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    Pak resorts to heavy firing along LoC

    Pak resorts to heavy firing along LoC
    Villagers show mortar tailfins after Pakistani shelling on a village in the Jammu region. Tribune file Photo

    Dinesh Manhotra

    Tribune News Service

    Jammu, November 14

    Pakistan today resorted to firing and shelling at different places on the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri and Jammu districts. One soldier and a civilian were injured in the shelling that came after Pakistan officially confirmed that seven of its soldiers were killed in cross-border firing yesterday.The fresh shelling made authorities cancel all cultural programmes of the Jhiri Mela which started at the Kanachak area this morning.“As a precautionary measure, we have cancelled the cultural programme and Natrang play at Jhiri. Though there is no shelling in the Jhiri sector, we cannot take chances in view of the ceasefire violation in the Khour sector,” Jammu Deputy Commissioner Simranjit Singh said. A large number of devotees from all parts of north India, especially from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, are attending the mela.Defence sources said the Pakistani troops started firing in the Pallanwalla area in the Akhnoor sub-division of Jammu district and the Sunderbani and Nowshera sectors of Rajouri district. The firing started at 2.40 pm and continued for two hours.Reports said Pakistan used 82 mm mortars and automatic guns at different locations along the LoC. The Indian troops gave a befitting response to the ceasefire violation.The Deputy Commissioner said a civilian, Mangat Ram, who is resident of Sainth village of the Khour area, was injured in the shelling.Reports said one para commando was injured in Pakistani firing at Khadi Khadmal on the LoC in Poonch district. He had reportedly been shifted to Army Hospital, Udhampur.The rise in shelling came after Inter-Services Public Relations of Pakistan today admitted that seven soldiers were killed on Sunday night in cross-border firing from across the LoC in the Bhimber sector. For the past over one month, violations of ceasefire have been going on unabated in the Nowshera area.The fresh shelling made authorities cancel all cultural programmes of the Jhiri Mela which started at the Kanachak area this morning.“As a precautionary measure, we have cancelled the cultural programme and Natrang play at Jhiri. Though there is no shelling in the Jhiri sector, we cannot take chances in view of the ceasefire violation in the Khour sector,” Jammu Deputy Commissioner Simranjit Singh said. A large number of devotees from all parts of north India, especially from Punjab, Haryana and Delhi, are attending the mela.On November 8, Pakistani troops had targeted Indian posts along the LoC in the area by opening fire and lobbing mortar shells. Indian troops had retaliated to it. There have been over 115 ceasefire violations along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir after the surgical strikes on September 29.The worst-ever Pakistani shelling targeting civil population took place on November 1 when eight persons, including two children and four women, were killed and 22 others injured along the International Border and the LoC in five sectors of J&K.


    174 border schoolsto reopen today

    • Despite fresh ceasefire violations on the LoC, the government on Monday ordered opening of 174 schools situated in the areas adjoining the International Border. Jammu DC Simranjit Singh on Monday ordered the reopening of schools in the border areas of Jammu from Tuesday. These schools were closed following the spike in tension between India and Pakistan post-September 29 surgical strikes in PoK.

    Militant shot as Army fights off infiltrators in Nowgam

    Srinagar, November 14

    An unidentified militant was killed in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district as the Army foiled an infiltration attempt on Monday. The militant was killed in a gunfight that erupted this afternoon close to the Line of Control at Nowgam.“The gunfight erupted around 1 pm when a group of militants was intercepted by the Army when they were trying to sneak into the Valley. In the ongoing operation, one militant has been killed so far and one weapon has been recovered,” an Army officer said. The Army has deployed additional forces for combing the area, the officer added.Since the surgical strikes on September 29, this is the third infiltration bid foiled in the Nowgam sector. On October 6, four militants were killed in the sector.This is the second infiltration bid in the past five days. On November 10, the Army had foiled an infiltration bid at Rampur in Uri, killing an militant. This year there has been a spurt in infiltration. Official figures reveal that 87 militants infiltrated into Kashmir till September-end. Last year, 33 militants had infiltrated. — TNS

    Brakes in funds flow make dent in Kashmir terror trail

    Brakes in funds flow make dent in Kashmir terror trail
    Youths protest the civilian killings in Srinagar. Tribune file Photo

    Mukesh Ranjan

    Tribune News Service

    New Delhi, November 14

    There is an assessment by the security agencies that demonetisation has started impacting terror activities, especially in the Valley, where nearly Rs 3,000 crore of ‘hawala’ money in circulation is of “no use” now.Sources in the security establishment believe that the move would lead to a major shift in the terror infrastructure management and change the character and nature of terror funding in the country. They also claim that the four-month-long unrest in the Valley, sparked by the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani by security forces in July, is receding and expected to end as the cash inflow has halted.Intelligence inputs have always been there that politicians and separatist leaders are being funded through hawala transactions to fuel protests in the Valley, sources said.According to several estimates by agencies, Pakistan has been pumping in Rs 800-1,000 crore annually for the separatist groups alone.“30 per cent of this fund is paid to the beneficiaries in US dollars in bank accounts abroad. Half of the 70 per cent funds used to be paid in original currency and the remaining in fake Indian currency,” an intelligence official said.Between 2013 and 2016, 17 cases were registered and 37 persons were arrested in terror-funding cases in J&K, mostly in hawala and FICN cases, sources added.Intelligence officials said that lack of hawala money inflow would also hit the activities of the Maoists and other insurgent groups in the northeastern states.

    Unrest receding

    • Nearly Rs 3,000 crore of ‘hawala’ money in circulation is of “no use” now after the demonitisation
    • The four-month unrest in the Valley is receding and expected to end as the cash inflow has halted

    Parrikar should weigh his words

    The defence minister has reopened the debate on India’s nuclear doctrine

    As a Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar can say almost anything he wants in public. There is minimal collateral damage for the rest of the nation if everyone in Panaji takes leave of their senses. Unfortunately, this is not the case with a defence minister Manohar Parrikar. In this position he is one of the four senior-most Cabinet members and the one charged with the external security and defence of India. His words are carefully listened to and strongly influence the actions of a swathe of players, including the armed services, foreign governments and terrorist groups. Unfortunately, the person who seems to understand this the least is Mr Parrikar. His questioning of India’s long-standing nuclear doctrine on a public platform was avoidable. He effectively put a question mark over India’s nuclear deterrent, the sanctum sanctorum of the country’s national security posture. More worryingly, his “personal” comments seem to stem from an inadequate understanding of the strategic logic underpinning nuclear deterrence and a no-first-use policy.

    In the dawn of the nuclear age, military strategists recognised that nuclear weapons changed the purpose of an army. A conventional arsenal is designed to defeat an enemy. A nuclear war would inflict such enormous damage on both sides that no one could win such a conflict. Therefore, the purpose of a nuclear arsenal was to prevent war. Thus was borne the concept of nuclear deterrent. To put it another way, one wins a nuclear conflict by never having it in the first place. Once this logic was understood, the next logical step was to signal this in a number of ways including no-first-use, developing the ability to carry out nuclear retaliation even after being attacked and, most important, maintaining the credibility of national intent through testing, technology and a iron-cast doctrine. A country can build all the warheads and delivery mechanisms it wants. But if there is evidence that it lacks the political will to actually use them, it encourages an enemy to carry out a first strike. The messaging of the political determination to retaliate, irrespective of the damage done in the first strike, is absolutely essential in ensuring the enemy attack never takes place at all.Whether in a personal or official capacity, for a defence minister to question India’s nuclear doctrine undermines the credibility of the country’s deterrent. Mr Parrikar, in other words, is inviting other countries to presume India is not certain how to use its final line of defence.

    Rs 5-lakh ex gratia, govt job for family of martyr Gursewak

    Rs 5-lakh ex gratia, govt job for family of martyr Gursewak
    An Army officer pays tributes to martyr Gursewak Singh before his cremation in Tarn Taran’s Warana village on Monday. Tribune photo

    Our Correspondent

    Tarn Taran, November 7 Sepoy Gursewak Singh (24) of 22 Sikh, who was killed in Pakistani shelling in Jammu and Kashmir yesterday, was cremated today with state and military honours at his native village, Warana, in the district.Food and Civil Supply Minister Adaish Partap Singh Kairon, along with Army officers and officials of the district administration, was present. The Punjab Government announced ex gratia relief of Rs5 lakh for the family and a government job for Gursewak’s brother.He was to get married in February next year.The martyr’s body was brought to the village in an Army van. The pyre was lit by his father, Balwinder Singh. Nagoke village resident Gurmeet Kaur, who was engaged to Gursewak, attended the cremation.Col Subodh Gurung of the Mechanised Infantry, Deputy Commissioner BS Dhaliwal and SSP Manmohan Kumar Sharma were among those who laid wreaths on the body.Leaders of various political parties, including the SAD, the Congress, AAP and Aapna Punjab Party, also paid tributes to the martyr.

    Army finishes pipeline work in Ladakh despite Chinese opposition

    Army finishes pipeline work in Ladakh despite Chinese opposition
    The face-off between the two sides continued for three days ending on Sunday evening. — Photo for representation only) Chinese and Indian troops were reported to have been locked in a stand off at the icy heights of Ladakh division. PTI file photo

    Leh/New Delhi, November 6 Unfazed by the ‘sit-in’ by the Chinese border guards at Demchok in Ladakh that led to a face-off with Indian troops earlier this week, Army engineers have finished the work for laying a water pipeline for local villagers in Ladakh division.Chinese had pressed its People’s Armed Police Force (PAPF) personnel at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Demchok this time instead of usual PLA who came to erect a Fibre-Reinforced plastic (FRP) hut on Friday at the border but was not allowed by Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troops, official sources said.The sources said while the face-off between the two sides continued for three days ending yesterday evening, the Army engineers, ignored the warnings by PAPF personnel and continued laying pipeline for nearly a kilometre for irrigation purpose of the villagers in Demchok, located 250 km east of Leh.(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)According to the sources, the formula of ‘active patrolling’ adopted by the ITBP and army ever since 2013 fortnight long stand-off near Daulat Beig Oldie has been reaping rich dividends and Chinese have been cautious in carrying out incursion especially in Ladakh sector.This time also, the sources said, army and ITBP personnel did not allow the PAPF guards to erect the hut and they were forced to take the material back to their base camp located a kilometre away at Demqog from the place of face-off.The fresh incident had erupted on November 2 when Chinese troops took positions on the LAC and demanded that work be stopped as either side needs to take permission from each other before undertaking any construction work, a claim disputed by India which says that as per the agreement between the two countries, information about construction needed to be shared only if it was meant for defence purposes.Both sides pulled out banners and have been stationed on the ground, the sources said, adding the Army and ITBP troopers were not allowing the Chinese “to move an inch” ahead despite the PLA claiming that the area belonged to China.The area had witnessed a similar incident in 2014 after it was decided to construct a small irrigation canal at Nilung Nalla under the MNREGA scheme which had been a sore point with the Chinese.The PLA had mobilised villagers from Tashigong to pitch Rebos (tents) at Charding-Ninglung Nallah (CNN) Track Junction to protest Indian action. — PTI

    Capt seeks justice for soldier’s kin

    CHANDIGARH: Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday submitted a memorandum to governor VP Singh Badnore, seeking the Centre’s intervention for providing justice to the family of retired soldier Ram Kishan Grewal who killed himself in protest against an unequal pension policy for military veterans.

    Alleging total breakdown of democratic system in the country, Amarinder urged Badnore to convey to the central government his party’s concern over the brutal handling of the situation in the wake of 70-year-old’s suicide and demanded exemplary action against those guilty of harassing, detaining and beating up his family members.He was leading a 20-member delegation of Punjab Congress leaders and ex-servicemen.

    Worried India set to call back 8 officials from Pak


    NEW DELHI/ISLAMABAD: Safety concerns could prompt India to bring back eight officials from its high commission in Islamabad after six members of the Pakistani mission in New Delhi left for home on Wednesday, taking ties to a fresh low amid heightened tensions.

    The safety of the Indian diplomats was compromised as their identities were posted online and their photos flashed by Pakistani news channels. The Pakistani media described two of the officials as spies and quoted sources as saying that they were involved in espionage and “subversive activities”.

    The standoff follows unrelenting Pakistani shelling in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir over the past fortnight, resulting in heavy civilian fatalities. At least 20 people, including children, were killed as Pakistani troops pounded border areas with mortar shells.

    Official sources in New Delhi said the identities of the Indian officials were leaked to Pakistani media shortly after a video emerged of the interrogation by Delhi Police of Mehmood Akhtar, a Pakistan high commission official arrested and expelled last week on charges of spying.

    In the video, Akhtar is seen naming six more Pakistani officials as members of the spying ring. These six officials, including four of the rank of first secretary, were the ones who left India with their families on Wednesday.

    The sources also questioned Delhi Police’s decision to release the video to the media. It is believed that this had resulted in tit-for-tat leaks to the Pakistani media.

    Pakistani TV channels and news websites initially ran stories that described Indian commercial counselor Rajesh Agnihotri and press secretary Balbir Singh as intelligence agents. Later, names of six more Indian officials were made public.

    Sources said the news reports had raised serious concerns about the safety of the eight Indian officials, especially as their photos were flashed on TV at a time of heightened tensions. This would make it easy for forces inimical to India to identify them in public, the sources added.

    Though there was no official word, the sources said the officials would have to be called back as “there is a clear danger to their lives”

    The Indian officials include a counselor, three first secretaries and four assistants. The external affairs ministry also summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner Syed Haider Shah and protested against ceasefire violations on the frontiers in Kashmir. It also protested against the mutilation of the body of an Indian solider by a “terrorist” who crossed the Line of Control. Pakistani forces have targeted border villages and army posts since India’s elite forces conducted surgical strikes on militant hideouts in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in September.No deaths were reported on Wednesday but many villagers living near the frontline have been evacuated to safe places.

    Civil-military meet: Security of airfields, ammo depots taken up

    Vijay Mohan

    Tribune News Service

    Chandigarh, November 2

    In the backdrop of heightened tension between India and Pakistan and recent terror attacks in the region, the topic of security of airfields and ammunition depots in the state featured prominently in the annual civil-military liaison conference (CMLC) of the state government and the Western Command here today.Sources said the prime concern was large-scale unauthorised constructions adjoining the perimeter of sensitive installations, which not only posed a security threat for these but also raised the issue of the safety of the civilian population residing in the vicinity.“Some specific observations in this regard concerning ammunition depots near Bathinda, Ludhiana, Dappar and Pathankot were made and these will be pursued at appropriate levels further. Safety and security issues pertaining to airfields as well as some civilian airports, including those at Amritsar and Chandigarh, were also discussed,” an official said.Illegal constructions and encroachment around military installations has been a long-standing issue and the issue has also been dragged into courts, where some cases are pending. The issue has cropped up repeatedly during CMLCs. The meet today was conducted by Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Jagpal Singh Sandhu and Chief of Staff, Western Command, Lt Gen IS Ghuman. The Chief Minister, who traditionally presides over the CMLC, was not present as his helicopter could not take off from Amritsar due to bad weather.Sources said the Army had also raised the issue of damage being caused to the ditch-cum-bunds (DCBs) along the Indo-Pakistan border due to agricultural activities and sand mining. The state government was asked to undertake repairs of the DCBs that stretch over several kilometers and are designed to check enemy advances by flooding the ditches.The Army has sought allocation of about 23 acres of land in Nangal from the state government to meet its administrative requirements. It also pointed out that it is unable to carry out construction for the Services Selection Board at Rupnagar, which at present is running from an interim location at Kapurthala, due to recurring flooding of the site.In addition, the Army also wants to set up Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme polyclinics in four non-military stations in Punjab. While the state government has agreed to provide government land, where available, for the polyclinics, it will facilitate the Army in procuring land at other places.Filling up vacancies in the state government earmarked for ex-servicemen, welfare schemes and financial assistance to veterans and widows were among the other items of the 18-point agenda.

    Other issues

    • Illegal constructions and encroachment around military installations
    • Damage being caused to the ditch-cum-bunds along the Indo-Pakistan border
    • Land sought by the Army in Nangal
    • Setting up of Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme polyclinics
    • Filling up of vacancies in the state government earmarked for ex-servicemen

    SUICIDE OVER OROP ‘I am sacrificing my life for my country & fellow jawans’

    ‘I am sacrificing my life for my country & fellow jawans’
    He wrote, “I am sacrificing my life for my country, my motherland and for my brave fellow jawans,” police said. ANI

    New Delhi, November 2

    The ex-serviceman, whose alleged suicide led to a huge political showdown with detentions of Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and many other AAP and Congress leaders, had written in his suicide note that “he is giving his life for his country and his fellow jawans”.The 70-year-old ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal wrote his suicide note on a document he wanted to submit to the Defence Ministry.He wrote, “I am sacrificing my life for my country, my motherland and for my brave fellow jawans,” police said.In an audio clip of Grewal’s last conversation with his son that was aired on news channels, he told his son that “he had consumed poison and was sacrificing for OROP and his fellow jawans who were not getting their due”. — PTI

    Rally Schedule for Junior Commissioned Officers/ Other Ranks.

    Lieutenant General Surinder Singh, Army Commander #Westerncomd flagged in the #IndianArmy (TRIPEAK Brigade) Mountaineering Team, which summited Mount Trishul,(7120 mtr) at Pooh.The Army Commander congratulated the mountaineers on their remarkable feat.

    Homage paid to martyr Mandeep Singh

    Homage paid to martyr Mandeep Singh
    The GOC, Chinar Corps, Lt Gen Satish Dua, lays a wreath on the coffin of Sepoy Mandeep Singh (inset) at Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar. A Tribune photo

    Tribune News Service

    Srinagar, October 29

    The Army paid rich tributes to Sepoy Mandeep Singh who was killed along the Line of Control in the Machil sector of Kupwara district on late Friday evening.An Army spokesman said a solemn wreath-laying ceremony was held at Badami Bagh Cantonment inSrinagar onSaturday to pay homage to the slain soldier who was killed in an operation in which one militant was also killed while a group was attempting to infiltrate under cover of fire from Pakistan army posts.“The General Officer Commanding of the Chinar Corps Lt Gen Satish Dua, and all ranks paid tributes to the national hero on behalf of a proud nation,” he said.Son of a truck driver, this 26-year-old soldier from Kurukshetra, who had joined the Army in 2009, is proudly remembered by his comrades in the unit that also includes his own maternal brother, as a highly professional soldier and a true patriot.He is survived by his young wife, serving in the Haryana Police, who he had married only a couple of years back in 2014. The slain soldier belonged to 17 Sikh Light Infantry.

    Had joined the Army in 2009

    • Sepoy Mandeep Singh had joined the Army in 2009. He was killed along the Line of Control in the Machil sector of Kupwara district on Friday evening
    • An Army spokesman said a solemn wreath-laying ceremony was held at Badami Bagh Cantonment in Srinagar on Saturday to pay homage to the slain soldier