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Borders flare up: Two soldiers killed in Machil, Rajouri sectors




Srinagar, Dec 6: After some lull in the last few months, India and Pakistan border again flared up as the armies of both the countries exchanged gunfire along the borders in J&K resulting in killing of at least two Indian soldiers.

An army soldier was killed and two others including an officer were injured in Pakistani shelling at Machil area along the Line of Control (LoC) in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Thursday.

A Border Security Force (BSF) man was killed and another was injured critically in cross-border shelling along the Line of Control (LoC) in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri same evening.

Official sources said that Pakistan army attacked Indian army posts of 57 RR in Kumkadi area in Machil on Thursday at around 11:00 am.

The troops manning the fence retaliated, triggering off a brief exchange of cross-border shelling. The cross-border shelling continued for about 20 minutes, they said.

However, in the exchange of fire, three soldiers including JCO suffered serious injuries and were evacuated to military hospital Drugmulla, they said.

The trio was later shifted to army’s 92 base hospital Badamibagh, Srinagar, however, one among the injured namely Signal Operator Rajesh Kumar succumbed on the way.

The other two injured identified as Naib Subedar Jitender Singh and Naik Virender Pratab are being operated upon by the doctors in the military hospital.

Official sources said that the Pakistani army also attacked Roshni Post manning by the army’s 56 RR in Machil sector at around 6:30 pm. The India troops returned the fire triggering off an exchange of shelling which continued for 15 minutes.

Army’s Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia also confirmed the killing of the soldier.

“Ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Machil Sector of Kupwara district took place today at around 1045 hours. Own troops retaliated strongly. One soldier was killed in the enemy fire,” Kalia said.

Meanwhile, the armies of India and Pakistan exchanged fire along the Line of Control (LoC) intermittently during last night in Uri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Official sources said that Pakistan army targeted Indian posts by firing with automatic weapons and shelling.

The Indian army retaliated, leading to an exchange of fire that continued intermittently throughout the night.

In the shelling, one residential house and a shed of Hakim Ali Mir of Bathard Kundi Barjala Kamalkote got damaged.  However, no loss of life or injuries were reported in the exchange.

Sub-District Magistrate, Uri Baseer ul Haq said that the affected family has been shifted to safety. He, however, added that concerned authorities have been directed to shift the people for safer places in case situation warrants so.

Meanwhile, a BSF spokesperson confirmed the killing of a soldier while another suffered serious injuries in cross-LoC firing in Rajouri district.

A BSF spokesperson said at 3:50 pm on Thursday, Pakistan “violated” ceasefire in Sundarbani area of the district.

“During effective retaliation at 4:30 pm two personnel of 126 Bn BSF got injured and were evacuated for treatment. Constable Paranjit Biswas succumbed to injuries,” he said

Intermittent exchange of fire between both sides was going on when last reports poured in, they said.

Earlier in the day, the armies of India and Pakistan exchanged fire along the Line of Control (LoC) throughout the previous night in Uri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Two soldiers were wounded in a firing exchange earlier on Wednesday in the same area.

Reports said that the fresh exchange of fire began Wednesday night in Kamalkote area.

Quoting official sources, news agency GNS reported that Pakistan Army targeted Indian posts by firing with automatic weapons and shelling.

The Indian Army retaliated, leading to an exchange of fire that continued throughout the night.

On Wednesday, two army soldiers identified as Sepoy Dupo Veshunath and Naik M Walim of 8 Rashtriya Rifles were injured in the firing exchange who were later hospitalised.

Meanwhile, the movement of goods between the two sides of Kashmir on Thursday came to a halt following shelling along the Line of Control in Uri.

The trade authorities in Uri said they have decided to stop the movement of goods between the two parts of Kashmir today.

“Since the area of shelling is close to Kaman Post, we have decided to suspend the trade which was scheduled today,” reports quoting officials said.


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Assembly, Parl polls to be held together possibly in May

Mudassir Kuloo



Srinagar, Dec 11: Election Commission of India is preparing to club the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir earlier next year, while it has initiated the process for the polls.

According to a letter dispatched by the Chief Electoral Officer—a copy of which lies with The Kashmir Monitor—the district election officers have been directed to send a proposal of appointment of returning officers and assistant returning officers for Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

The letter has been sent following the Election Commission of India sought the details about the officials.

An official associated with the CEO said they have been told that the Assembly polls would be clubbed with Lok Sabha.

“The elections may be held in March or in April,” the official told The Kashmir Monitor.

The official said the poll body has directed them to start preparations for the polls.

“The security is one of the issues. On the pattern of urban local bodies and Panchayat polls, the Assembly and Parliament elections will be held in a phased manner,” the official said.

“When forces are deployed for the Lok Sabha polls in the state, it would be convenient for election authorities to hold the Assembly polls simultaneously,” the official said.

Mentioning a Supreme Court direction, the official said the outer limit for holding fresh polls after the dissolution of a House is six months.

National Conference has demanded for joint Assembly and Parliament polls, following the dissolution of the House.

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has a six-year term while other assemblies and the Lok Sabha have a five-year term.

The term of the prematurely terminated government was to end on March 16, 2021.

The Governor, Satya Pal Malik, dissolved the Assembly shortly after the People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form a government with the support of NC and Congress.

She cited a collective strength of 56 MLAs in the 87-member House.

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Militants kill 4 cops, flee with rifles in Shopian



Srinagar, Dec 11: Four J&K policemen were killed after militants attacked a police post in Zainapora area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday.

A police official said a group of militants opened fire at the police post, resulting in the on spot death of three security guards and injuries to another at Zainapora.

The injured cop was taken to a local hospital where from he was referred to a hospital in Srinagar. However, he succumbed on way to Srinagar, said the official.

The policemen were inside their guard room when the militants fired at them anddecamped with their service rifles.

The slain cops were identified as Constable Anees Ahmad (Belt No. 480/SPN), resident of Kulgam, selection grade constable Abdul Majid (193/SPN), resident of Ganderbal, Constable Mehraj-ud-din (477/SPN), resident of Hajin Bandipora and constable Hameedullah (860/SPN), resident of Anantnag.

Majid was the fourth one to die in the attack.

The area was soon cordoned off and a search operation was launched.

Media reports quoting police sources said that six Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)militants led by former police officer Adil Bashir, who left the force after stealing eight rifles in October, were believed to be involved in the attack.

JeM militant outfit claimed the responsibility of the attack.

A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan, according to a statement issued to media, said: “As per initial reports, three Indian forces (personnel) have been killed while several others critically injured.”

Hassan, according to the statement, said they snatched four rifles from the cops.

Later in the day, the wreath-laying ceremony for the slain cops took place in District Police Lines, Shopian.

“Civil and Police Officers including Munir Ahmed Khan, ADGP (Security/Law & Order/HG), IGP Kashmir S. P. Pani, DIG SKR Amit Kumar laid floral wreaths on the mortal remains and paid rich tributes to the slain cops “who made supreme sacrifice in the line of duty,” said a police spokesperson.

“Among others who paid floral tributes including SP Shopian, DC Shopian, officers and jawans of the district and officers from other forces,” the spokesman added.

Governor Satya Pal Malik expressed grief over the loss of lives of policemen.

In a message Governor has prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and conveyed his sympathies to the bereaved families.

On Twitter, former chief minister Omar Abdullah too condemned the attack: “I strongly condemn the attack on the police post in Shopian &condole the deaths of three police personnel in the line of duty. I pray for their souls & for the speedy recovery of those injured in this attack (sic)”.

Peoples Conference (PC) chairman and former minister Sajad Gani Lone called the attack in Shopian another “mindless act of violence”.

Sajad tweeted: “The attack in Shopian on police personnel is yet another mindless act of violence. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the policemen who laid down their lives in the line of duty.”

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BJP shaken, Congress break in




New Delhi, Dec 11: Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday suffered heavy election defeats in two states, with another on a knife edge, in a bruising day of results that exposed the party’s vulnerability less than six months before the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Ending its prolonged electoral reversals, a reinvigorated Congress produced a resilient comeback as it is on course to oust the BJP to form its governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Madhya Pradesh, meanwhile, is witnessing a tantalisingly close fight between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress.

The governing BJP vote collapsed by 17 percentage points in Rajasthan state and by at least 12 points in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, all part of the Hindi heartland where Indian governments are traditionally made or broken.

Those losses, as well as the revival of a Congress party frequently written off in the past five years, had analysts revising their predictions for next year’s national polls, which Modi had been expected to win in a cakewalk.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), on the other hand, secured a thumping majority in Telangana while MNF has defeated Congress in the latter’s last bastions in Northeast.

TRS chief K ChandrashekarRao’s gamble for early polls paid rich dividends with the ruling party winning 57 seats and leading in 30 of the 119 constituencies. The Congress-TDP alliance, ‘Prajakutami’, has won 14 seats and is leading in 7, according to the Election Commission.

Addressing a press conference later in the day, KCR said TRS would play a crucial role in the national political arena. “We dedicate this victory to the people of Telangana. This is a positive vote for us. We are going to play a very crucial role in national politics. We will give a new definition to the national political scenario” he said. Rao, who is set to return as CM for a second term, further said, “Today’s results…Telangana has shown the way to the whole nation. Today, Telangana stands (as) a non-Congress, non-BJP state.”

The outcome of the elections is significant as Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan account for 65 Lok Sabha seats, of which the BJP grabbed 62 in 2014 when the Narendra Modi wave was at its high.

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