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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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CANCELLATION OF TALKS: Imran ‘disappointed’ with India’s ‘arrogant’ response

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Islamabad, Sep 22: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday took to Twitter to respond to India’s cancellation of the meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), calling New Delhi’s response “arrogant and negative”.
“Disappointed at the arrogant and negative response by India to my call for resumption of the peace dialogue,” Khan tweeted adding: “However, all my life I have come across small men occupying big offices who do not have the vision to see the larger picture.”
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government on Friday had called off the meeting between the Pakistani and Indian foreign ministers — just a day after confirming the development.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had announced the cancellation in a strongly worded statement, saying: “It is obvious that behind Pakistan’s proposal for talks to make a fresh beginning, the evil agenda of Pakistan stands exposed and the true face of the new Prime Minister Imran Khan has been revealed to the world in his first few months in office,” he said. “Any conversation with Pakistan in such an environment would be meaningless.”
However, the reasons cited by India for cancelling the talks have raised questions as they are not recent developments. The MEA spokesperson referred to the “killing of Indian security forces” allegedly by “Pakistani entities” and Islamabad’s decision to release stamps allegedly “glorifying terrorists” as the reasons behind the cancellation of talks.
The Pakistan Foreign Office, in a statement on Friday night, pointed out that the killing of a Border Security Force (BSF) soldier took place two days prior to the Indian announcement of its agreement to hold the bilateral meeting.
“When the allegations of Pakistan’s involvement first appeared, the Pakistan Rangers clearly conveyed to BSF through official channels that Pakistan had nothing to do with it. Pakistan Rangers also extended help in efforts to locate the soldier’s body,” the Pakistan FO statement issued on Friday night.
“These facts were known to the Indian authorities and a part of the Indian media also reported that Pakistan had refuted its involvement. Yet, this motivated and malicious propaganda continued.”
Islamabad also raised the point that the postage stamps mentioned in the Indian statement were issued before the July 25 elections, following which Imran Khan assumed office as PM.
“It is unfortunate that India has not given a positive response. Indian has once again wasted an opportunity for peace,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had told the media on Friday.
“The refusal of India shows that Indian government is facing internal pressure,” he said. “It seems that India is already preparing for its elections due in the country next year,” Qureshi was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.
He said Pakistan sincerely wants resolution of all outstanding issues, including Kashmir, with India through negotiations. Pakistan has always extended an olive branch to India for the resolution of problems and enhancing bilateral ties in an amicable manner, but New Delhi does not come out of its “internal politics”, state-run Radio Pakistan quoted him as saying.
The minister said Pakistan can only wish India to come to the negotiating table, but “we can neither pressurise anybody nor will accept the same for this purpose.” Qureshi said the world wants connectivity and promote regional trade, but India is creating problems.
He said India’s “stubbornness” is also adversely affecting future of the SAARC countries, the Radio Pakistan report said. But, Qureshi reiterated that dialogue is the only way to come to the resolution of any issue.
“We said that we want dialogue – but in a dignified manner,” he added.

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Time to pay back Pak in same coin: Army Chief

Agencies

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New Delhi, Sep 22: Army Chief, Bipin Rawat Saturday threatened Pakistan of retaliation over the latter’s alleged involvement in the killing of a BSF soldier and policemen in Kashmir last week.
The remarks come a day after New Delhi called off a meeting scheduled for next week between its foreign minister with the Pakistani counterpart.
“We need to take stern action to avenge the barbarism that ‘terrorists’ and the Pakistan Army have been carrying out,” news agency ANI reported General Rawat saying.
“Yes, it’s time to give it back to them in the same coin, not resorting to similar kind of barbarism. But I think the other side must also feel the same pain.”
Reacting to the General Rawat, Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Pakistan will continue to strive for peace, and added that the world is watching as to who wants peace and who wants war.
“We reject war mongering by ruling elite of India everyone know Indian Govt strategy is to use hate mongering against Pak basically to bail Pm Modi from call for resignation post French jets Rafael deal and divert attention of Indian public from this mega corruption scandal,” he tweeted.
Pakistan army chief spokesman Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor too reacted to Gen Rawat’s remarks saying that India was trying to divert attention from domestic problem by calling off talks with Pakistan and resorting to baseless propaganda.
“Pakistan army is a professional institution. It is part of army’s professional code of conduct. No Pakistani troop was involved in mutilation of Indian soldier,” Ghafoor was quoted saying by Pakistan media.
To a question, DG ISPR said that India “should not get into war mongering as a ruse to deflect international challenges.”
“We need to maintain peace in the region and it should not be misconstrued as our weakness. India should not retort to war mongering,” he said.

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Massive cordon-and-search ops in Pulwama

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Srinagar, Sep 22: Government forces Saturday launched a massive cordon and search operation in about a dozen villages in Pulwama.
The operation was carried out by 55-Rashtriya Rifles, 53 RR, 23 Para, Special Operation Group (SOG) and CRPF’s 182, 183 battalions.
Launched during wee hours, the CASO saw forces conducting house to house searches in the villages, reports said.
The search operations were conducted in villages Lassipora, Armula, Alaipora, Batnoor, Garbug, Naupora Paeen, Hajdar Pora, Acchan and many others.
It was not immediately known if the operation launched to flush out any militants or whether it was purely an ‘area domination’ exercise.
Meanwhile, the residents of a village in Shopian district on Saturday clashed with the government forces after they launched a cordon-and-search-operation in the area.
Reports said that the government forces laid a siege around the Shirmal village early Saturday morning.
As the forces started door-to-door searches, scores of residents came out of their homes and pelted them with stones to disrupt the operation.
The forces, according to reports, fired tear gas to quell the protests.
Saturday’s CASOs was launched a day after suspected militants abducted and killed three cops in Shopian.

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