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Terror groups in PoK launch anti-India protests, threaten for jihad in Kashmir

Muzaffarabad [PoK]: In an exclusive video from Muzaffarabad city of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), terror outfits are seen regrouping with an aim to launch 'jihad' against India.

The Pakistani authorities are now encouraging terror groups like Hizbul Mujahideen and United Jihad Council (UJC), headed by Syed Salahudeen to come over ground in their bid to target India after the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A from Jammu and Kashmir. On Thursday, Khalid Saifulla, and Naib Ameer of Hizbul Mujahideen along with former mujahideen (terrorists) participated in an anti-India protest outside the Press Club in Muzaffarabad where he gave a call for jihad against India.

"Action works more than words. My friends, we are all ready for jihad. (Syed) Salahudeen, move forward, we are with you," said Saifulla in his hate speech against India. Saifulla also praised former military ruler General Zia Ul-Haq for threatening India with war when Rajiv Gandhi was its Prime Minister.

Giving a brief on a conversation between Zia and Rajiv Gandhi, he told the gathering "Mr Rajiv you want to invade Pakistan? Ok fine, go ahead! But please remember one thing that after that people will forget Changez Khan and Hilaku Khan and will remember Zia and Rajiv Gandhi only. Because it will not be a Conventional War."

He added, "Pakistan may possibly suffer annihilation but Muslims will still survive because there are several Muslim countries in the world. But remember there is only one India and I shall wipe out Hinduism and Hindu religion from the face of the earth! And if you don't order complete de-escalation and demobilisation before my return to Pakistan, the first word of mouth I will utter will be "Fire"!" Terrorists in Pakistan continue to openly hold rallies despite the country is in Grey List of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the international watchdog against money laundering and financing of terrorism. This is not the first time Pakistan has found itself on one of FATF lists of not-so-good guys; the country was there in 2008 and from 2012 to 2015 too.


J&K government offices to be open from today, easing of public curbs to be mulled after namaaz: Official

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government secretariat and other offices will start functioning from Friday while easing of public curbs would depend on day's development after the 'namaaz', a Raj Bhawan spokesperson said on Thursday.

Governor Satya Pal Malik directed the resumption of normal functioning of the government secretariat and other offices after a review of the security scenario in the state on Thursday evening, he added. The governor also ordered for making arrangements to facilitate the government employees' movement to work, he said. Governor Malik took the decision after a review of the security scenario in the state that ensured peaceful Independence Day celebrations across the state, including in its various district headquarters and elsewhere, the spokesperson said.

He said the government would be watching the situation during Friday prayers (namaaz) and based on the day's developments, relaxations could be considered for the general public as well, he added. The governor conducted the security review in a high-level meeting attended by his advisor and the state government secretary amongst others at the Raj Bhawan here in Srinagar and expressed satisfaction over the security scenario in the state, said the spokesperson.

"There were no untoward incidents anywhere. Strong security arrangements were in place which thwarted any attempts to disturb the celebrations," he added. The governor also thanked the people for being cooperative during the period of restrictions and assured them that the same would be be reduced gradually, he said. The governor also reviewed the conclusion of the Shri Amarnath Yatra, which was formally closed on Thursday after the customary worship of the holy mace (chhari) of Lord Shiva at the Amarnath cave shrine. The mace was taken to the holy cave on Wednesday by a helicopter and was brought back to Srinagar after the worship today.

"There was no untoward incident whatsoever during the Amarnath yatra this year and even in a shortened span of 30 days, over 3.30 lakh pilgrims had the darshan of the holy Lingam. This was higher than the figures in the last three years when it was open for a much longer duration," the spokesperson added.


PM Narendra Modi's Independence Day speech gives little hope for betterment of people's lives: Mayawati

New Delhi/Lucknow: BSP supremo Mayawati on Thursday sought to flay Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his Independence Day address, saying he remained silent over rising unemployment, poverty and atmosphere of fear among different sections of society and gave "little hope" for betterment of people's lives.

Talking about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, she said the government should make people of the state feel that it is actually working for their welfare as the Modi dispensation claims. Criticising Modi's "silence" over poverty, inflation, unemployment and lack of education, Mayawati also flayed him for announcing no "concrete measures" to address these issues besides those of violence, sectarian tension and casteism. "There is little hope for betterment of the lives of common people of the country," she asserted.

Terming announcements made by Modi in his sixth consecutive independence speech as the ones that exist only on papers, Mayawati, the former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, said nothing has been implemented which is visible on the ground. "How can this improve the lives of the people?" she asked. "Most of the people in the country are concerned about their livelihood," she said. Expressing concern about slowing down of economy, Mayawati said whatever claims of the growth have been made by the government appear bogus as lives of downtrodden and labourers have not improved.

"The people are concerned about the economic condition of the country and there are fears of economic slowdown," she said. Advocating some bold measures to tackle the situation, she said, "Under such conditions there is a need to initiate strict measures. It would be most unfortunate if the lives of the poor, labourers and other working people were not improved," she said. On the issue of one nation one election, she said government should come with a credible and efficient measure which helps the public at large, she added.


Chandrayaan-2: India's spacecraft to the moon successfully enters its final orbit

Chennai: India's spacecraft to the moon Chandrayaan-2 on Wednesday successfully entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory (LTT) after its orbit was raised further, said Indian space agency.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the final orbit raising manoeuvre of Chandrayaan-2 was successfully carried out at 2.21 a.m. by firing the spacecraft's motors for 1,203 seconds. "With this, Chandrayaan-2 entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory. Earlier, the spacecraft's orbit was progressively increased five times during July 23 to August 06, 2019," ISRO said.

The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Byalalu, near Bengaluru. Since its launch on July 22, 2019 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, all systems onboard Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft are performing normal.

According to ISRO, Chandrayaan-2 will approach Moon on August 20, 2019 and the spacecraft's liquid engine will be fired again to insert the spacecraft into a lunar orbit. "Following this, there will be further four orbit maneuvers (Aug 21, 28, 30 and Sept 1) to make the spacecraft enter into its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from the Moon's surface," ISRO said.

Subsequently, Vikram lander will separate from the orbiter on September 02, 2019. "Two orbit manoeuvers will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the lunar surface on September 07, 2019," ISRO said. On July 22, the Chandrayaan-2 was injected into an elliptical orbit of 170x45,475 km by India's heavy lift rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk III) in a text book style.

The spacecraft comprises three segments - the Orbiter (weighing 2,379 kg, eight payloads), the lander 'Vikram' (1,471 kg, four payloads) and rover 'Pragyan' (27 kg, two payloads). The Indian space agency said the major activities include Earth-bound manoeuvres, the trans-lunar insertion, lunar-bound manoeuvres, Vikram's separation from Chandrayaan-2 and touch down on the Moon's South Pole.


Pakistan seeks emergency meeting of UNSC over India's move to revoke special status to Jammu and Kashmir

Islamabad: Pakistan has formally called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss India's move to revoke the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Tuesday.

In video message, Qureshi said that he sent a formal letter to the president of the UNSC through Permanent Representative Maleha Lodhi to convene the meeting. Qureshi said that the letter will also be shared with all members of the UNSC. "I have requested in the letter that a special meeting of the Security Council should be called to discuss those actions of India which we consider as illegal and against the UN resolutions," he said.

India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution removing the special status to Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter and has also advised Pakistan to "accept the reality". Qureshi said that the decision to call for the UNSC meeting was taken in the meeting of high-profile National Security Committee meeting held last week. Qureshi said Pakistan considered India's actions in Kashmir as a threat to the regional peace.

"It is a mistake on part of India if it thought that it could crush the right of self-determination of the people of Kashmir," he said. Qureshi said whole Pakistan will express solidary with Kashmiris on Wednesday. Qureshi said that Kashmiris must remember that Pakistan stands with them and is ready to go to any extent for them.

By Sajjad Hussain/PTI


Maharashtra floods: Nearly 5 lakh rescued from 584 villagers, evacuated to temporary 596 shelters

Pune: At least 48 people have lost their lives while three persons are still missing across the flood-battered Pune division, Divisional Commissioner's office said on Tuesday.

As per official data, 4,74,226 people were rescued from 584 villagers and evacuated to temporary 596 shelters in Pune, Sangli, Kolhapur, Satara and Solapur districts.

It said 46 villages of Pune division were completely cut off due to floods and 105 units (1079 Jawans) of different agencies along with 164 boats are deployed in Kolhapur and Sangli.

"De-induction of some of the teams have started. Most are now involved in distributing relief material and medicines. 2.5 tons of ration delivered to villages of Rajapur and Rajapur Wadi. Medical camp doctors along with medical supplies sent to villages," Defence PRO said.

In order to provide medical relief to flood victims, 302 medical teams were active in Satara, Sangli and Kolhapur. "313 ATM's have been made functional with cash available which were affected by flood while 334 are still under maintenance," the statement read.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams continuing with the rescue and relief operations in Shirol and Kolhapur. Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department has predicted light to moderate rainfall with a cloudy in the five districts of the division.


It will be better for me to die than prove my religion: Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said that she would rather die than prove her religion and challenged BJP to compare the religious activities undertaken by the TMC government to that by the previous regimes in the state.

She asserted that more number of Durga pujas are being held in the state under TMC rule than under previous governments. Inaugurating a museum on the 15th century Bengali mystic and saint Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the TMC supremo said she is a Hindu but has respect for other faiths and religions too. Without naming the BJP, Banerjee said "It would be better for me to die rather than prove my religion before entering a Hindu temple. You(BJP) are no one that I have to prove my religion before you".

Her veiled attack on BJP took place on the day her party, the TMC staged a day-long dharna here in protest against the Centre's decision to serve IT notices to Durga puja committees. "I know more Sanskrit scriptures than those who criticise me and question my religious identity. I am a Hindu and I respect all faiths. I don't believe in dividing people on the basis of religion. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu too had said the same thing," she said.

The BJP has time and again accused her of appeasing the Muslim community of the state to secure the minority votes. Referring to BJP's allegations that Durga Puja is being curtailed in the state by the Trinamool Congress government, she said the saffron party should first look into the work it has done since it came to power at the Centre. "More Durga Pujas are being held in the state under the TMC rule than during the previous regimes. Before lecturing us they (BJP) should look into the work they have done after coming to power," Banerjee said.

"I challenge them (BJP) to compare the number of religious work that our eight-year-old government has done and that by the previous regimes. We believe in humanity and religion means humanity. It teaches us to love and respect every human being. Religion does not teach us to divide the people," she said. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached love and peace and was assaulted. "So was social reformer Raja Rammohan Roy. But they were undeterred," she added.


Restrictions in Kashmir imposed to avoid loss of human lives, will be relaxed in phased manner: Government

New Delhi: Asserting that restrictions in the Kashmir Valley were put in place to avoid loss of human lives, the foremost priority, a top government official on Tuesday said these impositions on people's movement and communications are being eased out in a phased manner.

The official also asserted that these restrictions will only be removed after an assessment by local authorities and added that political leaders like former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, who were arrested as a "preventive measure", will also be released by the J&K administration only after assessing the ground situation.

"If the trade-off is between inconvenience and loss of life, if the trade-off is between peddling fake news leading to loss of life and people's inconvenience, what should we choose? However, the administration is mindful of the difficulties being faced by people and trying to minimise the inconvenience. Any such decision (removal of restrictions) will be taken only after an assessment by the local administration," the official said.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said as per the J&K administration, restrictions imposed on people's movement and communication links in the Kashmir Valley are being eased out in a phased manner and the normal situation in the Jammu division has been restored after assessment by relevant local authorities. In Srinagar, Principal Secretary in the J&K, Rohit Kansal, told a press conference that the administration was hopeful of further relaxation in the security clampdown after the dress rehearsal for the August 15 Independence Day celebrations conclude in various districts.

Kansal said prohibitory conditions were relaxed in various parts of Kashmir and the Jammu region was "almost entirely" free of restrictions. "Restrictions, however, do continue in parts of Kashmir," he said. Kansal said the curbs would be relaxed in parts of the Valley in a phased manner based on the assessment of local authorities. The security clampdown was imposed last week after the Union government revoked J&K's special status given under Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into two Union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The top government official said in New Delhi that this was not the first time restrictions were imposed in the Valley and a similar situation had existed in 2016, following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani after which the separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference called 'hartals' for weeks. "This time the state administration has taken pre-emptive steps to minimise the violence and loss of lives. This is an extra-ordinary situation," the official explained.

Steps have been taken so that there is minimum inconvenience to people, that include ease of travel to hospitals, opening of markets and distribution of food at doorsteps, the official asserted. "The whole effort is to bring normalcy as early as possible. However, any law and order decision should be best left to the local administration," the official said.


Assam NRC: SC orders list of exclusion be published only online on August 31

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered that the list of those excluded from the final Assam NRC be published only online on August 31.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R F Nariman said that like Aadhaar data, an appropriate regime be enacted for securing the Assam NRC data.

The apex court also said that the ongoing NRC exercise cannot be ordered to be reopened on the basis of certain legal challenges raised before it.

The top court had earlier said that the final Assam NRC would be published on or by August 31.


Delhi: Fire breaks out at Gandhi Nagar market, 10 fire tenders at spot

New Delhi: A major fire broke out at Gandhi Nagar market on Tuesday morning. More than ten fire tenders have reached the spot and are making efforts to douse the flame.

No loss of life or injuries has been reported so far. More details in this regard are awaited. Gandhi Nagar market situated in Shahdara area of New Delhi is one of Asia's largest textile market. It is believed that the market has a footfall of around 10,000 to 20,000 people every day.