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Are Kashmir truce violations any different from ‘war’?

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The unending ceasefire violations by the Pakistani Army on the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir have become a matter of life and death for thousands of families living in villages close to it and the international border. Despite the directors’ general level meeting between the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers, unprovoked shelling and firing by Pakistani troops continue on the border.

bsf_border_0Only on Wednesday, the Pakistani Army used 82 mm and 120 mm mortar shells and machine guns to target Indian Army positions and civilian areas in Poonch district of the Jammu region.

The Pakistani Army violated the ceasefire four times in 48 hours in Poonch district and all these occurred after the two directors general agreed on a mechanism to put an end to these incidents.

India and Pakistan signed a bilateral ceasefire agreement in November 2003. It held firm for nearly a decade, bringing a modicum of normalcy in the lives of thousands of families living close to the borders in divided Kashmir.

Pakistan started unprovoked firing at Indian positions and targeting of civilian areas on the international border in 2013 and with the passage of time, the truce started being observed more in its breach.

During the last two years, more than two dozen civilians have died and four dozen others injured on the Indian side of the LoC and the international border because of Pakistani shelling and firing.

Worse than the numbers of civilian killed and injured, the lives of families living in border villages have been turned upside down during the last two years.

The state administration has been putting up scores of families in makeshift camps each time these people leave their homes, abandoning their agricultural fields and livestock.

Children are often forced to stop attending schools each time shells start falling like fireballs from the other side of the border in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Poonch and Rajouri districts of the Jammu region.

A senior Indian Army officer has said the targeting of civilian areas by the Pakistani Army and its paramilitary forces is posing a major challenge for both the civil administration and Indian security forces.

The proposal to allot pieces of land to border residents away from the line of fire was moved three years ago. It is yet to be implemented.

Pakistan has been blaming the Indian Army for violating the ceasefire. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) says more civilians have been killed on their side of the border in Indian shelling and firing than India claims have been killed on its side.

Nobody in Jammu and Kashmir believes the two nuclear powered neighbours can afford a full-blown war.

This feeling does not, however, bring any relief to the lives of people in the border villages.

Most residents maintain that whenever shells start falling on their homes and fields, it is “war” in layman’s terms.

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has welcomed the recent meeting of the paramilitary top brass of the two countries.

Sayeed also said that unless the agreement at the meeting is translated into the silencing of the guns on the borders, people in the state would continue to live in horror of losing lives and livelihood.

While a “war” between the two neighbours is ruled out, the possibility of a low-intensity conflict between the two countries looms large as the truce violations start becoming the rule rather than an exception.

(Sheikh Qayoom, IANS)

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Heroin worth Rs. 100 crore seized by BSF in Punjab

22kg heroine was recovered during a combat between Pakistani smugglers and BSF troopers

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22kg heroin seized in Punjab
BSF recovers heroine worth Rs. 100 crores from Pakistani smugglers. Wikimedia Commons.

In a joint operation, Border Security Forces (BSF) troopers and the Punjab Police have recovered 22kg of heroin in Punjab’s Ferozepur sector following exchange of fire with Pakistani smugglers near the international border, a BSF officer said on Saturday.

The encounter took place late on Friday following a tip-off that smugglers were trying to send heroin consignment into India.

At least one Pakistani smuggler was injured in the exchange of fire as blood stains were found during search of the area on Saturday, BSF officer D.S. Rajpurohit said.

The BSF recovered a pistol and one Pakistani Sim card.

The BSF also arrested three Indian smugglers who were waiting close to the border fence to collect the heroin consignment.

The smugglers were trying to smuggle the heroin consignment using a plastic pipe across the border fence.

The heroin is worth nearly Rs 110 crore in the international market.

The Ferozepur border is around 275 km from here.

Punjab shares a 553-km-long barbed-wire fenced international border with Pakistan. (IANS)

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Manoj Bajpayee is an amazing actor and a team player on set: Sidharth Malhotra

Sidharth Malhotra on Thursday treated his fans to a question and answer session over Twitter.

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Actor Sidharth Malhotra
Actor Sidharth Malhotra. Wikimedia Commons

November 7, 2017: Actor Sidharth Malhotra, who will be seen sharing screen space with Manoj Bajpayee in “Aiyaary”, says the National Award winning actor is amazing and a team player.

Sidharth Malhotra on Thursday treated his fans to a question and answer session over Twitter.

A user asked the “Student Of The Year” actor about his experience working with Manoj in “Aiyaary”.

Sidharth replied: “He’s an amazing actor and a team player on set.”

“Aiyaary”, set in Delhi, London and Kashmir, revolves around two strong-minded Army officers having completely different views, yet right in their own ways. It is a real-life story based on the relationship between a mentor and a protege.

Presented by Plan C and Jayantilal Gada (Pen), the project is produced by Shital Bhatia, Dhaval Jayantilal Gada, Motion Picture Capital.

When asked about the development of the film, Sidharth replied: “Awesome. Excited to show it in a few months.”

Sidharth, 32, also described his “Brothers” co-star Akshay Kumar as his “brother from another mother.”(IANS)

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‘Black Day’ Protests : Restrictions Imposed in Srinagar to keep security in check

Separatists leaders have asked people to observe October 27 as a “black day” in Kashmir.

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restrictions
police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in full riot gear were seen disallowing pedestrian and vehicular movement in parts of Kashmir. (Representative image) VOA

Srinagar, October 27, 2017 : Authorities imposed restrictions in various areas on Friday to prevent separatist-called protests to mark the Accession Day of Jammu and Kashmir to India.

Joint resistance leadership (JRL) of separatist leaders — Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik — have asked people to observe October 27 as a “black day” in Kashmir.

It was on this day in 1947 that the Indian Army landed in Srinagar Airport following the accession of the state.

“Restrictions under section 144 of CrPC will remain in force in Nowhatta, M.R.Gunj, Safa Kadal, Rainawari, Khanyar, Kralkhud and Maisuma,” a police officer said.

Heavy contingents of the state police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in full riot gear were seen disallowing pedestrian and vehicular movement in these areas.

Railway services in the valley have also been suspended on Friday as a precautionary measure. (IANS)