Intrusion bid by 8 ultras thwarted
Pak Army fires rockets, mortars on LoC in KG

By Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Aug 19: After a brief lull of few days, Pakistan Army again resorted to heavy firing including mortars and rockets directly targeting forward Indian positions on the Line of Control (LoC) at Nangi Tekri in Krishna Ghati sector of Poonch district in wee hours of this morning.

The major cease-fire violation by Pakistan Army, which was effectively replied by the Indian side, was reportedly aimed at pushing a group of eight foreign militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) into this side but the attempt was effectively neutralized by the troops.

Official sources told the Excelsior that Pakistan Army started heavy firing on more than a dozen Indian posts between Balnoi and Nangi Tekri in Krishna Ghati sector at 1.05 am early today. After small arms firing for few minutes, Pakistani troops fired rockets and mortars on Kirpan, Ravi, Kranti and Chajaman posts of the Army.

Mortars and rockets firing continued till 2.30 am while small arms firing lasted till 3.30 am. Indian side retaliated to silence Pakistani guns and neutralize the militants who were being pushed into this side.

No casualties or major damage was reported on Indian side in heavy firing from across the Line of Control (LoC) for about two and a half hours even as several mortars and rockets were reported to have landed close to the Army pickets. Many Army personnel had a narrow escape in Pakistan firing.

Though there was no official confirmation, reliable sources said a group of eight militants is reported to have made an unsuccessful attempt to sneak into this side under the cover of heavy firing by Pakistani troops. While three militants also joined the firing at the troops on this side, five others tried to infiltrate.

However, an effective retaliatory firing by the Indian side is reported to have foiled intrusion bid by the militants, who were reported to have escaped back to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). Pakistan’s Daku and Chuha posts were more active during the firing and there was a possibility that the militants were launched from these two posts for infiltration.

According to sources, besides facilitating infiltration attempt, Pakistan’s another aim was to cause damage at forward Indian Army posts but they didn’t succeed.

"It was another act of cease-fire violation by Pakistan Army for which a protest will be lodged at an appropriate level’’, sources said, adding that the Indian side retaliated only to silence Pakistani guns and ensure that no militant managed to infiltrate to this side of the LoC under covering fire.

Sources said it was raining heavily and there was dense fog all over when Pakistan side started firing in Krishna Ghati sector in early hours today. The Pakistan Army tried to take advantage of an extreme hostile weather conditions to push the infiltrators into this side.

Reports had frequently been pointing out towards heavy presence of militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen outfits across the LoC especially opposite Mendhar and Krishna Ghati sectors in Poonch, Keri, Nowshera and Sunderbani sectors in Rajouri district.

More than 70 militants were present opposite Mendhar and Krishna Ghati sectors awaiting an opportunity to sneak into this side. Majority of the waiting militants were Pakistani cadre of three outfits while only few of them were locals from this part of the State, who have completed their training in Pakistan and PoK camps and were waiting for a long time to infiltrate.

Sources said Pakistan Army and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) want to push as many militants as possible to this side from the LoC as well as the International Border (IB) as LeT and HM outfits were running short of cadre in the State. Commanders of both the outfits were sending frantic messages to their headquarters across the LoC asking for more men and weaponry as they were finding it hard to give a fight to security forces due to elimination of top cadre of the outfits and arrest of others.

The militant commanders were worried as they were even unable to get local cadre for fresh recruitment and, therefore, want more infiltration from Pakistan side immediately. Sources didn’t rule out the possibility of Pakistan Army trying to push more ultras into this side in the coming days but said the troops were on a high alert to thwart the bids.

Boy succumbs, toll 59
14 injured in fresh clashes

From Inayat Jehangir

SRINAGAR, Aug 19: Death toll in the ongoing agitation today reached 59 as an eight-year-old boy, hit by a stray bullet during clashes between security forces and protestors on Saturday, succumbed to injuries even as eight persons were injured in security forces action during the day. Milat Ahmad Dar, who was injured by a stray bullet fired by security forces at Sarnal in Anantnag district on Saturday, succumbed to injuries at a hospital here this morning, official sources said.

With the death of the boy, the toll in ongoing agitation in Kashmir valley has now reached 59 since June 11.

As news of the boy's death spread, tension gripped the south Kashmir towns of Anantnag and Qoimoh.

Five persons of a family were injured when CRPF personnel opened firing and used lathis on protestors, who were demanding removal of a forces bunker at Jenab Sahib Soura in the outskirts of the city, the sources said.

Although a police spokesman said the forces opened firing in self defence, the local residents alleged that the troopers barged into the house of Habibullah Tiploo and shot at him, his daughter Sameena and daughter-in-law Fatima and severely thrashed his two other children.

All the five injured family members were admitted to nearby SKIMS hospital for treatment. Habibullah, Sameena and Fatima have all received bullet injuries and condition of Sameena, who has been hit in the chest, is stated to be critical.

The other injured have been identified as Mehmooda and Showkat.

Giving police version of the incident, the spokesman said "today at around 1200 hrs a huge mob pelted stones on the bunker of security forces in Jenab Sahib Soura. The mob attacked from all the sides to dismantle it forcibly on their own. Police and the forces used tear smoke and cane charge to disperse the mob".

He said the stone pelters kept regrouping again and again, forcing the security forces to fire in self defence.

The spokesman said five policemen were also injured in this incident.

Violent protests were witnessed in Rainawari area of the city after security forces allegedly smashed window panes of some residential houses in the area and thrashed a civilian identified as Nazir Ahmad Khan.

The security forces lobbed tear smoke shells and fired several rounds in air to disperse the mob.

A senior police official stopped the photo-journalists from discharging their professional duties. He even blamed the media for fuelling the protests, which had resulted in loss of 59 lives.

Protests were also held inside the Hazratbal shrine when the local residents, while giving ablution to the mosque, recovered playing cards allegedly left behind by security forces.

The shrine was being cleaned after security forces last week allegedly desecrated the shrine and no prayers were allowed inside it.

Giving details of the other incidents, the spokesman said a huge mob of miscreants pelted stones on security forces, who were patrolling at Seloo in Sopore area of Baramulla district.

"The security forces exercised maximum restraint but the miscreants did not relent. The security forces lobbed tear smoke shells but the intensity of the pelting did not recede. The forces then fired some non lethal rubber pellets to defend themselves. Five persons namely Farooq Ahmed, Tausif Ahmed, Naveed Ahmed, Tausif Ahmad Bhat and Tanveer Ahmed were injured," he said.

The spokesman said all the injured, except Farooq Ahmed, have been discharged from Sopore hospital after receiving first aid. Farooq has been referred to Bone and Joints Hospital, Srinagar.

Meanwhile, curfew in Srinagar, Anantnag, Sopore, Bijbehara and Trehgam and restrictions elsewhere in the Valley completely paralysed the life. Schools, colleges, business and commercial establishments remained closed while transport facilities were off the roads.

Attendance in Government offices was also thin due to prevailing law and order situation in the Valley.


'Anger, pain of youth need to be addressed'
Reach out to people of J&K: Sonia

NEW DELHI, Aug 19: Congress President Sonia Gandhi today said reaching out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir through dialogue and mutual understanding is the need of the hour as the anger and pain that is manifesting itself, especially among the young, needs to be addressed. Addressing the Congress Parliamentary Party General Body meeting in the Central Hall of Parliament, Ms Gandhi expressed her anguish at the upsurge of violence and tensions in recent weeks in J&K.

"I want to express my deep-felt condolences to each and every family that has lost its loved ones. I feel their grief," she said.

A whole generation has grown up under the shadow of brutality and conflict. The anger and pain that is manifesting itself, especially among the young, needs to be addressed. "They are our very own and their suffering is ours. Dialogue and mutual understanding are the key to ending the cycle of violence and tragic killings. Our security forces have a difficult task to discharge," she said.

Ms Gandhi said Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in his recent meeting with the all-party delegation from J&K on August 10, has unveiled a blueprint for reconcilation and reconstruction stemming from a sincere and genuine desire to engage the people of the State." This is and will remain our agenda."

"As we meet this morning, our hearts go out to the people of Leh and its surrounding areas who have experienced a terrible tragedy. We are deeply pained by the loss of life and property on account of this unprecedented natural disaster. Our hearfelt condolences go out to all those who have suffered the loss of their dear ones" the Congress President said.

She said the whole country stands with the people of Leh in this hour of grief." The Prime Minister visited the region day before yesterday and I am sure that our Government will take all steps necessary to address the needs of the people there, especially of shelter, with winter not being too far away," Ms Gandhi said.

Ms Gandhi said, ‘‘while we are proud of our economic growth as indeed we should be, controlling price rise remains our top priority."

The monsoon has been generally normal in many parts of the country. However, some districts in eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, are affected by drought. "Our Government has responded proactively and teams are being sent to these districts to assess the damage and estimate the amount of assistance needed."

Both Houses have adopted a Resolution to contain inflation. Sometimes, there is simply no option as in the case of petroleum products some weeks ago. Even so, a constant vigil has to be maintained. The cooperation of State Governments is essential, Ms Gandhi said.

"The Prime Minister has spoken of the need to bring about reforms in the management of our food economy. The National Advisory Council has taken up this subject and steps are being taken to fulfill our manifesto pledge on food security."

"The Lok Sabha has just debated illegal mining and I understand that the Rajya Sabha is scheduled to do so later today. This has emerged as a most serious menace in a number of States with profound political, economic and social implications. Our Government is taking a number of initiatives like the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry and a mining regulatory authority. What is most worrying is the high degree of convergence between areas that are mineral and forest-rich and areas that are the arenas for tribal deprivation and for left-wing extremist violence. Protecting the rights of the tribals and ensuring their livelihood are central to bringing about an end to their exploitation and sense of alienation.

Dealing with the Naxalite challenge, which the Prime Minister has described as our single biggest internal security challege, will call for fundamental innovations in the manner in which our mineral resources are exploited and our forests are managed."

Friends, Ms Gandhi said, the Bihar State Assembly elections will be held shortly.

" Our party is galvanized to fight the battle ahead. Ours is the only party to have an all inclusive development agenda. Never before has Bihar received so much financial assistance from the Centre for development and welfare programmes. This is the essential message that we need to communicate to the people of Bihar. In many States, including Bihar, schemes and programmes funded by the Central Government are appropriated by the State Governments which then claim credit that justifiably belongs to the Centre. This is where we as party workers must actively engage ourselves in making people aware of these false claims and projecting the tangible accomplishments of our Government."

In the coming months," we will celebrate a number of festivals, so let me conclude by wishing you all Id Mubarak,a joyful Dussehra and Diwali,"Ms Gandhi concluded. (UNI)

Soldier killed, 2 injured in landslides
Heavy rain, floods create havoc in Jammu

By Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Aug 19: Heavy rain and flash flood in the rivers and nallahs created havoc as the water entered many houses, schools, industrial units and floor mills in Jammu, Domana, Kathua, Samba and many other parts of the region while an Army jawan was killed and two other injured in land slides in Taryath area of Kalakote, bordering Reasi district this morning whereas, at least two dozen houses have been damaged in rains during last night in the region.

Amidst thunder storm and heavy rain which started last mid night, created havoc till morning. The drains, small and large nallahs in the winter capital city got over flooded as the intensity of rain was very high for at least two to three hours. The water entered Rajiv Nagar, Qasim Nagar, Gangyal, Preet Nagar, Nanak Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Company Bagh Govt Quarters ( Jewel Chowk), Maulana Azad Stadium, Shakti Nagar, Shiv Nagar, Resham Ghar, Domana, Nasib Nagar Janipur, Durga Nagar, Muthi , Talab Tillo, Bohri, Anand Nagar, Purkhoo and Mishriwalla migrant camps.

Property worth over Rs 60 lakhs was damaged after the flood water entered the Kissan Flour mills belonging to Ashok Gupta, Ravinder Gupta and Parwinder Gupta and American Agrotech and American Chemicals units during early hours today. The water also entered the flour mill of one Mulakh Raj in Domana- Akhnoor Road. The food grains worth lakhs stored in the godown were extensively damaged as the flood water entered inside. The owners have put the loss at over Rs 50-60 lakhs but maintained that it may go higher as assessment of the food stuff was still going on.

The water also entered Industrial area of Gangyal and damaged the walls of several premises. In Kathua and Samba Industrial areas also the rain and flood water entered and caused damage. Similar reports have been received from R S Pura, Bishnah, Samba, Ramgarh, Arnia, Hiranagar and Kathua towns. The flood water also entered Bhagawan Gopinathji Ashram on Gajansoo- Marh road. It caused damage to the property and items collected for Leh cloud burst victims. A large number of devotees rushed towards the Ashram and flushed out water.

A nallah near Jewel Chowk adjoining MA Stadium, developed major breach again for the third time, courtesy UEED wing of Housing and Urban Development department. Property worth lakhs of the Government employees housed at the ground floor of A, B and C Blocks of the Jewel Quarters were damaged. They had to pass sleepless night after 2 am and remained busy in flushing out water till morning. Massive water logging was created at Dogra Chowk, Gandhinagar, Canal Road and Krishna Nagar. DC Jammu visited several affected areas today and issued directions to the UEED, JMC, JDA and Flood Control staff to launch restoration work. The flood water damaged many houses and walls and entered premises.

At R S Pura Bus Stand and adjoining market, massive water logging was created. The water also entered many houses in the town and caused damage to the public property. Power also remained off for over four to five hours during the rain.

The rain water entered four Government schools in Kathua town besides several city localities including Ward No. 1, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 11 , 16 and 17 including Patel Nagar and Shiv Nagar. The main nallah dividing Kathua town into two parts created havoc and caused extensive damage to houses. The presidents of Patel Nagar and Shiv Nagar also staged protest for about an hour in the morning against the MCK authorities. The Govt Primary School PWD Colony, Kathua, Middle School Parli Wand, Middle School A, Middle School B and KV Kathua could not function as water had entered many class rooms.

The students were seen busy in flushing out water and the teachers standing in the open for hours. The water also entered many industrial units and caused damage to the property in Kathua Industrial area. On Nagri Road massive water logging had been created and the general public had to face lot of hardships. Old Kathua-Samba road also sustained extensive damage due to flash floods in nallahs. Deputy Commissioner Sanjeev Verma also paid visit to several localities in Kathua town and issued on the spot instructions to the MCK and Flood Control Division staff.

Meanwhile, Havaldar Gurdev Singh was killed while two other jawans were injured in land slides near Littar village in Taryath early today. A senior Army officer at Reasi while confirming the report said that the injured soldiers were out of danger and the area falls in Rajouri district jurisdiction.

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