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Govt announces Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia each for kin of those killed in avalanches, shooting stones

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Jammu, Feb 9:The Government has, on the directions of Governor Satya Pal Malik, announced ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh each for the next of kin of those killed in snow avalanches and shooting stones at various places across the State during the recent snowfall.

Expressing deep grief over the loss of precious human lives in these tragic incidents, the Governor lauded the efforts of the rescue teams and local volunteers for accomplishing the challenging task of search and rescue operation despite facing extreme weather conditions.

He also expressed condolences with the bereaved families and directed the health department to provide best possible medicare facilities to the injured.

 

Pertinently, eight persons including six Police/Fire & Emergency Personnel and two civilians were killed and three others injured in a tragic incident when an avalanche struck north portal of Jawahar Tunnel in Qazigund area.

Three Police Personnel rescued from Jawahar Tunnel avalanche are undergoing treatment.

In another incident a couple was killed when an avalanche hit their house at Sund Brari in Kokernag area. A youth was killed in a similar incident at Chairhaar in district Baramulla.

In Jammu division, two persons died and two others were injured in landslide and shooting stones in Ramban area on Srinagar-Jammu highway.
Similar incidents took place in Bubail are of district Kishtwar and Chinkha area of Arnas in district Reasi.

The Government has asked the Divisional Commissioners of Jammu/Kashmir to immediately release ex-gratia relief to the next of kin of the deceased and extend all possible assistance to the injured.


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Centre making efforts to ensure peace in JK: Prez Kovind

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New Delhi, Jun 20: President Ram Nath Kovind Thursday said the central government is making all efforts to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

In his address to the joint sitting of both houses of Parliament, Kovind said the government is also committed to take all necessary steps for the development of Jammu and Kashmir.

“My government is making efforts with complete dedication to provide a safe and peaceful environment for residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

“The recently concluded peaceful elections to local bodies and to Lok Sabha have bolstered our efforts,” he said in his customary address after the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha.

Jammu and Kashmir is currently under President’s rule and schedule for the assembly elections is expected to be announced after the Amarnath Yatra, which will come to an end in mid-August.

In his speech, the President also laid out the vision for ‘New India’ and asked all political parties to think “seriously” about the concept of ‘one nation one election.’

He also said that there was a need to eradicate ‘kuritis’ and practices like ‘triple talaq’ and ‘nikah halala’.

Kovind said that India must aim to become a 5 trillion dollar economy and be amongst the top 50 countries in the ease-of-doing business.

In his address, the President said that “it a matter of pride” that India will be hosting G20 summit in 2022.

Kovind also lent his support for NRC and the Citizenship Bill—calling them “important for national security” in his speech.

The President said that people had given a clear election mandate after making an analysis of the work done by the government in the past five years.

Kovind said that a “negative atmosphere” prevailed in the country before 2014, but the subsequent government “began its journey with the aim of ‘sabka saath sabka vikas’”

He added that the government now aimed to “strengthen everyone” and wished to be inclusive. Emphasizing on winning everyone’s trust, Kovind said the government wanted:”sabka saath, sabka vikas aur sabka vishvas”

In his speech, the President mentioned the Balakot strikes following the Pulwama attack, adding that the government was “committed to improving national security”.

Kovind said that in order to realise the government’s vision of ‘New India’, the new dispensation had— within 21 days of its inception— undertaken measures to help farmers.

Kovind said that the government was committed to doubling farmers’ income by 2022.

He spoke of extending the PM-KISAN scheme to all farmers and the decision to increase the scholarship money for the children of defence personnel.

‘Surgical, air strikes displayed intent, capability’

Press Trust of India   

New Delhi, Jun 20: Asserting that national security is the government’s “topmost priority”, President Ram Nath Kovind Thursday said India has amply demonstrated its intent and capabilities through surgical strikes and Balakot air strikes, and in future too, all possible steps will be taken to ensure security.

Kovind said the government is rapidly taking forward the work of modernisation of the Army and the armed forces. In this regard, the country is going to receive its first Rafale fighter aircraft and the Apache helicopters in the near future, he said.”New India will be sensitive and also economically prosperous. But for this to happen, the nation’s security is of utmost importance. My government accords topmost priority to national security. Therefore, effective steps are being taken to tackle terrorism and naxalism,” the President said in his address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.

Constitutionally, the President is the head of the state as well as the government.

“India has amply demonstrated both her intent and capabilities, first through surgical strikes and then through air strikes after the Pulwama attack at militant hideouts across the border. In future too, all possible steps will be taken to ensure our security,” he said.

The Army carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads in the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in 2016, while the Air Force carried out air strikes at Balakot in Pakistan.

To secure the future of the children of those who guard the borders and ensure peace and security for the nation, the amount of scholarship under the ‘National Defence Fund’ has been increased, Kovind said.

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India rejects claims of PM Modi’s willingness to hold talks with Pak

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New Delhi, Jun 20: Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has rejected the claims of Pakistani media that India had expressed willingness to hold dialogue with the neighbouring country to improve the bilateral relations.

Raveesh Kumar, the MEA spokesperson, replying to the queries regarding India’s response to Pakistan’s congratulatory messages, said that it was a diplomatic exercise.

“As per the established diplomatic practice, PM and EAM have responded to the congratulatory messages received from their counterparts in Pakistan. In their messages, they have highlighted that India seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan,” said Raveesh Kumar.

 

The Pakistani media, citing diplomatic sources, had reported that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had expressed willingness to hold talks with the neighbouring country.

In his message, PM Modi had said, “It is important to build an environment of trust, free of terror, violence and hostility.”  EAM Jaishankar also emphasized the need for an ‘atmosphere free from the shadow of terror and violence’.

According to the Ministry of external affairs, the Indian response is as per established diplomatic practice and the India side highlighted that New Delhi “seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan.”

PM Modi and Jaishankar had highlighted, in their responses to the congratulatory messages received from Islamabad, that India seeks normal and cooperative relations with all neighbours, including Pakistan.

Kumar added that PM Modi’s message stressed on the importance of building an environment of trust, free of terror, violence, and hostility, while the EAM emphasized on the need for an atmosphere free from the shadow of terror and violence.

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Anantnag fidayeen attack: `Militants used made-in-China steel ammo to penetrate bullet-proof shields’

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jun 20:  An internal investigation into the Anantnag fidayeen attack has revealed that the militants had used Chinese made steel bullets to pierce through the bullet-proof shields in a bid to inflict maximum casualties on the security forces.

On June 12, a joint patrolling party of CRPF’s 116 battalion and police was attacked by a motor cycle borne militant killing five CRPF personnel, at KP road in Anantnag district. SHO Saddar Police Station Arshad Ahmad Khan, who was grievously injured in the attack, succumbed two days later at New Delhi’s AIIMS. A foreign militant was also killed and one AK 47 riffle was recovered from his possession. 

An investigation into the incident has now revealed that China made bullets were fired by the militant from his AK-47 rifle.

 

Sources said that rounds of steel bullets were recovered from the encounter site, which after a “thorough investigation” were found to have been made in China.

A top CRPF officer said wounds caused by the steel bullets were found on the bodies of slain CRPF personnel.  “These bullets had pierced through the bullet-proof shield,” he said.

The officer noted that the use of such ammunition was a cause of worry for the security forces. “We have apprised our top brass about the new bullets acquired by the militants. We will take all available measures to deal with this new threat. We are also probing how the militants got access to such weaponry,” he said.

Sources said the use of such ammunition by the militants has set the alarm bells ringing considering the use of the bullet proof vehicles for the VIP security.

It is not for the first time that militants have used steel bullets to penetrate bullet proof shields of the security forces. In December 2017 Jaish-e-Mohammed militants had used steel bullets when they carried out a suicide attack on CRPF camp at Lethpora in South Kashmir. One of the five slain CRPF soldiers was hit by steel bullets which pierced through a static bullet-proof shield. 

Later a thorough enquiry confirmed that the bullets fired by the militants from the AK rifle was made of  steel core, which has the capability of piercing through the static bunkers used by security personnel during encounters. 

The findings also showed that the bullet, which is mainly termed as Armour Piercing (AP), was made of hardened steel or tungsten carbide. 

Earlier in March, this year, an American M4 carbine sniper rifle was also recovered from an encounter site in south Kashmir’s Tral area.

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