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Good governance, development our goal in Kashmir: PM Modi

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, July 3: The Centre’s goal in Jammu and Kashmir is “good governance, development, responsibility and accountability”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.
“Recurrent” militant attacks that were common under the UPA rule are now history, Modi asserted in an interview to Swarajya magazine while discussing wide-ranging issues of internal security, including Maoist violence and the situation in the North East.
In Kashmir, our goal is good governance, development, responsibility and accountability, the prime minister said.
Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor’s rule since June 20.
Asked whether there would be dialogue with stakeholders in the state, he said the government had appointed an interlocutor who was in touch with many people.
“He is travelling to the interiors and engaging with people, Modi said.
Giving details of the security scenario in the country, Modi commended the “brave” and “eternally vigilant” security forces for ensuring peace as well as prosperity for 125 crore Indians.
You can ascertain our security situation from the fact that recurrent militant attacks that were common under the UPA are now history. The numbers vis-a-vis Maoist violence in the last four years should make every Indian happy.
“Maoist violence has declined by 20 per cent in the affected states, with a concomitant reduction of 34 per cent in deaths in 2017 compared to 2013. Geographically as well, the influence of Maoist violence has shrunk substantially, he said.
Along with zero tolerance towards violence, the prime minister asserted, his government has also focused on a massive push to infrastructure and social empowerment to bring positive change in the lives of the poor living in Maoist affected regions.
About 4,500 kilometres of roads have already been built in 34 Maoist-affected districts, and about 2,400 mobile towers have been installed, he said. An additional 4,072 towers have been approved to enhance connectivity.
When we assumed office, we got to know that there were no Kendriya Vidyalayas in 11 out of 35 districts most affected by Maoist violence. Eight new Kendriya Vidyalayas and five new Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas are imparting quality education to children, he said, citing development works done under his rule.
Maoist-affected areas had limited access to banks. But between April 2015 and December 2017, about 430 new bank branches and 1,045 ATMs were opened in 35 districts most affected by Maoist violence, Modi said.
When asked whether the area under Left Wing Extremism (LWE) had really shrunk, the prime minister said 44 of 126 districts have been removed from the list of Maoists affected areas.
No area likes being called an LWE-affected area. It adversely impacts the psyche of the local population. Based on the changed ground realities, 44 out of 126 districts have been removed from the list of LWE-affected areas. These are those districts that did not see any violence for the last four years, Modi said.
Due to the government’s policies, the push for development and zero tolerance for any violence, about 3,380 Maoists surrendered from 2014 to 2017. From 2010 to 2013, the number was around 1,380, he said.
What can solve people’s problems is not violence but development. And that is why, our approach (while having no tolerance for any sort of violence and disturbance) is to devote unparalleled resources towards the development of areas prone to violence, the prime minister said.
The security situation in the North East had also improved tremendously, he said.
“In 2017, we had the lowest insurgency-related incidents and casualties among civilians and security forces in the last 20 years! Tripura and Mizoram are virtually free from insurgency,” Modi said.
In Meghalaya, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was removed from all areas from March 31, 2018 and it remains in only eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh, the prime minister said.
We are leaving no stone unturned to protect our sisters and brothers of the North East. Police infrastructure is being strengthened across the region. Wherever needed, additional India Reserve Battalions are being raised.
Modi said his government wants to bring back misguided youngsters to the mainstream.
It is extremely anguishing when misguided youngsters are drawn to violence. We want to bring these youngsters back to the mainstream, so that they can contribute to the development of India. In the North East, there is the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy. We revised the policy in April 2018 so that more youngsters who turned to militancy come back to the mainstream, he said.
According to the prime minister, north eastern states like Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura are also on broad-gauge map of the country.
A few weeks ago, the first commercial flight in three decades reached Arunachal Pradesh. The road network is being expanded and waterways are being harnessed. An improved security situation combined with a push for development is convincing people about the perils of violence and instability. It is also fulfilling the aspirations of the youth of the state, Modi stated.

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Large sums of money involved : Agents honey trapped, blackmailed IAS officer for gun licenses

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By Special Correspondent

Srinagar, July 18:  Investigation into fake gun license racket in Udhampur has revealed sensational details about the involvement of the district’s former Deputy Commissioner Niraj Kumar in the scam.

As per sources, the state government has already registered an anti-corruption case against the IAS officer as more skeletons continue to tumble out of the closet.

Highly placed sources say that the IAS officer, with the local gun mafia and touts, violated all norms related to the gun licensing criteria.

As per law, the DM is the nodal officer for issuing gun licenses, but only after due diligence by police.

Sources said the investigation, carried out by Anti- Terror Squad (ATS) of Rajasthan Police, has revealed that the former Deputy Commissioner had relaxed the norms for issuing the gun license to the agents.

Instead of working on the licensing process in the office the accused IAS officer had prepared the list for issuing these licenses ‘illegally’ at his official residence.

As per investigators, all the paper work including the signing off on the final license was done away with from the DC’s office.

Investigators also believe that a huge amount of money had also exchanged hands between the agents, senior government officials over issuance of these licenses.

Sources say that once the IAS officer got a whiff of the impending scandal, he started resisting the request of those whom he was in league with for issuing these ‘illegal licenses’. “It is quite possible that the accused officer was honey trapped by touts and then blackmailed further to issue more licenses. We are also probing the possibility of involvement of some police officials in this scam,” a police officer told The Kashmir Monitor.

Last year objectionable pictures of Niraj Kumar, the then-Deputy Commissioner Udhampur, with women in a hotel room had gone viral. The government had then swung into action and attached Niraj to the office of Divisional Commissioner, Jammu.

Sources said the DC violated all the norms and even asked his subordinates to keep the matter hidden.

“Acquiring a gun license is too hectic as it follows various levels of verifications. But in this case the  Deputy Commissioner  who is a nodal officer for issuing gun license made it confined to just few steps by cutting down the verification part,” sources said.

As per the sources, the agents would forge the documents of a person to show him as an army official to avoid verifications.

“Army and military personnel can get arms licenses from any district they are posted in, on the recommendation of a letter from the Commanding Officer of their unit. These documents were then approved at official levels,” they said.

Last year Rajasthan police busted a racket in which fake gun license racket  from Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir were being abundantly used to ‘purchase’ arms from gun houses in many parts of Rajasthan, including Udaipur, Sikar and Jaipur, police said.

Around 40 licenses from Dimapur in Nagaland – suspected to be fake- were used to purchase guns from gun houses in Jaipur alone.

When contacted Commissioner Secretary General Administration Department (GAD), Hilal Ahmad Parray said that they haven’t received any sort of communication related to issue yet.

“Let me see and confirm it. But so far we have not been informed by any agency yet,” Parray said.

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Disappointed over Kashmir HR report criticism: UNHCR

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Geneva, July 18: The United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCR) on Tuesday quashed the criticisms levelled by the Indian authorities and media for its human rights report on Kashmir released recently, and expressed “deep disappointment” over the reaction.

Citing Indian media outlets’ accusations such as “Nefarious conspiracy”, “Pakistan-authored report”, “fallacious”, “mala fide” and Indian authorities’ reaction who dismissed the report as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated” against the UN Human Rights Office, the spokesperson for the UNHCR said that they were disappointed by the reactions.

“The report was developed through remote monitoring, after the Indian and Pakistani authorities failed to grant us unconditional access to the region. Since the report was published, we have been deeply disappointed by the reaction of the Indian authorities, who dismissed the report as “fallacious, tendentious and motivated” without examining it and responding to the very serious concerns about the human rights situation in Indian-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir as laid out in the report,” the spokesperson said.

He also refuted reports in the Indian media that the High Commissioner, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, was in contact with a Canada-based imam of Pakistani descent, named Zafar Bangash, and that he had influenced the report.

“The High Commissioner has never spoken with Mr Bangash, and we are not aware of receiving any information from him, let alone using it, although it is possible he sent an email or letter and received a polite acknowledgment, as is the case with thousands of letters and emails sent to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,” the spokesperson added.

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So far in 2018: 100 militants, 43 forces’ men, 16 civilians killed in JK: GoI

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New Delhi, July 18: Hundred militants and 43 forces personnel were killed in Jammu and Kashmir in the first six months of this year, Minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir said on Wednesday.

Ahir, the minister of state for home, said 16 civilians were also killed during this period, which saw 256 incidents of violence. He was replying to a written question in Rajya Sabha.

In 2017, 342 incidents of violence were reported in the state, in which 213 terrorists were gunned down. A total of 80 security personnel and 40 civilians were killed last year, Ahir said.

As many as 82 forces personnel, 15 civilians and 150 militants were killed in the state in 2016, which witnessed 322 cases of militant violence, he said.

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