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Maximum BSF casualties along J&K International Border this year

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Eleven BSF troops have been killed in cross-border firing incidents along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir till date in 2018, the highest casualty figure for the border force in a year in the last five years, a latest data revealed.

Four Border Security Force (BSF) personnel, including an Assistant Commandant-rank officer, were killed in a similar incident in the Ramgarh sector of Jammu today alone.

As per the data accessed by PTI, over 320 unprovoked firing incidents have taken place this year till date, leading to the killing of 11 BSF personnel and injuring 37 others.

In comparison to this, a total of 111 unprovoked cross-border firing instances took place last year along this front (Jammu IB) while the figures were 204 incidents (in 2016), 350 (in 2015) and 127 during 2014.

Two BSF personnel were killed and seven injured due to sniping and mortar shelling last year while three BSF personnel were killed and 10 injured in such incidents in 2016.

Similarly, a BSF jawan was killed and five were injured in 2015 and two of its men were killed while 14 were injured in 2014.

Today, Assistant Commandant Jitendra Singh (34), Sub-inspector Rajneesh Kumar (32), Constable Hansraj Gurjar (28) and Assistant SI Ram Niwas (52) were killed when unprovoked firing, using both precision weapons and mortars, was launched from the Asraf post of the Pakistan Rangers.

Officials said while ASI Ram Niwas, manning the ‘morcha’ (observation post), was hit first from the cross-fire, the rest three were killed in the subsequent mortar firing, as they were trying to evacuate the ASI.

“Amidst ongoing fire during evacuation a mortar shell fired from Pakistan side exploded and injured the evacuation party,” a BSF spokesperson said.

While Singh hailed from Jaipur in Rajasthan, Rajneesh Kumar was from Etah in Uttar Pradesh, Ram Niwas hailed from Sikar and Hansarj Gurjar from Alwar in Rajasthan.

The BSF said the unprovoked firing in this area started around 9:40 pm yesterday and continued till the wee hours today and the paramilitary kept on the retaliation.

“Despite ceasefire agreements, Pakistan has resorted to blatant violations and continues with unprovoked cross border fire also on Jammu IB.

“After DGMO level talks on May 29 and sector commander level meeting of BSF and Pak Rangers on June 4 and telephonic talk on June 12, it was agreed to maintain peace and tranquillity on the Jammu IB,” a BSF spokesperson said.

On June 3 similarly, two BSF personnel were killed and 10 persons, mostly civilians, injured in heavy shelling and firing by Pakistan Rangers along the IB in Pragwal, Kanachak and Khour sectors.

The latest casualties take the overall number of those killed in ceasefire violation by Pakistan along the IB and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir this year to 50, including 24 security personnel.

The BSF had launched three special assault operations — Rustam (2016), Arjun (2017) and Bheem (2018)– as part of the government mandated ‘befitting reply’ policy for retaliation of the such firing incidents.

The latest spell of the cross-border firing began when Pakistan Rangers and their other units started shelling areas along the IB from May 15.

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Karnataka government steps up relief, rescue operations in rain-hit Kodagu

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Kerala

Bengaluru, Aug 18 (PTI) Bolstered by the Army, Navy and Airforce, the state government today intensified relief operations in Kodagu district, as six people were killed in rain-related incidents during the last 24 hours.

Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy undertook an aerial survey of the district which has been experiencing heavy rain for the past three days.

Deputy chief minister Parameshwara tweeted today six people have been killed in Kodagu due to floods and landslides during the last 24 hours.

The government has announced a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased, he said, adding that the government would take care of the treatment of the injured.

Landslides were reported from some places in the district and authorities have stepped up efforts to rescue stranded people, officials said.

“There is a severe situation for the past three days.

Now the central and state rescue teams are working on a war footing,” Kumaraswamy told reporters here.

An M17 Air Force helicopter has been deployed to provide food packets to the marooned and to airlift them, the chief minister said.

The government has deployed as many as 948 personnel from the army engineering task force, Dogra regiment, Indian Navy, national disaster response force, fire and emergency services, home guards and civil defence, Kumaraswamy said.

In addition to this, 200 NCC cadets have also been deployed, he added.

About 50 earthmovers have also been working round the clock to clear debris caused by the landslips. Boats are also being used in the rescue operations.

“More than 2,500 people have been rescued.. in Jodupal village alone, 348 people have been rescued,” he said.

The state government has sanctioned Rs 100 crore for undertaking relief work in Kodagu district.

A sum of Rs 200 crore was announced as grant-in-aid to the affected districts for relief work a few days ago.

A committee, comprising senior administrative officers led by chief secretary T M Vijay Bhaskar, has been constituted to monitor relief operations, Kumaraswamy said.

“In Jodupal village, about 300 acres of land are lost in landslides. As many as 39 relief camps have been set up in the state, of which 30 are in Kodagu alone and the rest are in Dakshina Kannada district,” he said.

Revenue officers and doctors from Mysuru, Ramanagar, Mandya, Hassan and Chamarajnagar have been deployed in large numbers in Kodagu district.

The government has supplied 2.5 lakh litres drinking water for Kodagu district and efforts are also on to restore power supply in rain-hit areas, he said.

Kumaraswamy said he has directed officials to identify those who have lost their houses.

“At least 800 houses have been completely damaged in Kodagu due to rain..I have directed district authorities to identify those who have lost their houses and prepare a list.

Considering them as special cases, Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh will be given as compensation to them,” he said.

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Chandrababu Naidu speaks to Kerala CM, promises help to rain-hit state

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Naidu

Amaravati, Aug 18 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today spoke to his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan over the phone about the situation in the rain-ravaged state and assured him of providing all possible help in this hour of crisis.

A release from the Chief Minister’s Office here said Naidu expressed grief over the loss of lives and destruction of property in the monsoon fury.

Naidu assured Kerala that his state was ready to provide all possible help to it in this hour of crisis.

The Andhra Pradesh government had last night announced a financial assistance of Rs 10 crore to rain-ravaged Kerala.

Naidu told Vijayan that he would assist in mobilising more financial resources for rehabilitation work in Kerala.

Meanwhile, the Andhra Pradesh government today despatched a special rescue team comprising 66 disaster response and fire services personnel, a district fire officer, 12 motorboats and other equipment to Kerala.

A team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel from Mangalagiri also left for Kerala by a special aircraft, State Disaster Management Authority Commissioner M V Seshagiri Babu said.

As many as 194 people have lost their lives and 36 are missing in Kerala since August 8 due to rains and landslides, while over 3.14 lakh people have been moved to relief camps.

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Tamil Nadu CM K. Palaniswami announces ₹5 cr. more, relief materials, medical teams for Kerala

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Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K. Palaniswami on Saturday, August 18, 2018, announced relief materials including rice, milk and ₹ five crore more for relief operations in the flood ravaged Kerala.

Mr. Palaniswami said essential medicines and teams comprising medical and veterinary doctors will be immediately dispatched to the neighbouring state.

Over and above the ₹five crore contribution for relief given to Kerala on August 10 by Tamil Nadu, the Chief Minister said,”an additional ₹five crore,” will be provided from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund.

On August 9, Mr. Palaniswami had announced the ₹ five crore for relief and rehabilitation work.

As regards relief materials, 500 tonne rice, 300 tonnes of milk powder and 15,000 litres of Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) processed milk, 10,000 blankets besides dhoties and lungies (coloured dhoties) will be immediately sent to Kerala, he said.

“Also, relief materials worth crores received from Tamil Nadu people have already been sent to Kerala through authorities in districts and this work will continue,” Mr. Palaniswami said in an official release here.

To coordinate relief-related tasks to help Kerala, two senior IAS officials have been assigned to work under Commissioner for Revenue Administration, K Sathyagopal, the Chief Minister noted.

Expressing anguish over the loss of lives, Mr. Palaniswami conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced an immediate financial assistance of ₹500 crore to Kerala, after reviewing the flood situation in the state.

According to the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority, since August 8, 194 people have lost their lives so far and 36 are missing.

Over 3.14 lakh people have been moved to relief camps.

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