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Sunday, 18 August 2013

From Today's Papers - 18 Aug 2013
Top terrorist Tunda arrested
Dawood aide caught near Nepal border; Involved in Mumbai, Delhi blasts
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
One of India’s most wanted terrorists and underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s close associate Abdul Karim Tunda has been arrested after being on the run for 19 years.

The Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) bomb expert had allegedly been coordinating terror strikes in India from Pakistan. He was wanted in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts and the 1997-1998 Delhi blasts.

The 70-year-old terrorist was arrested by the Delhi Police in the Banwasa-Mehendarnagar area near the Indo-Nepal border around 3 pm on Friday. He was brought to Delhi where a local court remanded him in three-day police custody.

Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) SN Srivastava said Tunda was allegedly carrying a Pakistani passport issued on January 23 under the name of Abdul Quddus.

Srivastava said Tunda was on the list of 20 most wanted terrorists that India had handed over to Pakistan after the 26/11 attacks. LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar and Dawood were among others on the list.

“Tunda worked with Hafiz Saeed, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi (a top LeT terrorist), Wadhawa Singh (head of terror outfit Babbar Khalsa International) and Abdul Aziz, alias Bada Sajid (Karachi-based Indian Mujahideen absconder). He is close to Dawood,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav.

Yadav said Tunda trained “indoctrinated” youths to make bombs with locally available material such as urea, nitric acid and potassium chloride.

“He also stayed in Pakistan where he imparted training in making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to ‘jehadis’, who were later sent to India from Pakistan for terror strikes,” he said.

Tunda was born in 1943 at Daryaganj in Delhi and worked as a carpenter, scrap dealer and cloth merchant until the age of 40. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) initiated Tunda into terrorism in the early 1980s. Tunda was involved in the Mumbai communal riots of 1985, said Srivastava. “His left hand was severed when he was preparing a bomb.

The accident earned him the sobriquet ‘Tunda’ (handicapped),” said Srivastava. In Mumbai, Tunda met Dr Jalees Ansari and constituted “Tanzeem Islah-ul-Muslimeen”. The two later allegedly set off a series of explosions in Mumbai and Hyderabad. After Ansari’s arrest in January 1994, Tunda fled to Dhaka in Bangladesh.

There he allegedly trained terrorists in making bombs. He returned to India and masterminded the 1997-1998 Delhi serial blasts. “On Tunda’s instructions, Pakistan-trained LeT terrorists, belonging to Pakistan and Bangladesh, carried out 24 explosions in Delhi,” said Srivastava. Tunda allegedly masterminded bomb blasts in Panipat, Sonepat, Ludhiana, Kanpur and Varanasi between December 1996 and January 1998. He is wanted in 21 cases of terrorism in Delhi committed between 1994 and 1998. In 1998, Tunda fled to Pakistan via Bangladesh. Delhi Police arrested 24 alleged terrorists, including Tunda’s two confidants. “Tunda had tried to trigger serial bomb blasts in India just ahead of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010. But the plan could not go through as some of his men were arrested,” the officer said. (With agency inputs)

On top 20 terror list

Tunda’s name figures on the list of India’s 20 most wanted terrorists given to Pakistan after the 26/11 attacks. LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar and Dawood were also on the list

Had Pak passport

Tunda was carrying a Pakistani passport (AC 4413161) issued on January 23, 2013 in the name of Abdul Quddus

Terror trail

    1985: Tunda’s hand suspected in riots in Bhiwandi, Mumbai
    1993: Tunda and aide Jalees Ansari trigger series of explosions in Mumbai; carry out seven blasts in trains in Hyderabad, Gulbarga, Surat and Lucknow
    1994: Jalees is arrested; Tunda flees to Dhaka where he gives bomb-making training to recruits
    1996-1998: Returns and masterminds deadly blasts in Delhi, Panipat, Sonepat, Ludhiana, Kanpur and Varanasi
    2000: His trail goes cold as reports emerge that he has died in a blast in Bangladesh.
To ease LoC tension, Pak to free 367 Indian prisoners

Islamabad, August 17
Pakistan will release 367 Indian prisoners next week to send a positive message to its neighbour amid high tension arising out of firing along the Line of Control (LoC), sources said today.

The two sides are trying to ease pressure along the LoC after around two weeks of ceasefire violations that started after five Indian soldiers were killed in an attack by Pakistani troops early this month.

“Yes, 367 Indian prisoners and fishermen are being released on August 24,” a senior Foreign Office official said, requesting anonymity.

Hundreds of prisoners are currently being lodged in jails on both sides.

Sartaj Aziz, adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, told parliament yesterday that there were 491 Indian prisoners, including 437 fishermen and 54 civilians, in Pakistani prisons.

He said the record with the Foreign Office suggested that there were at least 485 Pakistanis jailed in India, including 172 fishermen and 313 civilians. But the latest list provided by India on July 1 under a Consular Agreement shows that there are 386 prisoners in Indian jails, including 108 fishermen.

Aziz said the discrepancy of 99 prisoners had been taken up with the Indian authorities.

Foreign Office spokesperson Aizaz Chaudhry told a weekly briefing yesterday that both "diplomatic and military channels" were being used to normalise the situation.

He said a meeting between the Prime Ministers on the sidelines of UN General Assembly in September in New York would be a "useful opportunity" to build trust and consolidate ties. — PTI

Those in jails

    Pakistan claims there are 491 Indian prisoners, including 437 fishermen and 54 civilians, in its prisons
    India puts the number of Pakistani prisoners in Indian jails at 386, including 108 fishermen, as on July 1
Pak troops continue to target Drass, Kaksar in Kargil
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 17
Pakistani troops opened fire last night on Indian forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in Drass and Kaksar areas of the Kargil sector in Ladakh region even as there has been no let up in heavy exchange of fire in Hamirpur and Mendhar areas along the de-facto border in Poonch district.

Unconfirmed reports said heavy firing forced villagers from at least 19 Indian villages to flee to safer areas. But the Army denied any migration from the forward villages in Poonch district.

In Poonch sector, the Indian troops in retaliatory fire decimated eight of their posts opposite Mendhar, Nangi Tekri and Bhimber Gali sectors, said an Intelligence source. He added that in the Indian firing, Pakistan lost two of its men while 12 other troopers sustained injuries.
Trivedi is new CRPF chief

New Delhi, August 17
Dilip Trivedi, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1978 batch of the Uttar Pradesh cadre, has taken over as the new Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Trivedi was accorded the ceremonial guard of honour at the CRPF Directorate in Delhi today.

Trivedi has wide experience in serving in the Central Armed Police Forces and state police forces. He was the Inspector General in India’s Border Security Force (BSF) from December 2001 to January 2007. He also served as the Additional Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police from December 2010 to April 2012.
Antony reviews Sindhurakshak salvage operation
KV Prasad
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 17
Defence Minister AK Antony today reviewed progress in the rescue work and steps planned to salvage sunken submarine INS Sindhurakshak near Mumbai dock. The meeting was attended among others by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi and Defence Secretary RK Mathur, sources in the ministry said. The ministry is awaiting the report of the Board of Inquiry instituted by the Navy after it suffered the biggest peacetime tragedy leading to the loss of 18 personnel.

Naval divers have pried open the rear access hatch that was submerged and fused due to high temperatures. Working in zero-visibility conditions, the divers are progressing inch-by-inch searching for their ill-fated colleagues, the Navy said.

A decision to seek assistance of professional salvage companies to recover the kilo-class submarine has been taken. Sources say the Russians have offered assistance but the first priority will be to bring up the submerged submarine after search for the bodies is complete.

Salvage experts from various countries are in Mumbai to carry out inspection after which bids will be submitted for processing.

The Russians seek to send an engineering team to investigate the reason behind the blast and sinking of the diesel-electric submarine.

The 2,300-tonne vessel underwent extensive refit there earlier this year. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was quoted by news agency Ria-Novosti as saying that he had instructed the United Shipbuilding Corporation to send specialists in agreement with India to join the investigation.

The sinking of INS Sindhurakshak adds to the woes of the Indian Navy that now has 13 submarines in its fleet, including nine kilo-class.

The delivery of French Scorpene being built at Mazagaon docks, Mumbai, is running behind its 2012-17 schedule with the first vessel expected to be ready towards the end of 2016.

Plans to have six more vessels with stealth features await financial clearance. Four of these are to be built here in collaboration with Indian private manufacturers, while two will be built at the yard of the foreign collaborator.

Professional help sought

    Naval divers have pried open the rear access hatch that had fused due to high temperatures
    The authorities have decided to seek assistance of professional salvage companies to recover the submarine
    Salvage experts from various countries are in Mumbai to carry out inspection before giving their bids
Sixth body found; autopsy confirms burning, asphyxiation
Shiv Kumar/TNS

Mumbai, August 17
Autopsy conducted on the bodies of five sailors recovered from the ill-fated submarine INS Sindhurakshak confirmed initial estimates that their deaths were caused by burning, drowning and asphyxiation.

Navy rescuers extricated the body of one more victim from the submarine INS Sindhurakshak late this evening, taking the total number of bodies recovered so far to six.

Doctor at the state-owned JJ Hospital have sent their initial findings to the Naval authorities and the state government. Further details on the extent of the injuries suffered by the crew of the submarine will be known only when the results of the forensic tests conducted on their bodies are available in the next few days, said sources.

Meanwhile, Naval divers opened a second access to the vessel late Friday night, according to a statement by the Indian Navy.

"The divers have gained a second access to the submarine late last night when they successfully prised open the rear escape hatch which was submerged below and jammed due to high temperature," a Navy statement said. The divers were still struggling to open the forward escape hatch of the submarine which remained jammed following the explosion which melted metal and twisted it out of shape.

Divers who entered the submarine to pull out the remains of the crew are still hampered by near-zero visibility and are exploring their way inside by touch.
India being considered for Security Council permanent membership: Khurshid
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, August 17
The Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid today said it is a measure of success of the Indian foreign policy that as far as India and Pakistan are concerned, India is now being talked about for permanent membership of the Security Council and not Pakistan.

“We are able to tell the USA doesn’t hyphenate India and Pakistan. It is India as a responsible country which is being seen as candidate for the membership of the Security Council. People who get into brawls would not be seen as candidates for United Nations Security Council, despite Pakistan claiming nuclear levels,” said Salman Khurshid while delivering a lecture this morning as part of the public diplomacy initiative at the Doon University organised by Public Affairs division of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Khurshid emphasised that when India talks with Pakistan and China, it is not out of weakness but strength. “We talk not because we are weak, but we talk at equal levels. No one can push us. When we talk to China, we know we have historical problems that cannot be solved overnight,” he added.
Safety rules violation may be behind INS Sindhurakshak accident, says Russia
Violation of safety regulations could be the most likely cause of the explosions on submarine Sindhurakshak because of which it sank, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has said.

Rogozin, who was quoted by Russia's official news agency Itar Tass, has said India had raised no questions over the technical aspects of the submarine built and recently overhauled by Russia.

Quoting experts, he told the news agency that the violation of safety regulations was the most probable cause of the accident on Wednesday.

He, however, qualified his comments, saying that assessment of what really happened are still being made to determine the exact reason behind the tragedy in which 18 Navy officials are feared dead.

"But things are still to be assessed in full... At the moment we are not blaming the equipment," Rogozin said.

"The very first information that I received at night, several hours after that accident was that the blast had occurred in the section where storage batteries were being charged. This is the most dangerous work, which is connected with safety measures rather than with the producers of this equipment," he said.

Rogozin also expressed condolences to the Indian side in connection with the loss of lives.

He said the submarine itself, which had covered 15,000 nautical miles, did not attract criticism as to its technical characteristics.

"It has never raised any questions on the part of our Indian colleagues," he added.

The diesel-electric submarine was built in 1997 by the Admiralteiskie Verfi shipyard in St. Petersburg.

It underwent interim overhaul and modernisation at the Russian Severodvinsk-based Zvezdochka shipyard, and arrived at the Indian port of Mumbai on April 29.
Amitabh Bachchan applauds army, media for relief work in Uttarakhand
Amitabh Bachchan has applauded the efforts of the Indian army and media for their brave work in Uttarakhand after some parts of the state were devastated by floods in June this year.

At the Saath Hain Hum Uttarakhand show on August 15, Big B praised them for acting as a bridge between the people stuck there and their kin.

"A lot of media persons put their life in danger and reached those spots where no one could. They did some very good work, a lot of people didn't know whether their relatives were alive or not," the 70-year-old said here Thursday.

"But they talked to the people there, took their phone numbers and contacted their families and told them about the well-being of their relatives in Uttarakhand. I congratulate the media for this noble job," he added.

Saath Hain Hum Uttarakhand was organised by Star Plus to collects funds for the Uttarakhand tragedy and a host of Bollywood and TV personalities came to support the cause.

Praising the army for saving people, he said: "Our army also did so much that words are not enough to applaud them. Many of them died saving people. Army personnel always come forward in times of tragedies and help people. I salute them."

In June, some parts of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh experienced heavy rainfall and cloud burst causing floods and landslides. Thousands died and areas like Rudraprayag and Kedarnath shrine suffered massive losses.
Gunfire shatters Kargil, Drass silence after 14 years; 28 terrorists killed in 2 months at LOC
For the first time since the Kargil war of 1999, Pakistani forces fired across the Line of Control in the Kargil and Drass sectors yesterday. Sources say this indicates Pakistan's attempt to 'reactivate' the entire Line of Control with crossfire. Against the backdrop of incessant firing between Pakistani and Indian troops at the Poonch district, the Indian Army today said 28 terrorists had been killed in the past 2 months while trying to cross over to India.
Mortar shelling by Indian army injures 3, damages home in Kotli
AZAD KASHMIR: Unprovoked mortar shelling from the Indian army injured three civilians in the Nakyal Sector of Kotli, Express News reported on Thursday.

Mortar shelling on a house injured two civilians inside and damaged the house.

Tension between the two countries was set off by a series of unprovoked cross-border violations. Pakistan denies the allegations of attacking Indian soldiers.

Pakistan’s military officials accused Indian forces of opening fire and seriously injuring a Pakistani civilian in the Tatta Pani sector along the Line of Control (LoC) on August 8.

Pakistan’s National Assembly passed a resolution denouncing the “unprovoked Indian aggression on the Line of Control (LoC)”, mob attack on Pakistan’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi, demonstrations outside the PIA offices, prevention of the Dosti bus in Amritsar, and “vilification of Pakistan in the Indian media”.

On Wednesday, the Lok Sabha passed a resolution asserting that the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir “including the territory under occupation of Pakistan is and shall always be an integral part of India”.
Army guns down senior Lashkar commander at LoC
55-year-old Pakistani militant commander who was being sent by Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) bosses from across the border to replenish the depleting leadership ranks in the Kashmir Valley.

Qasim Shah of Pakistan was among 28 militants gunned down by the army in less than two months on the line of control (LoC) and hinterland across the Valley. He was among the four militants killed while trying to infiltrate from Keran sector along the LoC on August 14.

“His (Qasim Shah) ID card mentioned his year of birth as 1958, showing him as an experienced and important leader of LeT. The slain terrorist was tall, healthy and imposing which indicate that they (Pakistan militant leadership) wanted to induct a senior leader into this area,” said Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh, general officer commanding (GoC), 15 Corps.

Qasim Shah was sent to this side of Kashmir at a time when security forces eliminated top leadership of militant outfits creating a vacuum at the top level. Indian army has killed 28 militants — 18 on the LoC and 10 in the hinterland — since June 24 when militants ambushed their convoy at Hyderpora by-pass here and killed eight soldiers.

Army said the success of the operations could be understood by the fact that there has been no collateral damage and no human rights violations. “There is an effective counter infiltration grid in place….There is an indication that terrorist infrastructure in the areas across the LoC, close to LoC and hinterland is intact,” he said.

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