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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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I-League 2018-19: Real test for Real Kashmir today

Over 15,000 spectators expected as RKFC takes on Mohun Bagan

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Nov 19: The stage is set for the historic and probably the most-awaited I-League match between Real Kashmir FC and Kolkata giants Mohun Bagan FC to be played at Astro Turf TRC Ground on Tuesday.

Popularly known as Mariners, Mohun Bagan is the oldest and most-celebrated football club of India, which will be playing its first official match here.

A day before the match, football fans, particularly those of Real Kashmir FC, thronged to the TRC ground for passes to the match.

At least, more than 6,000 passes were given to the ecstatic spectators, who are aiming to watch the game.

An official deputed at TRC ground said they were expecting “more than 15,000” spectators.

“People for long have been waiting for the event. Mohun Bagan is a popular football club and it is not less than a treat to watch them play in Srinagar,” he said.

More than three dozen Mohun Bagan fans have also travelled with the team for the game.

Defeated by Neroca FC alone this year, the Snow Leopards hope to turn the opportunity into a grand event.

“Since Mohun Bagan is a big club, pressure will definitely be on them. To play against a club like Mohun Bagan, the chances will be definitely less for us, but we have to put up a good show,” Real Kashmir FC Head Coach, David Robertson, said in a pre-match press conference.

“Teams coming here find it difficult because of the altitude and unless you are here five-six days here before the game, it is going to be very difficult in the last 20 minutes of the game,” he said.

Coach Robertson said facing Mohun Bagan in Kashmir would be “more than an achievement” for his team.

“We have one point out of six in the last two games. But then we are underdogs, and saw just one defeat in the last one year,” he said.

He said the previous defeat against Neroca FC won’t have any impact over the performances of his players.

“Last time we got a lot of chances and made errors even, but it is a part of a game. But tomorrow we will have some changes as Danish is currently injured. Bazie Armand and Mason will play at different positions. We got options as we are bringing four strikers and also need more for upfront,” Coach Robertson said.

“The support by Kahsmiris, who come in numbers, actually gives us an edge. We don’t have the history like Kolkata clubs, but again, since we are in I-League and the people’s support adds pressure on the away team,” Coach Robertson said.

Head Coach of Mohun Bagan, Shankarlal Chakraborty, said facing Real Kashmir in their hometown was more worrying for them than playing on synthetic turf for the first time.

“We came prior to the scheduled match to practice more on synthetic turf, but Real Kashmir team as a team is more worrying for us. They lost the previous match, but they are good at creating chances for a goal,” he said.

“The way Kashmir played the last game was really good. They have a good combination of both Indian and foreign players. Their defenders, midfielders are very strong. We hope we put up up a good show against them and win three points,” Coach Chakraborty said.

Asked whether his players will cope with cold weather conditions Chakraborty said, “As far as the weather conditions are concerned, we did train in the afternoon yesterday. We were not uncomfortable. After warming up, the body responded well and the players had a good session.”

Both the teams have played three games each so far.

Mohun Bagan is one of the three unbeaten teams in the league and is fifth on the table.

Real Kashmir is seventh, with four points.

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Panchayat elections:Phase II today, 4014 candidates in fray

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 19: Polling for Phase-II of Panchayat Polls-2018 will be held Tuesday at 2179 polling stations across the state, including 828 in Kashmir and 1351 in Jammu Division.

In a statement, Chief Electoral Officer, Shaleen Kabra said that 4,014 candidates are in the fray for 281 Sarpanch and 1286 Panch seats in Phase-II.

He said 90 Sarpanchs and 1069 Panchs have already been elected unopposed in Phase-II.

Kabra said 601 polling stations have been categorized as hypersensitive including 490 in Kashmir Division and 196 in Jammu Division.

He said in the areas going to polls in the Phase-II, electorate of 3,29, 818 will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies, 207796 for Panch constituencies.

Polling will be held from 8 am to 2 pm while counting of the votes will be taken up immediately after the voting is over.

The polls will be held in the border areas of Kupwara district like Kalaroos, Machil, and Rajwar. Similarly, the polls will be held in two Panchayat constituencies of Bandipora-Ganstan, Nowgam.

In Baramulla, the elections will be held at Wagoora and Sangrama.

In central Kashmir’s Budgam and Ganderbal districts, polls will be held at Kangan, Rathsun, and Budgam panchayat constituencies.

At the same time, most of the areas where there is a larger presence of militancy will face elections in the last phases.

However, two Panchayat constituencies of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, Bijbehara and Anantnag will witness polling.

However, there will be no elections in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam districts, and in summer capital Srinagar in the second phase.

Bhambatt, Karsha, Sankoo, Shaker, Chaktan,  Shargol, Lotchum of Kargil district and Khaltsi,  Skurbuchan,  Turtuk, and Panamik panchayat constituencies of Leh district too will face polls.

Polling will also take place in various constituencies of Jammu region.

In the phase I, Kashmir saw a 64 per cent voter turnout while nearly 75 per cent electorate exercised their right to franchise in Jammu region of panchayat elections on Saturday.

The first phase of the panchayat polls in the Valley was held in the traditionally high voter turnout belts along the Line of Control.

The polling in next eight phases will be held on November 24, 27, 29, December 1, December 4, December 8, and December 11.

The panchayat elections are being held in J&K after a gap of seven years. The last elections were conducted in 2011 and the panchayats had completed their five-year term in 2016.

The nine-phase panchayat polls are being held in the state to 316 blocks in 4,483 Panchayat Halqas comprising 35,029 Panch.

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Those behind circulating execution videos identified: IGP Pani

Global News Service

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Srinagar, Nov 19: Police on Monday claimed to have identified those behind circulation of the recent “execution videos” in south Kashmir.

Those who are propagating brutal killing videos have been identified and soon action will be taken against them,” Inspector General of Police SP Pani said.

The top police officer of Kashmir said that cyber domain used by militants for these “gruesome acts stand identified and they will be brought before the law.”

He further said: “These execution videos of innocent civilians in Kashmir is reflection of ‘terror’ crimes.”

Asked who was behind these killings, the IGP said that these are “terror crimes” and the accused shall be brought before law.

Unidentified gunmen last week killed two persons in south Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama and later circulated their videos.

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