Two Army personnel dead and one injured in encounter

In an encounter on Thursday morning, two army personnel lost their life. A major and a jawan were killed in the firing by the militants in the Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir. 

According to a report by the Indian Express, another jawan who sustained injuries during the encounter was taken to Army’s 92 base hospital in a critical condition. 

The operation started after the Army got a tip off regarding the presence of militants in the village of south Kashmir. The cordon and search operation was started in the night. According to a statement issued in Srinagar, the militant outfit, Hizbul-Mujahideen has taken the responsibility of the firing in Shopian, reported The Hindu.

The two martyred and an injured Army personnel are identified as Major Kailash Pandey, Spoy Tanjin Chhutin and Sepoy Kripal Singh. 

Earlier this week, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Dujana (26), who was a Pakistani National and his local partner, Arif Ahmad Dar (17), were killed in an encounter in South Kashmir. They were believed to be behind different attacks in the valley. 



GST rolled-out in J&K, state finance minister addresses State Assembly

The Goods and Service Tax (GST) founds its way into the state of Jammu and Kashmir as the resolution was passed in the J&K Assembly on Wednesday evening. Despite strong criticism from the opposition parties such as Congress and Jammu and Kasmir National Conference, J&K finance minister Haseeb Drabu came out strong and assured that GST will end the hike on daily essentials but will not pose a threat to the ambit of Article 370 which ensures special powers for the state and the government.
Drabu also added that under no circumstances the State Government will amend the Section 5 of the J&K Constitution that ensures special taxation power, but the growing concern about declining trade in the state due to the non-implementation GST had affected livelihood.
While the country experienced the biggest Tax reform since independence, J&K propelled towards uncertainty and financial exasperation. Producing facts to the decline in trade, Drabu also said that state revenue dropped from Rs 82 crores on July 4 last year to Rs 40 crores yesterday. This was an indication of low trade in the state, thus, it was a necessity to bring GST to the people.
Assuring the extent of Article 370 and Section-5, Drabu stated: “if the GST overwrites Article 370 (of the Indian constitution) or section 5 (of the J-K constitution) I will not come back to this House”.
Sources: Livemint and Business line

Amarnath Yatra 2017 commences with tightened security

The annual Amarnath Yatra in Jammu and Kashmir commenced on June 28, 2017, with tight security wrapped around it amidst reports of a possible terror attack. Out of the 2.12 lac registered participants, the first batch of 2280 pilgrims left from Bhagvati Nagar Yatri Niwas in the morning. The group constituted of 1,811 males, 442 females and 47 holy men. They left for the Himalayan cave shrine located in Anantnag in 72 vehicles at around 5:30 am.

The pilgrim convoy was escorted by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) vehicles, as informed by a police official. Special Director General of CRPF, SN Shrivastava, visited the base camp and reviewed the elaborate security arrangements that have been put into place for an incident-free Yatra.

Intelligence intercepted sensitive information and officials were warned that militants would target 100 policemen and pilgrims. A leaked letter by Inspector General of Police went viral on social media, that revealed “terrorists have been directed to eliminate 100 to 150 pilgrims and about 100 police officers and officials”, Kashmir Zone’s IGP Muneer Khan, mentioned in a letter that was sent to the Army, CRPF and range DIGs in the state.

This year’s Yatra has been cut short by eight days and will now be 40 days long, and will conclude on August 7, 2017. Approximately 2.12 lakh yatris have registered for the pilgrimage in the legendary Hindu cave that is located nearly 14,000 feet above the sea level.

Apart from beefing up the security, the residential accommodation, mess facilities and an adequate number of medical officers have also been put in place for pilgrims arriving from different parts of the country.


Sources: NDTV, Firstpost

Senior police officer found dead out a mosque in Srinagar

A senior officer was lynched to death in Srinagar on the night of June 22, as officials confirmed the report the following day. The victim Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ayub Pandith was found dead outside the Jamia Masjid in the old area of Nowhatta. Ayub hailed from Khanyar. This happened after he allegedly opened fire at a group of people who caught him clicking pictures near a mosque.

ANI has reported that around midnight, the deceased was making a video of stone pelting by locals, and while objecting to it, the mobs attacked him. In his defense, the cop used his service pistol in self-defence, leading to a more chaotic situation. Shockingly, the incident took place during the holiest night of the Muslim calendar, known as the ‘Shab-e-Qadr’. A curfew was imposed in the area shortly after the attack as police rushed to ensure normalcy.

Jammu and Kashmir police in a statement said, “Another police officer sacrificed his life in the line of duty. DySP Mohammed Ayub Pandith of Security attacked and beaten to death by a mob at Nowhatta last night.”

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed her grief over the incident. “What could be more shameful than this episode…He (Pandith) was there to protect the life of the people. Police are exercising maximum restraint, people must understand,” Mehbooba said.

The leader of the opposition and former J&K Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad called this incident shameful. “The way the DSP was lynched to death was so shameful. Killing a person in the holy month of Ramzan is condemnable. Such a thing is against both Islam and humanity,” Azad said.

Sources: Times Of India and Asian Age

Work to resume on Shahpur Kandi Dam, with Punjab and J&K on board

Ahead of the annual meeting of Indus Water Commission with Pakistan at Lahore, the Centre has persuaded Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) governments to work together on the stalled Shahpur Kandi Dam. The 55.5 metre high hydroelectricity project, located in Gurdaspur district of Punjab was taken up in May 1999 but halted in 2014 due to dispute of design between Punjab and J&K. The two states have ironed out their differences with Punjab’s irrigation secretary K.S.Pannu and his J&K counterpart Saurabh Bhagat signed a pact in front of Union water resources secretary Amarjit Singh in New Delhi.

Post the Uri terror attack last year, India had refused to engage in dialogue with Pakistan through the Indus Water Commission. The Commission is a mechanism to address any dispute over sharing of waters of the Indus river system. The Permanent Indus Commission which has members from both India and Pakistan is expected to meet in Lahore, later this month.

Aside from generating 206 MW of power, the dam is expected to aid in irrigation of 5000 hectares of land in Punjab and 32,173 hectares in J&K. As a part of the Indus Water treaty signed in 1960, India intends to use Indus basin river waters – the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab in the west and Sutlej, Beas and Ravi in the east.

Sources: The Telegraph, TOI

Uri attack shudders the nation

As a strategic and calibrated response to Sunday’s terror attack in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided that Pakistan be isolated diplomatically at every international forum. In fact, at a meeting that was also attended by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Modi urged that the Uri attack be raised at the United Nations General Assembly, which is in session in New York.

The army camp in Jammu and Kashmir’s Uri district was attacked by four Pakistani terrorists in the wee hours of September 18, 2016. In what ensued to be a three-hour-long gun-battle at 12th Brigade at Uri, 17 soldiers lost their lives while the four terrorists were also killed. The terrorists allegedly belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed. Another soldier succumbed to his injuries and died later, raising the toll to 18. The bodies of the soldiers who lost their lives in the combat are being flown to their home town today. Further, on the afternoon of September 20, there were multiple ceasefire violations across the border when Pakistani troops resorted to unprovoked firing using small arms towards Indian positions at the Uri camp.

Intelligence sources have confirmed the origin of these terrorists to be Pakistan after thorough investigation of their belongings. Apart from weapons and food with Pakistani markings seized from the terrorists, GPS trackers that they carried showed they had started from Pakistan. Although Pakistan has denied all links, the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Lt General Ranbir Singh is ready to hand over concrete evidence to his counterpart in Pakistan.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has sent a team to Uri so as to investigate the attack. The Army is also thoroughly probing how the terrorists breached a three-layered, counter-infiltration grid to cross the border and also how they managed to infiltrate the army base at Uri.  It seems that the attack happened during a change of command at the base between two regiments – 6 Bihar and 10 Dogra.

The attack is being strongly condemned by the entire nation and elsewhere.


Sources: NDTV


Four terrorists killed near LoC, one captured

Four terrorists were killed and in an encounter by the Border Security Force (BSF) near the Line of Control in the Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir, on Monday. Additionally, the forces also managed to capture one terrorist, who was found to be a Pakistani citizen. The four killed terrorists were also found to be foreign nationals.

The arrest has been lauded by Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, who called it a big achievement on the part of the Indian army. “Catching a terrorist alive is a big success as it brings in open the game plan of Pakistan”, he told The Indian Express. Vital information is expected from the arrested terrorist. The troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir has been in the news lately over the recent period of renewed unrest.

According to India Today, the forces had exchanged fire for a while in an effort to flush out any remaining terrorists in the region. This encounter comes barely a month after he deadly Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant ambush in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district that killed eight CRPF jawans and injured 20 others.