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Guv lifts restrictions on National Highway

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Srinagar, May 21: Governor Satya Pal Malik has decided to completely lift the restrictions on the civilian traffic movement on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway from May 27.

This follows the review of the security situation in the state and of the requirement of security forces’ convoys.

Earlier, the restriction on civilian traffic movement between Srinagar and Baramulla on NH-44 was reduced only to Sunday and later completely lifted from May 2. Restrictions on the Srinagar Udhampur stretch were limited to just one day from May 13.

 

“After a detailed review on Tuesday with all security agencies, civil and police administration in connection with the preparations for the Shri Amarnathji Yatra, the Governor directed that there should be no restriction on civilian movement on NH 44 from Monday.

The Governor thanked the people of the state for cooperating with the measures which were necessitated in the larger interest of the state and for welfare of the people,” said an official spokesman.

These restrictions, the spokesman said, had become necessary following the movement of security forces on an unprecedented scale after the Pulwama suicide attack.

“The forces were required both for anti-militancy operations and for smooth conduct of general elections. In order to facilitate safe and secure movement of Security Forces’ Convoys, the Government had imposed a prohibition on civilian traffic on NH-44 from Baramulla to Udhampur on Sundays and Wednesdays from 4 am to 5 pm. Elaborate arrangements were, however, made by the local administration to facilitate movement of public during the period of restriction”, he said.

On April 3, the Jammu and Kashmir government banned civilian traffic on the National Highway right from Baramulla to Udhampur twice a week and reserved the Sundays and Wednesdays exclusively for the movement of security forces’ convoys. The government gave the possibility of a fidayeen militant attack and general elections as the reasons for the order.

Reviews security arrangements for Amarnath yatra
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, May 21: Governor Satya Pal Malik, Chairman, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB), Tuesday chaired a high level meeting at Raj Bhavan here to review important security related matters with regard to the Yatra which is scheduled to commence on July 1, from both the Baltal and Pahalgam routes.
The meeting was attended by the Advisor (K) to Governor, Chief Secretary, Director General of Police, GOC XV Corps, GOC Victor Force, CEO of Shrine Board; Home Secretary; Heads of Central & State Intelligence Agencies; and senior most officers of Central Armed Police Forces, J&K Police & Air Force.
Governor stressed the need for all concerned agencies to maintain a close watch and effective coordination to ensure the smooth conduct of the forthcoming Yatra.
Detailed presentations were made by the Security Agencies regarding the obtaining and emerging security environment in the State, keeping in view the envisaged objectives of adversary external agencies.
The meeting held extensive discussions with regard to preparedness for meeting any unforeseen situation arising in the Yatra area; deployment of ROP for safe movement of Yatris; Corridor security & Area domination especially beyond ROP hours; functioning of the Joint Control Rooms at every Yatra Camp; linking up Joint Control Rooms with the MET Department and the District Disaster Management Units; deployment of Mountain Rescue Teams (MRTs) of the State Police along with Rescue Teams of various Security Forces at identified locations on both the Yatra routes; deployment of well-equipped Fire Fighting teams at pre-determined points; installation of X-Ray Baggage Scanning units at appropriate locations; Access Control Arrangements at Neelgrath, Panjtarni and Pahalgam helipads; Bar code enumeration points; telecommunication facilities along the Yatra routes etc.
The meeting discussed the enforcement of an effective Access Control System at the Baltal and Nunwan Base Camps and at the Domel and Chandanwari Access Control Gates; effective traffic regulation from Lakhanpur Check Post onwards through augmentation of the existing strength of Traffic Police; Air Traffic Control arrangements for the heli-services from the Pahalgam and Baltal to Panjtarni; transit camps arrangements; installation of CCTVs at various Camps and at the Access Control Gates; etc.
Governor directed DGP and the Divisional Administration to ensure rapid and unhindered movement of validly registered Yatris right from the time they enter into the State and travel to the Holy Cave, and to ensure against their facing any avoidable inconvenience.
He emphasized that all agencies undertake a thorough review of all required arrangements for promptly dealing with any arising disaster situation and, for this purpose, evolve clear Standard Operating Procedures which would be strictly followed by all the stakeholders, including the District Administration and Security Forces.
Governor also stressed that all security agencies should rectify the deficiencies, if any, observed during previous Yatras and provide fool proof security cover to yatris during their forward & return journey.
Governor directed Director General of Police; Divisional Commissioners of Jammu & Kashmir Divisions; Inspector General of Police of Jammu & Kashmir Divisions to ensure wide publicity of the Advisories relating to safety & security of Yatris, including the cut-off timings through print and electronic media & particularly display these at Railway Station Jammu; Yatri Niwas Bhagwati Nagar Jammu; Lakhanpur Checkpost; the On- spot Registration Counters at Jammu & Srinagar and at Base Camps of Baltal,Nunwan and Panjtarni through Public Address System by the Information Department of respective District Administration.


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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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