Article 370 and 35-A need review : Rajnath Singh

Article 370 and 35-A need review : Rajnath Singh

Senior BJP leader and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh says there is a need to review Article 370 and 35-A that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir to establish whether these Constitutional provisions have benefited or done damage to the militancy-hit state.

Singh’s remark comes against the backdrop of the BJP’s stand in its  manifesto pledging to abrogate Article 370 and 35-A of the Constitution. BJP President Amit Shah has also repeatedly spoken about scrapping these provisions during the Lok Sabha poll campaign.

Need to review Art 370 in J&K: Rajnath

The home minister also said a decision on holding assembly elections in the state was the prerogative of the Election Commission but indicated a decision could be announced after the completion of the Lok Sabha polls.

Singh was replying to a question during an interview to PTI recently as to whether BJP thinks that abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution will help resolve the Kashmir issue which he termed as challenging. “Kashmir ek chunauti hai lekin uska hal jaldi niklega (Kashmir is a challenge but it will be resolved soon),” said Singh, who was the chairman of the BJP manifesto committee.

When pointedly asked whether abrogation of Article 370 and 35A was a solution, Singh said, “muje yeh lagta hai ki sameksha kee jani chahiye ki dhara 370 ya 35-A ke karan Kashmir ko laab hua hai ya haani (I feel that a review should be done whether Article 370 or 35-A has benefited Kashmir or damaged it).”

The statement of Singh also comes close on the heels of the statement made by another senior BJP leader and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari that the BJP is committed to abrogating Article 370.

Gadkari also went on to say during a TV interview that “because of the sensitive situation, it’s not appropriate to implement that (abrogation of Article 370)”. “We were in power with full majority this time, still we did no go ahead. However, as far as the party’s philosophy, policy and approach to the issue is concerned, we are firm on it,” Gadkari had said.

While Article 370 gives special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35-A empowers state’s legislature to define “permanent resident” of the state and reserve their right to employment besides other privileges.

Asked about the timing of assembly elections in the state, Singh said that no doubt the polls should be held. “The need for security forces for assembly elections is huge and there was a need for deployment in other states as well for Lok Sabha polls. Now that the parliamentary polls are nearing end, the Election Commission can decide on the dates.”

The state was placed under Governor’s rule on June 19 last year after the BJP unceremoniously withdrew support from the PDP led by Mehbooba Mufti. The assembly was dissolved on November 21 by Governor Satya Pal Malik who claimed that he took the step to prevent horse trading.

After six months of Governor’s rule, the state was brought under President’s rule on December 19, 2018 for a period of six months as elections could not be held within six months of imposition of Governor’s rule.

The current spell of the President’s rule will have to be extended again on May 19. The extension of President’s rule must also be ratified by Parliament once the new Lok Sabha is constituted.

-PTI | 17 May 2019 | New Delhi

BJP would scrap Article 370 after forming next govt: Shah

BJP would scrap Article 370 after forming next govt: Amit Shah

Hitting out at opposition leaders for being “unhappy” with air strikes on terror camps, BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday said his party would remove Article 370 from Kashmir “after forming the next BJP government” at the Centre.

Criticising West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for questioning the Balakot air strikes in a bid to “appease” the minority vote bank, Shah asked her to come clean on whether she, too, wants a separate PM for Kashmir, just like her ally and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.

BJP would scrap Article 370 after forming next govt: Shah

“Mamata Banerjee and opposition leaders are unhappy with the air strikes. They are questioning it just to appease their minority vote bank. But, I want to say it loud and clear that we won’t allow such forces to win.

“We would remove Article 370 from Kashmir after forming the next BJP government at the Centre,” he said, while campaigning for Darjeeling Lok Sabha candidate Raju Singh Bisht.

Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Shah also slammed Banerjee for trying to mislead the masses on the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The BJP government would bring NRC across the country and grant citizenship to “each and every Hindu refugee” of the country, he asserted.

Criticising West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for questioning the Balakot air strikes in a bid to “appease” the minority vote bank, Shah asked her to come clean on whether she, too, wants a separate PM for Kashmir, just like her ally and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah. “Mamata Banerjee and opposition leaders are unhappy with the air strikes. They are questioning it just to appease their minority vote bank. But, I want to say it loud and clear that we won’t allow such forces to win. “We would remove Article 370 from Kashmir after forming the next BJP government at the Centre,” he said, while campaigning for Darjeeling Lok Sabha candidate Raju Singh Bisht.

-PTI | 11 April 2019 | Kailimpong (WB)

Israel offers unconditional help to India

Israel offers unconditional help to India to defend itself: Envoy

Israel has offered unconditional help to India in defending itself, especially against terrorism, asserting that “there is no limit” to its assistance, an assurance which assumes significance amid demands that the government should consider Israeli-type retaliation to terror strikes.

The comments by newly-appointed Israeli envoy Dr Ron Malka came in response to a question on up to what extent Jerusalem will go to help India which has been a victim of terrorism.

Israel offers unconditional help to India to defend itself, especially against terror: EnvoyLast Thursday, in one of the deadliest attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM killed 40 CRPF personnel after which there have been growing demands that the government should explore Israeli-type anti-terror operations. Israeli military is known for its precise and quick strikes.

“Whatever India needs to defend itself there is no limit. We are here to help our close friend India to defend itself specially against terrorism because terrorism is the problem of the world and not only of India and Israel,” Malka told PTI in an interview early last week.

Emphasising that the world should fight terrorism and eliminate it by collaborating, he said, “So, we help India, share our knowledge, share our technique because we really want to help our really important friend.”

The 52-year old Malka, who was in Israeli military service from where he retired with the rank of Full Colonel, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told him that India was a very “important partner, very important friend and he wants to collaborate to enhance ties and deepen them….To share our knowledge.”

He further said that by strengthening India, Israel was contributing to the world stability and sustainability because India has a very important role in the world stability. “We are just doing it to make the world a better place to live…”

After the Pulwama attack, Malka had also tweeted that “Israel strongly condemns the terror attack in #Pulwama and stands by our Indian friends during this difficult hour. We send our deepest condolences to the CPRF and their families, the people of India and the Indian government following the terrible #KashmirTerrorAttack .

– PTI | 19 February 2019 | New Delhi

ICJ refuses Pakistan’s request to adjourn Jadhav case

ICJ refuses to entertain Pakistan’s request to adjourn Kulbhushan Jadhav case

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) refused to entertain Pakistan’s request to adjourn the hearing in the case of Kulbhushan Jadhav to appoint a new ad-hoc judge. The four-day hearing in the Jadhav case opened Monday at the ICJ headquarters in The Hague amidst heightened tensions between India and Pakistan following one of the worst terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group that killed at least 40 CRPF soldiers.

ICJ refuses to entertain Pakistan's request to adjourn Jadhav casePakistan, which is presenting its case today, asked the judge to adjourn the case, citing the illness of it ad-hoc judge. Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, the ad-hoc judge for Pakistan in the ICJ suffered a cardiac attack ahead of the hearing.

Attorney General Anwar Mansoor Khan, who is representing Pakistan, at the start of the hearing said: “We applied our right provided to us that we can appoint an ad hoc judge. “But since our judge is indispensable at this point. In light of the above Pakistan would like to place before the court that another judge to be sworn in which right has been provided under article 35-5 and the judge be given ample amount of time to go through the briefings before going ahead with arguments,” he said.

But the the world court declined Pakistan’s plea and asked it to continue argument in the absence on ad-hoc judge.

On the first day of hearing, India urged the ICJ to annul Jadhav’s death sentence and order his immediate release, saying the verdict by a Pakistani military court based on a “farcical case” hopelessly fails to satisfy even the minimum standards of due process.

Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer, was sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on charges of “espionage and terrorism” after a closed trial in April 2017. His sentencing evoked a sharp reaction in India.

India moved the ICJ in May the same year for the “egregious violation” of the provisions of the Vienna Convention by Pakistan by repeatedly denying New Delhi consular access to the 48-year-old Indian national.

Under Article 31 of the Statute of the Court, a State party to a case before the International Court of Justice which does not have a judge of its nationality on the Bench may choose a person to sit as judge ad hoc in that specific case.

It follows that the composition of the International Court of Justice will vary from one case to another, and that the number of judges sitting in a given case will not necessarily be 15.

-PTI |19 February 2019 | The Hague

Army officer killed in IED blast at Line of Control, J&K

Army officer killed in IED blast near Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir

An Army officer was killed and a soldier suffered injuries in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion along the Line of Control (LoC) in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir on February 16, officials said.

The IED was apparently planted by “enemy forces within Indian territory” in Naushera sector and set off when an Army officer, along with his men, was patrolling the area, they said. The blast killed the officer and injured a soldier who was evacuated to hospital, the officials said.

Google Maps image locates Naushera in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district.
Google Maps image locates Naushera in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district

The IED was apparently planted by “enemy forces within Indian territory” in Naushera sector and set off when an Army officer, along with his men, was patrolling the area

The IED blast comes two days after 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist rammed an explosive-laden SUV into a bus carrying them in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.

This was the second IED attack along the LoC in the same sector since January 2019. On January 11, two Army personnel, including a major, were killed in Naushera sector of Rajouri.

The IED was apparently planted by “enemy forces within Indian territory” in Naushera sector and set off when an Army officer, along with his men, was patrolling the area, they said. The blast killed the officer and injured a soldier who was evacuated to hospital, the officials said. The IED blast comes two days after 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist rammed an explosive-laden SUV into a bus carrying them in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. This was the second IED attack along the LoC in the same sector since January 2019. On January 11, two Army personnel, including a major, were killed in Naushera sector of Rajouri.

– PTI, JAMMU, FEBRUARY 16, 2019

Pulwama attack: India withdraws MFN status to Pakistan

Pulwama attack: India withdraws Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan

India today withdrew the ‘Most-Favoured Nation’ status to Pakistan following the Pulwama attack (Pulwama terror attack) that left nearly 40 CRPF Personnel dead.

In a media briefing after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said all efforts will be made to ensure that perpetrators of the attack are brought to book.

He said those aiding and abating the perpetrators will have to pay a heavy price. Briefing reporters outside the Prime Minister’s residence, he said the Ministry of External Affairs will launch an all out effort to isolate Pakistan and all diplomatic efforts will be launched in this regard.

Image result for Pulwama attack: India withdraws Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan

Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be visiting Srinagar on Friday and would convene an all-party meeting most likely on Saturday to brief political parties on the incident so that the nation speaks in one voice on the issue.

The Cabinet Committee on Security meet was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.

At least 37 CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

In a media briefing after the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security(CCS), Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said all efforts will be made to ensure that perpetrators of the attack are brought to book. He said those aiding and abating the perpetrators will have to pay a heavy price. Briefing reporters outside the Prime Minister’s residence, he said the Ministry of External Affairs will launch an all out effort to isolate Pakistan and all diplomatic efforts will be launched in this regard.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh will be visiting Srinagar on Friday and would convene an all-party meeting most likely on Saturday to brief political parties on the incident so that the nation speaks in one voice on the issue. The Cabinet Committee on Security meet was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.

– PTI | 15 February 2019 | New Delhi

ISI role in Pulwama terrorist attack; suspects US expert

ISI role in Pulwama terrorist attack; suspects US expert 

American experts suspect the role of Pakistani intelligence agency ISI in “supporting the masterminds” of the Pulwama terrorist attack in which at least 37 CRPF personnel were killed. Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibility for one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.

The experts on South Asia said the terror strike shows the United States has failed to persuade Pakistan to act against Jaish-e-Mohammad and other terrorist groups. “The self-proclaimed involvement of JeM in the attack raises serious questions about the role of the ISI in supporting the masterminds of this operation,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst, told PTI.

Image result for US experts suspect Pak spy agency ISI role in Pulwama terrorist attack

The terrorist attack, which has direct footprints inside Pakistan, poses the first major challenges to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, said Riedel, who is now a scholar at the Brookings Institute think-tank. “This will be a real challenge for Imran Khan, the first serious challenge of his administration,” he said.

Anish Goel, a former National Security Council official in the previous Obama administration, said the horrific attack highlights just how actively Pakistan-based terrorist groups still operate in Kashmir. “By claiming such quick credit for the attack, Jaish-e-Mohammed is clearly indicating that they will continue to cause trouble in the region and stoke tensions between Pakistan and India,” he said. “In the wake of this attack, there will likely be increased pressure on Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi to take action against all militant groups still active in Kashmir,” said Goel.

Alyssa Ayres from the Council on Foreign Relations said, “Unfortunately, the attack also shows the limits of US and international policy efforts to date to persuade Pakistan to take serious action against these groups. The urgent question is what else the international community can do.”

According to Moeed Yusuf from the US Institute of Peace, the current situation has all the making of an India-Pakistan crisis. “Prime Minister Modi cannot take it lying down but Pakistan isn’t going to be able to absorb any Indian action either. Things are simply too tense between India and Pakistan,” he said.

Ironically, the biggest deterrent to any escalation is the presence of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in the region, he said. “Salman arrives in Pakistan Friday and is coming to India too. His visit will be seriously overshadowed. The Saudi relationship is too important for either side to want that to happen,” he noted.

“I think the damage to India-Pakistan relations is going to be immense – even if the situation doesn’t escalate. The hope was that India and Pakistan will get back to talking after the Indian elections later this year. I think the hawks on both sides are going to make it very difficult for that to happen now,” Yusuf said. “Terrorist attacks as in Kashmir are not possible without an ideology or theology that justifies terrorism and brainwashes its followers that massacring others leads a person to paradise. The terrorist mindset must be removed along with the terrorist infrastructure on the ground,” said noted Hindu scholar David Frawley.

The latest attack by Jaish-e-Mohammed is another example of how Pakistan’s intelligence services continue to sponsor terrorist incursions into India, Washington-based Hindu American Foundation said. “While it’s heartening to see that a wide swath of the international community is unequivocally condemning the attack, such statements of solidarity must be backed up by actions which help bring to an end the ability of such terrorist groups to kill with impunity and destabilize the region,” the foundation said.

Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP)-USA in a statement demanded that United Nations designate Masood Azhar as global terrorist. “China should be ashamed of itself in blocking Azhar’s ban at the UN. Indian diaspora demands that if Pakistan is sincere in seeking peace with India, it should arrest Maulana Masood Azhar and his cohorts and disband all terrorist organisations station in Pakistan.

“Pakistan is a pariah nation anyhow and if it wants to exist in the real world, it should not play games, resort to lies, and abet terrorism. It should get rid of all terrorist organization from its soil,” it said. “It’s long past time for Pakistan’s establishment to root out these fanatic groups, many of which operate in the open and with the support of elements of the Pakistani state. It’s unacceptable. And it’s outrageous the world didn’t draw a collective red line on this a long time ago,” Jeff Smith of the Heritage Foundation said.

At least 37 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel were killed and five injured on Thursday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

-PTI |15 February 2019 | Washington

India protests Imran Khan’s reference to Kashmir

Kartarpur corridor ceremony: India protests Imran Khan’s reference to Kashmir during ‘a pious occasion’

India on November 28 said Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s reference to Jammu and Kashmir during the ground breaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor was “deeply regrettable” and asserted that he chose to politicise a pious moment. The Ministry of External Affairs said Jammu and Kashmir was an “integral and inalienable” part of India.

“It is deeply regrettable that the Prime Minister of Pakistan chose to politicise the pious occasion meant to realise the long pending demand of the Sikh community to develop a Kartarpur corridor by making unwarranted reference to Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral and inalienable part of India,” the ministry said.

Sikh pilgrims sit in front of Kartarpur gurdwara before a groundbreaking ceremony for the Kartarpur Corridor to be set up between India and Pakistan in Kartarpur on November 28, 2018.

“It is deeply regrettable that the Prime Minister of Pakistan chose to politicise the pious occasion meant to realise the long pending demand of the Sikh community to develop a Kartarpur corridor by making unwarranted reference to Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral and inalienable part of India,” the Ministry of External Affairs said.

It added that Pakistan must fulfil its international obligations and take effective and credible action to stop providing shelter and all kind of support to cross border terrorism from territories under its control.

Mr. Khan on November 28 laid the foundation stone for a historic corridor linking two revered gurdwaras on both sides of the border. “I am saying today, that our political leaders, our army, and all other institutions are all on one page. We wish to move forward, we want a civilised relationship. We have just one problem, Kashmir. If man can walk on the moon, what problems are there that we cannot resolve,” Mr. Khan asked while addressing the gathering.

The much-awaited corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur — the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev — with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims.

-PTI, NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 28, 2018

BJP leader and his brother killed in Kishtwar (J&K)

BJP leader and his brother killed in Kishtwar (J&K), curfew imposed 

The Army on Friday staged a flag march in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar town where curfew was imposed after a senior BJP leader and his brother  were killed by suspected terrorists Thursday night, officials said.

District Magistrate Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana said the situation was tense but under control. “The Army staged a flag march in Kishtwar town in order to maintain law and order,” District Magistrate Kishtwar Angrez Singh Rana told PTI.

Mr. Rana said the curfew, which was imposed in the town late night Thursday, was strictly in place and additional security personnel were deployed in sensitive areas of the town. There were no reports of any untoward incidents, Mr. Rana said.

SSP Kishtwar Rajinder Gupta said a hunt was launched to track down those involved in the case. Following the killing of BJP state secretary Anil Parihar, 52, and his brother, Ajeet Parihar, 55, by terrorists, people had staged angry protests in the communally-sensitive town and manhandled senior police officials.

The district magistrate had requested the Army in the town and its adjoining areas to control the internal security situation that arose due to the killings.

The district magistrate had requested the Army in Kishtwar and its adjoining areas to control the internal security situation that arose due to the killings. File picture used for representation purpose only.He took the decision as he apprehended that violence might erupt and result in law and order problem, endangering the life and property of citizens of Kishtwar town.

Kishtwar district had witnessed communal clashes in the past. Terrorists had attempted to create communal tension in the region by targeting Hindu community, especially in higher reaches. In 2001, the terrorists killed 17 Hindu nomads.

The killings of Parihar brothers drew severe condemnation from all quarters. The senior BJP leader and his brother were killed when were returning home after closing their stationary shop located outside old DC office complex, officials said.

As two were walking towards their home in Parihar mohalla through a dark lane in Tapal Mohalla, they were fired upon from a close range by suspected militants around 8.40 pm, they said. The assailants were apparently waiting for the brothers to return home, they said.

The people rushed to the spot after hearing gunshots and rushed them to the district hospital in Kishtwar where they were declared brought dead, they added.

As the news spread locals rushed to hospital and the brothers’ house, where they held protests against the alleged failure of the administration and the police.

Angry people manhandled policemen, including the SSP, after arguing with them. They also clashed with the police and forced them to leave the hospital.

The angry mob raised anti-Pakistan slogans demanding arrest of those involved in the killings. The protestors later also took to streets and held a protest near the Kishtwar Police Station.

Anil Parihar was active in politics for over 25 years and had unsuccessfully contested the 2008 Assembly elections on a Jammu and Kashmir National Panther Party (JKNPP) ticket. Ajeet Parihar was an employee of the State Forest Corporation (SFC).

-PTI, JAMMU, NOVEMBER 02, 2018

Governor’s rule imposed in J&K

Governor’s rule imposed in J&K

President Ram Nath Kovind has approved imposition of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect, a senior government official said on Wednesday. Governor N.N Vohra sent a report to Union Home Ministry on Tuesday evening recommending Central rule in the State after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti submitted her resignation since the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) pulled out of the alliance with People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

As Mr. Kovind is on a three-nation tour, the proposal was sent to Suriname, his current stop. “When the Governor sent the proposal on Tuesday evening, the President was already in transit from Athens to Suriname. As soon as he touched down in Paramaribo, he signed the recommendation giving his assent to Governor’s rule in J&K,” said the official.

J&K Governor N.N. Vohra, the man in the hot seat

N.N. Vohra, who has been occupying the J&K Governor’s office since 2008, is now the Centre’s best bet as the State plunged into a political crisis on Tuesday with the BJP pulling out of an alliance with the PDP.

Mr. Vohra (82), a 1959-batch IAS officer of the Punjab cadre, has only briefly remained out of work after he retired as Union Home Secretary in 1994. He was appointed Principal Secretary to thet hen Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral, in 1997 and has been on several committees on internal security and defence. “There are no immediate plans to remove him. His experience in handling the affairs of the State during complex situations like the 2008 Amarnath agitation that claimed over 100 lives can be an advantage. We cannot push the State into another administrative crisis,” said a senior Cabinet Minister. A former police officer who has worked with Mr. Vohra said besides the rich experience he had an affable relation with people cutting across political lines.

“He is well-connected and keeps a low profile. He does his work with persistence and is not known to antagonise anyone,” the officer said.

Before he assumed office in 2008, Mr. Vohra held a dialogue with all stakeholders in the State as the Centre’s interlocutor for five years. Though there is no fixed tenure for the Governor, he continues in office at the pleasure of the President. Mr. Vohra’s six-year term (that equals the State Assembly’s term of six-years) ends on June 25.

The Centre is unlikely to remove him from the post as an experienced hand is required at the time of the Amarnath Yatra that commences on June 28. Another Minister said that he would remain in office till the yatra concludes on August 28.

Mr. Vohra is also the ex-officio chairman of the Shri Amarnath ji Shrine Board and is the first one to offer prayers and inaugurate the yatra. The Centre has made massive security arrangements for the yatra after eight pilgrims were killed in an attack by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants last year.

On June 17, the Centre did not extend the cease-ops announced for Ramzan and asked the security forces to resume action.

NEW DELHI, JUNE 20, 2018