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6 LeT-Hizb militants, soldier killed in Shopian encounter

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Srinagar, Nov 25: Two days after six militants of outfits Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen were shot dead in a gunfight in Anantnag, an equal number of militants of the same outfits were Sunday killed in a pre-dawn encounter with government forces in Shopian district.

A soldier was also killed in the fierce encounter which began during the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday when Army’s 34-Rashtriya Rifles, paramilitary CRPF and special operation group (SOG) of J&K Police launched a cordon-and-search-operation (CASO) in Batagund village of Kapran, Shopian.

A police official said as soon the cordon was tightened, the militants fired at the forces, triggering a gunfight.

 

In the initial firing four militants, as per the official, were killed. Two more militants, who escaped from the house where they were trapped, were killed later.

An Army soldier, identified as Nazir Ahmad of 162 Territorial Army a resident of Ashmuji Kulgam, who was currently with 34 RR, was also killed in the encounter.

“The fire from the militants was retaliated leading to a gunfight. Initially, one soldier of 34 RR sustained injuries in the exchange of fire. He was evacuated to the hospital and is stated to be stable now. However another soldier identified as Nazir Ahmad of 34 RR who got grievously injured in the final phase of the encounter succumbed,” a police spokesperson said.

Five of the slain militants were identified as Mushtaq Ahmad Mir alias Hammad son of Ghulam Hassan Mir of Cheki-Cholan Shopian; Mohammad Abass Bhatt son of Abdul Jabbar Bhat of Cheki Mantribugh Shopian; Umar Majeed Ganaie alias Maaz and Abu Hanzalla son of Abdul Majeed Ganaie of Souch Kulgam; Mohd Waseem Wagay alias Saifullah son of Abdul Hameed Wagay of Amshipora, Shopian; and Khalid Farooq Malik alias Rafi of Baghander Aliyalpora Shopian.

As per the police spokesperson, from the material evidence collected, the sixth slain militant was a Pakistani.

“It was a combined group of Hizb and LeT. Mushtaq Ahmad Mir @Hammad was affiliated with LeT and was operating as District commander for Shopian, while Mohd Abaas, Waseem Wagay, Umar Majeed Ganai and Khalid were with Hizb. Abass was known as District Commander of Hizb for Shopian and Umar Majeed was operating as Hizb’s district commander for Kulgam,” the police spokesperson said.

The picture of Abu Hanzalla seated at a pavilion situated in the city center, (Lal Chowk)’s Clock Tower had gone viral on social media last week.

Hanzalla, according to police, was Hizb’s district commander for Kulgam. “He was involved in Pombai bank attack, in which four policemen and two bank guards lost their lives,” the spokesman said.

Abass, the spokesperson claimed, was involved in the killing of Kashmiri Army officer, Lt. Omar Fayaz, who was killed by the militants after abducting him from a marriage function in Shopian last year.

Reports said as soon as the news of gunfight spread in the area, youth took to streets in Batagund and pelted stones at the government forces, who retaliated by firing pellets and live ammunition, leaving dozens persons wounded.

Among them, one teenager Nouman Ashraf Bhat of Bolous Kulgam, who was hit by a bullet, was shifted to district hospital Kulgam where he was declared dead on arrival.

Later in the day, thousands of people participated in the funeral processions of the slain militants and the civilian.

People, both men and women, marched in hoards to occupy the wide open spaces and offered the prayers.


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Our fight for Kashmir, not against Kashmiris: PM Modi

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Tonk (Rajasthan), Feb 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday denounced attacks on Kashmiri youths in some parts of the country following Pulwama bombing last week in which at least 40 soldiers were killed.

PM Modi said Kashmiri youths should not be targeted anywhere in the country.

Speaking at a public rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk, the PM said, “Our fight is against militancy, the enemies of humanity…Our fight is for Kashmir not against Kashmir, not against Kashmiris.”

 

“What happened to Kashmiri youths in the last few days…It does not matter whether the incident was small or big, such things should not happen. Kashmiri youths are victims of militancy. Every child of Kashmir is with India in our fight against ‘terror’,” said PM Modi.

The prime minister said incidents like these “give power to Bharat ke tukde honge gang” and their supporters. “It is the responsibility of every Indian to protect every laal (child) of Kashmir,” he said.

The prime minister served another warning to Kashmiri separatist leaders, many of whom were stripped of their security cover early this week. The Union home ministry had ordered to review the security provided by the government to the separatist leaders in the wake of Pulwama attack.

PM Modi said, “Action has been taken against separatists and more action will be taken against such people…We can’t keep silent, we know how to crush militancy.”

Asserting that the government has moved swiftly to “avenge” Pulwama attack, PM Modi said all the major institutions of the world have condemned “the attack that was engineered at Pulwama”.

“I am proud that our security forces sent the perpetrators (of Pulwama attack) within 100 hours to where they belong,” he said referring to encounter in Pulwama a day after the attack on Jammu-Srinagar highway, where a CRPF convoy carrying more than 2,500 troopers was targeted by a suicide bomber.

“Trust the brave soldiers of the country and trust the Modi government…This time, everyone will be taken to justice and complete justice will be served,” said PM Modi adding, “Your pradhan sevak is busy finishing ‘terror’…If I am destined to put locks to the factory of militancy, so be it.”

PM Modi referred to his congratulatory phone call to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, when he assumed office after the general elections in Pakistan last year.

He said, “As per protocol, I telephoned Pakistan’s new prime minister. I told him we have fought for long. Let India and Pakistan together fight poverty and illiteracy.”

“Pakistan’s prime minister told me, I am the son of a Pathan. I do what I say. It is time to test his words,” PM Modi said at his rally in Rajasthan.

He also talked about the steps, the government has taken to put pressure on Pakistan following Pulwama attack. He said, “Pakistan is being accounted for everything that they have done. There is anxiety in Pakistan due to the steps we have taken after the attack.”

A day after Pulwama attack, the government decided at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) to withdraw the most favoured nation (MFN) status granted to Pakistan in 1996. The government also hiked tariff on goods to be imported from Pakistan by 200 per cent.

The external affairs ministry reached out to more than a dozen countries to corner Pakistan, which denied its hand behind the attack in Jammu and Kashmir despite Jaish-e-Mohammed, a militant group based out of that country, claimed responsibility for the attack on the CRPF personnel.

On Thursday, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution condemning Pulwama attack. The UNSC named Jaish-e-Mohammed in its statement. The UNSC resolution was unanimously approved by all members including China, which has been shielding Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar from being declared as global terrorist by the top UN body.

Omar thanks PM

Srinagar, Feb 23: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah Saturday thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for breaking his silence on attacks against Kashmiris in the aftermath of the Pulwama attack and expressed hope that such incidents would not recur.
“Thank you @narendramodi Sahib. Aaj aap ne hamaray dil ki baat keh di (you have conveyed the feelings of our heart),” Abdullah tweeted.
His another tweet read: It’s been a more than a week since the terrible attack in Pulwama & more than a week that Kashmiris have been bearing the brunt of the public anger. Perhaps finally after PM @narendramodi Sb has spoken these forces targeting Kashmiris will stop in their tracks.
Addressing a rally at Rajasthan’s Tonk district, the prime minister said, “Our fight is not against Kashmiris.”

Assault on Kashmiris : Nodal police officers appointed
Press Trust of India
New Delhi, Feb 23: All states and Union Territories have appointed nodal police officers to resolve problems of Kashmiris who are being targeted in the aftermath of the Pulwama suicide attack, officials said Saturday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also asked all states to ensure security of Kashmiris who were reportedly attacked in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Jammu city in the last few days.
The details of these nodal police officers have been uploaded on the MHA website.
In its advisory sent on Friday night, the MHA has conveyed to the state governments and Union Territory administrations to take all necessary steps to prevent any act of assault, threat, intimidation, social boycott etc., against Kashmiris as well as minorities in accordance with the order of the Supreme Court.
The ministry said the central government is concerned about the reports of incidents of assaults and harassment against residents of Jammu and Kashmir, especially students in some parts of the country, in the aftermath of the Pulwama suicide attack, which killed at least 40 CRPF personnel on February 14.
In this regard, an advisory was issued on February 16 also to all state governments and Union Territory administrations to take necessary steps to ensure safety and security of the people belonging to Jammu and Kashmir.

Modi’s dare for Imran, ‘son of a Pathan’
Tonk (RJ), Feb 23: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday threw a challenge to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, asking him to act honourably by bringing to justice those responsible for the Pulwama attack.
Addressing a rally in Rajasthan’s Tonk, PM Modi recalled the phone call he made to Khan to congratulate him for winning the Pakistani elections last year.
“I told him there have been plenty of fights between India and Pakistan. Pakistan got nothing. Every time, we won. I told him let us fight against poverty and illiteracy. He told me, ‘Modi ji, I am the son of a Pathan. I speak true and I do true’. Today, the time has come for him to stand true to his words. I will see whether he stands true to his words or not,” he said.
Pathans, an ethnic group with roots in Iran, are known for their deep sense of honour and self-respect.
A suicide attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama last week killed over 40 CRPF soldiers
More than 40 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were killed in a suicide bombing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama last week. India has blamed Pakistan for supporting those responsible for the attack after Jaish-e-Mohammad, a militant group based in the country, claimed responsibility.
Pakistan has denied the charge with Imran Khan saying the country will retaliate against any attack or “misadventure” by India.
PM Modi went on to say on Saturday that he was committed to strike Pakistan diplomatically and in terms of trade as retribution for the attack.
“Enemies of humanity must be taught a lesson. Everything will be accounted for. Pakistan must be isolated in the world. Your chowkidar (watchman) is working just for this,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that most of the countries and global organisations are united against the Pulwama terror attack and the decisions taken in its wake had rattled Pakistan. (Agencies)

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GoI deploys 10k more troopers amid crackdown

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Srinagar, Feb 23: Kashmir is on the edge because of two major happenings since Friday evening keeping its people on toes and the place abuzz with speculations.

The first development was the Government of India (GoI) order of deployment of additional 100 Companies of various paramilitary forces in the valley, following which around 10,000 soldiers of CRPF, ITBP and BSF were airlifted here in matter of a few hours.

A notice from the Home Ministry in New Delhi late on Friday evening led to “100 additional companies of paramilitary soldiers” being airlifted to Srinagar, where the Jammu and Kashmir police and existing government forces worked through the night rolling out their deployment plan for the next few days.

 

A ‘company’ of soldiers typically consists of between 80 and 150 soldiers.

The fresh deployment, as per the order, includes 45 companies from CRPF, 35 from BSF, and 10 each of the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

The second major happening that pushed Kashmir into a tizzy was the authorities carrying out a major crackdown on Hurriyat and Jamaat-e-Islami leaders, detaining around 150 people during evening and nocturnal raids on Friday.

Those arrested in nocturnal raids include Jamaat-e-Islami chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz and JKLF Chariman, Yasin Malik.

The police have termed the detentions as routine, saying “Separatists and potential stone-throwers have been arrested in the past as well, as a preventive measure.”

Malik was the first to be arrested by the police from his Maisuma residence in Srinagar. This was followed by dozens of Jamaat-e-Islami separatists, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz being arrested during overnight raids across the Valley.

Malik’s arrest comes ahead of a crucial hearing on Article 35-A in Supreme Court, which is likely to take place on Monday, February 25. The article, incorporated into the Indian Constitution in 1954, grants special rights and privileges to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti criticised the Centre’s move to arrest separatists.

“In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. 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 said.
Separatist-turned-mainstream politician Sajad Gani Lone, who now heads the political party People’s Conference, also cautioned the government by reminding it of a similar “failed model” that was tried in 1990.

“Gov seems to be on an arrest spree. Just a word of caution. Large scale arrests took place in 1990. Leaders were ferried to Jodhpur and many jails across the country. Things worsened. This is a tried tested and failed model. Please desist from it. It won’t work. Things will worsen,” he tweeted.

BSF, ITBP to replace CRPF for static guard duties in Srinagar

Srinagar, Feb 23: Soon after the government of India ordered the deployment of 100 more companies of armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir, the J&K police on Saturday issued an order replacing the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with the Border Security Force (BSF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBF) for static guard duties in Srinagar.
An order issued by the zonal police headquarters, Kashmir said the move to give static duties to BSF and ITBP has been taken to strengthen the law and order grid in Kashmir region.
Various media reports while quoting the police said the move is a practice to place new force as static guard outside as the new force is not well versed with law and order.
In 1990, when militancy erupted in Kashmir BSF had taken over the internal security.
Earlier, the Union Home Ministry in an order said: “We have to urgently deploy CAPFs (central armed police force) in Jammu & Kashmir. It is requested to provide 100 coys of CAPFs (CRPF – 45, BSF-35, SSB-10 & ITBP 10) to Govt of J&K with immediate effect and till further orders. IG (ops), CRPF is requested to ensure immediate movement of forces in coordination with IG (ops) of all forces,” read a Home Ministry letter to the state government, copies of which have been also sent to IG(Ops) to CRPF, BSF, ITBP and SSB.
The moves come a week after a suicide bomber killed 49 CRPF personnel in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.

 

Kashmir should be dealt with non-partisan manner: CCG

Srinagar, Feb 23: The Concerned Citizens’ Group (CCG), a civil society group led by former union finance minister Yashwant Sinha, Saturday said that any attempt to “leverage” the situation in J&K is “fraught with danger”.
“At a time when the nation is passing through trying circumstances, we appeal that the government must not take any steps which detract from the Constitutional framework of the country or the universally accepted principles of Rule of Law,” the CCG said in a statement to The Kashmir Monitor.
The Group added that it is imperative that no innocent Kashmiri, within J&K or in the rest of India, is made to feel insecure or unsafe.
“In this context recent pronouncements of the Supreme Court have brought much solace. We recognize that militancy is a grave threat to the nation, especially ‘terrorism’ emanating from Pakistan and deserves to be condemned in the strongest terms. The current situation must, therefore, be dealt with in a non-partisan manner. Any attempt to leverage the developments in J&K for electoral purposes is fraught with danger and should be avoided at all costs,” the statement read.

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Art 35-A hearing: Major crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami

Chief among nearly 150 persons detained in nocturnal raids; JKLF’s Yasin Malik too arrested

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Srinagar, Feb 23: Nearly 150 people, mainly from the Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Jammu and Kashmir including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, were detained during the intervening night of Friday and Saturday as tension gripped the Valley ahead of a hearing by the Supreme Court on Article 35A of the Constitution.

Though police termed the detentions as “routine” saying that leaders and “potential stone pelters” have been picked up in the past, the officials privy to the developments said this is the first major crackdown on the Jamaat-e-Islami.

The hearing on Article 35A, which provides special rights and privileges to natives of Jammu and Kashmir, is likely to take place in the apex court on Monday.

 

In a statement, a JeI spokesman said the police and other forces launched a “mass arrest drive” during the intervening night of February 22 and 23 and arrested dozens of its central and district-level leaders.

“Those detained include Ameer Jama’at Dr Abdul Hamid Fayaz, Advocate Zahid Ali (Spokesperson), Ghulam Qadir Lone (Former Secretary General), Abdur Rouf (Ameer Zila Islamabad), Mudasir Ahmad (Ameer Tehsil Pahalgam), Abdul Salam (Dialgam), Bakhtawar Ahmad (Dialgam), Mohammad Amin Wani (Tral), Bilal Ahmad (Chadoora), Ghulam Mohammad Dar (Chak Sangran) and dozens more,” said the spokesman.

Condemning the detentions, he said the move seems a “well designed ploy and that there was something fishy when the state’s special position is listed in Supreme Court.

“Article 35(A) which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, is being heard within days and the way forces personnel unleashed the spree of mass arrest and detained dozens of Jama’at members prior to the hearing seems something is hatching behind the curtains,” said the spokesman, adding: “Any attempt of eroding or tempering Article 35(A) is unacceptable for people of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Mudasir Wani, a Tral resident said that his father who suffers from multiple ailments was detained shortly after midnight.

“Around 12:30am, they (forces) entered our lawn by climbing the walls and knocked at the windows of the house. In this chilling cold night they requested my father to accompany them to the camp. We pleaded that he will come to the army camp in the morning himself. The person in command argued ‘meri bhi naukri hai’. However, he suggested him to wear warm clothes and I added to take along medicine of diabetes, hypertension, heart and thyroid. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find medicine for heart,” said Wani, a son of Muhammad Amin of Tral.

Several Jamaat members including Dr Wasil, Nazir Ahmad khan, Adv Qazi Syed Irfan, Abdul Majid Dar, Khazir Mohd Khuroo and Abdul Khaliq Regoo were detained in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

The family of Khazir Mohd Khuroo said that the police party raided their house at night and detained Khuroo even as the family was mourning death of his son-in-law, who had passed away just few days back.

Two Hurriyat activists namely Mushtaq Ahmed Wani son of Muhammad Sultan of Nadihal and Tariq Ahmad Shiekh, son of Ghulam Nabi resident of Arin were detained from their residences in Bandipora.

The district chief of Jama’at-e-Islami Ganderbal Ghulam Mohammed War and several other executive members were detained from the central Kashmir district.

The arrest of the Jama’at leaders and JKLF chief Yasin Malik have led to a partial shutdown in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and the adjacent areas.

Palpable tension was in the air and people were seen grouping at streets even as security had been tightened.
As many as 100 additional companies of the paramilitary (nearly 10,000 personnel) have been sent to the Kashmir

Valley in the wake of a potential law and order situation.

Officially no one has been able to provide reasons for such a massive deployment.

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