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Kulgam civilian killings: Valley parts shut in protest; no Friday prayers at Jamia

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Srinagar, Apr 13: A spontaneous shutdown was observed on Friday in seven districts of South and North Kashmir districts of Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama against the killing of four civilians in Kulgam on Wednesday.
All shops and other commercial establishments remained closed while skeletal movement of traffic was witnessed.
No separatist or militant outfit had called for a strike on Friday.
However, the Joint Hurriyat Leadership-an amalgam of separatist outfits – had urged people to hold peaceful protests after congregational Friday prayers.
Four civilians were killed after government forces opened fire on protesters near the site of a gunfight in Khudwani area of Kulgam on Wednesday.
Restrictions remained in vogue in parts of old Srinagar city while Friday congregational prayers were disallowed at historical Jamia Masjid.
While Geelani and Mirwaiz had been placed under house arrest, Malik has been lodged in the Srinagar Central Jail.
Mobile Internet services continued to remain suspended in south Kashmir areas.
Train services between Baramulla and Banihal towns also remain suspended.
All the Southern districts reeled under restrictions while clashes erupted at many places in Valley.
Government Forces allegedly went on a rampage in Sozeith Narbal area in the outskirts of Srinagar city after a stone-pelting incident, local said.
Locals from Makhdum Mohalla Sozeith Narbal informed news agency CNS that a group of youth pelted stones on Government Forces after the culmination of Friday prayers. “The stone-throwers fled from the scene; however, the Forces targeted civilians and resorted to vandalization.
The Government Forces ransacked houses, damaged vehicles and smashed windowpanes,” they said adding that Forces personnel even hurled stones on the houses.
They claimed that Government Forces even lobbed a tear-smoke shell into a house in which a woman had given birth to a baby boy three days ago.
When contacted, Station House Officer Parimpora Police Station said that everything is normal there. When asked they have video and photographs of ransacking, he replied, it is ok.
Clashes also erupted in Soura locality of Srinagar city where police lobbed tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters who were protesting against the civilian killings.
Clashes erupted in Chanapora area of Srinagar city where youth pelted stones on deployed forces. Reports said that a couple of youth suffered minor injuries in the clashes.
At Khumriyal Lolab and Halmatpora Kupwara protests erupted against the civilian killings. Eyewitnesses added that protesters hurled stones on deployed forces who retaliated with tear-smoke shells.
Mirwaiz South Kashmir Qazi Yasir led a rally in Kulgam district in which thousands of people participated. The protesters raised pro-freedom slogans. The marchers led by Qazi Yasir visited the houses of slain youth.
Hundreds of females from South Kashmir’s Pulwama district staged a massive protest against unabated killings in Kashmir Valley. Reports said that hundreds of women protesters started a protest march from Dalipora Pulwama that culminated peacefully amid pro-freedom slogans at Rajpora Chowk.
A police official said that the situation remained peaceful across Valley.


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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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