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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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Muscular security policy will not work in J-K: Mehbooba Mufti says after her resignation

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PDP chief and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti raised the bogey of Article 370 and unilateral ceasefire on Tuesday, saying the muscular security policy will not work in the state and reconciliation is the key.

“I am not shocked as this alliance was never for power. PDP never believes in power politics and we worked for the people,” she told reporters after an hour-long meeting with her ministers and party workers at her residence.

Mehbooba maintained that Jammu and Kashmir was not an enemy territory as being perceived by few. “We had always said muscular security policy will not work in J-K, reconciliation is key,” she said.

She began her press conference by raising Article 370, under which the state enjoys a special status, and said “…we have safeguarded Article 370 and 35-A (of the Constitution) and we will continue to do that”.

“We have been able to withdraw 11,000 cases against the stone pelters,” she said while listing her side of the story after the BJP pulled out of its alliance with the PDP in the state.

She also mentioned about the unilateral ceasefire during Ramazan announced by Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lahore in 2015.

Mehbooba, who submitted her resignation to the governor this evening , said her party will continue to strive for dialogue and reconciliation in the state.

“I have told the governor we will not go into any other alliance,” she said.

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Pavements shouldn’t be obstructed by encroachments: Delhi High Court

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Observing that pavements should not be obstructed by encroachments as it could lead to traffic hazards as well as imperil life of pedestrians, the Delhi High Court has directed the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) to remove a temple built illegally on a footpath near C R Park here.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar told the corporation that while bringing the pavement in question to its original condition, the deities in the temple be shifted to another place without damaging them.

It directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police (South-East) to ensure that adequate police protection is made available to the SDMC for implementing the court’s order in which the bench also asked the corporation to file a status report within eight weeks regarding the steps taken by it.

The direction by the court came while disposing of a PIL against encroachments on the pavement at Govind Puri Extension opposite F-Block of C R Park.

While disposing of the matter, the bench said, “Pavements have to be maintained as pavements and no obstruction thereon can be permitted. The same results not only in traffic hazards but imperils the life of pedestrians who have no place to walk.

“In view of the above, the SDMC shall forthwith take steps to remove the entire unauthorized temple opposite F-Block, C R Park, Govind Puri Extension, Kalkaji and ensure that the pavement is brought to its original condition and maintained as such. Needless to say, the SDMC shall take care to ensure the deities are shifted to any other place and that no damage is caused thereto.”

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8,000 Indian journalists to be trained by Google

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To guard journalists against falling prey to false news stories, Google India on Tuesday said it will provide training to 8,000 journalists in English and six other Indian languages in the next one year.

Google News Initiative India Training Network will select 200 journalists from different parts of India. These journalists will improve their skills during a five-day “train-the-trainer” boot camps organised by Google.

This network of certified instructors will then train more journalists at two-day, one-day and half-day workshops organised by the Network giant. Training workshops will be conducted in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi and Kannada in cities across India, Google India said in a statement.

The aim of the training is to master Indian journalists in fact-checking, verification and maintaining digital hygiene using information built by experts from First Draft, Storyful, AltNews, BoomLive, Factchecker.in and DataLeads.

“Supporting trusted, authoritative media sources is a top priority for Google, which is why we are proud to collaborate with Internews, DataLeads and BoomLive to support journalists in their fight against misinformation in India,” said Irene Jay Liu, Google News Lab Lead, Asia-Pacific.

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