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No relaxation on dealing with violent extremism in Kashmir: Def Min

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New Delhi, May 08: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the armed forces should not be blamed for Kashmiri youths joining militants, indicating that there will be no relaxation in the government’s tough policy on dealing with “violent extremism”.

“I think we need to understand the issue which is very sensitive with a great deal of nuance. You cannot hold the armed forces responsible for being firm with militants. We need to be firm,” Sitharaman told reporters here.

She was replying to a question if a spike in the number of local youths, particularly the educated, taking to arms in Kashmir was a direct consequence of the government’s tough policy in dealing with militancy in the state.

 

Sitharaman, on the sidelines of the biannual Naval Commanders’ conference here, said the death of a tourist from Chennai in a stone-pelting incident on Monday in the Kashmir Valley only proved how the armed forces “need to be firm with militants and ensure safe movement of tourists”.

Without mentioning Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s recent appeal to the Centre for “compassion and empathy… by engaging in a meaningful dialogue”, the Defence Minister recalled how the PDP leader had herself been making passionate invites to tourists to visit the state.

“I am sure the Chief Minister has said and has been keen on getting more tourists to Kashmir because that will also help in restoring normalcy. So if that has been the stated desire, for a stone-pelting incident to have hurt and killed the tourist, certainly is not very conducive to that very rightful suggestion of the Chief Minister that we need to have more tourists.”

She said everything could not be “put at the doorstep of the armed forces”.

“The Army has to be firm as regards terrorists. But at the same time, I appreciate that we need to have a lot more free moment of tourists, safe moment of tourists so that normalcy can be restored. And what happened yesterday is absolutely unfortunate.

“It cannot be accommodative for a tourist to be killed. And I don’t know if it was inadvertent or knowingly (done). But it is completely condemnable.”

The BJP government, since it came to power in May 2014, has said it would deal firmly with who engage in violence and support militants.

In the last four years, some 680 militants have been killed in counter-militancy operations in the Kashmir Valley, including 72 in the first four months of 2018, according to data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), run by New Delhi-based Institute for Conflict Management

. Militancy-related violence has also killed 291 security personnel.

Some analysts blame the government’s iron fist policy vis-a-vis the militants in Kashmir, saying it further radicalizes and isolates the youths caught in a vicious cycle of violence.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also said the death of a tourist in an incident of stone-pelting in Kashmir was not conducive to attracting tourists to Jammu and Kashmir.

“We need to be firm with militants and ensure safe movement of tourists, said Sitharaman while addressing a press conference after inaugurating the Naval Commanders’ conference here. The state wanted to promote tourism, the minister said.

Speaking about maritime strength, she said, “India will be a force to reckon with in the Indo-Pacific. All of Navy’s demands for the year 2017-2018 have been met.”


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After Noori, Kashmir scientists planning to clone Hangul

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Apr 25: After successfully cloning Pashmina goat in 2012, the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry at SKUAST-K is now contemplating to make clone of Kashmir Stag (Hangul).

Realising that the Hangul was gradually getting extinct from the valley, the scientists at Department of Biotechnology SKUAST-K Shuhama came up with this idea.

“This project is in infancy as we require permission from Wild Life department, local government and Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals (CPCSEA),” said Dr Riyaz Ahmad Shah, a veterinarian in the animal biotechnology center of SKUAST.

 

Shah said the execution of the project would require heavy funding and creation of the advanced infrastructure in the research centre.

“First of all a Deer park in needed where there these animals must have been already reared. Then advanced infrastructure is need as we currently have some basic machinery here. So overall this project can be only executed when the government is serious in accomplishing it,” he said.

He said the cloning could be achieved by using the body cells of some other inter-species including a goat or a sheep.

While the initial work including the framing of paper has been done, Shah said the tracing and catching this rare animal was becoming equally challenging for the concerned department.

“They usually die on being caught by the people. Still it could be managed but they are not being currently traced in abundance in the forests here,” he said.

 Shah believed that cloning of the deer can be an equally effective process like breeding procedure done to improve their population.

Official data reveals that population of Hangul has reduced to from 5,000 to 182 in last 118 years.

Department of Wildlife’s data shows the population of Kashmiri Hangul in 1900 was 5,000, spread over 65 miles from north to east of the Jhelum and lower Chenab valley.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is also all set to declare it a ‘critically endangered’ species to protect this beautiful animal from disappearing from earth.

In 2012, scientists at Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology (SKUAST) successfully cloned the first Pashmina goat. The healthy female goat was born using a foster mother and it took two years for standardisation of the technique.

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Assembly polls in JK: EC to convene meeting today

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New Delhi, Apr 25: Election Commission of India (ECI) officials will meet on Friday to discuss assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government are also expected to attend the meeting to assess whether the state assembly elections can be conducted in June this year.

While announcing the seven-phase Lok Sabha election schedule on March 10, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said that elections for the Jammu and Kashmir assembly would not be conducted along with the Lok Sabha elections. In June 2018, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had withdrawn support to the PDP, led by Mehbooba Mufti in the 87-member state assembly.

 

Since the fallout of the coalition government, the state has been under President’s rule.

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IT Dept searches premises of kin of ex-minister

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar, Apr 25: The Income Tax Department Thursday carried out searches at two premises of a kin of Imran Reza Ansari, a former minister in the PDP-BJP coalition, for alleged tax evasion, officials said here.

They said the income tax officials, assisted by the Jammu and Kashmir police and the CRPF, carried out the searches at a business complex in the upmarket Karan Nagar where locations of North Point Complex were searched by the tax personnel.

Later, a team was sent to search another premises of the family at Alamgiri Bazar in the downtown Srinagar.

 

The income tax officials maintained that Thursday’s raids were carried out on a business family and were in no way connected to Ansari, a politician who switched over to People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone.

Ansari’s sister is married to the family whose premises have been raided.

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