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Kashmir attack: Why JKEDI was an easy target for the terrorists?

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Photo: dailykashmirimages.com

An account by an ex-employee of JKEDI, Sarwar Kashani

Its location makes it vulnerable, more prone to being occupied by suicide attackers for a possible long-drawn gunfight, a senior police officer had once said with some foreboding about Kashmir’s entrepreneurship institute at the center of a battle between security forces and terrorists on Saturday.

The police officer’s apprehension during a casual talk with me was the first thing I immediately remembered when I heard about a group of militants had stormed into the multi-floor complex of the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI), where I used to work until recently as a communication officer.

Had I not returned to journalism, I would probably have been one of the employees of the institute who were trapped inside the complex hours after the shootout began.

The institute, situated on the strategic national highway connecting Jammu and Srinagar, has three buildings – a guest house, a hostel complex and the main office building – on a large swath of 3.5-acre land on the eastern bank of Jhelum. The institute trains young boys and girls of the job-starved state to be entrepreneurs and has nearly 300 employees spread across 22 districts of the Jammu and Kashmir. Nearly 100 employees are posted in the main office near Pampore, some 12 km from Srinagar.

The road on which the institute is located connects capital Srinagar with south Kashmir. It is the lifeline not only for the local supplies, but is the only all-weather road link used by the army to reach the Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarters that is the nerve center of the fight against militancy in the state.

The area around the building is not residential. It houses a government-owned joinery factory where wooden objects like doors, window frames, beds, chairs are made. On the other side of the road is a highly secured complex of medium and shortwave radio transmitters of Radio Kashmir, Srinagar.

There is a large slice of marshy land that separates the JKEDI complex from the Jhelum. Police previously had on many occasions proposed that the building be secured with security forces.

But the proposal was rejected as the administration of the institute was of the view that it (police presence) may scare young boys and girls from visiting it.

The police officer during the talk last summer was pointing to the location of the institute on the highway and the bushy wetland at the back of the complex – making it an easy target of militants who would also want to exploit the rush of youth into the institute.

And that is exactly what might have happened on Saturday evening as I was informed by my colleagues.

They said that three to four militants – apparently teenagers – walked inside posing as aspiring entrepreneurs before launching the attack on a security force convoy. Many of the employees had no idea what was brewing outside.

The militants, carrying heavy weaponry, then stormed inside. The attackers quickly scaled the stairs and occupied the fourth floor of the building from where they began shooting at security forces, the employees said.

In the melee, many of the employees sneaked out and ran towards the hostel complex. But many were still trapped inside before they reached the ground floor.

I could hear the gunshots over the phone as I spoke with my former colleagues. I heard them screaming over the phone. They were running for their lives before being evacuated by security forces to safer places.

I was told that a gardener was injured being hit by a bullet on one of his legs. Rest of them are safe and alive.(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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Crime Branch Officials catch hold of main accused in the 2002 Gandhinagar Akshardham Temple Terror Attack

The sensational attack on the temple complex in Gujarat's capital Gandhinagar had claimed 32 lives, including 28 visitors. The attackers had used automatic weapons and hand grenades.

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2002 Gandhinagar Akshardham Temple terror attack
Akshardham Temple, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Wikimedia

Ahmedabad, November 4, 2017 : Crime Branch officials on November 4 arrested Ajmeri Abdul Rashid, one of the accused in the 2002 Gandhinagar Akshardham Temple terror attack case, from near the airport.

Rashid, one of the 28 absconding accused in the case, had returned from Saudi Arabia and was picked by the Crime Branch sleuths from near the airport.

The sensational attack on the temple complex in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar had claimed 32 lives, including 28 visitors. The attackers had used automatic weapons and hand grenades. Three commandos, including one from NSG, and a constable of the State Reserve Police (SRP) were also killed during the operation.

Rashid’s brother Adam Ajmeri, along with two others, was awarded capital punishment but it was struck down by the Supreme Court and all three were acquitted in 2014. Three other convicts, one of them carrying a life sentence, were also let off by the apex court.

The other absconders are claimed to be in Pakistan and Gulf countries. (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)