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Tuesday, 23 February 2016

From Today's Papers - 23 Feb 2016

In Bhiwani, stir gets break to honour Capt
Tribune News Service

Bhiwani/Jind February 22
Captain Pawan Kumar Khatkar, who died in an encounter with terrorists in Kashmir on February 20, hailed from Jind district but it was in Bhiwani that he sharpened his skills to make it to the National Defence Academy while studying at BRCM Vidyagram School, Bahal.

And despite the mayhem wrought by the Jat agitation, villagers were out in full force to give him a befitting farewell.

The body was brought in an Army chopper to his residence in Urban Estate in Jind at 11 am because of the blocked roads, and was taken to Badhana, 20 km away. 

Agitating Jats had cleared the way leading to Badhana to enable residents of Amarheri, Kandela, Shahpur and Nagura villages, who had lined up on roads, to pay tributes. The pyre was lit by his father and cousin.

Capt Pawan, who was commissioned in 2013, had joined the elite 10 Para (Special Forces) last year. His mother Kamlesh Rani and father Rajbir are government teachers. He passed his Class XII (non-medical) exam in 2008. “My sole aim is to crack the NDA exam and become an officer. For this, I surrender myself to you,” Pawan Kumar would tell Sehdev Singh Shekawat, his favourite teacher.

Sehdev Singh, a physical training instructor at the residential school, said Pawan had a passion for horse-riding and athletics.  Girish Kumar, the house master, remembered him as being “ever ready for sports”. “We are pained at the loss to the family but feel proud that our alumnus sacrificed his life fighting for the country,” said principal Parveen Masta.
Martyr’s only dream was a ‘pucca’ house
Bravehearts cremated with full state honours at their native villages
Bhanu P Lohumi

Tribune News Service

Chikher (Shimla), February 22
The braveheart—Lance Naik Om Prakash, who was killed in an encounter near Pampore on the Jammu-Srinagar highway—had a dream of having a ‘pucca’ house at his native village.

Om Prakash of the 9 Para (Commando) battalion, who was awarded the Asadharan Suraksha Seva Praman Patra Gallantry Award on Independence Day in 2013, was to proceed on leave from March 7.

The 32-year-old’s body was airlifted to Chail in Solan district and brought to his native village Chikher in Satlai panchayat, about 50 km from Shimla.

The Army paid a befitting tribute with full military honours to its valiant soldier who attained martyrdom during an operation in Pampore.

Homage was paid to the valour and sacrifice of the late soldier in a solemn ceremony held at Army Cantonment, Chail (HP). Pride and honour for the martyr were palpable as the Commander of Kasauli Brigade, Brigadier Deepak Sharma, laid wreath to salute the soldier.

His mortal remains, accompanied by contingents and SDM (Rural) Shimla were brought to Chikher, where he was cremated with full military honours. The pyre was lit by his younger brother. Hundreds of villagers joined the funeral and gave tearful adieu to the brave son. Army contingents presented guard of honour to the deceased. The villagers were consoling the family members saying “your son has sacrificed his life for the nation so that we can live here in peace”... you should be proud of him.

His wife and elder daughter broke down as soon as the body arrived. His three-year-old younger daughter was unaware of the tragedy.

Om Prakash had last spoken to his family on February 20. He informed them about his leave. His wife Krishna Devi said: “I will pursue my husband’s dream to construct a house and give quality education to my daughters Muskan (7) and Simran (3).”

His father Nek Ram said: “I am proud of my son and will not shed tears, but we are now concerned about the future of the girls who have lost their father.” His grandmother did not say a word and watched everything silently.

Om Prakash’s sister-in-law Poornima, who is also the pradhan of the panchayat, said Om Prakash believed in simple living and was friendly. He always used to tell kids to study well and serve the nation.

Nita ram, his cousin, said since childhood, Om Prakash wished to join the Army and used to give the kids training.

Om Prakash passed Class X from High School, Juger, and joined the Army 13 years ago. Kasumpti MLA Anirudh Singh was also present. As a tribute to the martyr, Koti residents shut their establishments.
3 die as Army fires on mob in Sonepat
Action comes as stone-pelting protesters target security forces during bid to clear blockades on NH-1
Tribune News Service

Sonepat, February 22
Three persons were killed and nine others injured as the Army opened fire to control stone-pelting protesters who had blocked the National Highway-1 at Larsoli village between Murthal and Gannaur today.

Deputy Commissioner Rajiv Rattan neither confirmed nor denied the number of deaths.

The injured have been admitted to BPS Women Medical College Hospital at Khanpur Kalan. The mob is learnt to have attacked personnel of Army and paramilitary forces, leading to a clash in which there were some “casualties”, said an official. The protesters torched around 70 vehicles, including the vehicle of Gannaur SDM, 12 trucks and three private buses.

The NH-1 was opened for traffic around 6.15 pm, giving relief to thousands of commuters who were stranded at various places.

Sources said the security personnel had to again use force to remove the protesters who had blocked the GT Road near Hasanpur, Kumaspur and Beeswan Meel villages. One youth was reportedly injured in the incident.

There was tension in the entire area, but efforts were being made to bring the situation under control, he said. The latest incident came within hours after two columns of the Army comprising around 150 personnel, besides CRPF and Haryana Police contingents took control of the Munak canal at around 4 AM today from protesters had cut off the water supply to Delhi, from Akbarpur-Barota in Sonepat. Sonepat, Rohtak, Jhajjar, Bhiwani and Hisar have been the worst-hit districts of the ongoing Jat stir.

The protesters continued to block some roads including the arterial Delhi-Ambala highway, demanding a written assurance that the community will be given reservation in the state.

Meanwhile, one more casualty was reported at Safidon in Jind district late on Sunday. The deceased has been identified as Naveen Kumar, a resident of Safidon town. He had received major injuries in the clashes with security forces in the evening.
Pampore gunfight ends, three militants killled
Majid Jahangir

Srinagar, February 22
The nearly 48-hour-long encounter ended today as security forces gunned down all three highly trained foreign militants who were holed up inside a multi-storey government building on the outskirts of the city.

The militants, suspected to from the Lashkar-e-Toiba, were killed by special forces of the Army after an intense gunfight on the third floor of the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) building at Sempora, 15 km from here, on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

The General Officer Commanding of Victor Force, Maj Gen Arvind Dutta, said all three slain militants were foreigners. “They were foreign terrorists and we are yet to identify them,” said Maj Gen Arvind Dutta, General Officer Commanding of Victor Force.

“A lot of arms and war-like ammunition have been recovered from them. The process of sanitising the building is under way,” he said. With the killing of three militants, the death toll in the gunfight that erupted on Saturday afternoon reached nine.

Three para commandos, including Capt Pawan Kumar and Capt Tushar Mahajan, two CRPF men and a civilian were also killed in the gunfight. Over a dozen security men were injured in the gunfight, which was the first major attack in Srinagar and its outskirts in the past six years.

Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar said the police were trying to establish the identity of the militants. “We are ascertaining their identity,” he told The Tribune.

The Army said the militants were at an advantage and were watching the movement of security forces. “The huge building had 44 rooms, not counting smaller rooms and toilets, and an area of 10,000 square feet. The terrorists had a big opportunity to hide in the building,” Maj Gen Dutta said.

Sources said the final assault was launched this morning in the machine room of the building, where the militants were cornered by para commandos.

The Army had to take every inch of the building cautiously since Sunday evening after militants took shelter in it.  There was heavy exchange of fire intermittently till the gunfight ended.  The building caught fire during the gunfight and the flames later subsided.

There were protests in many areas of Pampore as people tried to march towards the encounter site. There were reports of clashes in the area, in which four persons received injuries.

The police said it would take time to sanitise the entire JKEDI building and they were ensuring that the militants had not laid any booby trap.

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