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5 militants killed in Kulgam gunfight 

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Srinagar, Feb 10:  Five militants were killed in a gunfight with security forces at Keelam area of Kulgam district on Sunday.

The police spokesman said that based on a credible input about the presence of militants in Kellam area of Devsar in District Kulgam, a cordon and search operation was launched today in the wee hours jointly by Police and security forces in the area.

“As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight.In the ensuing encounter, five militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter,” police said in a statement.

 

The slain militants were identified as Waseem Ahmad Rather son of Bashir Ahmad Rather resident of Ashmuji Kulgam, Aqib Nazir Mir son of Nazir Ahmad resident of Zangulpora Devsar, Parvaiz Ahmad Bhat son of Bashir Ahmad resident of Mukdam Mohalla Qaimoh, Idrees Ahmad Bhat son of Ramzan Bhat resident of Arwani and Zahid Ahmad Parray son of Abdul Hamid resident of Gopalpora D.H Pora.

According to the police, the militants were joint group of HM and LeT and their exact affiliations are being ascertained. “They were wanted by the law for their complicity in a series of crimes including attack on security establishments,” police said.

“Incriminating material such as arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for the purpose of investigation.Pertinently no collateral damage took place during the encounter. Bodies of the killed militants were handed over to their families after completion of medico-legal formalities,” police said.

Following the killing militants during an encounter, several youth took to the streets. Forces retaliated by firing metal pellets resulting in injuries to several protestors. Dozens of persons were injured during the clashes with ten among them hit by pellets in their various body parts.


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Lethpora attack: UN urges India, Pak to defuse tensions

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Geneva, Feb 20: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called on India and Pakistan to exercise “maximum restraint” and offered to mediate in the face of rising tensions following the attack at Lethpora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 49 CRPF troopers.

Guterres, through a spokesman, said that the UN is deeply concerned about the situation while offering to mediate if the two parties request it.

The head of the UN received on Wednesday the Pakistani ambassador, Maleeha Lodhi, whose government has asked the organization to intervene in the current crisis, Efe reported.

 

For now, Guterres calls on both sides to “exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps” to defuse the tension, spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

The historic tensions between the two nuclear nations skyrocketed in recent days after New Delhi accused Islamabad of supporting the militant group that killed 49 CRPF troopers in a suicide bombing with a vehicle loaded with explosives on February 14, the deadliest attack in the region in 30 years.

In addition, nine people, including four army soldiers, a cop, and a civilian were killed in a gunfight again in Pulwama on February 18.

Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), said the UN was also saddened by the further loss of life reported from the gun battles in Pulwama on February 18.

“We hope escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours will not add further to the insecurity in the region” he said.

Colville said the High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, is also concerned about reports from India that some elements are using the Pulwama attack as justification for threats and potential acts of violence targeting Kashmiri and Muslim communities living in different parts of India.

“We acknowledge actions taken by the Indian authorities to tackle these incidents and we hope that the Government will continue to take steps to protect people from all forms of harm that may be directed at them on account of their ethnicity or identity,” he stressed.

Following the February 14 attack, India announced that it will take all possible diplomatic measures to isolate Pakistan from the international community.

UN asks additional escorts for military observers:

After one of its vehicles was stopped by a group of protesters in Jammu, the UN has asked the Indian government for additional escorts for its military observers in Kashmir.

“The observer group reported on February 16 that a UN vehicle in the city of Jammu was surrounded by a group of protesters who placed a Pakistan flag in front of the vehicle. The vehicle attempted to bypass the flag but was unable to do so,” Dujarric told the media on Tuesday.

He said the circumstances of the incident was “regrettable and unavoidable” and that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) had informed the governments of both countries.

“The Mission also requested India to provide additional escorts and will be conducting an investigation,” he added.
The 44-member UNMOGIP, now led by Uruguayan Major General Jose Eladio Alcain, began operations in 1949 to monitor the ceasefire in Kashmir following up a Security Council resolution the previous year.

India maintains that UNMOGIP has become redundant because under the Shimla Agreement of 1972 between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistan’s then-President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto the Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue with no role for third parties. (With IANS inputs)

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Govt downgrades, withdraws ‘security’ of 18 separatists, 155 others

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Jammu, Feb. 20: In a major step on Wednesday, the Government of Jammu & Kashmir downgraded and withdrew the security of 18 Hurriyat leaders in the state.

According to the spokesperson of Home Department, it was felt that providing security to these separatist leaders is “wastage of scarce state resources which could be better utilised elsewhere”.

“Among the leaders whose security has been downgraded and withdrawn are SAS Geelani, Aga Syed Mosvi, Maulvi Abbas Ansari, Yaseen Malik, Saleem Geelani, Shahid ul Islam, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Farooq Ahmed Kichloo, Masroor Abbas Ansari, Aga Syed Abul Hussain, Abdul Gani Shah and Mohd Musadiq Bhat,” a government handout said.

 

This is in addition the 4 persons whose security was withdrawn on Sunday.

In addition, the handout said the security of 155 political persons and activists, who did not require the security provided to them based on their threat assessment and their activities, was also withdrawn. This includes Shah Faesal, who resigned from the IAS and PDP member Waheed Parra.

“Through this, over 1000 police personnel and over 100 vehicles are freed to do regular police work,” the handout said.

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Reservation to EWS: Guv welcomes central law’s extension to JK

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Jammu, Feb 20: Governor Satya Pal Malik has welcomed the decision of the Union Cabinet regarding giving reservations in admission in educational institutions, for appointments and posts in favour of economically weaker sections of the citizens and giving benefit of promotion in service to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

“The reservation to the economically weaker sections of the citizens will be in addition to existing reservation and subject to maximum of 10 percent of totals seats/posts,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

It is pertinent to mention that the Constitution (Seventy Seventh Amendment) Act, 1995 provides for giving benefit of promotion in service to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 provides for giving reservations in admission in educational institutions and for appointments and posts in favour of economically weaker sections of the citizens.

 

“Both these amendments in the Constitution of India were not applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir in the present form. The Union Cabinet’s approval to the extension of these amendments will enable providing of 10 % reservation in admission in educational institutions and for appointments and posts in favour of the economically weaker sections of the citizens,” the spokesperson said.

He added that the move will also give powers to the State for making provisions for reservation in the matters of promotion to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

Governor, the spokesperson added, has described these decisions as having far reaching consequences in helping to ameliorate the lot of the weaker sections of society and in ensuring their economic progress and prosperity.

SAC to meet tomorrow

Srinagar, Feb 20: The J&K State Administrative Council (SAC) will meet under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik at Raj Bhavan Jammu on 22 February.
This is likely going to be last SAC meeting before Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for General Elections-2019 comes into force.

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