Monthly Archives

February 2019

Indigenous no-state people

India-Pakistan crisis: Tensions rise over Kashmir after ‘surgical air strike’ on militant training camp

Pakistan has promised to retaliate to any Indian ‘adventurism’

Indian fighter jets crossed the line of control into Pakistan to carry out a bombing raid against a militant training camp, the Indian government said, causing Islamabad to scramble its own aircraft in response.

The operation early on Tuesday was the first major military response to the militant car bombing in Pulwama, Kashmir earlier this month which the Indian government blames on Pakistan.

The Indian aircraft crossed into Pakistan-administered Kashmir and “released a payload” towards Balakot in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, said spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces Asif Ghafoor.

Pakistan called the sortie “a grave aggression by India”. In a brief statement, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said India had violated its territory and that Pakistan reserves the right to respond.

India’s ANI news agency, quoting air force sources, said 12 Mirage 2000 aircraft crossed the line of control at 3.30am on Tuesday and dropped 1,000kg of bombs on militant camps. 

And at an extraordinary media briefing, India’s foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale said the raid targeted the largest training base belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group. JeM has claimed responsibility for orchestrating the 14 February Pulwama attack.

Mr Gokhale said there was “credible intelligence that JeM was attempting another suicide terror attack”. “In the face of imminent danger, a preemptive strike became absolutely necessary”.

The foreign secretary said the camp was led by the brother-in-law of JeM chief Masood Azhar, and that the operation eliminated “a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers [and] senior commanders”.

The attack was a response to “the menace of terrorism” and not the Pakistani state, Mr Gokhale said, referring to it as “non-military preemptive action”. He also said the target, a remote forest camp, was selected “to avoid civilian casualties”.  

Prakesh Javadekar, India’s human resource development minister, tweeted: “This was a necessary step for the defence of the country, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given the armed forces a free hand. The whole country stands behind the armed forces.”

Pakistan has played down the success of the operation, with prime minister Imran Khan describing India’s account of it as “fictitious”. 

Its armed forces posted pictures to Twitter that appeared to show nothing more than impact craters from bombs in forested countryside, and officials repeatedly asserted that the Indian sortie caused neither damage to infrastructure nor loss of life.

Armed forces spokesman Ghafoor said: “Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage.”

India has accused the Pakistani state of allowing JeM to operate within its borders, as well as shielding the group’s leader Azhar from being named an international terrorist by the UN Security Council.

The Indian Army’s top commander in Kashmir went as far as to accuse Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency of “controlling” the Pulwama attack directly.

The day after the car bombing, which killed 40 Indian paramilitary officers and was the deadliest of its kind in Kashmir, Narendra Modi said India would give a “fitting, jaw-breaking response to this attack”.

Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, had previous said that any “adventurism” on India’s part would be met with retaliation. Later on Tuesday, after convening a meeting of the country’s National Security Committee, Mr Khan accused India of “putting regional peace and stability at grave risk”. “India has committed uncalled for aggression to which Pakistan shall respond at the time and place of its choosing,” he said.

Mr Modi has been under domestic pressure to give a show of force in the wake of the Pulwama attack, which has dominated India’s news agenda for almost two weeks. The prime minister is gearing up for a general election which must be held by the end of May.

India has already withdrawn Pakistan’s “most-favoured nation” trading status and whacked a 200 per cent tariff on Pakistani goods, though the measly state of the neighbours’ cross-border commerce makes the impact of these measures limited.  

Both India and Pakistan administer a portion of Kashmir but claim the entire region as their own. The two countries have fought three major wars over the issue, though not since 1971.

The last time India claimed to have carried out a “surgical strike” against militant camps across the line of control was in 2016, and that was allegedly by troops on the ground rather than an air raid. To this day, Pakistan denies that any such incursion took place.

Courtesy: The Independent

Human Rights

IAF strikes: China ditches Pakistan, advocates peace

China, India made constructive proposals for early solution to border dispute: Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang

BEIJING: Following India’s strikes on terror camps in Balakot+ , China on
Tuesday sent out a clear signal that it would try to restrain New Delhi and
Islamabad from aggravating the conflict instead of standing by its ally,
Chinese foreign ministry said that sound and peaceful relationship
between India and Pakistan is essential to maintain peace and stability in
the region.
“We hope the two countries would serve the objective of maintaining
peace and stability in the region,” the ministry said in reply to a question.
Beijing clearly wants to make sure that the upcoming meeting ofRussia, India and China (RIC)+ , which will be attended by
external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and foreign ministers of Russia and China, is not disrupted

Human Rights

India Confirms Air Strike on Biggest Jaish Terror Camp in Balakot

Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale is holding a press conference to give out details of the daring surgical strikes carried out by the Indian Air Force in Pakistan on Tuesday morning.

Twelve Indian Force Mirage-2000 jets crossed the Line of Control (LoC) early on Tuesday morning and destroyed terror camps of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot. The air strike, which has been dubbed surgical strikes 2.0, comes two weeks after a terror attack on CRPF solidiers in Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir.

Foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale confirmed the air strike and said a large number of JeM terrorists, trainers and senior commanders were eliminated in largest JeM camp in Balakot. The camp was led by Maulana Yusuf Azhar alias Ustad Ghauri, brother-in-law of JeM Chief Masood Azhar. The government said the camp was located on a hilltop, deep in a forest, and far away from any civilian presence. 

Sources told media that the air force dropped 1,000 kg laser-guided bombs on the terror camp. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level Cabinet Committee on Security meeting in New Delhi along with Union ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Arun Jaitley on the attack. The attack, which the government said was pre-emptive action in the face of more fidayeen strikes, took place at 3:30 am.

India had put all IAF bases in the western sector on maximum alert after the Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

The retaliation has come days after the Pulwama attack, where 40 CRPF personnel were killed. Pakistan-based terror outfit JeM had claimed responsibility for the attack. The incident had escalated tensions between the two neighbours, with New Delhi vowing to take stern action against Islamabad.

Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major-General Asif Ghafoor had tweeted saying that a “payload was released in haste, which fell near Balakot”. However, no casualties or damage was reported, he added.

Indian aircrafts intruded from Muzafarabad sector. Facing timely and effective response from Pakistan Air Force released payload in haste while escaping which fell near Balakot. No casualties or damage.

Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back. Details to follow.

According to ANI, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Jawed Bajwa had visited Pakistani troops deployed at the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and instructed them to “be ready to face any eventuality,” on Friday.

Bajwa had also visited the Headquarters Rawalpindi Corps on Monday, where he was updated on the operational situation and state of readiness along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), LoC and Working Boundary (WB).

He met with Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan at the Air Headquarters in Rawalpindi where the two chiefs “deliberated on operational environment including threat and response” and “expressed satisfaction on readiness, coordination and synergy,” according to Ghafoor.

Embedded video

COAS visited Headquarters Rawalpindi Corps. Commander Rawalpindi Corps updated COAS on operational situation & state of readiness along Line of Actual Contact (LAC), Line of Control and Working Boundary (WB). COAS expressed satisfaction on the state of preparations & readiness.

Human Rights

Indian Air Force jets crossed LoC, claims Pakistan

Pakistan on Tuesday claimed that the Indian Air Force jets
crossed the Line of Control (LoC), following which the former “scrambled”
The claim comes in the wake of tense relations between the two countries
in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, claimed by Pakistan-based
outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Indian Air Force violated Line of Control. Pakistan Air Force
immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back.
Details to follow.
— Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor (@OfficialDGISPR) 1551138140000
“Indian Air Force violated Line of Control (LoC).

Pakistan Air Force immediately scrambled. Indian aircrafts gone back. Details to
follow (sic),” the Spokesperson for the Pakistan Armed Forces, Major General Asif Ghafoor, tweeted on Tuesday.

Indigenous no-state people

Assam Hooch Tragedy: 160 people died after consuming spurious liquor

Assam Hooch Tragedy: State Government orders probe after 123 people die after consuming spurious liquor in Assam. The excise department has initiated an investigation. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal announced a monetary compensation of ₹2 lakhs to the next of kin of the deceased.

Assam hooch tragedy: Lawmaker alleges that many excise department officials have links with the illicit liquor traders


Assam Government Notifies Deopahar As Reserve Forest

Himangshu Kalita

Herds of wild elephants in Assam’s Numaligarh will now stroll freely in the Deopahar Reserve Forest, just like they have done for hundreds of years before it was taken away from them by humans, who constructed a wall around the forest.

Now the Assam government has issued an order notifying Deopahar in Golaghat district as a Reserve Forest. Though the Assam government had issued the notice on January 19 it became public only recently.

The government’s notification came on January 19, a day after the Supreme Court rejected the review petition of Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) against a previous decision which upheld a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order to demolish a boundary wall and proposed township in the area, which falls in the middle of an elephant corridor. Local people allege, despite this setback, NRL is hatching to dump garbage in Doigrung, the most beautiful village of the area building a garbage project. 

Deopahar Reserve Forest

State-run NRL has been engaged in a long-standing legal battle over its construction of a border wall for its township, which was blocking the elephant corridor. While the oil company argued that the wall was necessary to keep the residents safe from wild elephants. But environmentalist claimed that the concrete fencing is dangerous and that elephants are getting killed while trying to bring the wall down by pouncing on it with their heads. Environmentalist Mubina Akhtar and  Chandan Kumar Duarah (Asomiya Pratidin) protested anti-conservation activities and urged both Central and Assam governments to protect the forest area. It is to be remembered that the foundation stone of NRL was laid on july 3 by then Prime Minister Sri P V Narasimha Rao and Conservation Activist, student of D R College, Chandan Kumar Duarah submitted a memorandum to the PM demanding not to touch the Deopahar forest area. Environmental Clearance for Refinery Project Obtained in May 31, 1991.  Before that clearance, Mr. Achinta Nayan Bezbaruah and Chandan Kumar Duarh, pointed out the archeological and environmental importance of Deopahar to the experts who prepared Environmental Impact Study and finally the project keeped off  Deopahar.

According to the report, though the Assam government had issued the notice on January 19 it became public only recently. The notification said in the exercise of powers conferred by Section 17 of the Assam Forest Regulation 1891, the Governor is pleased to declare Deopahar as a reserve forest.

In 2016, the National Green tribunal had ordered demolition of the boundary wall constructed by the NRL authority that came up in the area in 2011 as it is part of Deopahar and also falls in the “no development zone” issued by the Union ministry of environment and forest in 1996. The order of 2016 also said that NRL’s proposed township also falls in Deopahar.

The NGT had given one month’s time to the NRL for demolition of the boundary wall and ordered that the proposed township should not come up in the present location.

In 2018, dismissing NRL’s review application of 2016 order, the NGT had said, “In view of categorical findings already recorded by the tribunal that the area where the wall came up and the area where the proposed township is to come up is part of the Deopahar Reserve Forest, rehearing on merits is not permissible.”