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9 dead in two south Kashmir gunfights

3 militants, one soldier, civilian killed in Pulwama; 2 militants, civillian, army man killed in Shopian

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, May 16: Five militants, two soldiers and two civilians were killed in two separate gunfights in Pulwama and Shopian districts of south Kashmir on Thursday.

Among the slain militants, one was identified as the top commander of Jaish-e-Muhammad outfit who was killed in Pulwama gunfight and a 25-days-old Hizbul Mujahideen militant killed in Shopian encounter, top official said.

Acting swiftly on the basis of a credible input about the presence of militants presence in a house, joint teams of police and the army laid a siege in Dalipora area of Pulwama district before the pre-dawn prayers.

 

A police officer said that joint team of forces including army’s 55 RR and SOG Pulwama cordoned off Dalipora and when the suspected house was being zeroed in, the hiding militants fired upon government forces triggering an encounter.

“The militants opened heavy fire on the forces and in the initial exchange of fire an army soldier and a civilian were hit by bullets. Both were evacuated to the hospital where they succumbed,” a police officer said.

“Amid intense exchange of fire, three militants were killed in the gunfight among them one has been identified as a top commander of Jaish-e-Muhammad Khalid Bhai, a resident of Pakistan.”

Talking to reporters, Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said that three militants were killed in the operation and one of the slain militant was involved in the attack in which five CRPF men were killed in 2017 at Lethpora, in Pulwama. “A civilian and a soldier were also killed in the gunfight,” he said. Police identified the slain soldier as Sandeep and civilian as Rayees Ahmed Dar.

The two local slain militants were identified as Naseer Pandith of Kareemabad and Umar Mir of Shopian.

Barely a few hours after the Pulwama gunfight, another encounter broke out in Shopian district of South Kashmir. Police said that two militants, one civillian and an army soldier was killed in an encounter with forces at Handew area of  Shopian district.

Police said that the encounter broke out after a joint team of army’s 44 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon and search operations this afternoon at Handew village. A police officer told that two militants were killed in the gunfight and an army soldier sustained bullet injuries during the operation.

The injured soldier was taken to nearby army’s health facility for treatment where from he was shifted to army’s 92 base hospital Badamibagh Srinagar where he succumbed to his injuries. 

The officer said that the bodies of the slain militants have been recovered along with arms and ammunition.

The officer  said that the three slain were identified as Hizb module that include Shakir Ahmed Paul of Molu,Dangerpora, who had joined militancy 25-days back only and the other two were identified as Yawar Ahmed Dar of Bandpaho, Shopian, and Shakil Ahmed Dar of Tukroo, Shopian.

Another encounter raged in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district when forces exchanged fire with the group of militants hiding in dense Nutnusa woods. Official sources said that Army had launched a massive search operation yesterday evening at Kandi forest area at Razdan nad in Kupwara after noticing suspicious movement.

They said that during the searches, Army intercepted few militants who had sneaked into this side and the contact was established this morning after which firefight ensued.

“The gunfire broke out when the army’s 47 RR along with the additional reinforcement has intensified the combing operation in the dense forests to trace out the hiding militants,” an army officer said “After the first contact, there was a lull throughout the day and the forces have intensified the searches as there are apprehensions that the group may have gone into upper reaches.”(With inputs from KNO)

Separatists call for shutdown today

Srinagar, May 16: To protest these unfortunate killings, they said, people will observe peaceful hartal today, Friday the 17th of May. “Imams and khateebs in Friday sermons will also raise their voice against this bloodshed.”

Separatist leadership has called a shutdown in Kashmir on Friday against the recent killings.

“Even in the holy month of Ramadhan there is no letup in killings and bloodshed in Kashmir as civilians, armed youth or even Indian forces are getting killed,” said the joint hurriyat – an amalgam of separatist leaders – in a statement.

In one manner or the other, they said, Kashmiris continue to pay the price of the unresolved Kashmir issue as use of force against them continues unabated.

“Whether it is death of civilian Rayees Ahmed Dar of Pulwama killed during CASO or Arshad Ahmed Dar of Chanabal Pattan killed while protesting the most heinous crime of rape of a child or the killing of Nayeem Shah of Baderwah allegedly by a VDC Kashmiris continue to fall prey to the lingering issue and subsequent use of unbridled force,” said the joint hurriyat.

To protest these unfortunate killings, they said, people will observe peaceful hartal tomorrow, Friday the 17th of May. “Imams and khateebs in Friday sermons will also raise their voice against this bloodshed.”

Youth injured in Pattan clashes succumbs at SKIMS

Srinagar, May 16: A 23-year-old youth, injured in government forces action on Monday (May 13) in Chanabal area of Pattan in Baramulla district of north Kashmir, succumbed to his wounds at SKIMS Soura here on Wednesday night.

They said that Arshad Ahmad Dar (23) son of Ghulam Mohammad Dar of Chanabal Pattan breathed his last at SKIMS where he was admitted after being shifted from JVC Bemina for specialized treatment.

Arshid according to doctors to whom GNS spoke had multiple injuries including on his skull and both eyes.

Medical Superintendent (SKIMS) Dr Farooq Jan also confirmed the death of Arshid

Arshid along with hundreds of people took to streets at Chanabal on early Monday to protest against alleged rape of a minor girl at Malikpora Sumbal in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on May 8.

Besides Chanabal, massive stone pelting clashes were also received from Gaggerpora Magam, Mirgund Sumbal and other areas of north Kashmir.

Police and government forces, deployed in strength resorted to teargas shelling and other means of force to quell the protesters.

Police later issued a statement claiming that 47 personnel including a paramilitary forces officer was injured due to massive stone pelting in the area.

Police had said that seven civilian protesters were injured but didn’t name any.

Ever since the rape, massive clashes are going on across Valley demanding stern punishment to the guilty.

Police has already constituted a SIT to probe the incident even as administration vowed exemplary punishment to the guilty. (GNS)

PDP activist injured on May 8 in Shopian dies

Srinagar, May 16: A PDP activist who was injured in an attack on May 8 at Zainapora area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district succumbed to injuries Thursday pre-dawn hours at SKIMS Soura here.

Director SKIMS Dr Omar Javed told GNS that Irfan Ahmad son of Abdul Hamid Sheikh of Zainapora succumbed to injuries in SKIMS during pre-dawn hours.

Director said that Irfan had firearm injury in his right thigh and was being treated in SICU. However, today he expired during pre-dawn hours, Director added.

Pertinently, on May 8, Irfan along with another person namely Muzafar Ahmad Bhat were injured after a group of militants took the duo from their chemist shop in Zainapora towards a nearby orchard and fired upon them.

“A case under FIR number 25/2019 under section 307 and 364 RPC has been registered and further investigations were taken up,” a police spokesman had said.

The duo were workers of PDP and remained as polling agents in Zainapora on May 6 Lok Sabha elections.

Both the injured were admitted later in SKIMS Soura for treatment. However, Irfan after battling for life for eight days breathed his last in SKIMS Soura during pre-dawn hours today. (GNS)

Two youth stopped from joining militancy: Police

Srinagar, May 16: Police in a tweet today on its official handler said that two more youth returned to mainstream before they could join militant outfit with the help of their families.

In a tweet police wrote “With the support of family & community members, 02 more youth who were likely to join militant outfits were brought back by Police & handed over to parents in District Pulwama. Their name & identity stand protected,” the tweet ended.


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Big fish in anti-corruption net soon: Guv Malik

‘Wish I’d power to confiscate properties of corrupt’

Firdous Hassan

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Governor inaugurating Kargil Ladakh Tourism Festival on Sunday

Srinagar, Jul 21: Reiterating his tough stance against corruption in the state, Governor Satya Pal Malik Sunday said that in the next few months, he was expecting to corner and catch at least “two big fish” who had engaged in high-profile corruption during their time in power.  

“These big families have built their bungalows in Dubai, Delhi and London. Retired forest officers have their houses in posh locality of Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. Soon, you will see that at least two big fish (high profile corrupt people) will be caught in the coming two months. They have looted the wealth of Kashmir for decades,” Malik said.

The Governor was addressing people during the inauguration ceremony of Kargil Ladakh Tourism Festival 2019 at Khree Sultan Choo Sports Stadium in Kargil on Sunday.

 

If he had the power, the Governor said, he wished to confiscate the property of such corrupt people who had built several properties at the cost of Kashmiri people.

“I wish I had the power to confiscate their (corrupt people) properties by taking them to the court. Corruption is turning out to be the biggest problem in Jammu and Kashmir. These people build properties while we see common people living in poverty in Ladakh and even in Srinagar’s downtown,” Malik said.

He said that corruption was taking the shape of a ‘dreadful disease’ in the state, which required to be “uprooted”.

Malik said that there should be a constant public pressure on corruption and corrupt people.

Inaugurates Kargil Ladakh tourism festival

Governor Satya Pal Malik inaugurated Kargil Ladakh Tourism Festival-2019 at Khree Sultan Cho Sports Stadium Kargil here today.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor observed that the twin districts of Kargil and Leh of Ladakh Division have huge tourism potential and emphasized on organizing more events like the Tourism Festival to promote the diverse tourism opportunities available in the region.

Governor said that the expansion work of Kargil Airport for which Rs 200 crores have already been sanctioned will be taken up soon.

This will not only provide round the year connectivity but also give a new dimension to the tourism sector in the region, he added.

Governor said that the State Administration is committed for the holistic development of Ladakh division and concrete measures are underway to pursue this goal. Government is taking strict measures to bring transparency in the system and removing various bottlenecks in the path of progress and development, he added.

Governor, on the occasion, announced the establishment of two degree colleges for Kargil district including a Women’s Degree College. He said that a 2500 MW solar power project will be starting soon to augment power sector in Kargil.

Governor also inspected and appreciated the various stalls of local handicrafts, handloom, agricultural and horticulture products, ethnic food and ancient artifacts which had been put up by various Government departments and social groups.

 Feroz Ahmad Khan, Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor LAHDC, Kargil expressed his gratitude to the Governor on behalf of the people of Kargil district for having fulfilled the long pending demands of the people by granting divisional status to Ladakh, creation of 495 posts for Ladakh Division and allotment of equal number of directorates to both districts, sanctioning of Rs 200 crores for expansion of Kargil Airport and Rs 280 crores for completion of languishing projects.

The CEC also projected several demands and sought the intervention of the Governor for their early redressal including establishment of women’s police station and IRP Battalion in the district, early start of work on Zojila Tunnel and release of the pending dues of casual labourers.

Various multicultural music and dance performances were presented by the artists of the Purgi, Balti and Shina Dardi ethnic tribes and a polo exhibition match was also organized to mark the occasion.

 Baseer ul Haq Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner and CEO, LAHDC, Kargil gave the vote of thanks and expressed his gratitude to Governor for gracing the occasion with his presence.

Haji Anayat Ali, Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council,  Feroz Ahmad Khan, Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor LAHDC, Kargil,  Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, Member Parliament,  Er Phunsog Tashi,  Syed Mujtaba,  Syed Abbass Razvi,  Muhammad Ali Chandan- Executive Councillors, Maj. Gen Sanjeev Dogra,  GOC 8 Mountain Division,  Prasanna Ramaswamy G, Additional Secretary, Tourism ,  Baseer ul Haq Choudhary, Deputy Commissioner and CEO, LAHDC, Kargil, Dr Vinod Kumar, Superintendent of Police Kargil,  Nissar Ahmed Wani, Director Tourism Kashmir, Councillors of LAHDC Kargil were present among other dignitaries on the occasion.

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Guv to militants: Why target innocent, why not corrupt?

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jul 21: Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal Malik Sunday said that the militants, if they have to, should kill the corrupt people who have looted Kashmir instead of the innocent.

Inaugurating the Kargil Ladakh tourism festival 2019 at Khree Sultan Choo stadium in Kargil, he said: “Why are you (militants) killing innocents including SPOs and PSOs. What will you gain by this?

“If you have to kill, why don’t you kill the corrupt who have looted the country and Kashmir for so long.”

 

Malik said that the militants do not have the power to erode the authority of the Indian government. “Yours is a futile struggle. You are losing your lives for nothing. Guns haven’t fetched you anything, particularly in India where government doesn’t bow before guns. You should know that there was one terrorist organisation LTTE but they all got killed. One doesn’t fight with governments in this manner,” Malik said.

He said that “only 250 militants were left in the valley now.”

“100 are from Pakistan and the rest are locals who are inexperienced with no weapon,” he said.

“The local militants are being killed within two hours of operation in the state. Foreigners take two days to die,” he said.

Launching an attack on politicians of Kashmir, Governor said they have always had two different stands, one in Delhi and another in Kashmir.

“Yeh dilli main hote hain to humko darate hain aur fir yahan bachun ko bhadkate hain (when in New Delhi they threaten us and later mislead and instigate the boys here). We told them to speak only one language. I am assuring you that these politicians won’t give you autonomy,” he said.

Malik said “the religious leader were equally misleading youth of Kashmir.

“Maulvis were promising them (militants) heaven after death. I cannot question your religious belief. But, I can give you two heavens instead of the one promised to you by your ”maulvis”. I can give you Kashmir, which is a heaven on earth, and if you live like good human beings, you will get another heaven after your death.”

He expressed satisfaction over the change in the ground situation in Kashmir, saying that the people are now talking of peace.

“It is for the first time in 30 years that there was no strike on the visit of the country’s Home Minister to Kashmir,” Malik said referring to the recent visit of Amit Shah to the Valley.

He also spoke of the administration’s attempts to bring back the Kashmiri Pandits saying that the effort has been welcomed by Hurriyat Conference chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

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Imran Khan in US, to meet Trump today

Press Trust of India

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Washington, Jul 21: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived here Saturday afternoon on a three-day official trip to the US.

Khan, 66, is scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump at the White House on Monday, July 22 during which the American leadership will press him to take “decisive and irreversible” actions against “terrorist” and militant groups operating from Pakistan and facilitate peace talks with the Taliban.

The cricketer-turned-politician arrived here abroad a commercial Qatar Airways flight and is staying at the official residence of the Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed Khan.

 

He was welcomed at the airport by his foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. A large number of Pakistani Americans also welcomed him.

Nawaz Sharif was the last Pakistani prime minister to visit the US on an official working trip in October 2015. During his stay in Washington DC, Khan, in addition to his meeting with Trump, is also scheduled to meet IMF acting chief David Lipton and World Bank President David Malpass.

He is scheduled to address a gathering of thousands of Pakistani Americans at capitol One Arena in downtown Washington DC on Sunday, July 21, and speak at the US Institute of Peace think-tank on July 23.

The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will call on him on Tuesday. Trump, in addition to a one-on-meeting in the Oval Office will host the visiting delegation over a working lunch at the White House on Monday.

He is also scheduled to meet lawmakers at the US Capitol Hill. Before becoming the prime minister, Khan used to visit the US regularly and has a sizeable support base among the Pakistani diaspora.

This is after several decades that a visiting Pakistani leader has been welcomed by members of the Pakistani diaspora in such a large number.

Meanwhile, hours before his arrival Pakistan hired the services of lobbying firm Holland & Knight.

The memorandum of understanding on this was signed between former Republican Congressman Tom Reynolds and Pakistani Ambassador to the US, Majeed Khan.

Reynolds will lead a team comprising other former members of Congress, former senior Administration officials, Capitol Hill veterans and other professional experts to lobby in the US on behalf of the Government of Pakistan.

The Embassy had no lobbyist during the past six years. Khan’s visit to the US is also marked by protests by several ethnic and religious minorities of Pakistan, including Baloch, Sindhis and Mohajirs.

The Baloch groups Saturday started a mobile billboard campaign in America’s national capital urging President Donald Trump to help end “enforced disappearances in Pakistan.

A bipartisan group of 10 influential American lawmakers Saturday asked US President Donald Trump to raise the issue of human rights abuses in the Sindh province in his meeting with the visiting Pakistan Prime Minister.

Protests have been planned in front of the White House and Capitol Hill Arena by these groups over the next few days.

Saved his country money: Omar backs Khan

Srinagar, Jul 21: As Twitterati took a dig at Imran Khan, who was reportedly not received by any official upon his arrival in the United States, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Sunday threw his weight behind the Prime Minister, saying he saved Pakistan’s money.

Quoting a tweet by Pakistan-based journalist Fawad Rehman, who posted the video of Khan’s arrival, Abdullah said that the reported absence of a state protocol to Khan “reflects badly” on the Donald Trump administration.

“He saved his country money it didn’t need to spend AND didn’t wear his ego on his sleeve like most “leaders” do. Remind me again why that’s a bad thing. This reflects badly on the American establishment rather than on @ImranKhanPTI IMO,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister tweeted.

Khan is currently on a three-day visit to the US. The cricketer-turned-politician, who took a commercial flight instead of a private jet to cut down on expenses, was instead received by his Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and others at the Dulles International Airport.

A video shared by PTI showed Khan deboarding the commercial flight and later being received by Qureshi and Pakistan’s ambassador to the US Asad M Khan. He also took the people mover for leaving the airport.

As Khan did not receive his due welcome, netizens used this opportunity to have a good laugh. “Pakistan didn’t do very well in the World Cup, but this seems a harsh punishment,” a Twitterer said.

In a bid to cut costs with a struggling economy back home, Khan had earlier expressed his wish to stay at the ambassador’s residence during his visit to the US capital.

Pakistani daily, The Dawn, had reported the news while adding that the US Secret Service, which is responsible for the security of all visiting dignitaries, is not “very receptive” towards the idea as it could pose security risks and cause inconvenience to the people. Local authorities, who are responsible for the smooth flow of Washington DC traffic during a foreign dignitary’s visit, have not expressed their keenness either.

Khan is expected to discuss Afghanistan and peace in the South Asian region during his upcoming meeting with Trump on July 22.

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