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Lal Singh does it again,Rallies for the accused, blames CM for ‘mishandling’ Kathua case

Mudassir Kuloo

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By Mudassir Kuloo

Srinagar, Apr 17: For the same reason he was forced to resign as a minister, Chowdhary Lal Singh on Tuesday again took out a rally in Jammu where he questioned the Crime Branch probe in the Kathua case, and blamed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for “mishandling” the issue.
Singh took out the rally three days after he and Chander Prakash Ganga were resigned as BJP faced criticism for their leaders’ participation in Hindu Ekta Manch rally in March in support of the accused in the rape and murder of an eight year old girl.
Singh took out the rally despite simmering anger across India and abroad against the rape and murder of Muslim girl.
He along with his supporters started rally from Jammu district in the morning to Basholi Kathua, his home constituency.
On the way, he addressed several gatherings at Satwari Chowk, Samba and Kathua. He said that only “CBI probe was acceptable to people of Jammu”.
“I and people of Jammu have always been saying that CBI shall investigate the Kathua incident,” Singh said.
“This is also the demand of Hindu Ekta Manch. Ganga and I also went to their rally for it,” he said. Amid this his supporters were shouting slogans and carrying placards that read, “Only CBI probe is acceptable.”
He said that accused into the case also demanded a narcotic test and CBI probe.
The rally, according to reports, was taken out to express solidarity with the families of the eight accused booked in the case.
The Crime Branch of Jammu and Kashmir Police has submitted a charge sheet in the case against eight accused, including two special police officers and a sub-inspector and a head constable for destroying evidence.
Seven out of the eight accused were produced before district and sessions Judge Sanjay Gupta on Monday.
The judge asked the Crime Branch to give accused copies of the charge sheet and fixed 28 April as the next date of hearing.
Criticizing the Chief Minister, Singh claimed that she was responsible for “mishandling” the issue.
“If two ministers can sacrifice their posts in the interest of peace, those who are actually responsible for creating such an atmosphere should listen to their conscience,” he said, while targeting the Mehbooba Mufti.
“Chief Minister, who also holds the portfolio of Home Department, showed non-seriousness in dealing with the issue. It is her (Mehbooba Mufti’s) biggest failure. If she has wisdom and conscience, she should resign. She only give orders without doing anything,” Singh, the former forest minister said.
“Our fight is for justice, which will be done only by identifying the real culprits,” he said, while criticizing Kashmir media that played a crucial role in exposing the accused.
“A perception has been created across the nation by media against us. Kashmir media also project it a wrong way unlike Jammu media. We did not want any riots be held in our country so we resigned. It was a conspiracy to create communal disturbance. A Crime Branch officer investigating the case is also facing rape charges,” he said, while questioning the Crime Branch probe.
He claimed that voices were also growing in Kashmir for a CBI probe. “People have started realising loopholes in the Crime Branch investigations,” he said.
However, he ruled out that he will resign from the BJP. “I will stay with the BJP. Had a BJP leader holding Home Department, then I would have complained to the party,” he added.
The brutal gang rape and murder of the girl from the nomadic Bakerwal community and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the issue were also written about in an editorial of the New York Times.
In the editorial titled ‘Modi’s Long Silence as Women in India Are Attacked’, the NYT editorial board said Modi tweets frequently and considers himself a “talented orator” yet he “loses his voice when it comes to speaking out about the dangers faced by women and minorities who are frequent targets of the nationalist and communal forces that are part of the base of his Bharatiya Janata Party”.

 
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Lethpora bombing accused among 2 militants, soldier killed

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Srinagar, Jun 18: An Army soldier and two militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit including one accused of providing the car used in February 14 Lethpora suicide attack were Tuesday killed in an encounter in Bijbehera area of Anantnag district.

A police spokesperson said that on a credible input, a cordon and search operation was launched jointly by police and security forces at Marhama, Bijbehara.

He said as the operation was going on, the hiding militants fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter, he said.

 

In the exchange of fire with the militants, one Army soldier Rifleman Anil Jaswal, sustained gunshot injuries. He was evacuated to the hospital where he succumbed, said the spokesperson.“In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. The killed militants have been identified as Sajad Ahmad Bhat and Tawseef Ahmad Bhat both residents of Marhama, Bijbehara,” the spokesperson said.

DGP, Dilbag Singh said: “Sajad was involved in turning his car into an IED in February 14 blast.

As per the spokesperson, both the killed militants were affiliated with militant outfit JeM and “were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of crimes including attacks on security establishments…”

According to the police records, Sajad was wanted in Lethpora blast in which over 40 CRPF personnel were killed earlier this year.
“As per the material evidence collected during the course of investigation, it was learnt that Maruti Eco vehicle used for carrying out the blast in Lethpora was owned by Sajad Bhat of Marhama. As the news of Sajad’s involvement spread, he escaped and joined JeM,” said the spokesperson.

“A picture of Sajad carrying AK-47 rifle was also circulated on social media announcing his joining the outfit. Pertinently, Tawseef played a key role in recruiting of Sajad to the militant ranks,” he added.

“Both of them were part of groups involved in planning and executing series of attacks in the area. Several crime cases were registered against them. Some of the crime cases registered against Sajad include case FIR No 16/2018 and case FIR No 28/2019 pertaining to Lethpora attack. Cases registered against Tawseef include case FIR No 95/2018,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, after conducting all legal formalities, police handed over the militants’ bodies to their respective families for last rites.
Reports and eyewitnesses said that thousands of people attended their funeral at Marhama.
Tuesday’s was the second gunfight in the district in as many days.

On Monday, a militant and an Army man were killed in a gunfight at Bidoora Achabal.

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Pulwama IED blast:Two Army personnel succumb

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Srinagar, Jun 18: Two Army personnel, who were injured in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast at Arihal village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district Monday, succumbed to their injuries on Tuesday.
Srinagar-based defence spokesman said that two army men “with severe contusions/concussions were brought to Army’s 92 base hospital in Srinagar for treatment.”
“The duo succumbed to their injuries while undergoing treatment in 92 Base Hospital,” the spokesman said.
On Monday, at least a dozen soldiers suffered injuries when an IED which was fitted in a car hit the Hardened ALS vehicle of Army patrolling the area.
Two civilians also sustained injuries in the explosion.

Student’s body found near Achabal encounter site
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Jun 18: Day after the Monday encounter, body of a civilian was found near the encounter site at Bidoora, Aknigam area of Achabal in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Local residents said that body of Nasir Ahmad Mir (23) son of Fayaz Ahmad Mir of Check Achabal was found by people adjacent to the encounter site at Bidoora Tuesday morning.
Police reached the spot and took the body for post-mortem and other legal formalities.
Nasir, according to locals, was 1st year student at Degree College Anantnag.
On Monday, a militant and an Army man were killed in a gunfight at Bidoora.
Meanwhile, as soon as the news about Nasir’s death spread in the area, shops and other business establishments closed down while transport was off the roads.

 
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2 dead, at least 6 injured as boat capsizes in Lidder; probe ordered; aggrieved Guv announces ex-gratia

Rafting c’ship in Rouf’s name ends in another tragedy

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jun 18: A rafting championship Tuesday turned tragic in Pahalgam when two people died in an incident of boat capsize.

The championship was organized in honour of Rouf Ahmad Dar, the tourist guide who lost his life while saving five tourists in Lidder stream earlier this month.

The deceased include an employee of the tourism department and a participant who died after their boat capsized in the gushing waters.

 

Reports said that the boat carrying the employee namely Rinku Raja and the female participant namely Sanjna from Jammu along with at least five others, capsized in fast-flowing river.

The incident happened at 4.10 pm after the conclusion of the Rouf Memorial State Rafting Championship event. The 3-day event began on Monday, in which 12 teams from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh participated.

Soon after the incident, a joint team of SDRF, police and local volunteers managed to rescue all of them. They were shifted to the nearby hospital where doctors declared Rinku and Sanjna as brought dead.

Reports quoted BMO Sallar, Dr Shakeel Ahmad saying that both the persons were brought dead while “six others” were injured.

“While five have been admitted one seriously injured person was referred to Srinagar hospital for specialized treatment,” the report said.

Commissioner Secretary Tourism, Rigzin Samphel said that boat capsized in Lidder and injured were shifted to hospital.

On May 31, last month, Rouf Dar saved five tourists, two of them foreigners, after their boat capsized in fast flowing river Lidder near Mawoora area of Pahalgam.

Unfortunately, Dar lost his life in an act of bravery which is being hailed by people and the administration.

Tourism Department Kashmir announced an inquiry into the accident.

The department has expressed deep regrets over the incident and expressed sympathies with the bereaved families.

Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed profound grief over the loss of precious lives in the incident.

Governor has prayed for peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief. He has wished speedy recovery to the injured.

He announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those dead and has directed the authorities to ensure best possible medical treatment of the injured.

Expressing concern over accidents occurring during the adventure sport of Rafting in river Lidder, Governor has issued directions that strict safety measures should be taken before indulging in this sport and emphasised the need for allowing only trained manpower in managing all the activities related to it.

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