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Can’t stop contact between militants without impacting all of Kashmir: Jaishankar defends restrictions

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New Delhi: External affairs minister S Jaishankar has defended the restrictions on internet and telephone connectivity in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the steps were needed to prevent communications between “militants and their masters”.

Jaishankar, in an interview with Politico newspaper in Brussels, said: “It wasn’t possible to stop communications between militants without an impact on all of Kashmir. How do I cut off communication between the militants and their masters on the one hand, but keep the internet open for other people? I would be delighted to know.”

In Brussels after a visit to Russia, Poland, and Hungary, the Union minister also ruled out talks with Pakistan till the neighbour checked terrorism emanating from its soil.

 

Rejecting Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s offer of “conditional talks” over the Kashmir issue, Jaishankar said India would not be able to think of dialogue when Pakistan “openly practices terrorism”.

Khan, in an editorial published in New York Times, had offered to hold talks if New Delhi reverses its decisions to repeal Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and divide the state into two Union Territories — J&K and Ladakh. He had also highlighted the “nuclear shadow” hovering over South Asia as the impetus to begin discussions.

However, Jaishankar ruled out talks with Pakistan, saying: “Terrorism is not something that is being conducted in the dark corners of Pakistan. It’s done in broad daylight.”

The foreign minister also dismissed reports of shortages of medicines and essential items in Kashmir, adding that in the coming days, “you will see an easing up progressively”, which involves a reduction in the number of extra security forces.

Tensions between India and Pakistan have been high since the Narendra Modi government decided to abrogate Article 370. Pakistan, in retaliation, suspended trade ties with India and also expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria. It stopped services of the Samjhauta Express and later knocked on the doors of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in a bid to internationalise the issue.

However, it did not get much success as the international community concluded that the Kashmir issue was a dispute which must be resolved bilaterally. Pakistan has since been trying to garner attention towards alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. India, on the other hand, has turned down offers of mediation — including from US President Donald Trump — saying Kashmir is an internal issue.


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Pakistan exporting ‘terror’, stifling women’s voices for narrow political gains: India at UNSC

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UNITED NATIONS: India lashed out at Pakistan for raising the issue of women’s rights in Kashmir in the UN Security Council, saying the country represents a system that has been exporting militancy and “regressive” extremist ideologies and “stifling” women’s voices for narrow political gains.

India’s strong response came after Pakistan’s outgoing UN envoy Maleeha Lodhi commented on the situation in Kashmir, revocation of Article 370 and women’s rights in the Valley during the debate on October 29.

“As everyone today focuses on collective action, one delegation rhetorically regurgitates about women’s rights in my country,” First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN Paulomi Tripathi said Monday at a Security Council open debate on Women, Peace and Security.

 

Without naming Pakistan, Tripathi said the delegation “represents a system that has been exporting terrorism and regressive extremist ideologies, and stifling women’s voices for narrow political gains. This has devastated lives of generations of women and their families, in our region and beyond.”

Alluding to Islamabad’s habit of raking up the Kashmir issue at various UN forums and committees, Tripathi said the country habitually makes baseless allegations without any relevance to the agenda under consideration and this has “become a staple for this delegation.”

She referred to Lodhi’s comments on Jammu and Kashmir during the October 29 debate as well as during a previous debate on the “Situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question”.

Asserting that India firmly rejects the baseless allegations, Tripathi said “the Council has not paid attention to such deceitful narratives in the past, and we are confident that the Council will continue to do so, to ensure that its agenda is not used as a ploy for furthering territorial ambitions.”

In her remarks to the debate, Tripathi underscored that violence against women and girls perpetrated by terrorists remain rampant and subjugation of women in public and in private spheres continue across situations that are on the agenda of the Council.

“It is important that the Council strives to effectively integrate women, peace and security considerations into sanctions regimes, including by listing terrorist entities involved in violence against women in armed conflicts,” she said.

Further, Tripathi highlighted the positive impacts of greater participation of women in UN peacekeeping but voiced concern that women make up only 4.2 per cent of military personnel in UN peacekeeping missions.

“We ought to encourage participation of all women units to achieve the set targets in this regard,” she said.

Tripathi pointed out that a trend in which in order to accommodate those who cannot fulfill the commitments of providing all women units to peacekeeping missions, mixed units are being given preference by diluting the policy frameworks.

“If this continues, we possibly cannot achieve the set targets,” she said as she added that India remains committed to increasing the number of women peacekeepers and has deployed a Female Engagement Team in UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) earlier this year.

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MeT predicts rains,snowfall from Nov 6 to 8 in J&K

Press Trust of India

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Jammu, Nov 5 : The weather department on Tuesday predicted widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rains in the hills and plains of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh union territories for three days starting from Wednesday.

The weather system is likely to cause temporary disruptions on surface transport especially over passes like Zojila, Srinagar-Jammu, Leh-Manali Highway, Mughal Road due to landslides, low temperature and heavy snowfall.

‘There is an active Western Disturbance. Its interaction with Cyclone MAHA (currently lying over East central Arabian sea) is most likely to cause widespread moderate to heavy snowfall and rain in plains of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh during 6th to 8th November’, Director, State Met department, Sonam Lotus said.

 

Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan on Monday chaired a meeting of officers to review the position of winter stocks of food grains and other essential commodities in Ladakh and Kashmir division.

Besides, Deputy Commissioner Leh and officials of District Administration, Kargil attended the meeting through video conferencing.

Directing officials to ensure adequate stocks of commodities, the division commissioner said people in these areas should not face any difficulty during winter months.

The meeting was informed that all essential commodities for winter including food grains, fire wood, LPG, medicine and other items have been stocked

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EU MPs in Kashmir say Article 370 internal issue, stand by India in fight against ‘terror’

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Srinagar, October 30: Terming Article 370 an internal issue of India, EU parliamentarians visiting Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday said they stand by the country in its fight against global terrorism.

Addressing a press conference on the last day of their two-day visit to the Valley, the group of 23 members of European Parliament also condemned the killing of five labourers from West Bengal on Tuesday.

“If we talk about Article 370 it is India’s internal matter. What concerns us is terrorism which is a global menace and we should stand with India in fighting it. There was an unfortunate incident of killing of five innocent labourers. We condemn it,” said Henri Malosse from France.

 

He said the team got a briefing from the army and police as well as young activists and exchanged “ideas of peace”.

Newton Dunn from the UK described the visit, aimed at getting a first-hand assessment of the situation after the revocation of the state’s special status under Article 370, as an “eye-opener”.

“We belong to a place Europe which is peaceful after years of fighting. And we want to see India becoming the most peaceful country in the world. And for that we need to stand by India in its fight against global terrorism. This visit has been an eye opener and we would definitely advocate what we have seen on ground zero,” he told reporters.

The delegation is the first high-level foreign visit to Kashmir after the August 5 decision of the Centre to revoke the state’s special status and bifurcate it into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Wednesday is the last day of Jammu and Kashmir as a state.

According to MEP from Poland Ryszard Czarnecki, “The international media coverage seems biased”.

“Once we go back to our countries we will inform them of what we saw,” he said.

Thierry Mariani, also from France, told the media he had been to India many times and this visit was not to interfere in the internal matter of India but to get a first hand knowledge of the ground

situation in Kashmir.

“Militants can destroy a country. I have been to Afghanistan and Syria and I have seen what terrorism has done. We stand with India in its fight against terrorism,” he said.

“By calling us fascists, our image has been tarnished. It’s better that one should know about us properly before tarnishing our image,” he added, referring to some media reports.

The team originally comprised 27 parliamentarians, many from extreme right or right wing parties, but four did not travel to Kashmir and have reportedly returned to their respective countries,

officials said without divulging any reason.

The team arrived here on Tuesday to a complete shutdown, stone pelting and clashes between people and security forces in several parts of the city and the Valley.

On Monday, the MPs met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi.

While welcoming the MPs to India, he expressed “the hope that they have a fruitful visit to various parts of the country, including to Jammu and Kashmir”.

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