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Encounters in Ramban, Ganderbal: 4 militants, soldier killed in twin gunfights

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Sep 28: A day after United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) session, Jammu and Kashmir witnessed two major encounters – one at Batote, Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar highway and another one at Kangan in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district – in which four militants and a soldier were killed. 

In Batote encounter, a police official said that three militants and a soldier were killed while as an unidentified militant was killed in Kangan area of Ganderbal where joint operation of security forces was on till this report was filed.

The official said that in Batote a BJP worker, who was held hostage by the militants, was rescued.

 

He said that the militant group, believed to be five in number,was cornered when they tried to stop a vehicle most probably with an aim to hijack it at Batote.

The trapped terrorists had fired at the Quick Reaction Team (QRT) of the Army in the morning and tried to escape but were chased by the security forces and encircled in a house, he said.

The officials said the fresh exchange of fire started between the holed up militants and the security forces at around 1 pm after intense search operation despite inclement weather.

“The militants took shelter in a house where they held Vijay Kumar Verma, booth president of the BJP as a hostage. We took our time and first rescued Verma before launching the final assault against militants,” he added.

 News agency KNO quoted Inspector General of Police Jammu range, Mukesh Singh saying that three militants were killed in the encounter. “But we lost a soldier and two policemen were injured in the gunfight,” he said.

The Batote encounter came just a day after UNGA session where Prime Minister of Pakistan.

The encounter also comes at a time when multiple intelligence agencies had warned the government that at least 60 militants have infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir in the last few weeks alone and another 500 were waiting to sneak in.

Meanwhile, another encounter took place at Gangbal area of Kangan in Central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, an area close to Gurez-Bandipora ridge, a traditional infiltration pass, where one militant was killed.

“One militant has been killed so far and the joint operation is on. Weather is not favorable as it is raining heavily in the area,” an army official said.

Meanwhile, a grenade was lobbed at a CRPF party at Nawakadal area of Srinagar that exploded without causing any damage. 

National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval, on Thursday asked the troops to be on high alert in view of the reports that militant outfits may carry out some “demonstrative and sensational acts of terror”. (With inputs from KNO and PTI)

Mastermind of Parihar assassination killed: Police

Press Trust of India

Jammu, Sep 28: A top Hizbul Mujahideen ‘commander’, wanted in connection with the assassination of a senior BJP leader and an RSS functionary, was killed along with two other militants in a nine-hour operation in which a soldier lost his life in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday, officials said.

The militants, identified as Osama and his associates Zahid and Farooq, were killed after they tried to escape from a house where they had barged in while being chased by security forces following a brief exchange of fire in Batote area along Jammu-Kishtwar national highway early Saturday morning, they said, adding a house-owner was also rescued after the encounter ended.

Osama, as per officials, was the brain behind several incidents including the killings of senior BJP leader Anil Parihar and his brother Ajit Parihar on November 1, 2018 and RSS functionary Chanderkant Sharma and his PSO on April 9.

He was carrying a reward of several lakhs of rupees and was also wanted in three weapon snatching incidents in Kishtwar town, which was declared militant-free over a decade ago.

“All the three militants were killed in the gunfight, while an army soldier achieved martyrdom,” Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand told PTI.

The deceased soldier was identified as Naik Rajinder Singh from Jaisalmer.

Two policemen were injured in the gunbattle, officials said, adding a huge cache of arms and ammunition were recovered from the possession of the militant. The success for security forces comes days after Inspector General of Police, Jammu, Mukesh Singh said that four cases of killings and weapon snatching in Kishtwar district have been solved with the arrest of three Hizbul Mujahideen activists.

While naming Osama and five other militants, the IGP had on September 23 said the security forces are after them and they will be brought to book soon.

As the pressure on militants increased in Kishtwar, Osama and the other two militants tried to escape from the district and had reportedly spent the night at an abandoned temporary shelter on the highway before being confronted by security forces, the officials said.

“Today (Saturday) morning at about 7.30 am, two suspicious individuals tried to stop a civilian vehicle at the general area Batote on the highway. The driver was alert, did not stop the vehicle and rushed and informed the nearest Army post. “The quick reaction team reacted promptly and contact was established with the suspicious individuals,” Lt Col Anand said.

Following a brief encounter at Dharmund village of Batote this morning, the fleeing militants intruded into a residential house with some shops on the ground floor, the officials said adding the house was immediately cordoned off by search parties comprising Army, police and CRPF and the encounter re-started at around 1 pm. The elderly house owner, Vijay Kumar, was “trapped” in the house while rest of his family managed to come out and were subsequently evacuated to safety, the officials said.

Kumar, who locals claimed was a BJP worker, was rescued after the encounter ended. Earlier, a police spokesman said that they had information about the presence of five militants in the house based on the inputs provided by the rescued family.

“Repeated attempts were made to make the militants surrender but they tried to buy time so that they can make an attempt to flee the house by taking advantage of darkness later in the day,” an official said adding when the cordon was being tightened, the militants fired indiscriminately. Later, they came out of the house while firing indiscriminately on the forces but were eliminated in the encounter.

The movement of traffic on the highway was stopped following the incident as a precautionary measure, they said adding the traffic will be restored as soon as possible once the area is sanitised.


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Reorganization of JK: Legislative Council abolished after 62 years

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Oct 17:  Curtains came down on 62-year-old Legislative Council after Jammu and Kashmir government issued formal orders for its abolition and asked 116-member staff to report to General Administration Department.

The order was issued on Wednesday night, less than a fortnight before the state is divided into two union territories –Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh.

 

Jammu and Kashmir will be a union territory with Legislative Assembly. Ladakh will be a union territory without legislature.

According to the order, the 116-member staff of the council has been asked to report to the General Administration Department (GAD) by October 22.

The Centre had on August 5 abrogated the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

In his order, Secretary of GAD Farooq Ahmad Lone directed transfer of all vehicles purchased from time to time to the director state motor garages and handing over of the building of the council along with furniture and electronic gadgets to the director estates.

The 36-member state council was established in 1957 after an act was passed by the Parliament. The council functioned was an upper house for the 87-member state assembly.

“Consequent to the abolition of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council in terms of Section 57 of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, it is ordered that all the staff of the state legislative council shall report to the GAD by October 22,” the order said.

All records pertaining to the Council Secretariat including related legislative business shall be transferred to the Department of Law, Justice Parliamentary Affairs by the secretary, the order added.

Earlier in February this year, the State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved taking up the matter with the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the proposal for holding of elections to vacant seats in the J&K Legislative Council.

Explaining importance of the Legislative Council, former Congress MLC GN Monga said the members would discuss important issues in the Legislative Council.

“Like Raj Sabha, Jammu and Kashmir had the Upper House which was called Legislative Council. This House would pass important bills, discuss yearly budget then pass it. Its members would raise public issue and were trying to resolve them,” said Monga.

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Centre kicks off process to attract private investment in JK

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Oct 17: Centre has formally kicked off the process to attract the private investment in Jammu and Kashmir.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the details of government’s policy to attract more investments in Jammu and Kashmir would be available very soon.

 “We have started working in terms of making sure that the full potential of Jammu and Kashmir from various different aspects (is achieved)”, she said.

 

Sitharaman made the comments while responding to a question during an interactive session with investors at the IMF headquarters. The event was organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and US India Strategic and Partnership Forum.

The minister listed out the investment possibilities Jammu and Kashmir carries in different sectors like tourism, fine arts, handicrafts, wood work, carpets, silk, production of saffron and apple.

“I think sooner the details of it (new policy) will be available,” she said.

On August 5, Centre scrapped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

In his address to the nation after revoking the special status, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said state companies as well as private companies will be encouraged to create jobs for the local youth in the region.

“So very many things are all being put together to see how best a plan can be done, “Sitharaman said.

Sooner, some kind of pattern would be worked out between the union home ministry and finance ministry and announced.

Work is on, she said, while responding to a question from a Dubai-based investor who is trying to mobilise funds to invest in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I want to know from your perspective, after the change in this state, is there any special consideration being given to a State that has historically missed out on global and international investments?” she was asked.

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History will take note of those who ridiculed abrogation of Art 370: PM

Press Trust of India

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Beed, Oct 17: Hitting out at Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said history will have a mention of those who ridiculed the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

“History will take note of every person who ridiculed the abrogation of Article 370. We removed Article 370 for the country, and not for politics. Whenever Article 370 is discussed in the future, every person who’s made fun of the decision, who has stood against and challenged it, would be discussed,” Modi said while addressing an election rally at Parli in Maharashtra’s Beed district.

 Prime Minister was addressing first of his three rallies in the state that goes to polls in October 21. His other two rallies are in Satara and Pune later in the day. Pankaja Munde, minister in state cabinet and daughter of late party leader Gopinath Munde, is locked in a tough fight from Parli against her cousin Dhananjay, who is contesting on a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ticket.

 

 “A Congress leader had said this decision will destroy the country.  Three months have passed, has the country been destroyed? Another Congress leader said that we’ve lost Kashmir by abrogating Article 370, have we lost Kashmir? If you want to go to Kashmir let me know, I’ll make arrangements,” he said.

Urging voters to punish the Congress for it ‘misdoings’, he said: “The country can see through their scams and their fake remarks now. The country will punish them for their misdoings when the time comes, but Maharashtra has got the first opportunity to do it.”

Pitching for the re-election of the Sena-BJP combine in the state, Prime Minister said: “Today, if the whole state is behind the BJP-Shiv Sena government, it is because of the hard work we have put in in the last five years. On one side, there is the work-ethic of the current government, and on the other is the selfishness of the Congress-NCP leaders.”

Rajnath accuses Congress of internationalising Kashmir issue

Press Trust of India

Bawani Khera, Oct 17: Lambasting Congress, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday accused the party of internationalising the Kashmir issue.

Addressing a poll rally, Rajnath said Kashmir is an internal matter.

Defence minister said a Congress leader recently met Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in London and held a discussion on the issue of alleged human rights violations in Kashmir.       

“I want to ask Congress leaders where human rights violations are taking place. Human rights violations were taking place when terrorist activities were occurring (in Kashmir). Why did not you speak at that time?” he asked the Congress.       

“I want a reply from the Congress. Kashmir is our internal matter. Will there be a discussion on it in other countries… Will you be discussing Kashmir matter in other countries?” Rajnath asked.

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