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Joint Hurriyat calls for shutdown today

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Srinagar, Feb 23: The Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik has called for shutdown on Sunday (today) to protest the mass arrest, censorship and any tampering with Article 35-A.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Joint Hurriyat said the “arbitrary” arrest of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and the “mass crackdown and illegal detention” of more than 150 Jamat-e-Islami cadre and leadership including its Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz in nocturnal raids across the valley looks to be not only part of the continued policy of “suppression of pro-self-determination leadership and narrative, but in the case of hearing of 35A in Supreme Court most likely on Monday, an indication of what may be expected.”
Joint Hurriyat strongly condemns this “dictatorial policy” of cracking the whip and arbitrary arrests against Kashmiris by those calling the shots in J&K, the statement said.
The leadership said that deployment of additional 100 companies of paramilitary forces on an urgent basis also indicates that “something is cooking in this regard.”
The leadership said that challenge to heredity state subject law is an extremely important issue for the people as it is akin to our very existence as a people and directly linked to the Kashmir dispute.
“Leadership said the spontaneous shutdown and protests across the valley against even the thought of tempering with the law should leave no doubt in the minds of those who have left no stone unturned to choke and muzzle the voice of Kashmir and are breaking records in repression, that the people of Kashmir will never allow it. Joint Hurriyat said entire people and pro people leadership of J&K are one on this,” the statement said.
The Joint Hurriyat also denounced the “pressure tactics” being used by the authorities on certain media houses reporting in Kashmir.
“The standard of factual reporting maintained by our journalist is highly commendable,” it added.

Arrests, addt’l forces ‘part of poll exercise’: Police
KNS
Srinagar, Feb 23: Arrival of more forces and arrests of leaders and activists of separatist groups including those of Jamaat-e-Islami is purely part of an election exercise undertaken to ensure free and fair elections along with other parts of country, reports quoting police officials said on Saturday.
News agency KNS quoted a top police official said that “the arrival of Central forces and arrests of leaders and activists of separatist groups including Jamat-e-Islami is part of election exercise undertaken to ensure free and fair elections in the state along with other parts of the country,” adding that “anti-election campaign won’t be allowed and all such people including separatists will be detained to ensure incident free fair and transparent elections in the state.”
He also said that the central forces deployed for Amarnath Yatra and municipal and panchayat elections last year are also returning which is a routine practice.”
The rumours panicked the people in valley after news about the deployment of hundred companies of central forces including 45 companies of CRPF, 35 companies of BSF, 10 companies of SSB and 10 companies of ITBP spread on social networking sites as union home ministry in a communication to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary and Jammu and Kashmir Home Secretary informed them about the additional deployment of the central forces for coordination with operational wings of all the state and central forces in the state.
He regretted that rumour mongering on several issues is panicking the people while there is nothing new in the deployment of central forces and arrests of separatists in connection with the election exercise for the ensuing General elections.

 

 

Crackdown ‘arbitrary’: Mehbooba

Srinagar, Feb 23: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday questioned the legality of the crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir leaders, saying the “arbitrary” move would only “precipitate matters” in the state.
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister was reacting to the government crackdown on separatists and Jamaat-e-Islami which began on Friday night.
JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and dozens of Jamaat leaders, including its chief Abdul Hamid Fayaz, have already been detained.
“In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in J&K,” Mehbooba tweeted.
“Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas,” she said.
The Centre has rushed 100 additional companies of paramilitary forces to Kashmir without assigning any reason for the heavy deployment.


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Goel is new RAW chief, Arvind Kumar appointed IB head

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New Delhi, Jun 26:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday appointed Samant Goel as the next chief of India’s external spy agency, Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and Arvind Kumar as the Director, Intelligence Bureau.

Both are Indian Police Service officers of 1984 batch with Goel belonging to Punjab cadre and Kumar, to Assam-Meghalaya cadre.

Goel heads operations for the external intelligence agency.

 

Meanwhile Arvinda Kumar is the Director, Intelligence Bureau.

PM Modi, as chairman of the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet, also cleared the empanelment of 1986 batch IPS officer in the rank of Director General.

Both are Indian Police Service officers of 1984 batch with Goel belonging to Punjab cadre and Kumar, to Assam-Meghalaya cadre.

Goel heads operations for the external intelligence agency.

Goel according to a report has handled Punjab militancy at its peak in the 1990s and is a Pakistan expert. A mild-mannered police officer, Samant Goel has impeccable integrity, said a senior R&AW officer.

Arvind Kumar has been closely involved in tackling left-wing extremism at the Intelligence Bureau. The special director-rank officer is also the intelligence agency’s Kashmir expert and has been closely involved in formulating and executing the Centre’s approach on militancy in the valley.

Kumar, who started out his career in the police service from Assam, had moved to the intelligence bureau early in his career after a stint as superintendent of police of Sonitpur, one of the state’s largest districts. He never went back to Assam police and continued to work at the Centre, mostly at the intelligence agency.

Samant Goel, in contrast, spent a considerable part of his career in Punjab where he was posted to oversee security, intelligence and the border range.

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Pompeo meets PM Modi, discusses key strategic issues

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New Delhi, Jun 26: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and discussed various aspects of the bilateral relationship to strengthen the India-US strategic partnership.

Pompeo, who arrived here on Tuesday night, will hold detailed discussions with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar in the afternoon and have a working lunch with him.

“Working together to further deepen our strategic partnership. Secretary Pompeo called on PM Narendra Modi to exchange views on various aspects of Indo-US relationship. PM will meet President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the upcoming G20 Osaka Summit,” Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted along with pictures of the meeting.

 

Ahead of the strategically-important India-US talks, diplomatic sources on Tuesday said India met the US waiver criteria for procuring the S-400 missile defence system from sanctions-hit Russia, and asserted that New Delhi could not “wish away” its defence ties with Moscow.

Besides India’s missile defence system deal with Russia, terrorism, H-1B visas, trade and the situation arising out of US sanctions on buying oil from Iran, are likely to be discussed on Wednesday during the talks between Jaishankar and Pompeo.

Pompeo’s talks here will be the first high-level interaction between the two countries after return of the Modi government to power last month.

Pompeo’s visit comes ahead of a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Modi on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan, later this week

 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday said that India and the US should stand together in the defence of religious freedom rights for all and asserted that the world is worse off when they are compromised.

“India is the birthplace of four major world religions. Let’s stand up together in defence of religious freedom for all, let us speak out in favour of those rights, for whenever we do compromise those rights, the world is worse off,” Pompeo was quoted as saying .

Pompeo’s remarks come in the backdrop of a recently-released US State Department report on ‘International Religious Freedom’ that said mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against the minority communities, particularly Muslims, are continuing in India.

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AGH militant killed in Tral gunfight: Police

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Srinagar, Jun 26: A militant of Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind was killed in an encounter with government forces at Branpatri forest area of Tral in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Tuesday.

A joint team of army, SOG and CRPF laid a siege at Branpatri, forest area of Tral in Awantipora today morning.

A police spokesman said that the cordon was laid following credible inputs. As the joint team launched searches, the militants opened fire leading to an encounter, the spokesman said.

 

During the course of gunfight, one militant was killed and his body along with arms and ammunition was recovered. The officer identified the slain as Shabir Ahmad Malik of Nagbal Tral.

As per the police records, he was initially affiliated with proscribed LeT outfit and later on was part of Zakir Musa group, the spokesman said.

“Shabir, as per police records, was wanted by law for his complicity in several terror crimes including attack on security establishments and civilian atrocities,” he said.

“He was part of groups responsible for planning and executing militant attacks in the area. Several militant cases were registered against him including case FIR No. 43/15 of Police Station Trikuta Nagar pertaining to the planning and making preparations for carrying out terror attacks in Jammu,” the spokesman said.

Pertinently with the efforts of Police and security forces, it was a clean operation. No collateral damage happened during the encounter, the spokesman said.

After conducting all legal medico formalities, the body of the slain was handed over to his family for last rites, an official said.

Meanwhile, thousands of people attended the funeral of the slain at his native place. He was later buried amid pro-freedom slogans.

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