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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.


Reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir does not violate any border, international LoC: Indian envoy to US

Washington [US]: India's decision to reorganise Jammu and Kashmir and to scrap Article 370 is an internal matter as it does not violate any border or international line of control, said India Ambassador to US Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday.

In an interview with Fox News, Shringla said, "It is important to distinguish between truth and distortion and what you have heard is a great deal of the latter." "India has reorganised the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories with legislative assembly and council. It does not in any way impinge the border of Jammu and Kashmir and international line of control and is, therefore, an internal matter of the country" the Indian envoy said.

Shringla said that India has taken the decision to do away with provisional Article 370 because it was "hankering" with the growth in the erstwhile state. "We have taken this decision because we have found that over 70 years the development in the state has been hankered by the so-called special status that the state enjoyed. It is a temporary provision under the constitution and now the intention is to ensure the good governance and socio-economic justice reaches the state," he said.

Last week, New Delhi had revoked Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and enacted the law that bifurcates the state into two Union Territories -- Jammu and Kashmir with Assembly and Ladakh without it. When asked about present restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, Shringla said: "These measures were temporary and preventive in nature we know the possibilities of the cross border of infiltration and terrorism and we know there would be incitement of violence. We have taken preventive steps." Talking about US President Donald Trump's offer to mediate in the Kashmir issue, Shringla said India has rejected Trump offer as Kashmir is a bilateral issue and New Delhi and Islamabad must solve it jointly.


48 dead, 12 people missing in flood-hit Karanataka

Bengaluru: Floods in Karnataka have claimed the lives of 48 people while 12 others are missing, official data said on Tuesday.

The maximum number of deaths have occurred in Belagavi district where 13 people have been killed while four others are missing. A total of 4,08,322 people have been rescued from the district and evacuated to safer places, the data showed.

As many as 1,224 relief camps are currently operational in the state with 3,93,956 people taking shelter in them. The floods have also resulted in heavy loss of livestock with 767 animals reported dead.

According to the Meteorological Centre here, heavy rain is likely to occur in all districts of Coastal Karnataka and in Chikkamagaluru, Hassan, Kodagu and Shivamogga districts of South Interior Karnataka.

As per the India Meteorological Department, rainfall activity over Kerala, Karnataka, Konkan and Goa is likely to decrease significantly from August 15 onwards.


Coastal Jaguar fire: One crew member dies, search continues for 1 missing in Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh): One person died while 27 out of a total 29 crew members were rescued after a fire broke out on Coast Jaguar, an offshore support vessel at Single Point Mooring (SPM), a terminal where crude oil is handled at the Visakhapatnam port here on Monday, according to official sources.

Efforts are on to locate one missing crew member of the vessel. The body of a crew member was found floating on the water while 27 crewmen were rescued by Coast Guard. According to a spokesperson of the Indian Coast Guard, there was reportedly a loud explosion onboard Coastal Jaguar at 11.30 am on Monday which was followed by thick smoke emanating from the vessel. The crew members had to abandon their vessel and jump into the water to save themselves.

Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Rani Rashmoni, which was patrolling the area, was rushed to the spot to rescue the distressed crew members in coordination with the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) boats. The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained. Seven firefighter ships that were pressed to control the fire are still trying to put out the blaze.

"ICGS Samudra Paheredar, ICG Helicopter and ICGS C-432 were pressed into service to augment the rescue efforts," said Ranjan, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) of Indian Coast Guard. According to the Indian Coast Guard, the crew member of the Coastal Jaguar had to abandon their vessel and jump into the water to save themselves.

The Coastal Jaguar was reportedly hired by HPCL. There has been a statement put out by HPCL related to the incident. Of the crewmen rescued 15 suffered burn injuries, while five were discharged after treatment, 10 have been admitted with 50 per cent to 60 per cent burns and one person with 90 per cent burns is said to be critical. All the injured are being treated at MyCure Hospital.


Rains claim 23 lives in Kerala in two days, 22,000 shifted to 315 relief camps across the state

Thiruvananthapuram: Incessant rain in Kerala have claimed 23 lives in the past two days. Over 22,000 people have been shifted to some 315 relief camps across the state, officials said.

Till late on Thursday the toll was eight, but a fresh count took the numbers to 23 on Friday. The worst affected districts include Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, Kasargode and Idukki and the deaths have also been reported from these areas.

There has been 260 mm of rain in Wayanad -- the parliamentary constituency of former Congress President Rahul Gandhi. A huge landslide has marooned around 2,000 people in Meppadi in the district.

A temple, mosque and estate workers quarters have collapsed in the area. It's from this area that four bodies have been recovered from under the debris.

With the area still cut off, Gandhi has urged for help from the Centre. Authorities are trying their best to get the Air Force to begin rescue operations.

All schools, colleges and other educational institutions were shut in all the 14 districts on Friday keeping in mind the devastating rain and flood that had hit the state in a century last year.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has sought the Indian Army's help in relief and rescue operations. A dozen teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are already at the job.

The situation worsened as the pace of the rising level of water is causing serious concern in parts of Pathanamthitta and Thrissur with most of the rivers there in spate.

Around 500 of those marooned in Meppadi have been moved to relief camps, a medical professional of the state government who is giving the required medical attention told the media that even though there are no serious ailments, all of them are in a state of mental shock.

We have assured all people, that they do not have to worry , as the state government will take care of their needs," State Education Minister C. Raveendranath said.

The railways have cancelled 12 trains and many had to be diverted. Road traffic has also been thrown out of gear with many stretches vanishing under water.

The Cochin airport has been closed till Sunday leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.


Maharashtra floods: 12 rescue teams of Indian Navy deployed in Sangli

Sangli: Amid flood-like situation in Maharashtra, 12 rescue teams of Indian Navy were deployed today in Sangli district in addition to the teams already present in Kolhapur.

The rescue teams left for Sangli last night by road after airlift was aborted due to unfavorable weather conditions in Kolhapur and Sangli districts. Police escorts were also provided green corridor till Sangli.

As many as 27 people have died due to floods in five districts of Pune division while more than two lakh people have been evacuated to safer places from three districts of Kolhapur, Sangli, and Satara.

"27 people died due to floods in 5 district of Pune division in Maharashtra. More than 2 lakh people have been evacuated to safe places till now from 3 districts including Kolhapur, Sangli, and Satara," said Deepak Mhaisekar, Divisional Commissioner, Pune Division.


Samjhauta Express arrives in Delhi 4.5 hours late after Pakistan announces suspension

New Delhi: The Samjhauta Express which was stopped at the Wagah border by Pakistani authorities on Thursday reached Delhi station at 8 am on Friday, four-and-a-half hours behind schedule, the railways said.

The train that runs between Indian and Pakistan came with 117 passengers, including 48 Pakistanis, it said.

On Thursday, these passengers were stranded at Wagah on the Pakistani side after it was stopped there by the neighbouring country's authorities citing security concerns.

The Indian railways had sent one engine along with crew and guard to escort the train from Wagah to Attari on the Indian side.

On Thursday, hundreds of passengers from both sides of the border were stuck for several hours waiting for security clearances following the disruption in the train service that connects Delhi and Lahore.

After several hours of waiting, the Samjhauta Express headed for Lahore departed from Attari at 6:41 pm with 103 passengers, including 10 Pakistanis, railway officials had said.

The train that arrived in Attari, escorted by Indian crew members, had 117 passengers, including 48 Pakistanis, on board, they said. From Attari, the train left around 8 pm on Thursday, officials said.

A day after Islamabad downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi over developments in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan's Federal Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told the media in Islamabad on Thursday that Pakistan has closed the Samjhauta Express train service with India. However, railway officials here said the train has not been suspended.


Development pitch to voting rights: 10 significant statements from Modi’s address to nation on Kashmir

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about many issues such as terrorism, employment, opportunities and violation in a 40-minute long address to the nation. The address was after abrogation of Article 370 that received both criticism and appreciation.

PM Modi said that abolition of Article 370 is a dream of Sardar Patel, Babasaheb Ambedkar, Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Atal ji and crores of Indians has been fulfilled. PM Modi also said that the government respects those who opposed the decision and also asked people to put national interests supreme and help government in giving Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh a new direction.

Below are some important points from the address

Modi said that 42,000 innocent lives were lost in the past three decades. He reasoned that Pakistan was using Article 370 to increase terror. Modi believes that his Government move will secure the future in Jammu and Kashmir and improve the life of people.

Modi said Article 370 was the reason for separatism, corruption, terrorism and family rule.

People of Jammu and Kashmir were denied of benefits of legislation. He said over 1.5 crore people were deprived of it.


The life of people and children were hampering because of the Article 370. Now the people will have equal rights and responsibilities.

There will be more jobs as the vacant posts in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will start to fill soon. Centre’s public sector units and private sector companies will also be encouraged to provide jobs.

The development in Jammu and Kashmir was not as it was supposed to be. Now the future of Jammu and Kashmir will be brighter. Moreover, Parliament's laws will also be applicable in the territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Once the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is normal there will be opportunities for filming jobs. Because, the place is most preferred destination for Bollywood movies. Modi believes that it can be biggest tourism destination because of its potential.

Earlier, people who came to India after 1947 had no right to vote in Jammu and Kashmir. Now after the abolition of Article 370 they will have right to vote in the territory too.

People of Jammu and Kashmir will now elect their own representatives as the Assembly elections will be held there too.

The status of Jammu and Kashmir as Union Territory will soon change and there will be more and more development. However, Ladakh will remain Union Territory.