Srinagar-Jammu highway closed for fifth consecutive day

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Shahid Wani:-

The strategic Srinagar-Jammu national highway remained closed for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday as authorities said snow and landslide clearance is still going on the road.

“Heavy snow accumulation in Bannihal and landslides in Panthal and some other places in Ramban sector have forced closure of the highway,” a traffic department official said.

“Snow and landslide clearance is in progress and once the road is traffic worthy, we will allow only those vehicles which are stranded at various locations on the highway.

“No movement of traffic will be allowed from Jammu or Srinagar on the highway on Sunday to ensure the safety of passengers and vehicles,” the official said.

The closure of the highway, which is the lifeline of essential supplies to the landlocked Kashmir Valley, has caused shortage of vegetables, mutton etc.

Authorities assert enough supplies of petroleum products including cooking gas were available in the valley, but people in many areas have been complaining of shortages.

Air traffic into the valley was restored after four days on Saturday, but all flights scheduled for the afternoon were cancelled due to bad weather

Protesters clash with Police in Jammu

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Shahid Wani:-

Jammu and Kashmir police used batons and tear smoke shells to disperse people agitating for reservations.The scheduled caste and scheduled tribe communities took out a protest march in Jammu to press for reservations.

As the protesters demanded that some officials from the government must meet them to address their demands, police erected barricades to stop their march near Indira Chowk.

The protesters brought down the barricades after which the police used batons and tear smoke shells.

5 ex-Ministers among 23 public functionaries in dock before SAC

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Twenty three public functionaries including five ex-Ministers have been facing proceedings before the Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission while as 267 cases involving 724 public servants have been registered with the State Vigilance Organization (SVO) during the past four years thereby establishing that corrupt practices were still at an alarming level in different organs of the Government.
However, the Government has neither established first ever Law Commission nor infused new lease of life in State Information Commission despite numerous statements and announcements in this regard on various forums including State Legislature.
“Seventeen cases are pending disposal in the State Accountability Commission against public functionaries-MLAs and Ministers, which are at the state of preliminary scrutiny”, said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is also Minister Incharge General Administration Department while responding to the question of BJP MLA from Kathua, Rajeev Jasrotia in the Legislative Assembly today.
She, however, expressed inability to disclose the details in the light of the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Act, 2002.
“Besides, this, there are six complaints in which regular inquiry against some former Ministers is going on”, the Chief Minister said, adding “in one of these complaints regular inquiry against former Minister for Health and Medical Education, who was also Chairman of J&K Khadi and Village Industries Board, was pending before the Commission. However, after his demise the proceedings were closed while as case is still pending against other respondents who are Government servants”.
She further disclosed that five complaints are pending disposal against former Ministers namely Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, the then Minister for Rural Development, Dr Manohar Lal Sharma, former Minister for Cooperative, Suman Lata Bhagat, former Minister for Health and Medical Education, A G Sofi, former Minister of State for Health and Medical Education and Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan.
“In respect of three of these complaints, notices have been issued to the respondents for filing their objections regarding recommencement/revival of the cases in view of the orders of the High Court while as in respect of remaining one complaint the exercise related to the evidence is going on”, Mehbooba Mufti said.
She further informed that 74 cases have been disposed-off by the Commission against MLAs/Ministers, which were at the stage of preliminary scrutiny and seven cases have been disposed-off after regular inquiry.
About the steps initiated to make appointment of new Chief Information Commissioner and two Information Commissi-oners, Chief Minister said, “these appointments, which are to be made by the Governor on the recommendations of a High Level Committee as envisaged under J&K Right to Information Act, 2009, are under active consideration of the Government”, adding “similarly, establishment of Law Commission is under active consideration of the Government”.
She, however, didn’t specify the time-frame for infusing new lease of life in Information Commission and establishment of Law Commission.
The announcement about Law Commission was made by four Law Ministers during the past several years on the floor of the State Legislature but the same has yet not been translated into reality till date thereby establishment that in J&K ‘active consideration’ means delaying or dumping the matter for unspecified period.
It is worthwhile to mention here that announcement regarding establishment of Law Commission of J&K was first made in the Legislative Assembly during the Budget Session held in March 2013 by the then Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. This was reiterated by the then Law Minister Mir Saifullah in the 4th meeting of the Advisory Council of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms at Union Capital on June 24, 2013.
During the Budget Session of 2014, it was announced by the then Government that establishment of Law Commission was under ‘active consideration’ and very shortly the State would get first ever Law Commission. Even during last Budget Session held at Srinagar in the month of June last year, it was announced that Government was contemplating to establish Law Commission and same stereotype reply was furnished by the Chief Minister in the Assembly.
The non-serious approach of the Government towards establishment of Law Commission is notwithstanding the fact that this would not only help in repealing of outdated laws but also help the State in carrying out necessary amendments in various laws in order to make them relevant in the context of present day needs and requirements.
As far as State Information Commission is concerned, the Government was aware of the fact that first ever CIC and ICs would complete their tenure one after another within a span of one year but no timely step was initiated to prevent this vital Commission, commonly known as transparency watchdog, to become completely defunct.
According to the official figures, 108 cases (73 appeals and 35 complaints) are pending disposal before the State Information Commission till date and unless new Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioners are appointed these cases will continue to gather dust in the office of Information Commission.
About the status of cases registered in the State Vigilance Organization, the Chief Minister informed the House that 267 cases were registered against 724 Government servants including Gazetted Officers, ex-Ministers and Legislators during past four years.
Of these, 106 cases involving 247 Government servants were sent to the Government for accord of sanction for prosecution during last four years. Against all the cases referred to it, the Government accorded prosecution sanction in 151 cases involving 220 Government servants.
Similarly, State Vigilance Organization presented challan in 92 cases involving 218 Government servants before the anti-corruption courts and courts convicted 37 corrupt Government servants while deciding 30 corruption cases, the Chief Minister informed the Legislative Assembly

Govt to regularize illegal colonies, constructions up to Dec 2016

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SHAHID WANI;;;

The Government has decided to regularize unauthorized colonies and constructions in Jammu and Kashmir till December 2016 and release Jammu Master Plan 2032 by March 2017 after approval by the State Cabinet. A bill in this regard has been drafted by Housing and Urban Development Ministry and is being submitted to the Cabinet for approval.
Official sources told that the Housing and Urban Development Depart-ment of the Government proposed to regularize all unauthorized colonies and constructions up to December 2016 through an amendment in the Act, which was likely to be introduced in the Legislature during ongoing budget session after approval by the Cabinet.
“The Department proposed to demolish all unauthorized constructions raised after December 2016,” sources said.
They added that Jammu Master Plan 2032 has also been finalized by the Housing and Urban Development Department after putting it in public domain, receiving suggestions and objections and duly incorporating them in the New Plan.
The Master Plan now would be published in March this year.
“Jammu has a planning legacy which dated back to early 1970s when the first Master Plan was prepared in 1974. It was remodeled to meet changing needs and aspirations of City Planning in 1994. Due to large migration from the Kashmir valley in 1990, the City’s scenario changed drastically. The Master Plan hence was remodeled to meet the changing needs and aspirations of the City in 1994. During past few years, rush to Mata Vaishno Devi Ji and Amarnath Ji cave shrines has also increased drastically,” sources said, adding that the Master Plan of Jammu 2021 was prepared in 2004.
In view of this, sources said, a detailed review of the Master Plan Jammu-2021 has been carried out to find out a way forward for conceiving the Revised Master Plan of Jammu 2032.
Sources said the Draft Master Plan was presented to Governor NN Vohra for extension of Local Area Limits and inclusion of additional 103 villages in Local Planning Area (LPA).
They added that revised Master Plan 2031 was placed in public domain for inviting objections and suggestions from the general public. The Board, which incorporated suggestions and objections from the public, comprised Commissioner/ Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Ministry as Chairman, Deputy Commiss-ioner, Jammu, Vice Chairman, Jammu Development Authority and Commissioner, Jammu Municipal Corporation, Jammu as members.
Sources pointed out that a presentation on Draft Master Plan was given to Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta, all MLAs and other stakeholders. The suggestions made by the Speaker and the MLAs were considered before finalization of the Draft Jammu Master Plan- 2032.
“On the directions of Governor NN Vohra, the Draft Master Plan-2032 was also submitted to Town and Country Planning, New Delhi under Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India, for evaluation. They gave 25 suggestions/ objections. After considering the sustainable objections/ suggestions, they have been incorporated in the Draft Master Plan,” sources said.
They added that the Master Plan now will be put before the Cabinet for approval before its implementation.
The Housing and Urban Development Department has also sought change of land use under Master Plan of Srinagar City for establishment of Government Degree College for Women at Batpora, Srinagar.
The State Cabinet has approved establishment of New Women Degree College, Srinagar under Phase-II of Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP). The college is functioning in makeshift accommodation since the year 2008 from the premises of Amar Singh College, Srinagar.
“The Custodian land measuring 54 kanals and 13 marlas has been approved for construction of the College at Batpora Zakura in Srinagar. While JKPCC Limited initiated construction activities, the officials of Lakes and Waterways Development Authority, Srinagar stopped construction activities for proper permission from the Competent Authority,” sources said, adding the Housing and Urban Development Department would seek the Government permission for setting up of the Degree College with relaxation of rules only for the College construction at the LAWDA land.

Clerics, Masjid committees ‘used’ to quell 2016 uprising, says Government

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Shahid Wani;;;;

The Jammu and Kashmir government has said it used the “services” of religious leaders, mosque committees and extra security forces to quell the 2016 uprising in Kashmir.

In a written reply, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti informed the Legislative Assembly that her government proactively engaged religious leaders and Masjid committees to “help improve the situation” in the state.

Mehbooba, who is also the State’s Home Minister, said besides religious leaders and Masjid Committees, the civil administration “proactively engaged with members of civil society, prominent citizens and grassroots representatives to help improve the situation in Kashmir.”

She was responding to a question by National Conference legislator from Kangan Mian Altaf Ahmad about the steps taken to improve the prevailing situation in Kashmir.

Besides the services of religious leaders, the government deployed extra troops and imposed restrictions and suspended internet services to “tame the unrest”, the Chief Minister has stated.  

 “The government deployed extra troops, paramilitary forces and police, imposed strict curfew, suspended internet services temporarily, took lawful action against the people involved in law and order disturbances, including preventive detention,” she has said.

More than 90 civilians were killed and over 15,000 injured—many among them blinded, maimed and handicapped—during the five-month-long pro-freedom uprising triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8 last year. More 12,000 were arrested and detained and hundreds others slapped with the Public Safety Act.

The Chief Minister said the government also deployed additional troops on the Srinagar-Jammu highway for restoration of traffic. It also provided healthcare facilities to all the injured who reported or were brought to health institutions during the uprising, she claimed.

Asked whether delegations from New Delhi were vested with some mandate or authority regarding settlement of the long-pending Kashmir issue, she said the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Srinagar twice during the uprising and met a number of delegations from various shades of opinion. “Similarly, an All Party Delegation (APD) led by the Union Home Minister also visited Srinagar on September 4 and 5 last year,” she said

Parvez Rasool: From terror suspect to bagging spot in Indian cricket team – Kashmiri boy's incredible journey

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Shahid Wani;;;

BCCI selectors announced the squad for 3-match T20I series against England, giving Kashmiri boy Parvez Rasool an opportunity to earn his first T20I cap.

Rasool, who has represented India in just one ODI, has the experience of playing in IPL with teams like Pune Warriors India, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

The boy, who is playing a T20 International for India, first broke into the Jammu & Kashmir team as a 20-year-old in 2009 and had to bear the pressure of politically-stricken crisis early in his career.

Early Struggle

 As per a report in The Telegraph, during an U-22 competition against Karnataka, Rasool was detained by police outside the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore as they suspected him to be carrying explosives in his sports kitbag. The charge, however, was later removed after the police couldn’t find any concrete proof to justify their allegations despite hours of questioning and investigations. He was eventually cleared and released without any charge.

What hints at the mental strength of Rasool is the fact that he didn’t let the incident affect him and went on to score an impressive 69-run knock in their CK Nayadu Trophy game against home side Karnataka. In the 2012-13 season, Rasool was J&K’s top scorer and wicket-taker. He bagged as many as 594 runs at an average of 54 along with taking 33 wickets.

The very next Ranji season, Rasool emphatically scored 663 runs, including two centuries and three fifties, at an average of 51. He also converted his form with the bat in terms of bowling too, bagging 27 wickets with two five-wicket hauls.

He, hence was deservedly named the best all-rounder in Indian domestic cricket.

He was then called up to the Indian A team, where he produced credible performances against teams like West Indies, South Africa and Australia. Subsequently, he made his IPL debut for now defunct Pune Warriors and claimed the wicket of none other than Jacques Kallis in the 2013 edition.

In IPL 2014, he played just two matches but took the prized wicket of Yuvraj Singh.

India Debut

Rasool was also picked for India’s senior ODI team for Zimbabwe tour where a young Virat Kohli led the team to 5-0 series triumph. But Rasool didn’t get an opportunity to play. His patience worked and finally under the captaincy of Suresh Raina, he made his India debut against Bangladesh on June 15, 2014.

J&K Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti also congratulated Parvez Rasool after he was selected to the Indian T20I squad. In a message to the tweaker, she said it was a moment of joy for the state that one of its sons was included in the Indian cricket team.

She said the youth in the state was bestowed with abundant talent and it was a question of providing them an opportunity to showcase it.

Nowadays, the 27-year-old is seen sharing dressing room with MS Dhoni and Kohli under the guidance of India’s legendary spinner Anil Kumble

 

Jammu and Kashmir avalanche: Three soldiers rescued, two still trapped under snow

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SHAHID WANI;;;

An avalanche hit an Army post near the Line of Control in J&K on Saturday.

According to the J&K Police, the Army post caved in under snow in Machil sector of Kupwara district, trapping five soldiers.

Three out of the five soldiers of 56 Rashtriya Rifles (RR)  have been rescued and the search for the remaining was on, police said.

The RR party was on routine counter-insurgency duties when the mishap

The bodies of four more Indian Army soldiers were recovered on Friday from under the debris of another avalanche in Gurez sector on the LoC, raising the deaths in the tragedy to 14.

At least 10 soldiers were killed and four others were reported missing after two avalanches hit an Army post and an Army patrol in Jammu and Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Wednesday and Thursday

Notably, the divisional administration had issued the high avalanche warning for today for hilly areas in Baramulla, Kupwara, Kulgam, Ganderbal, Shopian, Anantnag, Leh and Kargil districts, advising people living there not to venture out of their homes till the warnings were withdrawn.

District magistrates of the districts were asked to supervise all relief and rescue operations in avalanche-prone areas

The 40-day long period of harsh winter called the ‘Chillai Kalan’ that started on December 21 will end on January 30.

No empanelment of IAS officers without Property Returns

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Shahid Wani;;;;

The Department of Personnel and Trainings (DoPT), Government of India has fixed January 31 as deadline for filing of Property Returns for all IAS officers of Jammu and Kashmir and rejected the misinterpretation of the order that they didn’t need to file the return this year.
“The IAS officers not filing the Property Returns would face problems at the time of empanelment and promotions. The filing of Property Returns is mandatory. A wrong message has gone that the IAS officers from J&K were not required to file Property Returns this year,” Union Minister in Prime Minister’s Office and DoPT, Dr Jitendra Singh said.
Dr Singh said the DoPT Ministry was engaged in drafting single form for all IAS officers/Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and others, who were required to fill Property Returns. As the form was under process of drafting, it has been misinterpreted that the officers need not to file Property Returns for the year 2016 by January 31, 2017, he said, adding the DoPT has directed all the officers to duly file their Property Returns on the old prescribe forms, which will be accepted till the new form under the Lok Pal Act is introduced.
Dr Singh said till the new form is introduced by the DoPT, the IAS officers were free to use the old prescribed form to file their Property Returns. Similarly, he added, the NGOs can file their Income Tax returns in the old format.
The Union Minister made it clear that the IAS officers had to file Property Returns as per Regular Recruit Rules on the old prescribed form by January 31 and any default on this account could create trouble for them at the time of empanelment to different ranks.
Even if a single year’s Property Return is missing, the officer will be in trouble at the time of empanelment,” he said making it clear that they have been given relaxation for filing Property Returns only from new form under the Lok Pal Act, which was still being drafted by the DoPT Ministry.
After amendments in the Lok Pal Act, a single form was prepared for filing of Property Returns by the IAS officers, NGOs and others. However, the NGOs sought certain amendments in the form as those on the Board of NGOs were also required to file the Property Returns.
“In view of NGOs’ plea, the form is now being revised and would be out after some time. Till then, we have directed all IAS officers and NGOs to go ahead with filing of their Returns on the forms, they were already using in the past,” the DoPT Minister said.
Meanwhile, the Members of Parliament (MPs) and MLAs would also continue to file their Property Returns under Public Representative Act till the new form is drafted and adopted by the DoPT Ministry.
Official sources said that some of the IAS officers haven’t been filing Property Returns.
“Their empanelment at the national level would be blocked even if the Property Return of one year is missing. Property Returns of all the years is mandatory for empanelment of the IAS officers,” they added.

Land-slides, fresh snowfall block NH, Doda-Kishtwar road

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Shahid Wani;;;

Heavy rain across the region for the last two days has thrown normal life out of gear while fresh snowfall at many places and landslides in Ramban, Banihal and Doda areas , has resulted into closure of Jammu-Srinagar National Highway and Jammu-Batote-Doda-Kishtwar road for the second consecutive day today.
Due to inclement weather and snowfall in Kashmir no flight from Jammu airport could be operated for Srinagar today while Helicopter service from Katra base camp to Mata Vaishnodevi shrine also remained suspended throughout the day. The pilgrimage to the Holy Shrine, however, continued despite rain and light snowfall at higher reaches of Trikuta Hills of Mata Vaishnodevi.
During the broad day today, a night like scene was witnessed in Jammu city after thick black clouds hovered over the city of temples, followed by heavy rain. The vehicles with full head lights on, were seen plying on the city roads. It continued for several hours. The attendance in the offices and schools- colleges was also thin today and most of the people preferred to stay inside their houses as the heavy rain and cold wave restricted their movement.
IGP Traffic, S A Watali told that Jammu-Srinagar National Highway continued to remain closed after Tuesday afternoon. He said continuous rain since yesterday has resulted into massive land slides in Ramban and Banihal areas, forcing closure of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Watali said the land slides took place at Hingni, Seri, Nachlana, Mehar, Shalgarhi, Panthial and Battery Chashma area between Ramban-Ramsu and Banihal. The fresh snowfall over night at Jawahar Tunnel and Patnitop also blocked the highway.
Watali said, ” On Tuesday we cleared about 3000 stranded vehicles including all the passenger vehicles and even the Jammu bound goods carriers stopped across Tunnel. But after fresh snowfall at Jawahar Tunnel and land slides at many places, the highway was closed. At present there are about 200 to 300 Jammu bound vehicles at Lower Munda or Qazigund. All the stranded vehicles between Banihal and Udhampur have been cleared, ” Watali maintained.
The IGP (T) further disclosed that today from Jammu or Udhampur side no movement of vehicles was allowed for Kashmir, Doda, Ramban, Bhaderwah or Kishtwar. From Kashmir side also, movement of vehicles has been stalled. In Patnitop area, the road is slippery after fresh snowfall and the movement was restricted. There is no scope of road clearance by tomorrow morning as well. He disclosed that at present nearly 4000 Kashmir bound vehicles mostly load carriers have been stranded at Nagrota Bypass in Jammu, Udhampur-Dhar Road and Manwal besides , Dyala Chak-Chhallan Road. The weatherman has predicted heavy rain even tomorrow and highway is likely to remain closed tomorrow, Watali added.
A senior Police officer from Jammu Airport said that all the flights between Jammu-Delhi operated normally but all the flights to Srinagar and from Srinagar to Jammu were cancelled due to inclement weather and snowfall in Kashmir. He said the chopper service at Katra Mata Vaishnodevi also remained suspended.
A MeT spokesman said that Jammu recorded a maximum temperature of 15.2 degree Celsius and minimum 12.8 degree C today. The Holy town of Katra recorded maximum 14.8 degree C and minimum 9.9 degree C temperature; Bhaderwah maximum 3.3 degree C and minimum 1.2 degree C; Batote maximum 5.2 degree C and minimum 3.4 degree C , whereas Banihal town recorded maximum 2.6 degree C and minimum 0.7 degree C temperature.
He further disclosed that Jammu experienced 24.0 mm rainfall, Srinagar 9.8 mm, Pahalgam, 37.4 mm and Gulmarg 32.2 mm rainfall till 5 pm today. Bhaderwah and Patnitop witnessed 2 to 4 inch snowfall by this evening. Jawahar Tunnel area witnessed 12 to 14 inch snowfall and it was still snowing in these areas. The weatherman has predicted moderate to heavy rain with fresh snowfall at isolated places across the region in next 24 hours.
Meanwhile, reports from Doda-Bhaderwah and Kishtwar said that most of the link roads were closed due to land slides at many places while Doda-Bhaderwah road was operational till this afternoon. Dudu-Basantgarh and Majori in Udhampur; Mahore-Gool and Mahore- Gulabgarh and Mahore- Budhal roads in Reasi were also closed due to landslides and fresh snowfall at the higher reaches. Bani-Loang- Sarthal and Machhedi roads in district Kathua have also blocked. The power supply to many areas of this belt has been snapped.
Reports from Poonch and Rajouri revealed that fresh snowfall has taken place at the higher reaches since last night and Mandi-Loran and Mandi- Saujian besides Thannamandi-Deragali-Bafliaz roads have been closed. In Deragali area there was heavy snow and this pass has remained blocked for the last about two weeks now. Reports also revealed that power supply to many areas has been badly hit due to continuous rain and snowfall since yesterday.
A police spokesman said that due to rain, the Kucha house of one Mohd Qadeer, son of Mohd Sharief was collapsed at village Kattarmal in Manjakote tehsil of district Rajouri today. Two women in the house were injured and were removed to district hospital, Rajouri. They are identified as Wazira Begum -55 yrs, wife of Mohd Sharief and Shamim Akhtar (35), wife of Mohd Kadeer.
Another house of one Sewa Ram, son of Puran Chand, resident of Gangna Tagood in Kishtwar was collapsed due to heavy rain today. No loss of human life or injury to any family member was reported

Shocker: Rs 35,000 airfare from Srinagar-Delhi; Rs 12,000 Delhi-Dubai

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Shahid Wani;;;;

With the airfares from Srinagar to various destinations going sky-high, fliers including students and patients intending to travel outside the Valley feel themselves at the receiving end. 

Ovais Henroo, an aggrieved passenger in an email to Greater Kashmir expressed shock over the steep hike in the airfare.  “There has been a scare of sorts among the fliers as a particular airline has priced Srinagar- Delhi fare at Rs 90,000 which is sending fliers into a tizzy. The airfares are skyrocketing and something needs to be done,” Henroo wrote. 

The Srinagar-Jammu airfare, as was reflected by various travel portals, touched as high as Rs 35,000 per passenger on Thursday. Ironically, the Delhi-Dubai airfare for the same day was just Rs 12,000. 

Airfares from Srinagar have been witnessing a sharp increase ever since Kashmir received season’s first snowfall on January 6. 

Pertinently, prior to January 6, Srinagar-Delhi airfare was between Rs 4000-Rs 5000 per passenger. “But the same fair has abruptly gone up by at least 200 to 300 per cent as soon road traffic movement on Srinagar-Jammu highway was hit by the inclement weather. It is open loot,” said a passenger.

 “The airfare for Srinagar-Delhi route for the coming weekend is between Rs 15,000-Rs 20,000, which is much higher than airfares which prevailed prior to January 6,” he said. 

However, an airline executive said the airfares are based on demand-supply factor. “Besides, the landing charges levied on airlines by the Indian Air Force and other taxes charged by the state government add to the increase in the airfares, he said. 

“Almost Rs 11,000 is charged per landing by the Air Force for every Boeing flight while there are also state taxes charged to the airlines,” he said. 

However, drawing a comparison between Srinagar-Delhi and Delhi-Mumbai sectors, the passengers said the latter though a longer duration flight remains priced in the bracket of Rs 4000-Rs 5000 for most of the year, while the former, just a 1.10 hour journey, remains volatile.

President, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), Mushtaq Wani said he has recently written to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti regarding the exorbitant hike. “We informed the CM that locals are facing the brunt of high airfares and we had also raised the issue before State Consumer Protection Council prior to the unrest and even contacted DGCA but to no avail,” Wani said.  

“Despite writing to CEOs of various private airlines suggesting there should be a ceiling on the airfares, KCCI is yet to receive a response from them,” Wani added. 

“The high airfares are a major setback to winter tourism in Kashmir,” Wani said.  

He said the state government in the last budget had promised to launch chartered flights during winter months and peak summer season in order to cater to the rush of the tourists, “but not much has moved forward”. 

“Such is the audacity of these airlines, that none of them has responded to our letters as they are least bothered. If they claim an increase in rush, they should increase number of flights,” Wani added.

Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali told Greater Kashmir that a meeting with union aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju will be held soon after the ongoing state assembly session to take up the issue of exorbitant airfares. 

“We have already taken up matter with union civil aviation minister and written them a letter. The problem of volatility in the airfares in this sector is a long pending problem. It even occurs during the peak tourist season and influences negatively the tourist inflow.

“The airlines are exploiting people by inflating airfares in this inclement weather which especially affects patients and the student community wishing to travel outside,” Zulfkar said. 

To mention, Jammu and Kashmir government had last week apprised the union Aviation Ministry of the “monopolistic” practices carried out by the airlines on airfares in Srinagar. 

National Conference had recently cornered government in the Legislative Assembly over its failure to curb skyrocketing airfares to Kashmir which are causing inconvenience to fliers.

Former speaker and Senior NC legislator Mubarak Gul had raised the issue of skyrocketing airfares while disrupting the Question Hour proceedings in the Lower House

Chilling Details of how crack team of Rashtriya Rifles killed Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani

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Shahid Wani;;;;

Three soldiers of Rashtriya Rifles unit were awarded Sena Medal for having gunned down militant commander Burhan Wani.

Names of the awardees

Major Sandeep Kumar, Captain Manik Sharma and Naik Arvind Singh Chauhan have been awarded Gallantry Award – Sena Medal 

Details of operation

As details of the July 8 operation last year emerge, it transpires that young Major Sandeep Kumar, who led the crack team following “actionable” intelligence input that Sartaj Aziz and two other militants were hiding in a house in Bumdoora village, showed nerves of steel and exemplary restraint in the face of extreme provocation in neutralising them.

The village, 18 km southeast of Anantnag, was cordoned off but the news of Army’s presence got leaked, making their task all the more daunting.

It was a long wait for Major Kumar, Captain Manik Sharma and Naik Arvind Singh Chauhan before they could lead their team in storming the house where the militants were holed up.

Protesting crowds began swelling by the minute, shouting slogans and pelting the Army contingent with stones.

Leading the assault team, Captain Sharma and two others even made an attempt to enter the house as Major Kumar stood behind them, ready to provide cover fire. However, they had to retreat amid heavy stone-pelting by the villagers.

“We were counting every minute and even planning to throw a cordon around the house as dusk approached fast and with it the milling, restive crowd carrying stones,” recalled a police officer who was in touch with the Army contingent from the district headquarters.

Major Kumar and his team made another attempt to storm the house and the militants opened a burst of gunfire.

Aziz made an unsuccessful attempt to escape, but was shot dead.

Time was running fast and two more militants, who were believed to be inside, were to be accounted for.

As violent protests grew more and more intense, Major Kumar sent for the local ‘Imam’ whose services were to be used to calm the villagers.

With light fading away fast, there were no signs of villagers’ aggression or numbers diminishing.

The valiant Major and his men then decided to storm the house but came under a hail of fire from two militants who attempted to escape.

Militant Pervaiz Ahmad Lashkari was seen firing. Lashkari was gunned down in retaliatory fire by the crack team, which also challenged the lone surviving militant. He too was soon seen on the floor, dead.

Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani

It was later discovered that the last militant killed was Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, the poster boy of resurgent militancy in the Kashmir valley who carried a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head.

A day later, the Kashmir valley was gripped by turmoil which lasted months and left a trail of destruction, claiming scores of lives and maiming many more. 

Noteworthy, Wani’s killing plunged the valley into a welter of violence that lasted for several months.

J&K avalanche: Death toll rises to 20, search and rescue ops conclude

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Shahid Wani;;;;

Srinagar: The death toll in two avalanches that hit Gurez and Sonmarg sectors of Kashmir valley reached to 20 on Friday after four more bodies of the soldiers were recovered from Gurez site

Out of the 20 dead, 5 who died in the tragedy were reportedly civilians.

Till today, the rescuers have recovered bodies of at least 11 soldiers from Gurez.

“Four bodies of soldiers were recovered from the avalanche site by rescue teams in Gurez today.

The death toll of army personnel has now risen to 14,” a police official said.

Meanwhile, the rescue operation being carried out by army personnel has concluded now.    

Two avalanches hit army personnel in Gurez sector on Wednesday evening trapping several soldiers under the debris.

While seven personnel were rescued alive by the teams, bodies of 10 soldiers were recovered yesterday.

Meanwhile, a 60-year-old man died after he came under an avalanche in Uri sector of Baramulla district.

Fateh Mohammad Mughal ventured out of his home last evening when he came under an avalanche.
Local residents and police pulled Mughal out of the avalanche debris and removed him to a nearby hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.

More than 20 persons, including 14 army personnel, have died in avalanches since Wednesday caused by fresh snowfall across Kashmir over the past four days.

Authorities have issued a high danger avalanche warning in hilly parts of snow-bound Kashmir Valley in view of fresh snowfall. 

Hadith Of The Day

**<<Panin Kasheer News>>**

Hadith of the day

*B

Shahid Wani Bureau-Chief J&K:-

Hudhaifah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: I performed Salat with the Prophet (PBUH) one night, and he started reciting Surat Al-Baqarah. I thought that he would go in Ruku` (bowing posture in Salat) at the end of one hundred Ayat, but he continued (reciting); and I thought that he would perhaps recite (this Surah) in the whole Rak`ah (prayer), but he continued the recitation; I thought he would perhaps bow on completing (this Surah). He (PBUH) then started reciting Surat An-Nisa’ which he followed with Surat Al-Imran. He recited leisurely. When he recited an Ayah which mentioned the tasbeeh, he would say Subhan Allah and when he recited the Ayah which tells how the Rubb is to be asked, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) would then ask from Him; and when he (PBUH) recited an Ayah asking one to seek Protection Allah, he would seek Protection of Allah. Then he bowed and said, “Subhana Rabbiyal-Azim (My Rubb the Great is free from imperfection)”; his bowing lasted about the same length of time as his standing, (and then on returning to the standing posture after Ruku`) he would say, “Sami’ Allahu liman hamidah, Rabbana lakal-hamd (Allah listens to him who praises Him. Praise be to You, Our Rubb!),” and he would then stand about the same length of time as he had spent in bowing. He would then prostrate himself and say, “Subhana Rabbiyal-A`la (My Rubb the Supreme is free from imperfection),” and his prostration lasted nearly the same length of time as his standing (Qiyam). [Muslim].

Sub-standard antibiotics supplied

antibiotics

Shahid Wani;;;;

The antibiotics procured through Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) and supplied to Government hospitals in the State last year have been found sub-standard.
The Amoxicillin Capsules and Ceftriazone Injection, procured by JKMSCL from a Himachal based Pharmaceutical Company last year has been withdrawn from Jammu province after the laboratory test report while in Kashmir and Ladakh regions the drugs are being given to the patients, thus risking their lives.
Controller of Stores, Provincial Medical Stores Jammu, Dr Kartar Chand, in a letter (COS/J/1497-1516 dated 24-01/2017 ) written to the Chief Medical Officers and Medical Superintendents’ of the Hospitals in Jammu province has asked them to stop use of the antibiotics, and withdraw it from the stores as it has been found substandard.
These drugs were procured from Himachal Pradesh based company by JKMSCL and were supplied to the hospitals and drug stores across the State last year. “The General Manager-J(Adm) Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Ltd. Jammu vide their No: JKMSCL/GM/Adm./2017/drug-Alert/08 M/S Theon Pharmaceuticals Vill. Saini Majra Tehsil Nalagarh Solan (HP) supplied through JKMSCL has been declared as Not of Standard Quality because of reasons indicated against each”, read the letter written by Dr Chand.
The Controller of Stores, Jammu, has asked for return of unconsumed stock of these drugs to the Drug Ware Houses where from it was issued to them. “You are therefore requested to impress upon all the Block Medical Officers/ Health Institutions under your jurisdiction to whom the below drugs with said batches have been issued from this Drug Warehouse or others to stop immediately its use and direct them return the unconsumed stocks in their respective Drug Warehouse from where issued”, read the letter.
“Sample of Amoxicillin Capsules I.P 500 mg with bath No. BC 160005 M/D 04/2016 E/D 12/2017 fails in Assay of Amoxicillin, Ceftriazone Injection I.P 1.g with bath No. CFXM 16031 M/D 04/2016 E/D 03/2018 fails in Particulate Matter & Clarity of solution, Ceftriazone Injection I.P 500 m with bath No. 16002 M/D 04/2016 E/D 03/2017 fails in particulate Matter & Clarity of solution”, the letter read.
These drugs have been already consumed in the State for last one year risking the lives of people. Despite the laboratory test report, no order has been issued yet for the withdrawal of these drugs from the hospitals and stores in Kashmir province and Ladakh region.
Medical Superintendent of a hospital in Kashmir, told that they have received no such order from the Department under which these drugs have been withdrawn. “We are giving them to patients since April last year”, he added.
Earlier last year, Metformin drug used for diabetic patients was also withdrawn from government hospitals and Medical stores for being substandard. Sources said that the drugs are being supplied to the Government hospitals without any quality control checks and by the time the laboratory reports of the samples about these drugs being sub-standard or spurious are received, they are already consumed.

Peace In Jammu And Kashmir Imperative For Indo-Pak Talks Resumption: Mehbooba Mufti

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Shahid Wani;;;;;;;

JAMMU:  Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today sought people’s support to her government in transforming Jammu and Kashmir saying peace in the state is imperative for dialogue and resumption of friendly ties with Pakistan.

“I appeal people to support my government in transforming Jammu & Kashmir. Peace in the state is imperative for dialogue and resumption of friendly ties between India and Pakistan,” she said.

In her Republic Day message to the people, she said, “It is a matter of satisfaction that Agenda of Alliance of the present government is being accepted unanimously as a viable roadmap to get Jammu & Kashmir out of its difficulties.” 

Mehbooba said with the execution of Rs 80,000 crore Prime Minister’s Developmental Package, the developmental profile of the state is set for a positive change.

She added that timely execution of the package would be a challenge for the administrative machinery but hoped engineers and planners would ensure their completion.

Terming youth as the biggest treasure of a society, Mehbooba asked them to use the benefits of democracy to let Jammu & Kashmir make up for the losses it has suffered on account of its history and geography.

 She said vote is the weapon in their hands with which they can change a system and make their own. “My government is with you in this effort,” she said, adding the “same Constitution has given our state a special status and the same Constitution holds key to the resolution of all other issues”.

The chief minister said youths of the state hold special promise and many of them have attained positions of acclaim at national and international levels.

“Be it academics or sports, administrative services or science, a healthy wave of displaying talent has kicked off,” she said hoping that these individual successes would lead to a situation where the young generation would be able to realise its dreams and materialise its goals.

She said the state budget session was advanced this year to ensure availability of funds by February so that developmental works could be taken up by April and there is no disruption in fund flow for these works.

Describing Jammu & Kashmir as a multi-cultural and multi- religious state, Mehbooba said the state legislature through a unanimous resolution recently amply conveyed the sentiments of the people of the state that they want all of those, majority of whom comprise Kashmiri Pandits, back to their homes who had to migrate due to the unfortunate events of 1990s.

“Whatever needs to be done by the government would be done but our civil society has a fundamental role in ensuring that Kashmir continues to remain an abode of mutual brotherhood, tolerance and communal amity for which it has been praised time and again.” 

Mehbooba said her government is working for empowering people at the grassroots. She said it has decided to hold elections to panchayats and urban local bodies so that people themselves are involved in many of the developmental initiatives aimed at their welfare.

She said with the launch of Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Food Entitlement Scheme,a path-breaking step has been taken to provide food-grains at minimum rates to every citizen of the state.

Education, she said, is witnessing fundamental changes and the government is working to remove the inherent deficiencies in the system and making it compatible with the global system.

Heavy snowfall damages two schools in Budgam

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SHAHID WANI;;;;;;;

Two schools were damaged due to heavy snowfall in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Thursday, said an official.

The schools damaged are Government Middle School Shuplin and Government Primary School Dalwash of Khag Education zone, he said

Chief Education Officer Budgam, Inderjeet Sharma, said: “Rooftop of newly constructed Middle School building at Shuplin Khag has been damaged completely whereas its old building has developed cracks which might collapse anytime. Besides, rooftop of Primary School Dalwash has also been damaged due to heavy snowfall.”

Gallantry award for three Army Men for killing Burhan Wani

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SHAHID WANI;;;;;;;

Three army men were awarded Sena Medal on Thursday for killing young Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in Kokernag area of south Kashmir.

The July 8 killing of Burhan Wani sparked a six-month agitation in Kashmir in which over 90 civilians were killed, hundreds blinded and thousands injured. 

 Major Kumar, Captain Manik Sharma and Naik Arvind Singh Chauhan of Rashtriya Rifle were awarded Sena Medal for killing Burhan and two of his associates.

1618 Cr package rolled out by GoI for return of Kashmiri migrants: Basharat Bukhari

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SHAHID WANI;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

The Minister for Revenue, Relief, Disaster Management and Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Syed Basharat Ahmad Bukhari today informed the Legislative Council that in the year 2008-09 the Government of India sanctioned a package of Rs 1618.40 crore for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants.

The Minister was replying to a Calling Attention Notice moved by Firdous Ahmad Tak in the Upper House today. The Minister said the incentives available under the package include Rs 7.5 lakh for construction of house, construction of transit accommodation, 6000 Government jobs and 9000 additional jobs through establishing income generation units, one time grant for revival of Agriculture & Horticulture land, continuation of relief for 2 years, scholarship to school going children and waiver of interest.

 The Minister said that the State Government in 2009 created 3000 supernumerary posts in various departments for providing employment to the migrant youth willing to serve in Kashmir.

He said the Government of India has also conveyed the approval for creation of 3000 additional posts for Kashmiri Migrant youth with funding from GoI and the proposal is under consideration of the department for the submission to the Cabinet.

The Minister said in light of the directions of the Supreme Court of India, verification of the families who were affected due to militancy in Jammu province and migrated to safer places is being carried out to get the total figure of the said families.

 Jammu migrant families who were registered under relief category are entitled to cash assistance of Rs 2500 per soul/per month subject to the maximum limit of Rs 10000 per month, the Minister said adding that in addition to the cash assistance which is being provided to relief category migrants, free ration as per the scale of 9 kg Atta per soul, 2 Kg Rice per person per month, 1 Kg sugar per family per month and 10 liter Kerosene oil per family per month is also being provided to them.

Proposal for return and rehabilitation of migrant families of Jammu Province was submitted to the Government of India for an amount of Rs 91.56 crore for approval and is still awaited, the Minister said.

The Minister said 40-bed Hospital at Jagti township has since been made functional and the doctors and paramedical staff have been made available. Presently 12 doctors including 3 specialists are working in the hospital with the support of 37 paramedical staff, he added.

The Minister said the revised guidelines for effecting bifurcation to the Kashmiri Migrants under Relief and Non-Relief Category has been framed vide Government Order No: 72-R&R of 2016 dated: 30.11.2016.

Due to adoption of NFSA in the State, there was delay of three months for distribution of ration to the migrants which stands later disbursed by way of cash in lieu of ration, the Minister said adding that the opportunity has been given to the migrants to avail the facility of cash in-lieu of ration so that the migrants working/living outside the state do not face any difficulty.

The Minister further said the Committee for registration of bonafide Kashmiri Migrants has been reconstituted under the Chairmanship of Administrative Secretary, Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction.

Basharat Bukhari said the Department is going to launch medical insurance scheme for registered migrants of J&K under Relief and Pension category within/outside state in order to provide hassle free access to modern healthcare facilities which are beyond the reach of most of the migrants. He said scheme shall provide insurance cover for hospitalization to the insured migrants along with the dependent family members on the floater basis during the policy period.

 Heavy snowfall warning for Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh

SHAHID WANI;;;;

Meteorological Department has issued a warning of heavy to very heavy snowfallin parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh for next two day

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India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the minimum temperature is very likely to decrease by 2 to 4 ºC from 27 th to 29th January over plains of northwest India.

Scattered heavy with isolated very heavy rain/snowfall is very likely to occur over J&K on 25th and 26th January, according to IMD.

Fairly widespread to widespread rain/thundershower is very likely to occur over

Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi and scattered to fairly widespread activity over

West Uttar Pradesh and north Rajasthan from 25th to 27th January.

Meanwhile, surface and air links between the Kashmir Valley and the outside world remained suspended on Wednesday as fresh snowfall disrupted normal life.

Train Timeing of DMU’s in Kashmir Valley effecting from Ist January 2017

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Shahid Wani 

NEW TRAIN TIME… 01.Jan , 2017

Banihal to Baramula
7; 15 AM, 8; 15 AM, 9; 10 AM, 11.50AM, 2;35PM, 4; 10PM

Banihal to Budgam
7; 15 AM, 8; 15 AM, 9; 10AM, 10; 15 AM, 11; 50 AM, 12; 50 PM, 2; 35 PM, 4; 10PM, 5; 25 PM, 6; 25PM

? From Anantnag to Baramulla/Budgam add 40 minutes of departure time of all the trains leaving from Banihal

Budgam to Baramulla
7; 10AM, 8; 15AM, 9; 15AM, 9; 55AM, 11; 10AM, 2; 10PM, 3; 15PM 4; 50PM, 6; 15PM

Baramulla to Banihal
8; 15AM, 9; 25 AM, 10; 50AM, 3; 15PM, 4;25PM

Baramulla to Budgam
8; 15AM, 9; 25AM, 10; 50AM, 11; 40AM, 12; 35 PM, 3; 15PM, 4; 25PM, 5; 25 PM, 5; 55PM

Budgam To Banihal
7AM, 8AM, 9; 15AM, 10; 25AM, 11; 40AM, 1; 55PM, 3; 15PM, 4;20PM, 5; 20PM; 5; 40PM

This Train Timing is Brought to you by Chinese Acupuncture Center of Kashmir.

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Narrow escape for 168 as tail of Jet Airways plane hits runway on landing in Dhaka

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NEW DELHI: 168 people onboard a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai had a narrow escape after the tail of the aircraft hit the runway on landing at the Dhaka International airport, prompting the airline to remove the pilots from duty.

The B737 aircraft has been grounded and a team from Boeing company is expected to visit Dhaka to assess the extent of damage to the plane while engineers from Jet Airways have already started the assessment, sources said.

The incident has been reported to aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

DGCA sources said Bangladesh’s aviation authorities are expected to investigate the incident since it happened in Dhaka.

According to them, if the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of Bangladesh, which is the country’s aviation regulatory body, decides not to probe the incident, then AAIB may take up the investigation.

When contacted, Jet Airways confirmed the “tail strike” incident.

The flight 9W-276 from Mumbai to Dhaka had 160 guests and eight crew members when it had a “tail strike” on landing at Dhaka airport. There were no injuries to guests or crew, all of whom deplaned safely, the airline said.

21960 posts vacant in JK Government

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SHAHID WANI;;;

As many as 21960 posts are vacant in the state government departments, the JK government revealed on Monday. This was stated in a written reply to a query raised by National Conference MLA Mian Altaf during the question hour in the Legislative Assembly.

Altaf asked the government about the category wise number of vacancies in the State. The minister for General Administration Department (GAD) stated that 3640 Gazetted and 18320 non-Gazetted posts were vacant in the state.

The minister informed the House that around 1613 posts – 356 in 2015 and 1257 in 2016 – were filled by the JK Public Service Commission (PSC) while as 12658 posts – 8115 in 2015 and 4543 in 2016 – were filled by JK Service Selection Recruitment Board (SSRB) in the past two years.

About the number of posts referred to SSRB and JKPSC and pending selection as on date and steps taken to expedite the process, the minister for GAD said 2693 Gazetted posts and 10336 non-Gazetted posts were referred to JKPSC and JKSSRB, “but the selection is pending as on date.”

The minister however stated that the government was “actively” considering discontinuation of interviews for various direct recruitment posts carrying a grade pay of up to Rs 2800.

 “All the departments have been asked to identify such posts for which the interview could be dispensed with. The exercise is expected to be completed shortly,” the minister said.

In a separate query raised by MLA Abid Hussain Ansari about the number of posts referred to JK PSC and SSRB, the minister said 6616 posts of different categories including State, Divisional cadre were referred to the recruiting agencies for the past two years to fill the vacancies in the different departments.

The minister said around 1610 posts including 42 in 2015 and 1568 in 2016 were referred to the recruiting agencies against which selections have been made so far.

The posts filled in the past two years include 188 posts in Health and Medical Education Department.

Militant hideout busted in J&K's Kishtwar district

SHAHID WANI

Jammu: Security forces  busted a militant hideout in a natural cave in Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir and seized arms and ammunition.

The Army said a joint operation with police led to the hideout in Chhatru in the hilly terrain and found a “war-like store”.

On spotting the cave, the security forces recovered an AK-47, a pistol, a grenade launcher, seven grenades, two Chinese grenades, three AK-47 Magazines, 428 rounds of 7.62 mm AK-47 and two Kenwood Radio sets.

“This recovery close to January 26 has delivered a decisive blow to the nefarious designs of Militants an official said.

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J&K encounter: Two LeT Militants neutralized in Ganderbal

SHAHID WANI

Ganderbal: Two Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Militants were killed in a massive gunbattle with the security forces near Khimber’s Hadoora area in Ganderbal district of Jammu and Kashmiron Tuesday.

Two AK 47 have been recovered from their possession.Earlier in the morning, it was reported that at least two foreign Militants were trapped in the operation.

The entire area was cordoned off as security forces were engaging in an attempt to smoke out the militants.

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Earlier on January 16, three Militants were gunned down by security forces during an encounter operation in Jammu and Kashmir`s Pahalgam.

Earlier in the day, One militant was gunned down after an infiltration bid foiled in Sunderbani sector of Rajouri district in Jammu and Kashmir.

Registration Number::::: UAM-JK01D0000280

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