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    IAFA hosts exhibition to promote 3D art

    IAFA hosts exhibition to promote 3D art

    Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina (second from left) with others at the art gallery in Amritsar on Tuesday. photo: Vishal Kumar

    Tribune News Service

    Amritsar, June 19

    With an aim to promote sculptures and murals among the art lovers in the city, the IAFA in collaboration with Impressions, an art group, hosted a national exhibition featuring artists from across the country.The exhibition has art works by 16 artists, with sculptures and murals in 3D and graphic art as well. “3D art has developed as commercially viable option for artists in almost all genres of art. Since its introduction to the Indian art scene, many senior and upcoming artists are working in this format. But the lack of presenting opportunities and exposure is a limitation we are working to remove,” says Aruna Sharma, an artist and member of Impressions art group. Sharma’s paintings are also a part of the exhibition.Murals and sculptures from the IAFA-owned collection are already on display at one of the galleries, the effort is to highlight the genre among aspiring art students.“A workshop on mural making is being held in art gallery everyday for this month. Dedicated efforts are being made to educate young artists about latest media and other developments to enable them in popularising the art form,” says Sharma. The exhibition was inaugurated by IAFA chairman Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina.


    CM pays tribute to martyr Gurung

    CM pays tribute to martyr Gurung

    Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat pays a floral tribute to martyr Vikas Gurung, who was killed in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan, in Rishikesh on Monday.

    Dehradun, June 18

    Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Monday paid tributes to  soldier Vikas Gurung, who was killed in firing from across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.Rawat went to Gurung’s home in Rishikesh to lay a wreath on the soldier’s body.Twenty one-year-old Gurung of 2/1 Gorkha Rifles was killed in firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Naushera sector of Jammu and Kashmir.Uttarakhand Speaker Premchand Aggarwal and MLA Ganesh Joshi also paid tributes to the soldier. PTI 


    Governor’s Rule will not affect ongoing anti-terror ops in Valley: Army Chief

    Governor's Rule will not affect ongoing anti-terror ops in Valley: Army Chief

    Action that was being taken earlier would continue, Rawat asserted. PTI file

    New Delhi, June 20

    Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said the imposition of Governor’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir is unlikely to have any impact on ongoing anti-terror operations and noted that there was no political interference.

    General Rawat’s response came after President Ram Nath Kovind approved the imposition of Governor’s Rule in the state with immediate effect earlier in the day.

    Operations in the Valley would continue as earlier, Rawat told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.

    “Operations were being carried out earlier as well. Then we saw a phase of suspension of operations because we wanted people to get a chance to offer their prayers during Ramzan without any kind of problem. Despite that, terrorists continued with their activity, which is why the suspension of operations was cancelled,” he said.

    Action that was being taken earlier would continue, Rawat asserted.

    Referring to the imposition of Governor’s rule in the state after the BJP pulled out of its alliance with the PDP, he said, “We don’t think there will be any impact. We don’t have any kind of political interference.” There has, he said, never been any kind of restriction on the force on how it should conduct its work.

    The security forces have very strict rules of engagement and “take action” in accordance with them, Rawat said.

    The ceasefire announced by the Centre for the month of Ramzan was revoked on Sunday. Aurangzeb, an Army jawan, was killed by terrorists and journalist Shujaat Bukhari was shot dead two days ahead of Eid.

    Today, Jammu and Kashmir was placed under Governor’s rule for the fourth time in the last one decade after the BJP withdrew support to its alliance partner, prompting Mehbooba Mufti to resign as Chief Minister. PTI


    Post-truce, search ops in city

    Post-truce, search ops in city

    Azhar Qadri

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, June 20

    The cordon and search operations – the backbone of counter-insurgency and area domination operations in the Kashmir valley – have marked a return after the month-long unilateral ceasefire during when such operations were curtailed.The security forces have initiated the cordon and search operations across the region, including the city, which had been comparatively off the grid during recent years.On Tuesday evening, police’s counter-insurgency unit sealed off a locality in the Bemina neighbourhood on the city outskirts and launched a search operation. Locals said the operation continued for more than two hours in Bemina’s Alamdar Colony and policemen searched several houses.“The cordon was laid around 9:15 in the evening and continued till late. The police went inside several houses and no one was allowed to go inside or leave,” a local resident said.A policeman accompanying the search team said there was an intelligence input about the presence of militants in the area. It was the first cordon and search operation in Srinagar, the state’s summer capital, since the end of the Ramzan ceasefire on Sunday.The Ramzan ceasefire was initiated on May 17 and had brought the counter-insurgency operations, including the cordon and search operations, to an abrupt halt.The operations were resumed on Monday, a day after the Union government announced that it was not extending the unilateral ceasefire and ordered the security forces to resume its operations against militants.Immediately after the end of the ceasefire, the cordon and search operations were launched in several parts of south Kashmir, including in Wanghama village of Anantnag district, Samboora village in Awantipora police district and Hajin Bala in Pulwama district.The security forces have so far conducted one counter-insurgency operation which led to a gunfight and the killing of militants. Three militants, including a foreigner and two locals affiliated with Jaish-e-Mohammad, were killed in the operation on Tuesday in Hayuna village of south Kashmir’s Tral sub-district.A senior police officer, who is in charge of a district in the volatile south Kashmir, said the instructions to resume the operations against the militants came immediately after the ceasefire ended.The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the preference was to launch operations on specific intelligence inputs rather than inputs about the presence of militants in any general area.The cordon and search operations in recent years have sparked violent protests with local residents throwing stones at security forces leading to clashes and also casualties, which continue to be a major worry for the security forces.Locality sealed at night 

    • On Tuesday evening, police’s counter-insurgency unit sealed off a locality in the Bemina neighbourhood on the outskirts of Srinagar and launched a search operation
    • Locals said the operation continued for more than two hours in Bemina’s Alamdar Colony and policemen searched several houses. The cordon was laid around 9:15 in the evening and continued till late

    Aurangzeb inspiration to nation: Nirmala Visits martyr’s family, forward posts in Poonch

    Aurangzeb inspiration to nation: Nirmala

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman meets the father and other family members of Rifleman Aurangzeb in Poonch on Wednesday. PTI

    Tribune News Service

    Jammu, June 20

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday described the supreme sacrifice of Rifleman Aurangzeb, who was abducted and killed by militants in Pulwama district, and his family as an inspiration for the entire country.Sitharaman said this after visiting the family of Aurangzeb at Salani village in Poonch district. The minister was accompanied by senior Army officers.“I have come here to meet the martyr’s family and spend some time with them. One message I can take back is that here’s a family, here’s a martyr, who, to me and I am sure to the whole nation, stands out as an inspiration,” the Defence Minister told mediapersons.She stayed with the family for about half an hour and handed over a welfare cheque of Rs 5 lakh to Aurangzeb’s father. She also presented shawls to martyr’s brothers and sisters.On June 18, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had visited the family and had said that the supreme sacrifice by “the brave son of India” would not go in vain. Gen Rawat had assured all possible assistance to the family.Mohammad Hanief, Aurangzeb’s father and an ex-serviceman, had made a passionate appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to avenge the killing of his unarmed son and reiterated his resolve to sacrifice his life for the country.Meanwhile, the Defence Minister also visited forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Krishna Ghati sector and interacted with the troops.“On her official visit to the state, the minister was briefed by the GOC, Ace of Spades Division, on the prevailing security situation and steps being taken to maintain a close vigil on the LoC and maintain peace in the hinterland,” a Defence spokesperson said.He said the minister also interacted with soldiers and complimented them on their exemplary devotion towards maintaining sanctity of the LoC and giving a befitting reply to the inimical forces.Interacts with soldiers in Krishna Ghati sector 

    • The Defence Minister also visited forward posts along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Krishna Ghati sector and interacted with the troops.
    • She complimented the soldiers on their exemplary devotion towards maintaining sanctity of the LoC and giving a befitting reply to the inimical forces.

     


    Day 1: Governor reviews security, wants strong response to terror

    Day 1: Governor reviews security, wants strong response to terror

    Governor NN Vohra chairs a security review meeting in Srinagar on Wednesday. Tribune photo

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, June 20

    Governor NN Vohra reviewed a wide range of security management issues relating to the state with senior civil, police, Army and Central intelligence agency officers in a meeting held at Raj Bhawan here on Wednesday.The meeting also reviewed important security issues related to the annual Amarnath yatra which is scheduled to commence on June 28, and identified certain issues to be dealt with on an urgent basis.Referring to a recent incident, the Governor stressed the need for prompt action being taken to ensure the safety and security of people at large by making full use of all available technologies.While reiterating the importance of maintaining constant surveillance of the ground situation, the Governor directed that immediate action must be taken on reports received from any quarters regarding any problem arising from security management. He directed the Chief Secretary to closely monitor and ensure prompt redressal of all difficulties and grievances relating to the felt needs of people and, besides, see that there was no delay in the implementation of welfare measures and developmental works on the ground.The Governor stressed the need of a cohesive action being taken to enforce constant vigil on the International Border and Line of Control, effectively maintaining internal security and ensuring the safety of protected persons, sensitive establishments and installations. In this context, he asked representatives of all the security forces and agencies to identify all existing gaps and ensure coordinated action on the ground for providing prompt and strong counter terror responses on all fronts.The meeting was attended by Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, Northern Command chief; BB Vyas, Chief Secretary; SP Vaid, Director General of Police; Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to the Governor; RK Goyal, Home Secretary; Muneer Ahmad Khan, ADGP, Home Guards and Security; and senior officers of the Central intelligence agencies.Resolve grievances of people: Vohra  The Governor directed the Chief Secretary to closely monitor and ensure prompt redressal of all difficulties and grievances relating to the felt needs of people and, besides, see that there was no delay in the implementation of welfare measures and developmental works on the ground. The Governor stressed the need of a cohesive action being taken to enforce constant vigil on the International Border and Line of Control, effectively maintaining internal security and ensuring the safety of protected persons, sensitive establishments and installations.

    Yatra security reviewed

    The meeting also reviewed important security issues related to the annual Amarnath yatra which is scheduled to commence on June 28, and identified certain issues to be dealt with on an urgent basis. The Governor stressed the need  to ensure the safety and security of people. 


    Landslide sensors on Mandi highway soon

    Landslide sensors on Mandi highway soon

    Pratibha Chauhan

    Tribune News Service

    Shimla, June 20

    The district administration has started the process of installing low cost-sensors, developed by IIT-Mandi, at 10 landslide-prone spots on the Mandi national highway. The sensors will help monitor landslide and act as an early warning system.Earlier, the administration had approached IIT-Mandi to install these sensors at 10 sites. One of the landslide-prone sites is Kotrupi in Mandi district where 47 persons were buried under the debris following a massive landslide in August last year. A 300-metre stretch of the National Highway-154 was buried under the debris.“Since landslides are a major hazard, we decided to assign the task of installing sensors, developed by students, to IIT-Mandi, as a pilot project to minimise the loss to life and property,” said Rugved Thakur, Mandi DC.He said all 10 sites, five each on either side of the NH-154 near Mandi, would have sensors. Though one sensor was installed at Deod in February 2018, it had to be removed before any conclusive data could be collected due to the start of the four-laning project. The National Remote Sensing Centre of ISRO in Hyderabad had undertaken a study of the Kotrupi landslide. The study had pointed out that geologically, the area was in a thrusted contact between the Shivaliks and Shali group of rocks consisting of dolomite, brick red shale, micaceous sandstones, purple clay and mud stones, which are highly prone to landslides.“Normally, the cost of installing one sensor could be around Rs 1 crore, but we have developed these low-cost sensors. Their installation cost will be a mere Rs 11,000, along with Rs 5,000 running and maintenance cost per annum,” said Dr Venkata Uday Kala.He said IIT-Mandi had applied for patenting of this technology with the India Patent Cell and the International Patent Cell at Switzerland.Dr Kala said a company had been set up to render services to those interested in installing these sensors. The sensors could prove to be a watershed in minimising the loss by landslides, which have claimed several lives.


    Saving lives

    • One of the landslide-prone sites is Kotrupi in Mandi district (pic) where 47 persons were buried under the debris following a massive landslide in August last year. A 300-metre stretch of the National Highway-154 was buried under the debris.
    • Though one sensor was installed at Deod in February 2018, it had to be removed before any conclusive data could be collected due to the start of the four-laning project.
    • The installation cost of these sensors will be a mere Rs 11,000, along with  Rs 5,000 running and maintenance cost per annum.

    IMA cadet robbed of car at gunpoint

    Tribune News Service

    Yamunanagar, June 20

    An under training Army officer was robbed of his car at gunpoint near the district’s Bhambhauli village on Wednesday.Under training Lieutenant Bhanu Pratap (27) of Jagadhri had gone to Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh to attend his friend’s wedding on Tuesday night.The next day, he was to visit Chandigarh. He left from Saharanpur at 3.30 am. On the way, he stopped his car at a “dhaba” on the Jagadhri-Panchkula national highway near Bhambhauli village to take a nap inside his car.“After 15 minutes, a man knocked at the window of my car. I woke up and when I opened the window, a man pointed a pistol at me. Soon, two more persons joined him. They snatched the key of the car and my wallet,” Bhanu Pratap told The Tribune.He said the robbers came in Toyota Liva. “They left their car at the ‘dhaba’ and took away my i20 There was more than Rs10,000 ATM cards, a voter card, a PAN card and an Aadhaar card in my wallet,” Bhanu said.He said the robbers were between the 25 and 30 years. “Two of them were speaking Haryanvi and the third was speaking a local language.”Bhanu’s father Somesh Chauhan said Bhanu had joined the Army as a trainee Lieutenant on January 1, 2018. “He is undergoing training at Indian Military Academy, Dehradun. He came home on June 10 on leave.”Chhappar police station SHO Ramesh said Toyota Liva was robbed from Barwala in Panchkula district on April 16 and a case was registered at Barwala police station in that connection the next day.On Bhanu’s compliant, a case has been registered against unidentified persons under Sections 392 (robbery), 397 (robbery or dacoity with attempt to cause death) and the Arms Act at the Chhappar police station.


    Turn the prism of the past MK Bhadrakumar

    Turn the prism of the past

    ROLE PLAY: New Delhi needs to be in tune with the positive power shift in the region.

    MK Bhadrakumar

    WITHOUT doubt, a new criticality has arisen in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, but as can happen, ‘sweet are the uses of adversity’ — to borrow from Shakespeare. There are both internal and external factors at work here. The contradictions in the political situation in J&K may ease if a level playing field is made available for all political parties and groups to make a new beginning. It doesn’t have to be the case that things move from the frying pan into the fire. One important reason for expressing cautious optimism is that in the external environment, an opportunity is at hand to take a road less travelled by, which could make all the difference. This involves engaging with Pakistan. The political dynamics within J&K invariably have an external dimension and not engaging with Pakistan is untenable. No one probably knows this better than the incumbent Governor NN Vohra in Srinagar, given his vast experience in statecraft. During the transition ahead, it will help matters a great deal if the disconnect between the efforts to shore up internal security and engagement with Pakistan is addressed. Of course, a hugely consequential electoral battle is looming ahead in the country in less than a year, which makes it obligatory for political parties to engage in grandstanding, but again, a non-partisan eye cannot miss the point that the reactions to the latest events in J&K suggest that no one is in any real combative mood. In fact, the mood is sombre. There are no victors here. Pakistan was not even dragged into media discourse. A question is often put why engage with Pakistan at all, given the past experience? But then, that is a self-serving digression, neither fair nor honest, because engaging Pakistan was never a substitute for doing homework that was also needed on our part, which was never quite forthcoming, for one reason or another. Yet, the past serves a purpose insofar as the scars remind us that we did survive our deepest wounds and it is not only an accomplishment, but an enduring reminder that the heavy toll that life took left us more resilient, and perhaps, better equipped to face the present. The ruins of a stupendous past are all around us today. Second, a nation never replays its history. Despite our dogmas regarding Pakistan, that country of yesteryear no longer exists. Pakistan has been in transition with a searing knowledge that the past cannot be altered and is fixed, and the present is its reflecting actuality, while the future remains undefined and nebulous until a part of the present becomes a part of the past so that an unrealised future can become the new present. Plainly put, what is playing out in the Hindu Kush in recent weeks testify to a rethink in Pakistan. Curiously, this rethink is attributed to none other than army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa. With an interim government training its energies on the conduct of the forthcoming election, General Bajwa is having a free hand to withdraw the sticky tentacles of past Afghan policies from the present so that a future dawns for Pakistan in terms of regional connectivity, a flourishing economy and a nation at peace with itself and its neighbours. From the Indian perspective, therefore, it is hugely consequential that General Bajwa has held out positive signals for better relations with New Delhi. The Modi government seems to appreciate it. The dramatic happenings of the past few weeks testify to the winds of change sweeping Pakistan-Afghanistan relations, especially the Eid festivities with Taliban fighters and security forces taking ‘selfies’ in cities and towns, and secondly, the killing in Afghanistan of the Pakistan Taliban chief, Mullah Fazlullah, variously described as the mastermind of Pakistan’s suicide culture, in a US drone strike. The latter is particularly important, as evident from Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s eagerness to personally transmit to General Bajwa the fulfilment of a long-standing Pakistani demand. Ghani expects him to reciprocate. Succinctly put, China’s initiative to create a trilateral forum to foster amity between Afghanistan and Pakistan has gained traction. In fact, China and Pakistan have agreed to look at extending their $57 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to Afghanistan. To be sure, India-China-Pakistan triangle always brought to bear the regional backdrop. Therefore, we need to comprehend that Chinese policies too cannot be stereotyped through the prism of a bygone era. Regional stability and security providing the external environment in which development objectives are optimally realised becomes a top priority for Chinese policies. Thus, China is acting as a moderating influence on Pakistan. On the other hand, if there was a past when China was indifferent toward India, it is far from the case today. India’s impressive growth is taken seriously by the Chinese. All evidence suggests that despite the drift in the Sino-Indian relationship in the most recent years, the Chinese perception regarding PM Modi remain positive and his reform agenda has consistently drawn praise from Chinese commentators — underscoring faith in him that he is a strong leader who can take difficult decisions leading to a paradigm shift in Sino-Indian ties. Above all, China hopes that a bonding with India — ‘China India Plus’ — can be a game changer in the prevailing international milieu, characterised by anti-globalisation trends, protectionism and growing pressure from the entrenched West, which is chary of redistribution of power in favour of emerging powers. It is highly significant that in a speech last Monday in Delhi, outlining Beijing’s strategy toward India, Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui singled out the idea of creating a new platform of China-India-Pakistan leaders’ meeting under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Taking into account foreign minister Wang Yi’s recent remarks after the SCO summit in Qingdao that membership of India and Pakistan will strengthen the fight against terrorism and promote India’s connectivity with Central Asia, one can quite figure out the Chinese intentions. The bottom line is that China sees it as in its self-interest that India-Pakistan tensions do not pose a contradiction in its efforts to boost the content and inject new verve into its relations with India. Interestingly, Ambassador Luo also revisited the long-standing proposal on signing a ‘Treaty of Good Neighbourliness and Friendly Cooperation’ with India. Suffice to say, it will be to India’s advantage if an imaginative approach toward the situation in J&K could run parallel with a diplomatic track attuned to the positive power shift in the region. The writer is a former ambassador