two groups at University Circle on February 12.
The clashes appeared to have been triggered by reports that AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi was visiting the campus. BJYM, the youth wing of the BJP, had demanded that the reported visit should be banned.
There was also an altercation between some AMU students and a news channel’s crew that had come to cover the anticipated visit, which never took place.
Meanwhile, police raided a house in Noida on February 22, looking for Kashmiri student Basim Hilal over a tweet mocking the security forces after the Pulwama terror attack.
They failed to find the student who has already been suspended by the AMU authorities. A case under section IPC 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups) had been registered against him.

Modi receives Seoul Peace Prize for 2018.

Award committee recognises his contribution to the growth of Indian and global economies.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday received the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize for 2018 for his contribution to international cooperation and fostering global economic growth.
The award was presented to him by the Seoul Peace Prize Foundation at a grand ceremony in Seoul. A short film on the life and achievements of Mr. Modi was screened at the event.

While conferring the award on Mr. Modi, the award committee recognised his contribution to the growth of Indian and global economies, crediting ‘Modinomics’ for reducing social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor.
The committee also pointed to his contribution to regional and global peace through a proactive policy with countries around the world.
Mr. Modi is the 14th recepient of the award and the past laureates include former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and renowned international relief organizations like Doctors Without Borders and Oxfam.
The Prize was established in 1990 to commemorate the success of the 24th Olympic Games held in Seoul. The award was established to crystalise Korean people’s yearning for peace on the Korean peninsula and in the rest of the world.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Pakistan bans Hafiz Saeed-led JuD, its charity wing FIF

Pakistan on Thursday banned the 2008 Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed-led Jamat-ud-Dawa and its charity wing Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, amid intense global pressure to rein in the militant groups following the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF soldiers.
A spokesman of the Interior Ministry said that the decision to ban these groups was taken during a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan at his office on Thursday.
It was decided during the meeting to accelerate action against proscribed organisations,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
“It was further decided that Jamat-ud-Dawa and Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation be notified as proscribed organizations by the Ministry of Interior,” he added.
Earlier, the two outfits were kept on the watchlist of the interior ministry.
According to officials, JuD’s network includes 300 seminaries and schools, hospitals, a publishing house and ambulance service. The two groups have about 50,000 volunteers and hundreds of other paid workers.
The JuD is believed to be the front organisation for the LeT which is responsible for carrying out the Mumbai attack that killed 166 people. It has been declared as a foreign terrorist organisation by the US in June 2014.
The US Department of the Treasury has designated its chief Saeed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, and the US, since 2012, has offered a USD 10 million reward for information that brings Saeed to justice.
Saeed was listed under UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in December 2008. He was released from house arrest in Pakistan in November 2017.
The NSC meeting also reviewed the National Action Plan against terrorism in detail. Services chiefs and key ministers were in attendance.
“We need to move to ensure that militancy and extremism are rooted from the society and the State never becomes hostage to extremists,” Mr. Khan said as he directed both the interior ministry and the security institutions to immediately accelerate actions on ground.

PM Modi arrives in South Korea on two-day visit to bolster strategic ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Seoul Thursday on a two-day visit to strengthen India’s strategic ties with South Korea and seek to enhance bilateral cooperation in diverse areas, including trade and investment.
Ahead of his visit, the Prime Minister described South Korea as an important partner for India’s key initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, and said as fellow democracies the two countries share values and vision for regional and global peace.

Mr. Modi is visiting South Korea on the invitation of President Moon Jae-in. This is his second visit to the Republic of Korea since 2015 and second summit meeting with President Moon Jae-in.
Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said the visit would strengthen India’s special strategic partnership with South Korea and add dynamism to the Look East Policy.
During the visit, Mr. Modi will have bilateral and business engagements, unveil a bust of Mahatma Gandhi and accept the Seoul Peace Prize conferred upon him, Mr. Kumar said in a tweet.
Earlier in his departure statement, Mr. Modi said his visit is reflective of the importance “we both attach to our relationship”.
“We regard the Republic of Korea as a valued friend, a nation with which we have a Special Strategic Partnership. As fellow democracies, India and the ROK have shared values and a shared vision for regional and global peace,” the Prime Minister said.
“As fellow market economies, our needs and strengths are complementary. South Korea is an important partner for our ‘Make in India’ initiative as well as in our ‘Start Up India’ and ‘Clean India’ initiatives,” Mr. Modi said.
He said collaboration between the two in the field of science and technology is encouraging, with joint research ranging from basic to advanced sciences.
“Our people to people ties and exchanges, as always, provide the bedrock of our ties of friendship, he said.
“Working together, we are determined to take our relationship forward as a ‘future oriented partnership for People, Prosperity and Peace’,” the prime minister said.

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

PM Modi arrives in South Korea on two-day visit to bolster strategic ties

Mr. Modi is visiting South Korea on the invitation of President Moon Jae-in. This is his second visit to the Republic of Korea since 2015 and second summit meeting with President Moon Jae-in.
Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said the visit would strengthen India’s special strategic partnership with South Korea and add dynamism to the Look East Policy.
During the visit, Mr. Modi will have bilateral and business engagements, unveil a bust of Mahatma Gandhi and accept the Seoul Peace Prize conferred upon him, Mr. Kumar said in a tweet.
Earlier in his departure statement, Mr. Modi said his visit is reflective of the importance “we both attach to our relationship”.
“We regard the Republic of Korea as a valued friend, a nation with which we have a Special Strategic Partnership. As fellow democracies, India and the ROK have shared values and a shared vision for regional and global peace,” the Prime Minister said.
“As fellow market economies, our needs and strengths are complementary. South Korea is an important partner for our ‘Make in India’ initiative as well as in our ‘Start Up India’ and ‘Clean India’ initiatives,” Mr. Modi said.
He said collaboration between the two in the field of science and technology is encouraging, with joint research ranging from basic to advanced sciences.
“Our people to people ties and exchanges, as always, provide the bedrock of our ties of friendship, he said.
“Working together, we are determined to take our relationship forward as a ‘future oriented partnership for People, Prosperity and Peace’,” the prime minister said.

Kulbhushan Jadhav case live | Even under Pakistan laws, possessing a fake passport doesn't warrant a death penalty: India

Here are the live updates:
8:20 p.m.
In Tuesday's arguments, Pakistan quoted two articles published in Indian magazines to prove their point. Harish Salve, India's counsel, quotes the same articles and says Jadhav was not arrested in Iran-Pakistan border town Sarawan as claimed by Pakistan.
8:10 p.m.
During the second round of public hearing in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case, India strongly objects to the abusive language of Pakistan’s counsel. Harish Salve, on behalf of India, reiterates that Pakistan never allowed consular access to Jadhav.
Countering Pakistan's claims that they were unsure of Jadhav's nationality as the reason for denying consular access, Mr. Salve says India has never said Jadhav wasn't an Indian national.
If Pakistan believes Jadhav's confession, why are they doubting his nationality? he asks.
Mr. Salve accepts that Jadhav did carry a fake passport, which is a crime in India too. But does that warrant a dealth penalty? he asks. Even under the laws of Pakistan, possessing a fake passport doesn't warrant a death penalty, he argues.
Just because he carries such a passport, it doesn't mean he was there to carry out terror activities, Mr. Salve says.
8.00 p.m.

Oral arguments set to continue

Both India and Pakistan will get an hour-and-a-half to present their final arguments. "Second round must not be a repetition of the first," said Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf on Tuesday, at the conclusion of the hearing on Day 2.

7.50 p.m.

Jadhav's arrest and sentencing

Jadhav, a former naval officer, was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to death by Pakistan in April 2017 over allegations of espionage and abetting terror, after three-and-a-half months of trial.
In May that year, India filed an application to launch proceedings against Pakistan for “egregious violations” of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, accusing Pakistan of failing to comply with its obligations under Article 36 of that convention. It argued that Pakistan had failed to inform Jadhav of his rights and had denied him consular access, despite repeated requests for this to happen.
India also applied for provisional measures to stay the execution of Jadhav, arguing that without such a measure it feared that he could be executed before the full case could be heard

Monday, 18 February 2019

Latest updates

11.45 a.m.

The bodies of two slain militants were retrieved from the encounter site, says Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Amit Kumar. "Weapons and warlike stores recovered. The identity and group affiliation of the slain militants are being ascertained. Search is on in the area to find out if there are any more militants," he adds.
10:05 am

Two to three militants are believed to be hiding in the area. "Firing, which stopped for a while, has resumed," says an official. The place of encounter is just 15 km away from the explosion site at Lethpora.
10:00 am
Four Armymen, including a Major, and a civilian have been killed in the ongoing encounter.
The slain were identified as Major D.S. Dondial, Head Constable Sava Ram and Sepoys Ajay Kumar and Hari Singh. However, the Army has not confirmed any casualty officially. One injured soldier, Gulzar Muhammad, has been evacuated to Army's 92 Base Hospital Badamibagh in Srinagar. "A civilian, identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat, was injured in the firing and he later died of his injuries," an official says.

9:30 am

Encounter started at 12.50 am on Monday at Pinglena in Pulwama and was led by the Army. The CRPF and the Jammu and Kashmir police are also part of the operation. A civilian has also reportedly been killed but there is no confirmation so far.
9:00 am

Security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Pinglan area during the night after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area, a police official told PTI. He said that as the forces were conducting searches, the militants opened fire at them, triggering off a gun battle

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Two days after India made the announcement, Advisor to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood said New Delhi has not informed Islamabad about withdrawing Pakistan’s MFN status, Geo News reported.
Mr. Dawood said, “We are looking into the withdrawal of the MFN status by India. We can speak to India about this issue”. Pakistan can raise this issue at different forums including the World Trade Organisation as both countries are members of the global trade body, he added.
India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996. Under the MFN pact, a WTO member country is obliged to treat the other trading nation in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies.
India’s decision would significantly hit Pakistan’s exports to India, which stood at $488.5 million (around ₹3,482.3 crore) in 2017-18 as it would drastically increase the prices of its goods.
“India has withdrawn the MFN status to Pakistan after the Pulwama incident. Upon withdrawal, basic customs duty on all goods exported from Pakistan to India has been raised to 200 per cent with immediate effect,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in a tweet on February 16.
The two main items imported from Pakistan are fruits and cement, on which the current customs duty is 30-50% and 7.5%, respectively.
Slapping an import duty of 200% effectively means almost banning the imports from Pakistan, official sources said in New Delhi.
Items which Pakistan exports to India include fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products, bulk minerals and ores, finished leather, processed minerals, inorganic chemicals, cotton raw, spices, wool, rubber product, alcoholic beverages, medical instruments, marine goods, plastic, dyes and sport goods.
The total India-Pakistan trade has increased marginally to $2.41 billion in 2017-18 as against $2.27 billion in 2016-17. India imported goods worth $488.5 million in 2017-18 and exported goods worth $1.92 billion.
During April-October 2018-19, India’s exports to Pakistan stood at $1.18 billion, while imports were $338.66 billion.
India mainly exports raw cotton, cotton yarn, chemicals, plastics, man-made yarn and dyes to Pakistan.
At least 40 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle with explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.
The move comes after 40 CRPF personnel were killed by a car suicide bomber in Pulwama on February 14. The attack was claimed by Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).

"All security and any vehicles provided to them will stand withdrawn by today evening. No security forces or cover should be provided, under any pretext, to them or any other separatists," said a statement by J&K government.

The statement added that if the separatists have any other facilities provided by the government, they are to be withdrawn forthwith.

Police headquarters will review if there are any other separatists who have government security or facilities and will withdraw these immediately, the statement added.

'Non-issue', says Hurriyat chairman

Hurriyat chairman Umar Farooq on Sunday described the decision to withdraw security as a "non-issue for us".
"It was the government decision at that time to keep the security. It’s their decision to remove it. It’s not an issue for us," The Mirwaiz told The Hindu.
He said the security of separatists was being "politicised". 
"It has no bearing nor can it in any way change the reality of the lingering Kashmir dispute or the situation on the ground or our principled stand and outlook regarding its resolution," said the Mirwaiz.
He said the Hurriyat leaders had never asked for security and it was provided on the assessment of threat perception. 
The Mirwaiz's father Moulvi Muhammad Farooq and uncle were assassinated by unknown gunmen in two separate incidents since 1990.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Getting into Xinjiang

He adds, “This time, travelling to China was not easy. Our entry into Xinjiang took around 28 hours at the customs, where all the data from our phones and laptops was downloaded.” Anne was unlucky. The Chinese customs officials spotted her pet cat — foreign animals are not allowed into China — and refused her entry.
However, this did not deter Roman from continuing his journey along the Silk Route in China. He drove the truck alone through the famous marketplaces of Urumqi and Kashgar of Xinjiang, before taking the arduous mountain stretches towards Karakoram in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). His road journey took him close to the famous Pangong Lake that straddles India and China in Ladakh.
Entering the Karakoram mountains through the Khunjerab Pass at an elevation of 16,010 ft, Roman steered his vehicle into Gilgit-Baltistan’s Hunza valley in present-day PoK. Explains Roman, “At the Balti Fort, I saw an 18th century Russian samovar (copper tea pot). Variants of it are used in Afghanistan and Kashmir.” He decided to pick up a 100-year old antique Afghani ‘samovar’ (a word of Russian origin) from Pakistan’s Peshawar. “‘Sam’ means ‘self’ in Russian and ‘Var’ means ‘cook’,” he explains.
Samovar is a copper teapot with a chimney at the centre for charcoal. While the Russian samovar has a knob at the bottom, the Kashmiri one has a teapot-like nose at the top. Roman adds, “This is a living example of how much we still have in common despite the borders that have come up.”
Roman and Anne met up in Pakistan for the onward journey to India through the Wagah border at Amritsar, and from there to Ladakh via Manali in Himachal Pradesh. The Silk Route journey would have remained incomplete unless they covered Ladakh’s Leh and Kargil towns, which were once bustling stopovers for silk-carrying merchants from China. Despite inclement weather in November (snow had already covered the passes connecting China with Gilgit-Baltistan and Himachal Pradesh with Ladakh, while the day temperature hovered below freezing point), Roman was determined to carry the antique samovar for the Central Asian Museum in Leh.
Says Roman, “I feel elated to have brought a samovar for the Leh museum. It would highlight the broken link. In Leh, I realised that the Russian word ‘aksakal’, which means ‘white-beard’ and ‘wise man’, had become the designation for the customs officer who used to check the caravans on the Silk Route in the past. The words and the utensils used here make one feel as if it was only yesterday that the region was open for trade.”

A spark in the cold desert

The timing of Roman’s offering of an antique samovar to the museum in Leh could not have been more opportune. Ladakh is sparsely populated. Its twin districts of Leh and Kargil have a combined population of just 2.74 lakh people (as in Census 2011) spread across a vast cold desert. Yet the region is astir with people’s movements demanding a revival of the old trade routes. The setting up of the Central Asian Museum in Leh, in 2016, on the premises of a 17th century mosque, stands testimony to the people’s attempt to reclaim the past, with an eye on the future.
Back in 2004, in Kargil town, around 200 km from Leh, two brothers, Gulzar Hussain Munshi, 48, and Ajaz Hussain Munshi, 42, decided to sort out the artefacts hidden in their grandfather’s inn. The inn had been set up in 1920 and was then known as the Aziz Bhat Sarai. The three-storey building also doubled as a depot for goods, with the ground floor accommodating a stable for traders’ horses. The Munshi brothers converted the only surviving inn of the Silk Route in Ladakh into a museum. Gulzar became its director, while Ajaz is its curator.
Named the Munshi Aziz Bhat Museum of Central Asia and Kargil Trade Artefacts, the house of the Munshis has become a major attraction for tourists interested in learning more about the Silk Route. It houses over 30,000 artefacts from the 19th and the early 20th centuries. These include turquoise-studded silver necklaces and engravings from Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Khotan and Kashgar, and 17th century carpets from the weavers of Yarkand and Kashgar in Xinjiang. There is also a 17th century gold-plated saddle strap from Yarkand. Early 20th century artefacts include western toiletries such as soap, toothbrushes, and shaving brushes dating back to 1903, 1905, 1926, and 1939 — all imported from England, Germany and the U.S.
Says Ajaz, “After reaching the Mumbai coast, these toiletries travelled all the way to Central Asia through Yarkand, the cold desert of Khotan, and Kashgar. From the other side, silk and carpets would reach Indian and Western markets.” His grandfather, Munshi Aziz Bhat (1880-1950), was a prominent owner of a Silk Route enterprise, Munshi Aziz Bhat And Sons. He adds, “It traded in a number of goods, including silk, rubies, gold, and spices, with its business extending ‘in all the four directions’.”
Says Ajaz, “I do not see my private museum as a mausoleum of the Silk Route. I see it as heralding a fresh start. The time has come for Kargil to open itself up to Baltistan and Xinjiang again. If travellers like Roman and Anne can make the travel happen again, why can’t we, who were to the Silk Route what blood is to a body?”
Hajira Begum, the 104-year-old grandmother of the Munshi brothers, still has letters from 1933 containing details about the stocks of gold, rubies, and silk carried by the horses arriving from different directions. Says Begum, “One horse would carry 40 kg of gold dust. It used to cost ₹12 per kg. I can still smell the spices that criss-crossed these mountains.”
The Munshis have already been approached by the Chinese Embassy in India for help in establishing a museum dedicated to the Silk Route. Says Ajaz, “China seems equally interested in reviving the links. They are in touch with us for the museum.”
Hunderman village, the nearest Silk Route point to Kargil town, still bears a great deal of resemblance to Kashgar bazaar in China’s Xinjiang. It connects Kargil to Baltistan’s Skardu area in PoK, which is less than 5 km from Kargil’s main market. For the families here, retelling old tales and legends about trade and travel is a popular pastime on dark winter evenings. These stories, frequently told and retold, have also played a role in sparking the current political movement seeking a renewal of the Silk Route’s old linkages.
Sheikh Nazir Mehdi Mohammadi, president of the Anjuman Jamiyat Ullama Kargil, a local socio-religious group, is spearheading a campaign to reopen the Kargil-Skardu and Turtuk-Khapolu routes. He says the people of Kargil are being denied their due. Says Mohammadi, “People would be compelled to march towards the Line of Control (LoC) if the Kargil-Skardu and the Turtuk-Khapolu roads are not reopened.”
With each passing day, the movement is gaining momentum and support. Feroz Ahmad Khan, chairman of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC)-Kargil, a body set up to administer the region locally, says the time has come to take the battle to the doors of power in New Delhi.

WhatsApp at the border

The advent of Internet and social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp have further strengthened the yearning of the local population to connect with their roots. For instance, Balti, a Tibetic language, is on the wane on the Indian side of the LoC,with only about 9,000 speakers in five villages of the Nubra Valley. But Sherine Fatima Balti, 23, a resident of Leh’s Bogdang, a far-off village in the Nubra Valley, has emerged as a singing sensation for the 2.9 lakh Balti-speaking population of Baltistan on the other side of the LoC.
Says Sherine’s father and a contractor, Ahmad Shah, 52, “My daughter is followed by 57,000 people on Facebook. Over 90% of her followers are from Baltistan.” A comment from Manzoor Hussain Balghari and Ehsan Ali Danish, two well-known lyricists from Baltistan, on Sherene’s Facebook page started an unusual musical jugalbandi (union) online. Says Shah, “Balghari and Danish now share their lyrics online with Sherine. She sings them and uploads the videos, which then go viral in Baltistan. Her songs are even aired on the local radio stations there.” In January this year, Sherine was conferred the Jammu and Kashmir State Award for Performing Arts.
Adds Shah, “Other Baltistan-based lyricists have also started sharing their lyrics for Sherine to sing.” One popular song written by Balghari and sung by Sherine is about the yearning to meet a dear one. “At the end of the day, the sky meets the earth; why can’t we too,” go the lyrics.
Sherine’s songs, ‘Grifshat Sula Beik’ and ‘Tsertragi Jusay Jusay’, are runaway hits in PoK. Sherine says, “I am the first Balti woman to take up singing, as it is strongly discouraged by our conservative culture. One day I would like to meet my fans across the LoC.”
Sherine’s family, like the 12,000 other families that got divided into Jammu and Kashmir and PoK after Independence, saw the boundary redrawn after the 1971 war. And families again got divided. Says Shah, “Baltistan is just 4 km from Bogdang village. In 1971, we were part of Pakistan for six months during the war before India won us back. It took many divided families 47 years to cover this 4 km distance. Our past is painful. Opening the Turtuk-Khapula road will go a long way in healing the wounds of war here.”
Today, WhatsApp helps the divided families exchange videos and see each other by cell phone. It also heightens the longing for a real reunion. For instance, the family of Ghulam Hussain, 42, a social activist, belongs to Thyakshi village in the Nubra Valley. They became residents of India only in 1971, when the Indian Army annexed 804 sq km of territory from Gilgit-Baltistan. Ghulam Qadir, Hussain’s uncle, got separated from his family in 1971 and stayed back in Ghanche district on the other side of the LoC, while his wife remained stranded here. Says Hussain, “It took over 12 years to secure a meeting between husband and wife. Now we rely on online video conferencing to see my uncle and aunt, which is not enough.” For people in nearby Bogdang village, Hussain’s Thyakshi village remained a “mini-Pakistan” for many years.
Locals want tourism to pick up at Turtuk too, like it has at the Wagah border. Says Hussain, “Opening the roads will liberate us. During the winter, it is easier to ferry vegetables from Baltistan than from Leh town.”
Ironically, the twin routes of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawlakote that were opened in 2005 for the divided families of Jammu and Kashmir were of no use for those in Ladakh. Pakistan treats PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan as two separate entities. Says Hussain, “The bus service was limited to the divided families of PoK. So we could not avail it to reach Gilgit-Baltistan.”
Kargil saw another shutdown on February 8. Since the announcement of the decision last November to open the Kartarpur Corridor between India and Pakistan, there have been three major rallies in Kargil town, with the protesters pressing for similar arrangements in this region.
Meanwhile, Anne and Roman, having successfully concluded their Silk Route adventure, have already shipped their military truck back to Germany from a Mumbai port. Says Roman reflectively, “Traditions live longer than regimes. Culturally, it will mean a great deal if people are allowed to move freely. I’m sure it will happen sooner or later
In a hard-hitting speech, the Prime Minister said the “blood of the people is boiling” and forces behind the act of terrorism will definitely be punished.
Warning Pakistan that it cannot weaken India by orchestrating attacks such as the one on CRPF jawans in Pulwama, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said those responsible will pay “a very heavy price” and security forces will be given a free hand to deal with terrorists.

In a hard-hitting speech, Mr. Modi said the “blood of the people is boiling” and forces behind the act of terrorism will definitely be punished.

“I want to tell the terror outfits and those aiding and abetting them that they have made a big mistake. They will have to pay a very heavy price for their actions. Let me assure the nation that those behind this attack, the perpetrators of this attack will be punished,” Mr. Modi said at a function to flag off the Vande Bharat Express, India’s fastest train from Delhi to Varanasi.

He said the security forces have been given “complete freedom”.
“Security forces have been given complete freedom, the blood of the people is boiling...Our neighbouring country, which has been isolated internationally is in a state of illusion, thinks such terror attacks can destabilise us, but their plans will not materialise,” Mr. Modi said.
On Thursday, an explosives laden truck rammed into a CRPF convoy in Pulwama outside Srinagar, killing 40 soldiers in one of the biggest terror attacks in recent years.
“My condolences to families of those martyred in Pulwama attack, those behind the terror strike will pay a very heavy price,” Mr. Modi said.
“I am thankful to all nations which condemned Pulwama attack and urge them to come together to crush terrorism. The forces behind this act of terrorism and those responsible for it, will be definitely be punished,” he said.
Appealing to his critics to not politicise the tragedy, Mr. Modi said the attacks have left the country emotional.
“I understand the sentiments of those criticising us but I urge them that it is an emotional time, so stay away from political one-upmanship.
“It is my request to all my friends that it is a very sensitive and emotional moment and the nation stands united in its fight against terror. We should speak in one voice and rise above politics.The message which should go across the world is that we are one nation, one voice in our fight against terror, the fight which we have to win,” he said
Earlier in the morning, after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said India had withdrawn Pakistan’s most favoured nation status and was working on a plan to isolate the country internationally in the wake of the attacks.
“The most favoured nation status to Pakistan stands revoked,” Mr. Jaitley said.
The CCCS meet was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.

Kashmir regrets every killing, resolve real issue: Hurriyat

Separatist amalgam, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, on Friday said that "people and leadership of Kashmir regret every killing that happens on its soil".
Referring to the Pulwama incident, the trio said, "The delay in the resolution of the Kashmir dispute, the denial to engage with the sentiments and aspirations of the people of J&K and instead the use of a muscular military approach to counter an essentially political and human problem, is wrecking havoc in Kashmir especially on our next generation and consuming them, while those who are here to execute this policy are also under stress and paying a price with their lives."
The JRL said if this dance of death has to stop. "If hatred and revenge has to stop, if killing and counter-killings has to stop and if we really want peace in the region, we have to put an end to hostilities," they said.
"And the most effective and civilized manner to do so, is to reach out and engage and listen to the concerns of all three stakeholders and address them in the spirit of humanity and justice. Resolve the Kashmir dispute for all times," they added.
2.10 p.m.

Advisory issued to all private channels

In light of the recent attack, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued an advisory to all private channels, advising them to be cautious in telecasting content that is likely to "encourage or incite violence or contains anything against the maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitudes, and/or contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation."
2.00 p.m.

Curfew in Jammu city

Curfew was imposed in Jammu city on Friday as a precautionary measure following massive protests over the terror attack in Pulwama in the Kashmir Valley.
The Army has been requested to help the administration in maintaining law and order and conduct flag marches, officials said.
Curfew was clamped as authorities feared a communal backlash, officials said. Protesters, particularly in the old city, refused to disperse even after loudspeakers announced that curfew was imposed.
1.30 p.m.

Rajnath Singh leaves for J&K

Home Minister Rajnath Singh left for Jammu and Kashmir on Friday to take stock of the situation in the State. He is accompanied by top home ministry officials.
During the visit, the home minister will take part in a high-level meeting in Srinagar to be attended by Governor Satya Pal Malik and top civil, police and other security officials.
The home minister will take stock of the security situation in the state in view of the terror attack on Thursday, a home ministry official said.
Singh will also pay his last respects to the CRPF jawans who were killed in Pulwama.
1.10 p.m.

China condemns attack

China on Friday condemned the Pulwama terror attack carried out by a Jaish suicide bomber but once again declined to back India’s appeal to list the Pakistan-based terror group’s chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN.
“China has noted the reports of suicide terrorist attack. We are deeply shocked by this attack. We express deep condolences and sympathy to the injured and bereaved families,” spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Geng Shuang told a media briefing in Beijing.
When asked about China’s stand on the listing of Azhar as a global terrorist by the UN Security Council, he said: “As for the issue of listing, I could tell you that the 1267 Committee of Security Council has a clear stipulation on the listing and procedure of the terrorist organisations“.
“JeM has been included in the Security Council terrorism sanctions list. China will continue to handle the relevant sanctions issue in a constructive and responsible manner,” he said.
1.00 p.m.

UP govt announces Rs 25 lakh ex-gratia to families of 12 jawans

The Uttar Pradesh government announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 25 lakhs each to the families of the 12 CRPF jawans of the State killed in the terror attack in Pulwama.
The government has also announced job to one member of each soldier’s family besides naming the link road in their native village after the martyrs, a State government official said.
Directives have also been issued to ensure that the last rites of the jawans are performed with full state honours in which one minister of the state government besides DM and SSP remain present as representatives of the government, the official said.
12.30 p.m.

Perpetrators will not go unpunished, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

The perpetrators of the suicide attack in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir, that killed at least 37 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel will not go unpunished, said Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Talking to the media at Madurai airport on Friday, Mr. Prasad said that the sacrifice of the CRPF jawans will not go in vain.
"There will be an appropriate and suitable response as may be strategically decided," he said. Stating that the entire world has condemned the dastardly attack, Mr. Prasad said that Pakistan now stood isolated.

Thursday, 14 February 2019