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Fresh snowfall affects road, air connectivity

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Srinagar, Feb 6: Road and air traffic between Kashmir and rest of the country was suspended on Wednesday due to heavy snowfall across the valley, officials said.
Of the 27 flights scheduled to arrive at the Srinagar Airport, 15 have been cancelled so far due to poor visibility and heavy snowfall, an official of the Airport Authority of India said.
He said if there is no improvement in the weather conditions, the possibility of other flights arriving was bleak.
The traffic control department said the arterial Srinagar-Jammu road had to be closed for vehicular traffic following snowfall and rains, which triggered landslides at several places.
“No vehicles are being allowed on the highway due to landslides caused by rain and snowfall,” the official of the traffic department said.
He said a decision on resuming traffic will be taken only after debris of landslides is cleared and the weather improves.
The Traffic Department was set to allow one-way traffic from Srinagar to Jammu on Wednesday, but the decision was reviewed as weather deteriorated all along the- nearly 300 km long road.
“Nightlong rains triggered shooting stones in some portions of the highway in Ramsoo-Ramban sector.
“Right now, the highway is closed for traffic. The decision will be again be reviewed depending upon the weather,” a traffic official said.
“While the plains of the Jammu division will receive rain, higher reaches both in Jammu and valley region will receive moderate to heavy snowfall,” a Met official said.
There have been nightlong rains in the Jammu division while fresh snowfall occurred in the Kashmir mountains, including on the Pir Panjal range, the official added.
Srinagar recorded 1 degree Celsius while Pahalgam and Gulmarg recorded minus 0.6 and minus 4.6 respectively.
In the Ladakh area, Leh recorded minus 4.3, Kargil minus 16 and Drass minus 6.3 degrees Celsius.
Jammu city was at 11.6, Katra 10.8, Batote 1.4, Bannihal 1 and Bhaderwah was at 2 degrees Celsius.
The Met has forecast widespread rain and snow in Jammu and Kashmir during the next 48 hours till Friday.
Over a dozen flights were cancelled till noon due to heavy snowfall and poor visibility at the Srinagar airport, officials said.
“Due to heavy snowing and poor visibility over Srinagar airfield the following flights are cancelled. This update is of flight movements up to 1200hrs,” Srinagar airport authorities said on Twitter while detailing the fifteen flights that were cancelled.

12 injured as boulder hits vehicle on Sg-Jmu highway
Press Trust of India
Banihal, Feb 6: At least 12 passengers, including a woman, were injured after their vehicle was hit by a boulder along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway, which had to be eventually closed for traffic on Wednesday following fresh snowfall and incessant rains, officials said.
The Jammu-bound vehicle was hit by a shooting stone from a hillock overlooking the highway at Moumpassi-Ramsu in Ramban district late Tuesday evening, causing serious injuries to the woman, who is from Bihar, and minor injuries to 11 others, they said.
Most of the injured were discharged after first aid, while the woman who has suffered head injuries, has been referred to the Government Medical College hospital Jammu, they said.
Nine Bihar residents and one each from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were travelling from Srinagar to Jammu in the vehicle driven by a local driver from Anantnag, the officials said.
They said the incident Tuesday evening did not have any impact on the movement of vehicles on the highway and later the authorities decided to continue traffic from Srinagar to Jammu on Wednesday as well.
However, the decision was reviewed Wednesday morning after which no traffic was allowed on the highway following fresh snowfall in the higher reaches and incessant rains in the plains.
The Jawahar Tunnel, the gateway to Kashmir, experienced fresh snowfall leaving the road slippery, while incessant rains triggered landslides and shooting-of-stones at several places including Anokhi fall, battery cheshma and Panthiyal, the officials said.
The inclement weather is hampering the road clearance operation, they said, adding once the weather improves, efforts would be made to restore traffic on the highway as early as possible.
The highway had remained closed for over 15 days since the beginning of the new year owing to intermittent spells of snowfall and rains. On Tuesday, the one-way traffic was allowed from Srinagar towards Jammu after five days.
High altitude areas of Jammu and Kashmir experienced fresh spell of snowfall, while the plains were lashed by rains since Tuesday night.
The Met office has already predicted widespread to fairly widespread rain and snow across the state till tomorrow evening.

 
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Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight

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Srinagar, Jun 17: An Army officer and a militant were killed and three other soldiers including a Major injured in a gunfight in south Kashmir Anantnag district on Monday, police said.

Police sources said the officer was shot at during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village in Achabal area of the district.

The slain militant was believed to be a foreigner.

 

SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the operation was launched following specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.

He said that as the joint team intensified the searches, the militants, hiding in the area, opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight.

Initially, sources said, the joint team of forces and militants exchanged gunfire for some time during which the house, in which the militants were hiding, was damaged. Later there was a lull for about an hour even as Army rushed more reinforcements and the joint team started searches to find out the militants.

Soon the militants rose from the debris and opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in the on-spot death of Major Keetan Sharma and injuries to three others including another Army Major Rahul Verma, sources said.

They added the joint team of forces retailed the fire, leading to the fresh gunfight in an open field. While one militant was killed and the search operation is underway to find if there is any more militant hiding in the area.

The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is being ascertained, sources said.

Meanwhile, youth took to streets and pelted stones at the security forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.

In wake of the operation, the authorities snapped internet service in the southern district.

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IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured

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Srinagar, Jun 17: Militants on Monday attempted to blow off an Army vehicle in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

A police official said that an armoured vehicle of Army came under an IED attack in Hargam Arihal village of Pulwama. He added that after the blast militants also fired some gunshots towards the vehicle.

Local residents informed that they heard huge blast followed by gunshots.

 

Reports said that six soldiers and two civilians were injured in the blast. The soldiers were shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar for treatment.

The area was soon cordoned off, officials said.

Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck.

Three of them who were travelling in the cabin of the vehicle are stated to be serious, the news agency reported.

The blast was triggered by militants using a car laden with explosives, GNS reported attributing the same to “initial investigations by police.”

“A police officer that the explosives were fitted inside a car and investigators are probing the owner of the vehicle. Asked, which type of vehicle was used, the officer said that it is a matter of investigation,” the news agency reported.

“Samples have been collected and further probe is underway,” the officer was quoted saying.

In a statement, the Army called the attack a “failed attempt” by militants. The troops are safe, barring a few minor injuries, it said, adding, “The area has been cordoned and search operations are in progress”.

The blast comes days after Pakistan had reportedly shared information with India and America regarding the possibility of major militant attack in the south Kashmir district. (With inputs from GNS)

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Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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SSP Srinagar, Dr Haseeb Mughal holding in his lap the son of slain SHO Arshid Khan during the wreath laying ceremony at DPL, Srinagar on Monday – Photo: Umar Ganie

Srinagar, Jun 17: Emotional scenes were Monday witnessed at District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar as top cops and bureaucrats attended the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain police officer Arshad Khan, who had sustained critical injuries in a militant attack in Anantnag last week and later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, Delhi on Sunday.

J&K Police chief Dilbagh Singh, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and KK Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmed Khan, ADGP Muneer Khan, and SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal, among other civil and police officers were present on the occasion.

J&K Police shared two heart wrenching photos of Dr Mughal carrying the deceased’s son in his arms during the wreath-laying ceremony.

 

In the photos, a teary-eyed Haseeb is seen carrying slain Arshad Khan’s son while paying tributes to his colleague.

On the occasion, Advisor Kumar said that more than 1600 J&K Police personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.

On June 12, around 4:50 pm, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including Arshad sustained injuries after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at bus stand Anantnag.

Arshad was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital and then to Srinagar’ SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. After being treated there for a few days, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.

According to police, Arshad was inducted into police services in the year 2002 and was presently posted as SHO Anantnag. Khan is survived by father and mother, wife Neelofar, 5-year-old son Abuhan Khan, Danim 2, and a brother.

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