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    Vajra Corps carries out tactical exercises

    Ludhiana, June 6

    Close on the heels of divisional-level manoeuvre exercise conducted in general area Nakodar-Nurmahal, in the vicinity of Ludhiana by Panther Division, two more tactical exercises were conducted by the Vajra Corps.These exercises were conducted at Khem Karan, historically known as ‘Patton Graveyard’ and Jalalabad, both in general area of Ferozepur by ‘Double Victory Brigade’ and ‘Golden Arrow Division’.The exercises involving large scale tank, infantry and aviation manoeuvres were supervised by Lt Gen JS Cheema, General Officer Commanding Vajra Corps. Despite intense heat, with extremely high temperature inside the tank or infantry combat vehicle, troops displayed remarkable skills and enthusiasm in undertaking various tactical manoeuvres.The exercise was witnessed by Lt Gen KJ Singh, General Officer Commanding -in-Chief, Western Command. The Army Commander complimented the troops for displaying a high standard of professionalism, even under harsh weather condition. —TNS

    Keep cool on AQ Khan’s loose nuclear talk :::Lt Gen Raj Kadyan (retd)

    There is absolutely no need for Indian officialdom to start reacting to statements made by a private individual. That should be left to the intelligentsia; editors and commentators. Mature countries should eschew making official statements on the use of nuclear weapons.

    Every development brings its own problems. Modern communication technology is no different. It has made us keyboard happy. With the speed of communication reaching near instant level, and given the human desire to always “be the first”, we tend to act faster than we can think. Social media is a particularly dicey medium in this respect. Fingers begin to act even before the brain gets engaged. Often we land up sending messages without due deliberation.Take the case of recent remarks by Pakistani national Abdul Qadeer Khan about his country’s reported capability to hit Delhi in five minutes. Our anger went viral with almost a matching speed. Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter were dense with reactions critical of Indian political and military hierarchy. “Why hasn’t the Army Chief spoken?”, “What is the Defence minister doing?” Some even castigated the Prime Minister for not making a statement. “After all,” the missives said, “it is the question of national morale.” And there were other reactions, even angrier and more bizarre. We need to give the issue a cool, deliberate thought. First, who is Abdul Qadeer Khan? He is a Pakistani nuclear physicist, who founded the uranium enrichment programme for Pakistan’s atomic bomb project. Khan founded and established the Kahuta Research Laboratories (KRL) in 1976, serving as both its senior scientist and Director-General until he retired in 2001. In January 2004, the Pakistani government detained him on US-provided evidence of his active role in nuclear weapons technology proliferation in other countries.   He was placed under “official” house arrest and remained so till 2009, when Islamabad High Court had him released and allowed him free movement inside the country. That makes him a person who certainly has nuclear knowledge, but also someone looking for publicity. His utterances need to be seen in that perspective.  Second, what has he said? He has merely stated an easily guessable fact. Nothing more.  Recall the background of Pakistan going nuclear. Pakistan began development of nuclear weapons in January 1972, after the humiliating military defeat by the Indian Army and its break-up. It was also a response to the development of India’s nuclear programme. Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the prime mover and made a commitment  to have the bomb ready by the end of 1976. When the programme lagged behind schedule, Abdul Qadeer Khan was brought from Europe by Bhutto at the end of 1974. Reportedly, Pakistan was ready to detonate a bomb by 1984. However, as Abdul Qadeer Khan himself has disclosed, then President Zia showed reluctance for fear of adverse world reaction and apprehension of aid drying up.  Finally, on  May 28, 1998, a few weeks after India’s second nuclear test (Operation Shakti), Pakistan detonated five nuclear devices in the Ras Koh Hills in Balochistan. The background leaves no doubt that Pakistan’s nuclear programme was, and remains, India specific. That being so, they have to design weapons and missiles that can target India, their main perceived adversary. And what better nuclear target than its capital, Delhi? Kahuta, their nuclear nerve centre, is under 700 km air distance from Delhi. Most of their missiles would have much larger range than that and should be able to reach it. When AQ Khan says they can target Delhi in five minutes, he is perhaps talking of the flight time of a missile. That is a mere statement of fact. Khan’s undoubtedly irresponsible boast must not be misconstrued as Pakistan’s policy or plans of actually doing so. Launching of a nuclear attack on another nuclear power is totally a different matter and has never happened so far. Many more intricate factors would be involved in any such decision. There is absolutely no need for Indian officialdom to start reacting to statements made by a private individual. That should be left to the intelligentsia; editors, commentators and panelists. In any case, what Khan has stated should be too well known to Indian planners. And necessary counter-measures would undoubtedly be in place. Mature countries should eschew making official statements  on a subject as serious as use of nuclear weapons.  Our “no-first-use” policy is well known to the world. Despite the sabre-rattling, Pakistan is unlikely to resort to use of nuclear weapons, unless some erratic decision maker has suicidal tendencies.  Because in the unlikely event of a nuclear exchange, while India has the capacity to absorb a strike, Pakistan would disappear from the map.            

        AIbEiAIAAABDCPTLtYO_nOaJNyILdmNhcmRfcGhvdG8qKDgxY2NiNzYwYzcwZGUwMTY1YWQwNzZlODU5ODVhMDM0YTE3MjcwN2YwAcUV_kHCp8VJa-6VmfMQ1VqHUueY             Lt Gen Raj Kadyan (retd)

     The writer is former Deputy Chief of Army Staff.

    Calling Army was unwise, says panel

    Calling Army was unwise, says panel
    The Army conducts a flag march in Rohtak. File photo

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, May 31

    Calling the Army for internal security is not a wise decision for any state government, observes the Prakash Singh Committee report.“The deployment of the Army helped the Haryana Government bring the situation under control, but calling armed forces for matters of internal security should always be used as a last resort,” it said.The report pointed out the Army was utilised in a big way in Haryana. There were a maximum of 74 columns on a particular day.The presence of the Army did make an impact. The situation was thereafter gradually brought under control.“However, there have been disturbing whispers that the rioters were not particularly scared of the Army. The Additional Chief Secretary (Home) of the state had no hesitation in saying that the agitators were not daunted by the presence of the Army. This is not a happy situation and should cause us concern,” the report said.The committee said that one reason could be that the Army is getting over-exposed.“If this continues to happen, it will be good neither for the Army nor for the internal security of the country. Every force has a defined role and they should be able to perform that under normal circumstances. If there are any difficulties or constraints in the performance of the police, those difficulties need to be addressed and the constraints removed. The Army should be called as a last resort only when all other efforts have failed,” the report added.The state government, as told by the then DGP, placed a demand for 100 companies of the Central Armed Polie Force and 200 columns of the Army.It was a fantastic, if not absurd, demand, the report observed.

    16 dead in Army ammo depot fire CAG had last year warned against the risk

    16 dead in Army ammo depot fire
    Defence Minister M Parrikar & Army Chief Dalbir S Suhag with an injured. PTI

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi/Mumbai, May 31

    Sixteen persons, including two officers, Lt Col RS Pawar and Maj K Manoj, were killed in a massive fire that broke out at the Central Ammunition Depot in Pulgaon (Wardha) near Nagpur in Maharashtra at 1.30 am today. The fire led to multiple explosions.Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) Lt Gen Ranbir Singh said besides the two Army officers, an Army jawan and 13 civilian firefighters had died in the fire that started in a shed that held “highly sensitive ammunition.” Two officers, nine Army jawans and six fire fighting personnel were hospitalised  even as the Army had rushed its own teams of medical specialists from Pune, the DGMO said. The depot stores artillery  ammunition, which is deadly. Small arms and mortars are also stored there.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter@thetribunechd)Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag rushed to Pulgaon for spot assessment of the damage caused by the explosions. Even as the fire at Pulgaon is under control, ‘cooling operations’ will continue till tomorrow.Meanwhile, district officials in Maharashtra said more than 1,000 people living in villages in the vicinity of the ammunition depot had been evacuated. “The people will be allowed to return to their homes after the defence authorities complete the cooling operations,” a district official said. The military authorities anticipate secondary explosions. Reports said the ammunition stored here includes those for rifles used by Army personnel and missiles such as the BrahMos.Parrikar was in Pune where residents of localities around another ammunition depot at Pimpri-Chinchwad were demanding that they be allowed to construct houses in part of the sanitised area around the facility.In May last year, the Comptroller and Auditor General in its report titled ‘Ammunition Management in Army’ had pointed out the risks. It said “the depots were functioning with risk of fire accident as the fire fighting equipments were not held as per requirement/authorisation. “The movement of ammunition within various echelons in the Army suffered from inadequacies such as delays in issue of ammunition, non-accounting of ammunition by depots, transportation of ammunition by other than specified explosive vans”, it had said, adding that even banned ammunition was lying around in the depots.

    Maha dump biggest

    • The ammo depot is spread over 7,000 acres and is the country’s biggest
    • All ammunition is stored at Pulgaon and supplied to a dozen field depots
    • The ammo stored includes those for rifles and missiles such as the BrahMos
    • The Army has ordered an inquiry and has begun assessing the damage

    Army busts militant hideout in Doda, arms and ammunition recovered

    Army busts militant hideout in Doda, arms and ammunition recovered
    Personnel of the Army and Special Operations Group of the J&K Police display arms and ammunition recovered from a hideout in Doda on Monday. a tribune photo

    Tribune News Service

    jammu, May 30

    Seucrity forces today busted a militants’ hideout in Doda district and recovered a big haul of arms and ammunition from it.“Acting on specific information, the Army and Special Operations Group (SOG) of police launched a search operation in Sunarthau forest near Jantron Top in the Gosti Bowl of Doda district and busted a hideout,” said a defence spokesperson.The teams recovered four weapons including one AK 56 rifle, two 9 mm pistols, one countrymade pistol, seven AK magazines, four 9 mm pistol magazines, one Pika magazine, four UBGL grenades, five Pak hand grenades, 1,696 rounds of 7.62 mm AK 47 rifle, 1,340 rounds of 7.62 mm CTN, 40 belted rounds of Pika, two binoculars, one telescopic night sight and other sustenance stores from a cave in Sunarthau forest.Notably, accurate intelligence helped the Army in recovery of war-like stores in an operation with SOG in the dense forest, said the spokesperson. The recovered arms and ammunition were handed over to Thatri police station where an FIR also has been lodged.

    Army seizes war-like stores of arms in J&K

    short by Anupama K / 02:59 pm on 30 May 2016,Monday
    The Indian Army on Monday recovered war-like stores of arms and ammunition from the Sunarthwa Forest of Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir. The team recovered arms including an AK 56 Rifle, two 9 mm Pistols, a country-made Pistol and a camera. The recovered arms reportedly belong to a terrorist group that was active in the area.

    Game changers: Pak tactical nukes, Chinese troops in PoK


    A significant Chinese military presence in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) has raised the geo-strategic stakes. Pakistan has also adopted a policy of using low-yield tactical nuclear weapons to counter a convectional Indian assault. PoK comprises the Gilgit-Baltistan region lying to the north of the LoC and the so-called Azad Kashmir on the LoC’s west. This provides China a strategic land link across the Karakoram to the warm waters of the Arabian Sea and is known to have significant rare earth deposits. The land link from Gwadar, a deep sea port in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province, to Kashgar in Xingjian province in Western China through the Khunjerab Pass in PoK is known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). For China, it provides an alternative route for energy supplies from the Middle-East and trade, without having to traverse the maritime route through in South East Asia, which is longer and prone to interdiction. The 2,450 km long, $46 billion CPEC is a central point in Sino-Pak relations and has been included in China’s 13th five-year development plan.Complementing the supposedly all-weather highway, a rail link and oil and natural gas pipelines are proposed to be part of this corridor. The northern axis of this corridor, known as the Karakoram Highway, however has been closed to traffic since January 2010 following a massive landslide along the Hunza river that resulted in about 30 km of the road being submerged. China, also making forays into Afghanistan and Central Asia, has gained access to Pakistani naval bases in its endeavour to protect its oil supplies as it currently lacks a true blue water capability to secure its trade routes.While Chinese workers may have been deployed in PoK in some numbers for a long time, China significantly increased its military presence in the middle of the last decade, ostensibly to carry out development works such as building dams, power projects, roads and communication networks. Varying reports have assessed the number of Chinese troops in PoK to be up to 5,000. They have also been spotted along the LoC. Since some of these projects are sponsored by the Chinese, their presence in PoK is expected to be a long-term or permanent affair. The Chinese posture along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has, over the past decade or so, has become increasingly dominating. Transgressions across Indian claim lines have increased manifold. Chinese troops have on some instances come several kilometers inside India forcing a stand-off for days.A recent report by the Pentagon warns that China has increased defence capabilities and deployed more troops along the Indian border. The report also talks of increased Chinese military presence, including bases, in various parts of the world, particularly Pakistan. At the same time, Pakistani too has ramped up military deployment along the LoC in the Kargil sector.The Indian Army is in the process of raising a mountain strike corps. Though based in the north-east, it could be deployed in the north-western sector also. Last year, Pakistan declared its intention of using low-yield or tactical nuclear weapons with a relatively lesser area of impact, to hold back an Indian offensive. It has claimed that requisite infrastructure is in place for launching tactical nukes. This has added a new dimension to the whole scenario.The border issue with China and Pakistan remains a tricky affair. So, it leaves open the possibilities of a conflict or attempts to grab territory. The 1999 Kargil war saw little involvement from China, but since then, the China has grown economically, modernised its military, developed border infrastructure and adopted an aggressive posture. There has been a talk in the Indian security establishment of a “two-front war”, implying that India may have to militarily confront Pakistan and China simultaneously. Some also speak of a “two-and-a-half front war” by adding the jihadi or terrorist element present in the hinterland to the Sino-Pak collusion.As Chinese economic and security interests in the region grow, a future conflict with Pakistan along the LoC, or elsewhere, could see greater Chinese involvement or collusion with Pakistan, which has to be factored into Indian military planning. It could be more so in terms of moral, diplomatic, military and logistic support though the possibility of direct Sino-Indian confrontation on the LoC remains slim unless China, for its own self interest instigates a conflict. An increasing probability of China getting embroiled in an Indo-Pak conflict situation or having Chinese troops present in PoK providing a psychological buoyancy could embolden Pakistan to play mischief again.The war zoneTheatre: About 160 km along the LoC through Mushkoh, Dras, Kaksar, Kargil and Batalik in J&K, at heights up to 18,000 feet

    Duration: May-July 1999

    Operational names

    Indian Army: Op Vijay

    Indian Air Force: Op Safed Sagar

    Indian Navy: Op Talwar

    Pakistan: Op Badr

    Cause: Pakistani troops occupied about 130 vacated posts on the Indian side of the LoC.Significance: Pakistan’s aim was to interdict the critically important National Highway 1-A, thereby cutting off Ladakh from Kashmir.

    Outcome: Pakistani troops evicted.

    Tactical and diplomatic victory for India.HOW THE WAR UNFOLDEDMay 3, 1999: Pakistani intrusion in Kargil reported by local shepherdsMay 5: Army patrols sent up; Five Indian soldier captured and tortured to death.May 9: Heavy shelling by Pakistan damages ammunition dump in KargilMay 10: Infiltrations first noticed in Dras, Kaksar and Mushkoh sectorsMid-May: Army moves in more troops from Kashmir Valley to Kargil SectorMay 26: IAF launches air strikes against infiltratorsMay 27: IAF looses two fighters — MiG-21 and MiG-29;. Flt Lt Nachiketa taken POW (Prisioner of War)May 28: IAF MI-17 shot down by Pakistan; four air crew deadJune 1: Pakistan steps up attacks; bombs NH-1-AJune 5: Indian Army releases documents recovered from three Pakistani soldiers indicating Pakistan’s involvement.June 6: Indian Army launches major offensive in KargilJune 9: Indian Army re-captures two key positions in the Batalic sectorJune 11: India releases intercepts of conversation between Pakistani Army Chief Gen Pervez Musharraf, while on a visit to China and Chief of General Staff Lt Gen Aziz Khan in Rawalpindi, as proof of Pakistani Army’s involvement.June 13: Indian Army secures Tololing in DrasJune 15: US President Bill Clinton, in a telephonic conversation, asks Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to pull out from KargilJune 29: Indian Army captures two vital posts — Point 5060 and Point 5100 near Tiger HillJuly 2: Indian Army launches three-pronged attack in KargilJuly 4: Indian Army recaptures Tiger Hill after an 11-hour battleJuly 5: Indian Army takes control of Dras. Sharif announces Pakistani army’s withdrawal from Kargil following his meeting with Clinton.July 7: India recaptures Jubar Heights in BatalikJuly 11: Pakistan begins pullout; India captures key peaks in BatalikJuly 14: PM Vajpayee declares operation Vijay a success. Government sets condition for talks with PakistanJuly 26: Kargil conflict officially comes to an end. Army announces complete eviction of Pak intruders

    Deadlocked by piecemeal solutions Sumit Hakoo in Jammu

    Deadlocked by piecemeal solutions

    THE five working groups were set up by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre. The aim was to involve stakeholders from various regions, ethnic groups and social organisations in J&K in the entire gamut of the issues facing the people, including ways to bring peace in the region affected by terrorism. The following were the high five:

    • Confidence building measures across segments of society in the state: Headed by now Vice President Dr Hamid Ansari.
    • Strengthening Centre-state relations: Headed by Justice (retired) Sagheer Ahmad (now dead).
    • Ensuring good governance: Under former bureaucrat and diplomat Naresh Chandra Saxena.
    • Strengthening relations across LoC & economic reforms: Helmed by M. Rasgotra and C. Rangarajan, former Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
    • Matters relating to the special status, strengthening democracy, rule of law, secularism and devolution of powers: Late Justice Sagir Ahmad submitted its report directly to then CM Omar Abdullah in December 2009, but it had failed to recommend anything as there were serious differences among members.

    The four working groups gave their reports in April 2007 to PM Manmohan Singh during the third roundtable in Delhi. A high-level committee was formed in February 2008 headed by then union home secretary to oversee implementation of the recommendations of the four groups. Following were the objectives and results: Group I headed Hamid Ansari: Improve the condition of people affected by militancy, rehabilitation of orphans and widows, issues relating to the relaxation of conditions for persons who have foresworn militancy; effective rehabilitation policy, including employment, for Kashmiri Pandit migrants, an approach to return of Kashmiri youth from areas controlled by Pakistan, steps to protect and preserve the unique cultural and religious heritage.Ground Reality: Some centrally sponsored schemes implemented for militancy victims particularly orphans and widows, two key recommendation of the WG-I.No much headway on return of Kashmiri youth from Pakistan and rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits. Nothing on AFSPA and Disturbed Areas Act because of continued Pak support to cross-border terrorism. A job package for Pandits was implemented in 2010, no further steps for their return and rehab following opposition from separatists. Centre slow in allowing Kashmiri youth from Pakistan to settle back in Kashmir. Group II: Strengthening ties across LoC: (chairman M. Rasgotra): To recommend steps to simplify procedures to facilitate travel across LoC, increase goods traffic, expand people-to-people contact, open up new routes such as Kargil-Skardu Ground Reality: Trade and visits started in 2006, but no headway to increase people-to-people contact. Opening of Kargil-Skardu is unlikely in near future as Pak shows little interest. Group III: Economic development (chairman: Dr C Rangrajan): Ensure balanced economic development and employment generation, a balanced regional and sub-regional development.Ground Reality: No headway in transferring 390mw Dulhasti and 1020mw Bursar project. Despite government expressing its commitment to balanced development, unemployment, development disparity, regional divide and rising grievances about corruption are key challenges. Group IV: Good governance (chairman: NC Saxena): Increase responsiveness, accountability and transparency of the administration, strengthen local self-government, monitor development programmes, promote zero tolerance for rights violations.Ground Reality: No serious attempt to strengthen accountability commission and bring transparency. Panchayat system and urban local bodies remain without much power. Majority of the developmental projects run behind schedule. Rights situation has improved but continued provocation by separatists and militants has led to death of several youths in protests.Group V: Strengthening ties between state and Centre (late Justice Sageer Ahmed). Matters relating to the special status within the Union; effective devolution of powers. Ground reality: The recommendations on some sort of autonomy in the Justice Sagheer Ahmed working group report caused discord between NC and Congress when they were in coalition (2009-2014). A cabinet sub-committee formed to give its opinion on the matter failed to reach any consensus. ‘Recommendations redundant, irrelevant’ Former BJP ideologue Prof Hari Om, who had presented the party in working groups, says their recommendations have become redundant and irrelevant. Prof Hari Om, who had attended deliberations in the working groups and round table conference as vice president of the BJP, argued that recommendations were by and large Kashmir-centric. The wishes and aspirations of the people of Jammu and Ladakh were “deliberately ignored,” he said. “There is no mention of such issues as problems faced by West Pakistani refugees, rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri Hindus and issues concerning refugees from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK)”, he said.  Prof Hari Om had signed a dissent note in the recommendations. Panun Kashmir (PK) chairman Ajay Chrangoo was also a member of Working Group on Centre-State ties. “The report was submitted without taking most members into confidence”, Chrangoo says. The entire process was a futile attempt to negate the aspirations of national population in the state that believes in Constitution of India, he said. 

    — Dinesh Manhotrain Jammu

    A decade of ups & downs

    • May 24, 2006: PM Manmohan Singh arrives in Srinagar for a 2-day round-table.
    • May 25: Manmohan says 5 working groups to be set up. 4 tourists die in a grenade blast on Srinagar outskirts.
    • May 31: Grenade attacks on two tourist busses in Srinagar, 36 tourists injured.
    • July 11: 8 persons, including 5 tourists, killed in a series of grenade blasts. Over 200 die in multiple train blasts in Mumbai.
    • March 2007: Pak lawyers’ stir against suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary weakens Pervez Musharaf’s hold.
    • July: Lal Masjid siege and military operation in Pakistan; sets off a new wave of radical militancy in Pak.
    • Nov 28: Musharraf steps down as Chief of Army Staff.
    • Dec 27: Benazir Bhutto assassinated.
    • June-August 2008: Communal divide visible as protests sweep for several months in Kashmir and Jammu regions over land transfer to a Hindu shrine board.
    • Aug 18: Musharaf steps down as the president, a month later Zardari takes charge.
    • Nov 26: 10 militants attack Mumbai city, fighting continues for three days as nearly 200 killed. Indo-Pak talks halted.
    • May-June 2009: Alleged incident of rape of two women in Shopian triggers protests.
    • May 22: Manmohan Singh sworn in PM for second term.
    • June-October 2010: Killing of a student triggers widespread protest, leading to bloodshed in Kashmir as 120 protesters and civilians killed.
    • Feb 10, 2011: India agrees to resume talks with Pak suspended after 2008 Mumbai attacks.
    • November 2011: Zardari vows to grant most favoured nation status to India.
    • April 13, 2012: India decides to allow FDI from Pak as the two decide to open a trading post on the Wagah border.
    • Feb 9, 2013: Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru hanged; Kashmir locked down.
    • March: Suicide attackers return after years of lull in Kashmir, CRPF personnel attacked.
    • June 5: Nawaz Sharif elected Pak PM.
    • May 26, 2014: Narendra Modi elected Prime Minister.
    • Jul 10, 2015: India, Pak PMs meet on the sidelines of a Summit in Ufa.
    • August 2015: National security advisors of India and Pak call call off meet after India objects to a meeting between Pakistani NSA and Kashmiri separatists.
    • Dec 25: Modi in Pakistan on his first visit surprises all.
    • Jan 2 2016: Armed militants attack Pathankot Air Force Station.

    — Compiled by Azhar Qadri

    Kashmir on edge Streets ready to erupt despite tourist season

    A great sense of unease combined with a fear of eruption of streets is palpable in Kashmir.  The separatists and the deemed mainstream have come together and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party has swayed towards them in a bid to show that it can stand up to its right-wing ally, BJP, on issues perceived to be hurting Kashmir. These games and postures have created an atmosphere of unrest. Mishaps take place in Kashmir in a matter of minutes when a lethal mix of distorted facts and fiction comes to rule the psyche. A fear of an assumed assault on the religious and ethnic identities of Kashmiri Muslims is being instigated. That is prompting them to fight back to retain the special status of the state and avert an “imminent threat” to the Muslim majority character of the Valley. In this frame of thinking any and every issue — be it residential enclaves for migrant Kashmiri Pandits, state subject ex-servicemen, new industrial policy or NEET — becomes an occasion for deepening alienation. Separatists see in the opening of new medical colleges ways of bringing non-locals to undermine the ethnic and religious majority of the place. To make it look like a real assault — and the need to resist it — the hitherto divided separatist leaders have “united.”  Common Kashmiris feel something is definitely wrong.  Streets are vulnerable to protests.  Since there is no counter-narrative, “my way or the highway” attitude is rolling on. That a design is at work gains credence when a host of issues appear all of a sudden and the ruling class joins the chorus of sharing the separatists’ concern on protecting the special status of the state. The backdrop is ominous. Three policemen were gunned down in Srinagar on Monday. There is ready acceptance of any call to shutdown and protests from the separatists despite the high tourist season. The PDP-BJP alliance sans the requisite development and sense of empowerment is helping the forces wanting to make this summer really hot.

    Pathankot: Forensic reports deny 2 terrorists

    short by Anupama K / 08:45 am on 19 May 2016,Thursday
    Forensic reports have failed to confirm the government’s claims that the charred material recovered from the Pathankot Airbase were the remains of two unidentified terrorists, The Indian Express has reported. According to experts, the reports only show that the remains contain male DNA, but give no indication of the number of individuals the genetic material came from.