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Friday, 7 August 2015

From Today's Papers - 07 Aug 2015

J-K attack bid to derail peace: Rajnath
Pakistan says will reply only after India provides ‘concrete evidence’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 6
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, in a suo motu statement in the Rajya Sabha today, condemned the Wednesday’s terror attack on a BSF convoy on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway saying it was an attempt by Pakistan to destabilise peace in Jammu and Kashmir.

In Islamabad, Pakistan asked India to “refrain from accusations” that the arrested terrorist was a Pakistan national. Its Foreign Office spokesman Qazi Khalilullah said: “I will not comment on media reports. We expect Indian authorities to share necessary information about him with us to enable verification of his national status… We expect that whenever Pakistan is accused of something, it shall be accompanied by concrete evidence.”

Amid the ongoing stalemate in Parliament over the suspension of 25 Congress Lok Sabha MPs, the proceedings in the Upper House were adjourned twice before lunch and later for the day, while working in the LS was unaffected. Congress members continued with protest, thwarting the government’s attempts to introduce a Bill to amend the anti-corruption law.

Making a statement in the Rajya Sabha, the Home Minister said: “Two militants attacked a BSF convoy in Udhampur in Jammu on Wednesday. Two constables were killed and 14 were injured in the attack.” “One of the two terrorists was killed and the other was arrested with the help of locals. The other terrorist has been brought to Jammu and interrogation is on. After initial interrogation, the terrorist has identified himself as Naveed, alias Mohammad Usman, from Faisalabad,” Singh said.

After Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad raised the matter at the start of the Zero Hour, calling it a matter of great concern for the nation, the Home Minister made the statement with Deputy Chairman PJ Kurien asking the members, mainly from the Congress, to maintain calm.

The Rajya Sabha, which has been repeatedly disrupted since the beginning of the session, agreed to hear the minister’s statement on the attack. The members chose to forego their right for further discussion or debate on the issue as is the norm in the Upper House whenever such statements are made by the government.

The Home Minister told the House that two AK-47 rifles with magazines and explosives were recovered from the terrorists. “This attack is an attempt by cross-border terrorists to disrupt peace in J-K. We condemn it,” he said.

He also expressed regret over the death of two BSF constables, and those injured in the “mindless violence”. He said the government was considering gallantry awards for the constables and had asked the state government to reward the villagers.

“The BSF, J-K police, and CRPF showed courage in limiting the damage. For this courageous action, the kin of the deceased will be given compensation, jobs and gallantry awards,” he said.

“We specially appreciate the bravery of the villagers who risked their lives and nabbed the terrorists. We have urged the state government to recognise and reward the action. We believe the arrested terrorist’s interrogation will give information on their modus operandi,” the minister said.

Soon after this, the Congress members were up on their feet, forcing the House to be adjourned till 12 pm and then later till 2 pm.

The Upper House has failed to transact any business ever since it met for the Monsoon session starting July 21. The Congress has been demanding the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj; and Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Chief Ministers Vasundhara Raje and Shivraj Singh Chouhan, respectively. Taking advantage of its numbers in the Upper House, the Congress has upped its protests after the suspension of 25 Lok Sabha MPs.            (With PTI inputs)
Two cops hurt in fresh attack in Udhampur
Amir Karim Tantray

Jammu, August 6
A day after a BSF convoy was attacked in Udhampur, militants targeted the Sang police post in the Basantgarh area of the district late this evening. Two special police officers (SPOs) were reportedly injured in the attack, which started around 9.15 pm.

Additional police force has been sent to the post located 10 km from the Basantgarh police station.

Udhampur Deputy Commissioner Shahid Choudhary said two SPOs had been injured in the attack. “We have sent additional police force to the area but it will take an hour from Basantgarh to reach there,” he said. The encounter was still on till the filing of the report.

The area is located on a hilltop and it takes more than four hours from Udhampur to reach there. Yesterday, two Border Security Force constables were killed and 12 others injured when militants ambushed their convoy at Narsu nullah on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway.  One terrorist was gunned down, while the second was arrested.
One more terror attack
Confront Pakistan with incontrovertible proof
What distinguishes Wednesday’s terror attack from the one in Gurdaspur is that this time some brave villagers, at a great risk to their lives, managed to overpower one of the terrorists. That is some achievement though India has lost two BSF men. There is uncertainty about the age of the captured terrorist. If he turns out to be a juvenile, the law could prove inadequate and he might escape jail and capital punishment. Just because he has confessed to being from Pakistan may not be enough to pin down the Pakistani establishment for the attack. Sections of the media are quick to point fingers towards the hostile neighbour, but the world at large looks for more credible evidence of the Pakistan government's involvement. The latter may well dub him a "non-state actor" just as it did in the case of Ajmal Kasab.

The Army played an important role in Wednesday's anti-terror operation with the use of helicopters and para-commandos. In Gurdaspur the Punjab Police chose to go it alone and that took 12 hours to neutralise the terrorists. Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister has promised to strengthen the police stations in the border areas. This is welcome as terrorists seem to have shifted their area of operation from Kashmir to the Jammu-Gurdaspur region. The Udhampur incident shows the advantage of having village defence committees. Civilian help is crucial in tackling terrorism.

In his statement in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday Home Minister Rajnath Singh did not make the mistake of alluding to Pakistan's role in the attack without first having proof in hand as he had done in the case of the Dinanagar incident. Another positive is the Modi government has resisted pressure from hawkish elements and stuck to the NSA-level talks, expected on August 23-24. The dialogue with Pakistan must continue as any contrary move would mean playing into the hands of those who use terror to abort peace efforts. The Congress has accused Modi of being soft on terror. Omar Abdullah too has played terror politics. This is not the right time for political one-upmanship and point-scoring.
NIA, J&K cops question terrorist
Udhampur DM accords sanction for his prosecution, sends him to 5-day police remand
Amir Karim Tantray

Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 6
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday took over the probe into the Udhampur terror strike. Sleuths of the NIA along with the Jammu and Kashmir police questioned Pakistan militant Naveed even as Udhampur District Magistrate accorded sanction for his prosecution.

District Magistrate Shahid Iqbal Choudhary booked Naveed under Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code for waging war against the country. The District Magistrate booked the terrorist for his involvement in the attack on a BSF convoy and taking civilians hostage at Samrouli in Udhampur district, clearing decks for further investigation and prosecution of the arrested terrorist in the court of law.

The prosecution sanction was issued based on a preliminary report of investigation by the state police under Sections 120 and 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the Ranbir Penal Code, besides Sections 7 and 25 of the Arms Act and Sections 15 and 16 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.

The state police have been directed to investigate the matter and produce the challan before the court on a fast-track basis.

The sanction of prosecution will enable the security agencies and investigating teams to initiate proceedings before the court and plead penalty contained in the Criminal Procedure Code, which includes a death penalty.

Choudhary said prosecution sanction had been accorded for an early prosecution after examination of the investigation report, which clearly indicated waging a war against the state or the government.

He said Udhampur Senior Superintendent of Police Suleiman Choudhary had gathered sufficient evidence which is reflected in the preliminary investigation report based on which prosecution sanction has been accorded.
BSF got no prior intel
Militant booked for waging war against the country as attack surprises security forces
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung

Tribune news Service

New Delhi, August 6
The Wednesday terror attack in Udhampur has surprised the Border Security Force given the area where its convoy was targeted by two Pakistan terrorists is considered safe by security forces. The area has not seen a terror attack in the past 20 years.

BSF Director General DK Pathak, while talking to mediapersons on the sidelines of the 41st Border Coordination Conference between the DGs of the BSF and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in Delhi today, said: "There was no specific input about a possible attack. Over the past 20 years, no such incident has taken place in this area. This area is considered safe."

He denied that the standard operating procedures were not adopted by the force during the attack. He, however, admitted there was lack of coordination between the paramilitary forces deployed in Jammu.

"There is a forum for sharing intelligence and it is working," he said. A Road Opening Party (ROP) of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had searched the area before the attack. The incident took place at 7.30 am and reinforcements arrived at 9.15 am.

The BSF DG also commended the courageous actions of 25-year-old constable Rocky during the attack. Rocky, an armed guard inside the bus, shot one of the two terrorists who tried to enter the bus with a primed grenade and an AK-47 rifle.
Armed forces developing another green corridor
Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
After using an SU-30 frontline fighter aircraft to transport vital organs from a donor in Pune to a recipient in New Delhi recently, the armed forces are developing another green corridor for rapid transport of organs from Chandigarh to Delhi.

As part of the new corridor project, a mock drill for transporting a liver from the Command Hospital in Chandimandir to the Chandigarh airport was held today. The total road journey that takes almost 45 minutes was completed in a little over seven minutes, with assistance from the local police.

Maj Gen Rajvir Singh, the hospital Commandant, said a green road corridor between the hospital and the airport had been developed to facilitate quick transport of vital human organs retrieved from brain dead persons and an air corridor between Chandigarh and Delhi for the same purpose was also on the anvil.

In a unique operation last month, an SU-30 had flown from Pune to Delhi carrying a liver and kidney retrieved at the Command Hospital, Pune, from a brain dead 45-year-old housewife, who had succumbed to head injuries sustained in a road accident. An SU-30 on standby for the purpose got airborne with the organs at 11.20 pm and reached Delhi at 40 minutes past midnight. The liver was meant for an ex-serviceman and the kidney was to go to the son of a serving sergeant in the IAF. Both patients, admitted to the Army Research and Referral Hospital, were in urgent need of transplants and in last stages of liver and kidney diseases.

Last month, the IAF also airlifted the liver retrieved from a brain dead person at the PGI here, by a team of surgeons from the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, to New Delhi. Under the leadership of Col Anuj Sharma, a senior Army surgeon, the hospital has been a leading institute in northern India to promote organ donation activities and has carved out a niche for itself by carrying out eight multi-organ retrievals of liver, kidneys and corneas, including from the PGI, in record time.

Meanwhile, observing the World Organ Donation Day at the Command Hospital, Chandimandir, a motivating talk and video film on organ donation by Sudhir Dewan, Director, Multi Organ Harvesting Aid Network Foundation, espoused the virtues of organ donation for the patients with end-stage disease. He emphasised that there was an extreme shortfall of organs.

Next of kin and families of the deceased donors were felicitated.
BSF salutes its slain men
Udhampur attack: IG says BSF wasn’t prime target of terrorists
Amir Karim Tantray

Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 6
The Border Security Force (BSF) today bid a tearful adieu to its personnel Rocky and Subhendu, who were killed in a militant ambush at Nursoo Nullah on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway yesterday.

Inspector General of the BSF, Jammu Frontier, Rakesh Sharma led the force in paying tribute to the martyrs at the wreath-laying ceremony here this morning.

Speaking to mediapersons after the ceremony, Sharma said the BSF was not the prime target of the two Lashkar-e-Toiba militants. He, however, did not disclose their main target.

When asked whether the Amarnath yatra was the main target, the BSF IG said: “The attack is under investigation. But it is for sure that the BSF was not the target as it was just a chance that the BSF convoy was passing through the area at that point of time.”

He said arrested militant Naveed Khan, alias Qasim, alias Usman, was changing his statements frequently.

On Wednesday around 7:15 am, two Pakistani militants ambushed a BSF convoy at Narsoo Nullah on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway killing two BSF men and injuring 11 others. One militant, Noman, alias Momin, was gunned down by the BSF in retaliatory fire whereas Naveed was captured alive after locals overpowered him at Chirdi village, 5 km from the attack site. The IG said the militants were carrying automatic weapons when they attacked the bus.

“The BSF is doing its best to check infiltration and the anti-infiltration grid is quiet strong. Terrorists are trying various other options to infiltrate into the Indian side. The matter (infiltration) is under investigation,” said Sharma.

Earlier, the IG, other officers and personnel paid rich tributes to the slain soldiers. The bodies of the two martyrs were later taken in flower-bedecked trucks to their native places in Haryana and West Bengal.

“The last rites of the martyrs with full military honours will be performed at their native places,” said the IG. Praising Rocky’s courageous act, Sharma said: “Rocky not only stopped the militants from entering the vehicle but also shot one of them dead. It is because of his bravery that the lives of other BSF men were saved. We salute him for his bravery.” “Subhendu, who was sitting in the bus, also tried to stop the terrorists. Despite being sprayed by bullets, he tried to save other jawans,” he added.
Afghan military copter crash kills all 17 aboard
Kandahar, August 6
At least 17 people, including 12 Afghan army soldiers, were killed today in a helicopter crash in the southern province of Zabul, officials said.

The military helicopter went down due to technical reasons in Shinkay, a district relatively free of insurgent activity in Zabul.

"Five crew and 12 soldiers were killed when the helicopter crashed in Shinkay district of Zabul province due to technical issues," a provincial police official said.

Shinkay district chief Mohammad Qasim Khan confirmed the death toll, with an army commander saying an official delegation has been dispatched to the area to investigate the crash.

Aircraft crashes have been a regular risk for Afghan and foreign coalition forces, with troops relying heavily on air transport to traverse Afghanistan's rugged terrain to fight the Taliban. The insurgents have on occasion brought down NATO helicopters, notably a US Chinook in 2011, which killed 30 Americans, but such incidents have been rare.

In April last year five British troops died when their helicopter crashed in Kandahar province in what London's Ministry of Defence said at the time appeared to be a "tragic accident". — AFP
US tells Pak to rein in Haqqanis, LeT
Washington, August 6
Pakistan must take "forceful actions" against the dreaded Haqqani network and the Lashkar- e-Taiba in a manner similar to the way they campaigned against the Pakistani Taliban, a top Obama administration official has said.

"Just as they have vigorously pursued the Pakistani Taliban, they must take equally forceful actions against groups like the Haqqani network, which pose serious threats to American (and Afghan) lives and resources, and Lashkar-e- Taiba, which has the potential to destabilise the region," Dan Feldman, Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, said.

Having just returned from his final trip to the Af-Pak region, Feldman acknowledged that there has not been much change in Pakistan's approach vis-a-vis the Haqqani network and the LeT — the two terrorist organisations that pose a threat not only to the US but also India.

Feldman was speaking at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington yesterday. Feldman, who has been Obama administration's point man for Afghanistan and Pakistan for the past one year, is now leaving the US Government for the private sector.

Feldman, however, was agog over Pakistan's role in bringing the Afghan Taliban for talks with the Government of Afghanistan. — PTI

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