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Explosives were smuggled from Pakistan, says probe

Explosives were smuggled from Pakistan, says probe

Security personnel at the site of the blast in Pulwama district.

Majid Jahangir

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 16

Investigators in the deadly suicide bombing on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy suspect a cross-border link to the explosives used in the attack and have found that the vehicle used in the blast was a Maruti Suzuki Eeco van and not an SUV.

Top sources privy to the preliminary investigations said the explosive used in the blast was mainly RDX that may have been smuggled from Pakistan.

“There are initial leads that suggest that the RDX used in the blast came from across the border in Kathua district. We are working on the leads,” they said. 

The sources said over 100 kg of RDX may have been used in the attack which caused the highest number of fatalities in a single militant attack in J&K since the eruption of militancy. In all, 40 CRPF men were killed when a lone suicide bomber of the Jaish-e-Mohammad rammed his vehicle into the CRPF convoy at Lethpora on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.

“It has also been established that the vehicle used was a Maruti Suzuki Eeco van. We are yet to find out the owner of the van. The RDX-laden van may have come through a link road and later joined the convoy before hitting it,” the sources said.

The J&K Police have rounded up some men for questioning and are trying to zero in on the overground workers of the Jaish-e-Mohammad who may have helped in carrying out the attack.

A National Investigation Agency (NIA) team along with forensic experts collected materials at the blast site for evaluation for the second consecutive day.

“The findings will be revealed after the analysis of the material,” an NIA official said.

Maruti van used in Pulwama attack

  • Top sources privy to the preliminary investigations said the explosive used in the blast was mainly RDX that may have been smuggled from Pakistan
  • Investigators have found that the vehicle used in the blast was a Maruti Suzuki Eeco van and not an SUV
  • A National Investigation Agency team along with forensic experts collected materials at the blast site for evaluation for the second consecutive day

 


House condemns attack; Rs 20 lakh for martyr’s kin

House condemns attack; Rs 20 lakh for martyr’s kin

A SALUTE TO THE BRAVEHEARTS: A girl sits next to lit candles in Mandi on Friday. Photo: Jai Kumar

Tribune News Service

Shimla, February 15

The Himachal Vidhan Sabha today paid tributes to the martyred CRPF personnel in Kashmir and condemned the cowardly attack by militants.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur moved a resolution, offering condolences to the family of the martyrs. “Even though the militant outfits have tried to shatter the morale of the armed forces by killing 42 CRPF men our valiant soldiers will give a befitting reply to this ghastly act,” he said.

The Chief Minister announced an ex-gratia of Rs 20 lakh to the family of CRPF jawan Tilak Raj from Jawali area of Kangra, who died in the attack. “The government will provide all possible help to the family of the bereaved who made the supreme sacrifice for the nation,” he said.

“It is Pakistan which is the mastermind of the attack and the whole nation is with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who must ensure that our forces give a befitting reply,” he said. He said this was an attempt to create instability in the nation but the while nation is united in this hour of grief.

Vidhan Sabha Speaker Dr Rajeev Bindal also expressed his condolences to the bereaved family of Tilak Raj.

Offering condolences to the martyrs, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri said this was a big challenge thrown by militant outfits but the entire nation is one against such forces. “The army, para-military forces and its establishments are being continuously targeted by the military so it is essential that a befitting reply is given to such forces,” he said.

Former Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh also offered condolences to the families of the martyrs and said that the entire nation is one in its fight against such forces.

“The act close to Srinagar has proved that it is not just external forces but some elements within Jammu and Kashmir who are supporting the militants in this cause,” he lamented.

Other legislators including Irrigation and Public Health Minister Mahender Singh, Col Dhani Ram Shandil (retd), Col Inder Singh (retd), Rakesh Pathania, Nand Lal, Suresh Kashyap, Vikram Jaryal, Vikramaditya Singh and Ashish Butail offered condolences to the family of Tilak Raj and condemned the attack.

The Vidhan Sabha was adjourned for the day after offering condolences to the 42 bravehearts.

Candle march

Residents of Mandi district paid tributes to the bravehearts killed in Pulwama terror attack by lighting candles. Most demanded stern action against those responsible for the ghastly act. In Lahaul-Spiti, employees of the DC office also observed silence.

Cong condemns attack

  • Shimla: The Congress condemned the ghastly militant attack on CRPF personnel in Pulwama in which 42 soldiers lost their lives on Thursday.
  • A condolence meeting was held to pay tributes to the martyrs and offer condolences to the families who had lost their loved ones. The meeting was attended by state Congress president Kuldeep Rathore, former chief minister Virbhadra Singh, Leader of Opposition Mukesh Agnihotri, party MLAs and office bearers.
  • Later, the leaders and party workers took out a silent march from the party office to The Ridge as a mark of respect for the martyrs. Earlier in the day, the Congress Legislature party (CLP) also held a meeting to condemn the cowardly attack by militants and offer condolences to the families of the martyrs.

 


Martyr cremated with full state honours

Martyr cremated with full state honours

Relatives and CRPF personnel shoulder the coffin of martyr Tilak Raj at his native village Dewa in Kangra. Kamaljeet

Our Correspondent

Nurpur, February 16

The mortal remains of CRPF jawan Tilak Raj reached his native village in Jawali on Saturday morning. Heart-wrenching scenes were witnessed as relatives and neighbours were unable to console the devastated family.

The mortal remains were received by Transport Minister Kishan Kapoor, Nurpur MLA Rakesh Pathania and Jawali MLA Arjun Singh at the Pathankot Air Force station last night and kept at the PWD rest house in Nurpur.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur laid the wreath on the coffin carrying the remains of the jawan draped in the Tricolour.

The martyr’s three-year-old son, Varun, had no idea what was happening, but seeing others cry, he too started crying.

“The family has lost its bread-winner,” a relative said. Tilak Raj had called his wife Savitri Devi on Thursday morning, just six hours before he was martyred, to tell her that the CRPF convoy had started from Jammu and was on its way to Srinagar. He asked her to take care of his parents and the newborn.

Little did Savitri know that her world would come crashing down in a few hours. The braveheart was cremated with full state honours in the presence of thousands of people, who had gathered there to pay their last respects to the martyr. Slogans against Pakistan were raised. While consoling the martyr’s father, Layak Ram, mother Bimla Devi, wife and other family members, the Chief Minister said Tilak Raj had laid down his life for the nation and in this hour of grief, the state government would extend all possible assistance to the bereaved family.

Baldev Singh, the elder brother of Tilak Raj, lit the pyre. Those present raised solgans “Tilak Raj amar rahe”.

Pulwama attack: Funeral held for Kangra martyr

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Tribune News Service
Shimla, February 16

Mortal remains of 30-year-old Tilak Raj, a CRPF trooper who was killed in the Pulwama attack, consigned to flames at his native village in Kangra’s Jawali on Saturday.

Thousands gathered to say their last goodbyes to the martyr as Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and Union Health Minister JP Nadda paid their respects. People anger was palpable in the anti-Pakistan slogans they shouted.

The trooper left a wife Savitri Devi and two very young sons—aged 3 and a month-old infant. His brother lit the funeral pyre.

Thakur said the nation shared the family’s grief and was proud of the trooper’s sacrifice. He promised a job to the martyr’s wife as well as possible assistance.

 


Sukhjinder’s pyre lit amid sloganeering

Sukhjinder’s pyre lit amid sloganeering

Sukhjinder Singh’s kin at his cremation in Tarn Taran. Photo: Vishal Kumar

Gurbaxpuri
Gandiwind (Tarn Taran), Feb 16

Martyr Sukhjinder Singh (35) was cremated with full state honours at his native village here on Saturday.

Residents of the village gave him a tearful adieu while his father Gurmej Singh lit the pyre. A large number of residents of the area were present on the occasion and paid tributes to the martyr.

The body of the martyr reached the local Civil Hospital late on Saturday evening and was brought to Gandiwind village in a convoy of the officials.

Besides the higher officials of the CRPF, Union minister Vijay Goel and Punjab Cabinet minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria were among those who paid rich tributes to the martyr and laid wreaths on his mortal remains.

People raised slogans against Pakistan at the time of cremation.

Union Minister Vijay Goel said the Centre should look into the matter of releasing compensation to the families of paramilitary personnel at par with the military personnel.

 


Anti-Pakistan sentiment runs high at Maninder’s funeral

Anti-Pakistan sentiment runs high at Maninder’s funeral

Residents bid adieu to CRPF’s Maninder Singh at Dinanagar on Saturday. Tribune Photo: Malkiat Singh

Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service
Dinanagar (Gurdaspur), Feb 16

CRPF Sepoy Maninder Singh was cremated with full military honours at Dinanagar. Anti-Pakistan sentiment ran high among the thousands of mourners who bid adieu to the soldier.

The martyr’s body, wrapped in the Tricolour, was taken through the main roads of the city with more than 3,000 people raising slogans against Pakistan. Shops remained closed till noon.

The pyre was lit by Maninder’s elder brother Lakhwinder Singh who arrived early this morning from Shillong, where he is posted as a constable with the CRPF.

Union minister Vijay Sampla led the mourning. Cabinet minister Aruna Chaudhury was also present.

Cabinet minister and Dera Baba Nanak MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said he would organise a prayer meeting “to ensure the prayers of the community of letting the Kartarpur corridor see the light of the day do not go waste.”

He added, “Maninder’s sacrifice will not go in vain. I have written to the Union government to build a memorial in memory of the brave soldier.”

BJP leader Kavita Khanna sent her condolences to Satpal Attri, father of Maninder.

Prominent among those who were present were DIG, CRPF, DL Gola, DIG (Border) AS Chahal, Pathankot MLA Amit Vij, Ashok Chaudhury, husband of Aruna Chaudhury, Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujwal, SDM Sakattar Singh Bal, former MLAs Gurbachan Singh Babbehali and Sucha Singh Chottepur, senior BJP leader Swaran Singh Salaria and former Cabinet minister Master Mohan Lal.

 


Freeze funds of designated terror groups: US to Pak

Freeze funds of designated terror groups: US to Pak

File photo of Jaish chief Masood Azhar .

Washington, February 16

The US on Friday asked Pakistan to “freeze without delay” the funds and other financial assets of the UNSC-designated terrorist networks and their leaders.

It also said it fully supports “actions to prevent” the outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammed “from conducting future attacks”.

The Pakistan-based JeM has claimed responsibility for the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Thursday that left at least 42 CRPF soldiers dead and five others critically injured.

A State Department spokesperson told PTI, “Pakistan outlawed Jaish-e-Mohammed in 2002.  However, the group still operates in Pakistan. The US designated JeM as a foreign terrorist organization in December 2001, and we fully support actions to prevent them from conducting future attacks.”

In addition, the UNSC designated JeM on its 1267 ISIL (Da’esh) and Al-Qa’ida Sanctions List in 2001, the official noted.

“We expect Pakistan to uphold its responsibilities pursuant to UN Security Council resolutions to deny safe haven and support for terrorists and to freeze without delay the funds and other financial assets or economic resources of individuals and entities on the UNSC 1267 sanctions list,” the spokesperson said in response to a question.

The official, however, did not divulge if the US has taken up the issue with the Pakistani leadership directly after the Pulwama terrorist attack.

In various statements and on social media, the Trump administration has asked Pakistan to deny safe haven and end support to terrorist organisations.

The spokesperson also refrained from making any comment over China blocking India’s move to designate Jaish chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

“Our views on Masood Azhar and Jaish-e-Mohammed are well known. The JeM has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks and is a threat to regional stability,” the spokesperson said.

“UN Sanctions Committee deliberations are confidential, and as such we do not comment on specific matters,” the official said. PTI


Time for game-changing defence pacts with India: Lockheed official

Time for game-changing defence pacts with India: Lockheed official

Vivek Lall, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of strategy and business development, said the US and India are natural partners with shared interests across numerous political, economic and security issues. Reuters file

Washington, February 16

The time is indeed now to lean into game-changing defence partnerships with India, global aerospace giant Lockheed Martin’s top American executive has said.

Vivek Lall, Lockheed Martin’s vice president of strategy and business development, said the US and India are natural partners with shared interests across numerous political, economic and security issues.

A world-renowned aerospace and defence leader, he has been instrumental in several crucial India-US defence deals in the past one decade.He would be leading the executive delegation of the US-India Business Council (USIBC) to Aero-India show 2019 from February 20-24.

“The time is indeed now to lean into game-changing defence partnerships. India-US ties are growing ever closer and we are very encouraged by the positive trend we’re seeing in US-India relations, particularly on the defence and security front,” Lall told PTI.“Dr Vivek Lall, Vice President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics service, is our leader this year and we are also pleased to have USIBC’s new Chairman of our Defence and Aerospace Committee Rich Weir of Northrop Grumman in attendance,” USIBC said in a statement.

Aero India is a wonderful opportunity for USIBC members and Lockheed Martin to meet senior US and Indian government officials, participate in business-to-business networking activities and attend seminars that provide insights into the opportunities and challenges associated with doing business in India’s aerospace and defence sector, Lall said.

“Aero India is also an ideal venue to highlight Lockheed Martin’s suite of security solutions and partnerships that support India’s defence needs, Make in India and India-US ties,” Lall said in response to a question.

Officials from the US Department of Defence are also scheduled to attend the annual aero show in Bengaluru. PTI


Grief, anger marks final farewell to slain jawans

Grief, anger marks final farewell to slain jawans

A family member of slain CRPF Mahesh Yadav cries before his funeral at Tudihar, in Allahabad district on February 16, 2019. PTI photo

Lucknow/Jaipur, February 16

Sobbing family members Saturday lit the funeral pyres of the CRPF jawans killed in the Pulwama terror attack, joined by other mourners who at places gathered in their thousands.

In an Uttarakhand village, a 3-year-old child lit his father’s pyre.  At another cremation in Rajasthan, a 2-month baby was made to symbolically touch the torch used for the last rites.

Traders downed shutters and people lined the streets at many places as caskets carrying the remains of the jawans arrived at their native villages and towns across the country, amid the chanting of slogans—some of them anti-Pakistan.

Union ministers flew down from New Delhi to join ministers from the states to lay wreaths on the caskets of many of the 40 jawans killed in the suicide attack on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Thursday.

In most cases, the coffins draped in the tricolor arrived from Delhi at the nearest airport, and were then taken by road to the jawans’ villages for state funerals.

In a village in Uttarakhand’s Udham Singh Nagar district, the 3-year-old Rehan lit his father Virendra Singh’s funeral pyre.

Union Minister of state for Textiles Ajay Tamta and Uttarakhand minister Yashpal Arya were at the cremation, where CRPF jawans fired three rounds in the air as a salute to their fallen colleague.

Shopkeepers in nearby Khatima, Chakarpur and Jhankat downed shutters. People taking part in a procession in Khatima shouted anti-Pakistan slogans.

In Ghalauti Khurd in Punjab’s Moga district, Jaimal Singh’s 5-year-old son Gurprakash lit the pyre. Rohitash Lamba’s infant son was made to symbolically touch the torch that lit his pyre in Shahpura town near Jaipur.

Thousands of people, including Union minister Jitendra Singh, attended the burial of head constable Naseer Ahmad at Dudasunballa village in the border district of Rajouri in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officers from the Central Reserve Police Force and the Army also visited the village to pay homage, promising to take care of the jawan’s family which includes his wife and two children, officials said.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman laid a wreath on the coffin of C Sivachandran at Tiruchirappali airport, where his body had been flown on the way to his village.

As Pankaj Tripathi’s body reached Harpur Bailhiya in Uttar Pradesh’s Maharajganj district, the villagers broke out in slogans hailing him as a martyr, and also chanting “Pakistan murdabad”.

Taking the cue from Prime Minister Narendra Modi remarks, Union Minister Shiv Pratap Shukla, who attended the funeral, said: “India will give a befitting reply to the cowardly act of Pakistan”. He announced that the local primary school will be renamed after the jawan.

“My son was coming soon to meet me, but it seems that something else was written in my fate,” his mother told reporters.

Uttarakhand’s Trivendra Singh Rawat, Himachal Pradesh’s Jai Ram Thakur and Odisha’s Naveen Pathak were among the chief ministers who paid homage as the remains of soldiers from their states arrived.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal turned pallbearer when head constable Maneswar Basumatari’s body arrived in Guwahati, flown in by the Indian Air Force.

“The nation will fight united to protect the sovereignty of our country. Basumatari’s sacrifice, along with that of the other CRPF jawans, will not go in vain,” he told reporters.

In Deoria district, Vijay Maurya’s wife Vijay Laxmi demanded that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath should visit the family before the cremation takes place.

UP Minister Anupama Jaiswal and other leaders were trying to persuade her to go ahead with the last rites. PTI


Here’s how you can donate to families of martyred CRPF jawans

Here's how you can donate to families of martyred CRPF jawans

Family members pay salute to slain CRPF jawan Sukhjinder Singh, at his residence before his funeral in Gandiwind village of Tarn Taran district on Saturday, February 16, 2019. PTI

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, Febraury 16 

Those who want to contribute voluntarily to the families of CRPF jawans martyred in Pulwama terror attack can do so on the official website of ‘Bharat Ke Veer’.

This fund is managed by a committee comprising Director Generals of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces  (CAPFs) under the aegis of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

‘Bharat Ke Veer’ is a trust into which public can contribute voluntarily to support families of martyrs of CAPFs — BSF, CRPF, CISF, ITBP, NDRF, NSG, SSB and Assam Rifles, the MHA said.

Expressing gratitude for the support, MHA said, “During the last few days there has been a tremendous response from people wanting to contribute through the website : bharatkeveer.gov.in.”

However, due to heavy traffic, sometimes a slowdown is reported in accessing  the website, it added.  

“It is also reported that some unscrupulous elements are soliciting contributions from people through other accounts. It is advised that people desirous of supporting families of martyrs of CAPFs should only contribute through the website — bharatkeveer.gov.in,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said.

 


FIRE POWER

FIRE POWER

he IAF fighter JEt carries out a fire power demonstration at Pokhran on Saturday. PTI

The IAF on Saturday carried out a drill involving 140 jets and attack helicopters in Pokhran, in a fire power demonstration close to the border with Pakistan. At the inauguration of the Vayu Shakti exercise, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said, “I wish to assure the nation of the IAF’s capability and commitment in meeting security challenges.”