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Monday, 25 March 2013

From Today's Papers - 25 Mar 2013
Civilian killed, cop hurt in Sopore attack
Majid Jahangir/TNS

Srinagar, March 24
Suspected militants today struck in north Kashmir’s Sopore town killing a 65-year-old civilian and critically wounding a policeman. This comes barely three days after a BSF jawan was killed in Srinagar.

The attack took place around 12.35 pm when a police team was clearing traffic in a busy market in Sopore town, 53 km from Srinagar. The militants took away the service rifle of the injured constable, Kishore Kumar. This is the fourth attack on security forces this month. Eight police and paramilitary personnel have been killed and nine others injured in these attacks.

Kashmir IGP Abdul Gani Mir said the policemen exercised restraint and did not retaliate to the militant fire.

“The Iqbal market (where the attack took place) was teeming with people prompting the police not to retaliate,” Mir told The Tribune.

The IGP said the militants opened fire on policemen when they were clearing a traffic jam.

“A militant fired three bullets from a pistol hitting Kishore Kumar of IRP’s 16th Battalion in the neck and 65-year-old pedestrian Abdul Rashid Dar, a resident of Rafiabad, Baramulla, in the head. The two were taken to a hospital where the civilian succumbed to his injuries,” Mir said.

“The militants took advantage of the rush and fled the scene. We have launched a manhunt to nab them,” he said. Security forces arrived at the scene soon after and cordoned off the market. A search operation was later launched to trace the militants.

Media reports said Hizbul Mujahideen had taken responsibility for the attack.

On March 13, five CRPF personnel were killed in a fidayeen attack on the outskirts of Srinagar. Only three days ago, militants had ambushed a BSF convoy, killing a jawan and injuring two others.

terror spurt

March 2: Two policemen shot dead by militants near old bus stand in Handwara

March 9: Militants kill a former counter-insurgent group member at Kunzer in Baramulla district

March 13: Five CRPF personnel and two militants killed in fidayeen attack in Bemina, Srinagar

March 19: An 18-year-old youth killed by militants inside a mosque in Sopore village

March 21: BSF jawan killed, two others injured in attack on a convoy on the outskirts of Srinagar
Musharraf returns, says he wants to ‘save’ Pakistan

Karachi, March 24
Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf today ended nearly four years in self-exile defying threats of arrest and assassination by Taliban, saying that he returned home to "save" Pakistan and would face all "challenges" that lay ahead.
Musharraf (69) along with a delegation of around 150 persons, including supporters from his All Pakistan Muslim League and journalists, landed at Jinnah International airport here by a chartered Emirates flight from Dubai. Talking to reporters accompanying him from Dubai to Karachi, a smiling Musharraf said: "It is (a) very emotional (moment). I'm going back after four years."

"There are a lot of challenges. There are security challenges, legal challenges, political challenges. But I will face them," Musharraf clad in an off-white salwar-kameez said as he made his way out of the aircraft. "Where are the people who said I will never return home. I have been receiving death threats and some people have been trying to scare me but I have returned home for the sake of my country and people," an emotional Musharraf told his supporters.

The former commando-turned-politician said he would soon be launching a countrywide campaign of public rallies and media interaction. "I have taken a big risk returning home now. But tears come to my eyes seeing the state of the country now. I ask where is the Pakistan I had left five years ago," he said.

"People have tried to sabotage my first public rally in Karachi and already hurdles are being created for me but I am ready to face all challenges whether they are security, political or legal issues," Musharraf said.

He claimed he had been implicated in a lot of cases while in exile but he was ready to face them as he wanted to see Pakistan prosper. Musharraf had left Pakistan on April 19, 2009, saying he was going abroad for a series of lectures. He didn’t return from that trip and several courts issued arrest warrants for the former President in connection with the killings of Bhutto and Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti. Since then, Musharraf has been shuttling between London and Dubai and earned hundreds of thousands of dollars on worldwide lecture tours. On March 22, the Sindh High Court granted a 10 day pre-arrest bail to Musharraf in several cases in some of which he has been declared a proclaimed offender. Yesterday, the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan threatened to use suicide bombers to target Musharraf when he returns home.

Earlier members of his party had said security officials had advised Musharraf to not hold the press conference or address any rally because of security threats to his life. "But after hours of negotiations, the former President made it clear he will not leave the terminal building without first addressing the media and his supporters who have come in thousands to welcome him home," party spokesman Arif Ishaq said.

Musharraf is expected to stay in Karachi for two days before going to Islamabad where he ruled the country as chief executive and then President from 1999 to 2008. But it was noticeable at the airport that the former President still has a lot of followers and admirers among the people despite the cases pending against him in the courts and his self-imposed exile. — PTI
4-yr exile ends

Musharraf’s chartered flight from Dubai landed at Jinnah International airport in Karachi. He was accompanied by a 150-member delegation comprising his supporters and journalists

Clad in an off-white salwar-kameez, Musharraf said he would soon be launching a countrywide campaign of public rallies and media interaction

Musharraf had left Pakistan on April 19, 2009, saying he was going abroad for a series of lectures. He did not return from that trip and several courts issued arrest warrants for the former President in connection with the killings of Bhutto and Baloch nationalist leader Akbar Bugti.
50,000 paramilitary men for K'taka poll
Tribune News Service

Bangalore, March 24
Five hundred companies of paramilitary forces, comprising 50,000 personnel, besides the state police would be deployed for the May 5Assembly elections in Karnataka, Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka Anil kumar jha said here today.

Karnataka will have single phase polling after a gap of 24 years. The state has 224 assembly constituencies. With adequate strength of security forces being made available, there would not be any difficulty in holding the elections smoothly on a single day, Jha said.

Election Commission of India representatives would meet Home Ministry and Railway Ministry officials in Delhi tomorrow to discuss logistics for transporting 50,000 paramilitary personnel to Karnataka for the election, Jha said.

There are 4.18 crore voters in the state. These include 2.04 female voters. Jha said 66 per cent of the state’s population was registered as voters for these elections. In Bangalore city, however, only 63 per cent of the people were voters. Efforts were being made to enrol at least 65 per cent of the people in Bangalore city as voters by the time polling for the Assembly elections took place.

The male-female ratio of voters in the state at present was 956 females against 1,000 males. Jha said they were striving to replicate the male-female ratio in the overall population of the state (968 females for every 1,000 males) in the voters list also.

The CEO said a Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) Campaign would be conducted in the state to exhort people to participate in the elections, particularly in Bangalore where the poll percentage in the 2008 election was low.

Jha said the model code of conduct had come into force since last evening and the government would have to put on hold all announcements, new works and schemes.
26/11: Pak took care not to bring its role on record
R Sedhuraman
Legal Correspondent
New Delhi, March 24
Pakistan had taken “precautions” not to bring on record its nefarious role in the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai by providing “green channel entry and exit” to terrorists, the Supreme Court has held.

As many as 14 terrorists, including death-row convict Yakub Memon, had received training either directly from army personnel of Pakistan or from the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency but Islamabad had taken care that their visits did not go on the immigration records.

ISI operatives had received them at the Islamabad airport and taken them out of the airport “without observing any immigration formalities,” the SC said in its verdict while confirming the death sentence of Yakub Memon, brother of absconding mastermind Tiger Memon.

Again, no immigration formalities were observed when they left Islamabad for Dubai and all this made it clear that Pakistan had facilitated “green channel entry and exit” to the terrorists involved in the blasts, a Bench comprising Justices P Sathasivam and BS Chauhan noted.

A careful reading of the convicts’ confessional statements and deposition in the trial court showed that a large number of them and the absconding accused had received training, at various terror camps in Pakistan, in the making of bombs by using RDX and other explosives and handling of sophisticated automatic weapons like AK-56 rifles and hand grenades. The training had been organised and methodically carried out by Dawood Ibrahim, Anees Ibraham and Mohammed Dossa, the SC said. Within hours of the SC verdict, Pakistan denied its role in the Mumbai blasts.

Some of the passports seized during the investigations showed that they had two arrival stamps of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, but the details of their journey to Pakistan during the intervening period “are not reflected in the passports”. This showed that “Pakistan took precautions not to bring its involvement on record,” the apex court noted.

“It is devastating to state that Pakistan being a member of the United Nations, whose primary object is to maintain international peace and security, has infringed the recognised principles under international law which obligate all states to prevent terrorist attacks emanating from their territory and inflicting injuries to other states,” the SC lamented.

SC’s observations

    14 terrorists had received training either directly from army personnel of Pakistan or from the ISI
    But Islamabad had taken care that their visits did not go on the immigration records
    ISI operatives received them at Islamabad "without observing any immigration formalities
    Journey to Pakistan during the intervening period "are not reflected in the passports”
MHA relocates some forces from J&K to Naxal areas
Asks Army to ramp up training capacity in jungle warfare
Ajay Banerjee/TNS

New Delhi, March 24
Faced with increasingly better-armed Maoists in Central India, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to gradually pull out some of its Central armed police units from Jammu and Kashmir and relocate them to Left-wing extremism affected areas.

After an attack by Naxals in January this year that left 12 security men dead in Jharkhand, the MHA asked for phased pull out of three battalions from J&K, a senior functionary explained.

So far, the Central Armed Police Forces under the MHA have some 65,000 men tasked with anti-Maoist operations. The plan is to add 10,000 more over the next few months. The pull-out of some units from J&K was the first step, said sources. The Central Reserve Police Force has the biggest deployment in anti-Maoist operations.

The MHA, in its fight against the lawless Maoists who are refusing unconditional talks, has not only decided to add more helicopters for rescue and insertion of troopers, it has asked the Indian Army to ramp up capacity and now annually train at least 8,000 men in counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations, sources said.

So far, some 3200-4000 central-armed troopers are trained annually at the Army’s Counter Insurgency and Jungle Warfare School, Vairengte Mizoram. The Army will double this number by taking in fresh lots at its other training institutions.

Meanwhile, to replace the unit which pulled out from J&K, the Army’s 15 corps at Srinagar and 16 corps at Nagrota, have been tasked to train a fresh lot of central armed police troopers for J&K operations. Each of these have a training establishment called the ‘corps battle school’.

The MHA needs more men for area domination in areas hit by Maoist violence. Fourteen persons, including 11 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force and one Jharkhand policemen, were killed in the Jharkhand encounter by Naxals in January 2013. Their positions are fortified with routes of supplies and network of informants. The Home Ministry has also planned to upgrade the special forces of the states to fill in critical gaps in functioning of special forces in Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

Taking on Maoists

    The Central Reserve Police Force has the biggest deployment in anti-Maoist operations and around 65,000 men have been included in anti-Maoist operations
    The Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the Army to annually train at least 8,000 men in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations
Cruising to success
Another feather in the BrahMos cap

The successful test-firing of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile that was launched underwater is an important milestone in the nation’s quest of acquiring weapons that would act as deterrents. The supersonic missile, which is built with Russian collaboration, is said to be the first of its kind in the world. The launch is also a much-needed shot in the arm of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) since it comes just a week after its long-range subsonic cruise missile Nirbhay veered off-target and had to be remotely detonated before it could complete its flight.

The 290-km-range and speed make the newly tested version of the cruise missile a formidable anti-ship weapon. The BrahMos project has empowered the nation, with its ship and ground-launched versions. BrahMos, a portmanteau formed from the names Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers, is a good example of successful Indo-Russian defence collaboration. The DRDO and NPO Mashinostroyenia have shown how they can work well together. The Russian Federation and India have been gainers from the experience. During a recent visit of Defence Minister A K Antony to Russia, they agreed to broaden cooperation on developing the next generation air-launched hypersonic BrahMos-2 missile. Such a missile would be capable of speeds of 3,800-5,300 mph.

The success of the 15-year-old programme, in spite of some failures along the way, shows how excellence can be built into systems and organisations. While the DRDO cannot claim an unalloyed record, the latest achievement will give it a boost. The changing and challenging geo-political environment has necessitated increasingly sophisticated weapons systems, and the BrahMos is yet another weapon in the arsenal that India needs to successfully negotiate an increasingly complicated world. Our scientists and defence engineers who were tasked with producing such weapons have demonstrated their capability yet again.
Two Pakistani boys repatriated to PoK by Indian Army
The Army today handed over two Pakistani boys, who had crossed the Line of Control (LoC) into India, to the Pakistan army as a goodwill gesture.

Rehmatullah, 15, and Inayatullah, 12, of Kotli area of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) had crossed over to the Indian side of the LoC in Nowshera sector on Friday in "search of employment", said Col. RK Palta, the Jammu-based spokesperson of the army.

The LoC divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

"Indian soldiers in Poonch Sector handed over the two boys to the Pakistan army. The boys had crossed over to the Indian side of the LoC in Nowshera Sector in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir March 22. The handing over took place at the Chakan-da-Bagh Zero line at 1230 hours today (Sunday)," Col. Palta said.

"During their stay with the Indian army, Rehmatullah and Inayatullah said they had left their country and crossed over to the Indian side in search of employment," he added.

"The Indian army acted on humanitarian considerations. A message was conveyed to the Pakistan army over the hotline Saturday, conveying the intent to hand over the two boys back to Pakistan. A battalion commander-level flag meeting was held at Chakan-da-Bagh in the afternoon Sunday and the boys were handed over to Pakistani army officials," Col. Palta said.

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