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Thursday, 14 April 2016

From Today's Papers - 14 Apr 2016

Secretive North Korea lifts veil on arms programme
Seoul/Washington, April 13
Ahead of a rare ruling party Congress next month, secretive North Korea is revealing details of its weapons development programme for the first time, showcasing its push to develop long-range nuclear missiles despite international sanctions.

Until recently, information on the North's weapons programme was hard to come by, with foreign governments and experts relying on satellite imagery, tiny samples of atomic particles collected after nuclear tests and mangled parts and materials recovered from long-range rocket launches.

No longer. In just over a month, the North has published articles with technicolour photographic detail on a range of tests and other activities that point to fast-paced efforts to build a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The reason for the revelations, many analysts say, is that Pyongyang believes convincing the world, and its own people, of its nuclear prowess is as important as the prowess itself. Nevertheless, isolated North Korea's true capabilities and intentions remain unknown.

In its latest revelations, North Korean state media reported on Saturday that the country had carried out a successful test of a new ICBM engine. Pictures showed what experts said were the engines of two Soviet-designed R-27 missiles clustered together, ejecting two exhaust plumes.

The claims indicate the North has no intention of slowing down, despite last month's United Nations sanctions and stern warnings from Washington and elsewhere. — Reuters
Major from Jhajjar killed in Manipur
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, April 13
Major Amit Deswal of the Army's 21 Special Forces was killed today in an encounter with Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF) militants in Manipur.

He belonged to Jhajjar district of Haryana. Army officials said during a combined operation by the Rashtriya Rifles and Special Forces personnel in Tamenglong district of the Northeastern state, a ZUF militant was killed this morning.

Thereafter, in a second encounter in the evening, Major Deswal suffered gunshot wounds. He was evacuated but succumbed to his injuries later.
Handwara victim wasn’t molested: Army
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 13
The Army today released a video of the girl who is at the centre of the controversy involving the alleged molestation bid by an Army man in Handwara town which triggered violent protests on Tuesday.

“In the video, the girl is seen speaking to local mediapersons. The Army has verified the authenticity of the video and identity of the girl. The video is being released after obscuring the face to protect the identity of the girl keeping in view the sensitivities involved,” Srinagar-based defence spokesman Col NN Joshi said in the statement, which accompanied the video.

“(In the video) the girl says that she went to the nearby washroom along with her friend and suddenly a youth appeared before her and took her bag away. As per her statement in the video, the boy resisted her to come to a nearby police station. In the meanwhile, the other youth shouted slogans and instigated violence,” Col Joshi said in the statement.

Col Joshi said the video “clearly” shows that the Army was “not involved” in any molestation.

However, before the video was officially circulated by the Army, it had already been circulated on social media sites across Kashmir on Tuesday evening, just hours after the killing of two youths in Handwara.

The police said they were looking into the authenticity of the video. “We don’t know where the video was shot, but we are looking into it,” said Deputy Inspector General of Police, north Kashmir, Uttam Chand.

“We have our own agencies and after verification we found the video genuine and released it,” Col Joshi said.

Mehbooba meets Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi, seeks time-bound inquiry

Jammu: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi on Wednesday morning and called for a time-bound inquiry into the firing incident in Handwara on Tuesday, which led to the killing of four civilians, including a woman. Describing the incident as “unfortunate”, the Chief Minister said the persons responsible for the deaths should be given exemplary punishment. She said it would act as a deterrent against such incidents in future. Mehbooba said such incidents shook the confidence of people and had an adverse impact on efforts of the state government to consolidate peace dividend. She said the loss of innocent civilian lives could not be compensated by whatsoever means. She urged the Defence Minister to announce adequate compensation to the families of the victims who had suffered an irreparable loss. The Defence Minister assured the Chief Minister of a detailed time-bound probe to fix responsibility for the firing incident in Handwara. — TNS
2 more die, Valley simmers
Police official suspended for ‘firing’ at protesters in Handwara
Majid Jahangir &Amin Masoodi

Tribune News Service

Srinagar/Kupwara, April 13
A youth was killed in Kupwara’s Drugmulla village while a woman, injured in the Handwara firing, succumbed to bullet injuries today, taking the death toll in the ongoing protests against the alleged molestation of a schoolgirl in Handwara to four. The authorities have suspended an ASI for the incident.

The Army today released a video of the girl in which she  denied being molested and blamed a local youth for inciting violence.

While 56-year-old woman Raja Begum succumbed to her bullet injuries this morning, 24-year-old Jahangir Ahmad Wani died after being hit by a tear gas canister during fresh clashes at Drugmulla village of Kupwara,15 km from Handwara. Raja was hit in the head by a “stray” bullet at Langate while she was in her kitchen garden, 2.5 km from the site of the clashes.

Clashes continued in Handwara and the neighbouring villages despite a curfew in the area. All routes leading to Handwara were sealed. Protesters attacked two police posts in Kupwara. At least 110 policemen and  two CRPF men were injured, a police spokesperson said.

The Valley observed a complete shutdown today.

Trouble started in Handwara on Tuesday afternoon when residents, alleging “molestation” bid by a soldier, tried to set an Army bunker on fire. The forces retaliated and two persons, including a budding cricketer, were wounded. They died later.

The police have registered cases and started a probe. The Army, expressing regret over the Handwara killings, has ordered an inquiry too.

The locals, who met  district officials today, alleged that it were the police that had opened fire at the protesters while they were marching towards the Army bunker.

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