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AFSPA to stay for longer time in Valley, says Home Minister Rajnath Singh

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Making Modi-government’s stand clear on AFSPA, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the time was not conducive to withdraw the special powers given to armed forces in the areas of conflict.

“AFSPA ko samapta karne ke abhi halaat nahin hai (The situation is not conducive to end AFSPA),” Rajnath Singh said while addressing media on Sunday evening, at the Attari joint check post (JCP) along the India-Pakistan international border.

The home minister also questioned Pakistan on why it was turning green fields red by supporting terrorism. He said it was high time for Pakistan to introspect its actions in supporting terrorism.

He said India was capable of protecting its borders completely from any attempt of infiltration from the Pakistan side. “Our security forces have given a befitting reply to every ceasefire violation and infiltration bid from Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir. We will continue to do that,” he further added.

On being asked about the recent attacks on churches in various parts of the country, the home minister said all minority communities were secure in India.

“Whether it is an attack on a temple, mosque or any other religious place, whatever action is required, we will take that strongly,” he told while addressing the media on the sidelines of a function in Attari, Punjab.

There is no need to create a sense of fear among the minority communities; instead, all efforts should be made to “instill confidence in them”.

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IOC Cancels Places for 2020 Tokyo Games from India after it Refused Visas to Pakistan

India has accused Pakistan of involvement in a suicide bombing in Kashmir last week that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers and has vowed to "isolate" its arch-rival neighbor over the attack.

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IOC, Olympic, India, tokyo games, pakistan
FILE - Shimaa Hashad of Egypt takes part in a pratice session with an air rifle at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup at Dr. Karni Singh Shooting Range, in New Delhi, Feb. 20, 2019. VOA

The International Olympic Committee on Thursday canceled places for the 2020 Tokyo Games shooting competition to be awarded at an event in India after the host country refused to give visas to Pakistani shooters, the head of the sport’s governing body said.

India has accused Pakistan of involvement in a suicide bombing in Kashmir last week that killed 40 paramilitary soldiers and has vowed to “isolate” its arch-rival neighbor over the attack.

Sixteen qualifying places for the Tokyo Games were to be decided at the opening shooting World Cup event in New Delhi. But Vladimir Lisin, president of the ISSF world body, said these would now go to other qualifying events.

“The International Olympic Committee informed us this World Cup will not be included in the competitions for Olympic quotas,” Lisin, himself an IOC executive member, told the tournament opening ceremony late Thursday.

“The quotas will be distributed at another World Cup. No one can be discriminated against and we have to follow the IOC decision as part of the IOC family,” he added.

IOC, olympic, tokyo games, india, pakistan
FILE – Indian paramilitary soldiers stand by the wreckage of a bus after an explosion in Pampore, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

The IOC said it was deliberating on the controversy and would soon announce a decision.

Over 500 shooters are taking part in the Indian event, for which competition starts Saturday.

Pakistan, which has denied any role in the Kashmir attack, says two shooters and a coach were denied visas to attend the contest.

Lisin said the International Shooting Sport Federation and the Indian organizing committee had done everything possible to get the shooters to the contest.

But National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh said he could not go against the Indian government’s decision.

Singh also insisted no final decision on the Olympic places had been taken.

“Nothing is canceled as of now. The status as of now is we don’t know,” Singh told reporters. “There are meetings that are going on where the position is being assessed by the IOC and the government.”

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Amid widespread anger over last week’s Kashmir attack, some calls have also been made for India’s cricket team to boycott its scheduled World Cup game against Pakistan in England later this year.

Media reports said Indian cricket’s governing body, the BCCI, had prepared a letter calling for Pakistan to be banned from the cricket World Cup. (VOA)