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Pakistan should follow Modi’s advice on joint fight against poverty: Mehbooba

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Jammu, Jan 24: Welcoming the assertion of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi that both India and Pakistan should fight the joint enemy of poverty and disease, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today hoped that the leadership of Pakistan responds positively to this remark.
The Prime Minister had made these remarks in an interview with a television channel a couple of days ago.
Intervening during the Question Hour in the Legislative Council here today, the Chief Minister said both the countries have to live like peaceful neighbours and hoped the leadership in Pakistan would understand that many of their issues like poverty, illiteracy and disease would also get resolved due to friendly ties with India. She said provision of bunkers to border people is a temporary measure but both the countries would have to go back to the times of Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee when peace prevailed on the borders and both the countries moved closer to each other on the path of friendship.
Mehbooba Mufti regretted that people of Jammu & Kashmir have been the worst sufferers of hostility between India and Pakistan. “For how long shall we keep on suffering?”, she asked while adding that acrimony between the two countries has only led to deaths and destructions on both the sides. She said how unfortunate it is that when people of these border areas should have good schools, hospitals and better road connectivity, they are asking for bunkers to protect their lives.
Sharing the concern of the members, the Chief Minister said the issue of availability of more community and individual bunkers for the people of border areas would be taken up with the Centre again. Besides, she added, steps are being taken for the shelter and other facilities of the affected people by the Government.
Earlier, responding to clubbed question of Qaiser Jamshed Lone, Pardeep Sharma and Yashpal Sharma, Minister for Revenue Abdul Rehman Veeri said the government has shifted the people of shelling affected border villages to the safer places by providing them temporary accommodation in government and private buildings where they are being provided basic amenities including healthcare, drinking water, power and sanitation.
The Minister said security has been beefed up in border areas to ensure protection of livestock and property.
He said vehicles fitted with public address system and sirens have been deployed in the border areas to inform people on time in the event of any exigency, while uninterrupted power supply is being provided in night hours, he added.
He said the BP bunkers and ambulances have been kept in readiness at convenient locations for evacuation of persons in case of emergency, while Helpline has been made functional in Police Control Room, Jammu for providing assistance and information to the public.
He said a committee has also been constituted by the Centre to monitor the problems being faced by the people residing near Line of Control.
Meanwhile the Minister informed that an ex-gratia relief of Rs. 23 lakh has been paid to the NoKs of those killed in border shelling during the last two years, while Rs. 6.20 lakh has been paid to 110 injured persons and Rs. 43.66 lakh on account of damage to the properties.
He further informed that the damage caused to the property in Baramulla and Kupwara districts due to the cross border shelling/firing is being assessed for grant of compensation under rules, adding that the process for grant of relief to the injured is also under process.
He said that the Centre has sanctioned construction of 14,460 bunkers involving Rs 415.73 crore in border districts of Jammu division, while 37 bunkers have already been constructed under Border Area Development Programme (BADP) in the border blocks of Jammu .
“The government has also released an amount of Rs 1.50 crore under Capex Budget 2017-18 for construction of 100 Individual Bunkers in convergence mode on pilot basis at Nowshera, Rajouri. The Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir has also submitted a proposal for construction of 1,499 Community Type Bunkers costing Rs. 142.40 crore and 19,749 Individual Type Bunkers costing Rs. 503.41 crore in three border districts of Kashmir Division. The proposal stands submitted to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India,” he added.
Legislators Surinder Kumar Choudhary, Javid Ahmad Mirchal and Dr. Shehnaz Ganai also raised supplementary questions related to the main question.


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Day 2: Hajin gunfight ends, two LeT militants, minor dead

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Two militants, one of them a top commander of Lashker-e-Taiba, and a 12 minor boy were killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Hajin area of Bandipora district on Friday.
Reports said a joint team of Army’s 13RR, CRPF and SOG launched a cordon and search operation (CASO) at Mir Mohalla of Hajin on Thursday afternoon.
It soon turned into a gunfight which ended Friday morning with the death of two militants.
A 12-year-old boy, Atif Mir, who, the government forces claimed, was made “hostage” by the militants was also killed during the encounter.
Addressing a joint press conference called by army, police, and CRPF, SSP Bandipora, Rahul Malik said they had inputs about presence of militants in the Hajin area for some time and launched several cordon and search operations.
He said this was the third CASO in which a “chance encounter” ensued. He claimed the police rescued the six civilians in the first two hours of gunfight.
“After that we came to know that two more civilians were trapped inside who were taken hostage by the two militants. Among the measures we took was to make announcements through megaphones, we also used local Auqaf committees, and family for releasing of hostages,” the SSP said.
The SSP said that police also involved a team specialized in room to room intervention.
“By the time they reached the third floor, fire came out. We also tried to send the mother, who went inside to make appeals but again militants opened fire at them. In this situation, we were able to rescue one hostage: the old uncle of the trapped boy,” Rahul said.
The SSP claimed they also called the Magistrate at the spot who appealed that the boy should be released.
There are also few videos apparently recorded by government forces in which old parents of the minor are seen pleading before the trapped militants, asking them to release their son.
“Unfortunately, those efforts didn’t materialize. When the firing from the other end intensified, we also retaliated. In this process, two militants with pseudonyms, Ali and Hubaib got killed. In this process, we received information from the rescued civilian. He told us that the minor boy was being held hostage by Ali. The militant didn’t allow the boy to go out, and killed him before our team stormed the building,” he claimed.
Reports said the house belonging to one Abdul Hamid Mir was razed to rubble during the gunfight and all the three bodied were completely charred. Police and army also recovered two Ak-47 rifles.
The government forces, the SSP said, tried to adopt various methods to rescue the boy. The SSP claimed that one of the militants Ali wanted to marry a girl from the family whose members were held hostage.
“The family members of the girl had sent her to some other place. Ali demanded that girl should be brought back and then only he would allow the hostages to go out. This is what had been transpiring in their house. By the time we received the input, the cordon and encounter had already started,” he said.
The police said both the slain were foreign militants and affiliated with LeT.
“Ali has been involved in many civilian killings. He had a trademark of keeping a long knife which we have also recovered. Besides, foreign militants don’t operate from one area. They keep on moving from one district to another. For the last five to six months, their presence has increased in this area. They keep on changing their name, identity and area of operation,” he said.
He claimed that Ali had been operating for the last two years. “We can’t say how many foreign militants are active presently but whosoever is there we are behind them,” he added.
SOPORE RESIDENT AMONG TWO MILITANTS SLAIN IN BARAMULLA: Thousands of people on Friday attended the funeral prayers of Aamir Rasool Kaboo who was among two militants slain in a gunfight with the government forces in Kalantra Kandi Kreeri area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla Thursday night.
Witnesses said that thousands of people assembled at Aamir’s home at Arampora Friday morning to take part in his last rites. Amir’s body was handed over to the family shortly before midnight.
The mourners raised pro-freedom slogans as they marched with his body to the martyrs’ graveyard where he was laid to rest.
Amir and his associate, believed to be a non-local, were killed in a gunfight with the forces in Kalantra on Thursday. Three soldiers, including an officer, were wounded in the firefight.
A complete shutdown was also observed across the Sopore town and its adjacent areas.

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Two JeM militants killed in Shopian gunfight it

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Two Jaish militants, including a former SPO who had joined the outfit in 2018, were killed in an encounter in Ratnipora area of South Kashmir’s Shopian district on Friday.
Reports said that a joint team of army’s 34 RR, SOG and CRPF laid a cordon and search operation in Ratnipora village late last night.
Quoting a police officer, news agency GNS said that the CASO was launched following inputs about the presence of some militants.
“The joint team in the meantime fired some warning shots towards the suspected spot which was responded by militants and it was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight”.
“During the course of gunfight, two militants have been killed and their bodies along with two weapons were recovered from the site late this afternoon,” the officer said, adding that both the slain militants were affiliated with JeM outfit.
SSP Shopian Sandeep Choudhary identified the slain militants as Showkat Ahmad of Heramain and Yasir Ahmad Shah of Aarhama.
The SSP added that Showkat was an SPO-turned-militant and had joined the militant outfit last year.
Meanwhile, massive protest erupted near encounter site and its adjoining villages including Gadapora as protesters tried to march closer to the gunfight spot. The forces used pellets and tear smoke shells to disperse the protesting youth. The stone pelting clashes amid a shutdown was also received from neighbouring Pulwama district
At least fifteen youth were injured in the clashes near encounter site. Among the fifteen injured, ten of them were taken to district hospital Shopian for treatment. A policeman namely Tariq Ahmad also sustained serious head injuries after being hit by a stone during clashes in adjoining Ratnipora village of the district, the official sources said.
A doctor who operated upon them said that five youth suffered pellet injuries in their eyes while one of them had been shot in the neck.
“All the ten injured were later referred to different hospitals in Srinagar for advanced treatment,” he said.
Meanwhile, in wake of the gunfight, the internet services were suspended in Shopian for precautionary measures. (With inputs from GNS)

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Centre bans JKLF under ‘anti-terror’ law

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New Delhi, Mar 22: The Yasin Malik-led Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) was banned by the Centre under ‘anti-terror’ law on Friday, officials said.
The outfit has been banned for alleged promotion of secessionist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, they said.
They said the organisation has been banned under various provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Its chief Yasin Malik is under arrest and at present lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.
This is the second organisation in Jammu and Kashmir which has been banned this month. Earlier, the Centre had banned the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir.
Reacting to banning of JKLF, PDP president and former J&K CM, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Yasin Malik renounced violence as a way of resolving J&K issue a long time ago. He was treated as a stakeholder in a dialogue initiated by then PM Vajpayee ji. What will a ban on his organisation achieve? Detrimental steps like these will only turn Kashmir into an open air prison.”
National Conference Vice President and another former CM of the state, Omar Abdullah, too expressed his thoughts over the decision.
“For 4 1/2 years (four and a half years) Yasin Malik isn’t a threat, Jamaat Islami isn’t a threat, Pakistan National Day is a function that must be attended. Now suddenly once an election is announced an immediate u-turn is executed,” he wrote on Twitter.

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