Tue, 11 July 2017
Modi's 'achhe din' exists only on Twitter: Kanhaiya Kumar

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23:54   Modi's 'achhe din' exists only on Twitter: Kanhaiya Kumar
Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, student leader Kanhaiya Kumar today said Modi's "Achhe Din" (his poll promise of good days) "exists only on Twitter."
He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch to mark the first anniversary of Una Dalit flogging incident.
Kumar also attacked Modi's "Vibrant Gujarat" event saying the "vibration" was only felt by "Adani and Ambani."
"Modi's achhe din exists only on Twitter. But we need a policy and not just Twitter," he said.
Condemning the Amarnath terror attack, Kumar said Modi's promise that demonetisation will end terror attacks was a sham and he should explain why surgical strike did not end such attacks.
The former president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union said the fact that the driver who was behind the wheels of the bus carrying pilgrims attacked by the terrorists at Amarnath was a Muslim suggests that communal harmony exists everywhere.
"I condemn any form of violence, but the claim that demonetisation will stop terror strikes has been belied. What kind of surgical strike was conducted when it cannot stop terror attacks," he said.
He also appealed to Muslims not to fear the present BJP government saying "even if Modi tries to be Hitler, Muslims here are not Jews."
He said while the BJP talks about Bharat Mata, the government cannot even provide free sanitary napkins to school girls, and in fact, imposes GST on it.
"You must respect each other's opinion, that is what democracy is all about," he said.
23:22   Attack on Amarnath pilgrims cowardly, says Ajmer dargah head
The spiritual head of the Ajmer dargah, Zainul Abedin Ali Khan, today condemned the terrorist attack on a bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir terming it a "cowardly act".
This act of terror has brought shame to Kashmir, he said.
In a statement, Khan also said that there is no place for violence in Islam and called upon all religious leaders to come together against terrorism.
He urged Muslims and the Kashmiri youth to stand united against terrorism to give a message to the world that the Indian Muslim is a true follower of peace. 

IMAGE: Muslims protests against the Amarnath terror attack in Mumbai. Photograph: Sahil Salvi
23:17   Govt is working on creating national no-fly list: Sinha
The government is working on creating a national 'no-fly list' which will apply to all citizens, irrespective of their "position" in society, Union minister Jayant Sinha said today.
Replying to a question on recent incidents of indecent behaviour of a few elected representatives with airline staff, the MoS for Civil Aviation said, "Safety is of paramount concern to us and the ministry is working on a national no-fly list".
"Nowhere else in the world has this type of a no-fly list been created. This will apply to all citizens of India, no matter what their role or position is, as safety applies to everyone," he said.
The minister said the decision to not serve non-vegetarian food to passengers flying economy class with Air India on domestic routes was taken to "cut down costs and wastage."
The ministry has to honestly look into how it can make Air India operate in an efficient manner, he told reporters in Coimbatore.
An airline spokesperson had said the decision was taken last week.
Air India CMD Ashwani Lohani had also maintained that the decision was taken to rationalise costs.
To a question on bilateral connectivity with other countries, Sinha said, "We will sort out the issues on bilateral connectivity and see which countries we can connect within the bilateral agreements. There have to be modifications within these agreements. We will look into it."
Students of Gurukul School in Mumbai made a rangoli as a tribute the victims of Amarnath terror attack. Photograph: Sahil Salvi
23:03   Send 'gau rakshaks' to face terrorists: Uddhav to BJP
In a dig at the BJP over the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims, Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray today asked the senior ally of his party to send 'gau rakshaks' to face terrorists in the Valley. 
Seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, were killed and 19 injured when terrorists attacked a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district last evening.
While five of the deceased hailed from neighbouring Gujarat, two were from Maharashtra.
"They (the BJP) used to say that do not bring sports, culture etc. in the political issues. Today, religion and politics came together in the form of the terror attack. Should we understand that none of those terrorists would have been alive today if they had the cow meat in their bags than weapons?"
"The issue of 'gau rakshaks' is raging today. Why don't you send these cow vigilantes to face terrorists?" Thackeray asked while addressing representatives of various Ganesh mandals in Mumbai for the upcoming festival.
UPDATE: Rahul Dravid appointed batting consultant for specificoverseas tours, says BCCI.
22:26   Ravi Shastri named head coach, Zaheer Khan new bowling coach
The BCCI today named Ravi Shastri as the new chief coach of the Indian cricket team with former fast bowling great Zaheer Khan being appointed the bowling coach for a period of two years. 

"On Cricket Advisory Committee's recommendation, we have decided to appoint Ravi Shastri as the chief coach while Zaheer Khan will be appointed bowling coach for a period of two years," BCCI acting president CK Khanna confirmed the development to PTI today. 

It will be third stint with the national team for 55- year-old Shastri, who was earlier a Cricket Manager during 2007 tour of Bangladesh and then Team Director from 2014 August to 2016 June during which India won Test overseas series versus Sri Lanka, reached the semi-finals of 2015 World Cup and World T20 semi-finals in 2016. 

It was learnt that it was a fight between Shastri and Virender Sehwag but it was skipper Virat Kohli's strong recommendation about Shastri's earlier tenure that swung the deal in favour of BCCI's 'Man of All Seasons'. 

Zaheer Khan, who last played international cricket in 2014, is considered to be one of finest exponents of swing bowling India has ever produced.
22:21   Central team to submit report on Kashmir to Rajnath
A central team, visiting Jammu and Kashmir to assess security measures for Amarnath pilgrims in the wake of a terrorist attack, will submit its report to Home Minister Rajnath Singh after returning to Delhi, official sources said today. 

Union ministers Hansraj Ahir and Jitendra Singh and other members of the team attended a security review meeting with top civil and security officials in Srinagar. 

They also assessed the steps taken for the security of Amarnath pilgrims, the sources said. 

The Union ministers also held discussions with Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, were killed and 19 injured when terrorists attacked a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district last evening.

The attack took place when they were returning to Jammu from Srinagar in a bus, after visiting the cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the Himalayas at an altitude of 12,756 feet.
21:44   Encounter breaks out in Kashmir's Budgam
An encounter broke out this evening between security forces and terrorists in central Kashmirs Budgam district, police said.
Security forces launched a cordon-and-search operation in Redbug area of Budgam this evening after receiving specific intelligence inputs about the presence of terrorists in the area, said a police official who refused to be identified.
He said the search operation turned into an encounter as the security forces were fired upon by the terrorists.
Two terrorists are believed to be trapped there, the official said.
There were no reports of any casualty so far. 
21:00   Money laundering case: Misa Bharti grilled for 8 hours by ED
Rashtriya Janata Dal MP Misa Bharti was today grilled for nearly eight hours by Enforcement Directorate sleuths in connection with the agency's probe into a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering case, officials said.
Bharti, the daughter of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, deposed before the investigating officer of the case at the central probe agency's zonal office in New Delhi shortly after 11 am.
The officials said her statement was also recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
They said Bharti was questioned about her role in relation to a firm, M/s Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited, and her other finances and her links with a Chattered Accountant arrested by the agency earlier.
The ED had on July 8 conducted searches at three Delhi farmhouses of Bharti, her husband Shailesh Kumar and the firm.
Her husband Shailesh Kumar was also summoned yesterday but he reportedly skipped the date.

The ED raids on July 8 had come a day after the CBI had raided multiple premises of Prasad and his family in a corruption case probe.
The latest summons to Bharti and her husband are related to a Rs 8,000 crore money laundering probe being conducted by the agency against two Delhi-based businessmen brothers, Surendra Kumar Jain and Virendra Jain, and others who are alleged to have laundered several crore rupees using over 90 shell companies.
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat today met Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra in Srinagar. 

General Rawat arrived in Srinagar to review the security situation in the wake of the attack on Amarnath pilgrims.
20:00   Chhattisgarh: Naxals torch 18 vehicles, machines engaged in mining work
Naxals today set ablaze at least 18 vehicles and machines engaged in mining work in Kanker district of Chhattisgarh, police said. 

No one was hurt in the incident, they said. 

A group of armed ultras stormed into the Barbaspur iron ore mining site under the limits of Korar police station and after threatening the labourers, they torched 18 vehicles and machines engaged in mining work, Kanker Superintendent of Police M L Kotwani told PTI

After torching the vehicles, the Maoists fled into the forest, he said.

On receiving information about the incident, a police team rushed to the spot and found 15 trucks, one pick up vehicle, one excavator and one loader burnt, he said.

A search operation has been launched in the region to nab the ultras involved in the incident, the SP added. The ultras are reportedly opposing iron ore mining in the area.
19:10   US, Germany, France condemn Amarnath attack
Condemnation against the Amarnath attack poured in from the international community today, with the United States and Iran deploring the strike and Germany, France and Bangladesh expressing their solidarity with India in the fight against terrorism and extremism.

While Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrote to her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, condemning the 'heinous' terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims and reaffirming her country's support to India at this 'difficult hour', Nepal's foreign affairs ministry, in a release, also strongly denounced the terrorist attack and expressed its condolences.

'We deplore the attack on #Amarnath pilgrims & condemn all acts of terrorism. Deepest condolences to the families & all those affected,' the US ambassador's official Twitter handle posted.

France sent out a message of solidarity. "France assures the people and authorities of India of its solidarity in face of terrorism. During their meeting in Paris on 3rd June this year, the French President and Modi, had declared counter- terrorism to be a priority of our strategic partnership," said the spokesperson of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

German Ambassador Martin Ney in his message said he strongly condemned the terrorist attack on behalf of his government.

He also conveyed deepest condolences to the families of the victims.

"Germany resolutely stands by India in the fight against terrorism and extremism," Ney said.

"As the G20 leaders just reaffirmed in Hamburg, we are resolved to tackle terrorism as a common challenge to the global community," he noted.

Hasina reiterated Bangladesh's 'zero tolerance' policy against terrorism and vowed to continue to work together with India to eradicate the menace, a Bangladesh embassy release said in New Delhi.

The Embassy of Iran said in a release that it 'condemns in the strongest possible words the Monday night terror attack on the Amarnath pilgrims'.

The embassy also extended condolences to the Indian government and families of victims. -- PTI

IMAGE: Protests in Srinagar against the attack. Photograph: PTI Photo
18:36   Every Kashmiri is NOT terrorist: Rajnath responds to Twitter troll
In an unusual rebuttal to an online troll, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today asserted that all Kashmiris were not terrorists and said it was his job to ensure peace and tranquillity in all parts of the country.

The assertion by the home minister came in response to a tweet from an 'Editor of Make My Trip', a travel portal, which raised questions on his comment that the people of Kashmir had strongly condemned the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims and that it showed the spirit of Kashmiriyat was very much alive.

Replying to the home minister, Suchi Singh Kalra, who by using a derogatory word, told Singh that no one cared about whether Kashmiriyat was alive or not in Jammu and Kashmir but needed strong action from him against the terrorists responsible for yesterday's attack.

Singh responded: 'Ms Kalra I certainly do. It is absolutely my job to ensure peace and tranquillity in all parts of the country. All Kashmiris are not terrorists.'

In the Twitter profile, Kalra claimed to be an editor of the 'Make My Trip'.

However, soon Kalra deleted the twitter account.

Earlier, the home minister said he saluted the people of Jammu and Kashmir who had condemned the attack on Amarnath pilgrims and kept the spirit of Kashmiriyat alive.

The attack on Amarnath pilgrims in which seven people were killed was a 'cowardly act of terror' but it was heartening to see the whole nation stand united against terrorism, the minister said.

'I am pained at the loss of lives of Amarnath pilgrims. But I salute the people of Kashmir as all sections of society have condemned the attack,' he told reporters in New Delhi.

Singh also tweeted: 'It shows the spirit of Kashmiriyat is very much alive'. -- PTI

IMAGE: Members of Shiv Sena and Dogra Front hold placards and shout slogans during the Jammu Bandh call given by several organisations in protest against killing of seven Amarnath Yatris in Anantnag by terrorists, in Jammu on Tuesday. Photograph: PTI Photo
17:58   Syria monitor says Baghdadi has been killed
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed, agency reports said.

The director of the war monitor was quoted as saying by news agencies that 'top tier commanders from IS who are present in Deir Ezzor province have confirmed the death of Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi, emir of the Islamic State group, to the observatory'.

Though, IS news agency Amaq has not confirmed it yet.

Rumours of Baghdadi's death have been frequently reported in the past.

Last month, Russia claimed to have killed Baghdadi in an air strike in Raqqa.

Baghdadi has not been seen in public since proclaiming himself caliph in the Iraqi city of Mosul three years ago. -- Agencies
17:30   Not In My Name vigil at Jantar Mantar, 7 pm
The Not In My Name Campaign In Delhi calls for a vigil to mourn the death of Amarnath Yatris at Jantar Mantar at 7:00 pm today. Here's what their Facebook post says.

A Facebook post by a filmmaker against the lynching of a Muslim teenager spawned the powerful online campaign, leading to protest marches being held in across the country.

On June 29, protestors gathered in Mumbai. This is what happened.

17:12   If we had not shut the door, terrorists would have entered the bus: Driver
If there is a proverbial silver lining in the horrific terror attack on 58 pilgrims headed from Srinagar to the shrine of Vaishnodevi in Jammu last night, it is the nation uniting in praise of the driver of the bus, Sheikh Salim Gafoor.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has announced a cash reward of Rs 3 lakh for the driver, while Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has said he would recommend Salim's name for a bravery award.

At 8:20 pm on Monday, July 10, terrorists opened fire on a bus carrying pilgrims who had just finished the yatra to Amarnath and were on their way to Jammu. The bus was traversing through the Batingoo area of Anantnag in south Kashmir when it came under indiscriminate and sustained firing by the terrorists, who the Inspector General of Police, Jammu and Kashmir, says is from the Pakistan-based terror group Lashkar-e-Tayiba. The attack left seven dead and over 19 injured.

Sheikh Salim Gafoor, spoke to's Umar Ganie just before he left for Gujarat.

"The bus I was driving, (registration number GJ09Z9976) had a punctured tyre. After repairing the tyre, which took a while, it was already dark, but we resumed the journey.

Since the yatra was over on July 8, they had been staying around the Dal Lake in Srinagar for the last two days. After reaching Anantnag, they had a meal at a dhaba and we began our journey to Jammu.

My passengers were enjoying themselves, singing and chatting about their Kashmir trip. Some yatris also mentioned that they had missed out on shopping because they had no time. A few others were sleeping.

Suddenly, firing started from all sides. Initially, I was unable to understand what was going on because it happened all of a sudden. But the moment I realised it, I shouted out to everyone to lie down on the floor and everyone followed my instructions.

I am from Gujarat; I'm not a Kashmiri, so I have no experience of the sound of gunfire, but somehow you realise what that sound means. My bus had 58 passengers. Seven people died and 19 were injured.

I think the biggest reason we did not have many more casualties was because I yelled out to the conductor to close the door the moment I heard the shots. If he hadn't acted immediately and done so, they could have entered the bus and the casualties would have been much more. I did not see any of the terrorists because it was pitch dark outside, all I heard was the sound of gunfire.

I think Allah gave me the strength to keep driving. He gave me the foresight not to stop the bus. The firing went on and on. It just did not stop. And I kept driving.

I stepped on the accelerator and drove the bus away from the firing. I think I must have gone over one-and-a-half kilometres out of the firing zone before I stopped at an army outpost.

When I finally stopped the bus and stood up and I saw my passengers drenched in blood; many were injured and were weeping. My conductor was also injured because when I ducked to escape the gunfire, the bullets grazed his neck.

I then began evacuations and local people also rushed towards the bus and helped move the injured to hospital.

Many hours have gone by, but I am unable to understand why this happened, or for that matter what happened. It was a horrible experience, which I am taking back with me to Gujarat. I will never forget this incident. I will never forget what my passengers went through. These scenes will haunt me for years."
16:55   Day after terror attack, 22,000 yatris leave for Amarnath
Undeterred by the attack on Amarnath pilgrims, 22,633 devotees today embarked on the pilgrimage amid stepped up security measures. Escorted by CRPF and police personnel, 3,289 pilgrims, comprising 2,283 men, 756 women and 250 sadhus and sadhvis, left in 68 vehicles in a convoy from Jammu for Baltal and Pahalgam base camps this morning, officials said.

"We have high degree of security for passage of convoy of the Amarnath yatra," Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Zone, Mandeep Bhandari said. Officials of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) today informed Governor N N Vohra that "by 10.30 am, 18,838 pilgrims had left for the cave shrine from Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni and Baltal yatra camps."

As many as 5,556 pilgrims, who left Chandanwari, this morning will need to halt en-route and they will reach the shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas the next day, the officials said.

Jammu observed a complete shutdown today amid dozens of protests against the killings with heavy security being deployed in the winter capital. Bhandari said the situation in Jammu is peaceful and there are no reports of any untoward incident. Since the beginning of the pilgrimage, 1,46,692 yatris have paid obeisance at the cave shrine.

File pic.
16:47   Ravi Shastri is Team India coach
Ravi Shastri has been appointed the next coach of the Indian team and will be at the helm of affairs till the 2019 World Cup, reports ANI. The decision was announced by the Cricket Advisory Committee on Tuesday after the BCCI Committee of Administrators asked directed the committee to consult Virat Kohli and announce the name of the coach at the earliest.
16:27   RSS-BJP men to occupy key positions in president, vice-presidents secretariat
Senior leaders in the BJP and RSS have reason to celebrate.

From August, they say, they will be the real rulers of India with the their men running the Presidents and Vice Presidents office, apart from the Prime Ministers Office which together has been dubbed the teen murti of Delhi.
BJP president Amit Shah is of the opinion that the 2014 mandate which PM Narendra Modi got was for the party to get its man as the President and Vice President of India.

RSS and BJP leaders have quietly begun the task of ensuring their cadre occupy key and maximum positions in the Presidents Secretariat and the Vice Presidents Office.

According to an estimate, there are 25 positions in the Presidents Secretariat, which Amit Shah wants to fill with BJP cadre to assist Presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind.

Similarly, in the Vice Presidents Secretariat there are 15 senior-level appointments, which are also expected to filled by a combination of BJP and RSS cadre.

BJP leaders openly claim that there will be lots of skeletons from Rajya Sabha Chairperson and vice president Dr Hamid Ansaris office which will be laid bare soon. BJP was keen on a quiet exit of the present dispensation of the Vice Presidents Secretariat, which may not happen.
16:25   Delhi babus work overtime for Kovinds swearing-in ceremony
The swearing-in ceremony for the 14th President of the republic of India will take place on July 25, 2017 in the Central Hall of Parliament.

With Ram Nath Kovinds winning candidature, officials have a huge responsibility ahead of them to ensure the prestigious swearing-in ceremony takes place without a hitch.

Since it is an elaborate exercise for the government of India, coordination amongst 20 ministries and 10 security agencies are crucial, which is why Union Home Secretary Rajiv Maharishi held a meeting last week.

Sources say that officials are ready and waiting to conduct the ceremony, according to prevalent procedures. The meeting was attended by the Military Secretary to the President of India,

Representatives from the Prime Ministers Office, Central Public Works Department, Director General of Doordarshan, Director General of All India Radio, Deputy Director of the Special Protection Group, the Delhi Commissioner of Police and the Joint Director from the Intelligence Bureau.

This meeting deliberated in detail the upcoming ceremony keeping in mind the 2012 manual of Pranab Mukherjees swearing in ceremony.  A short film on the ceremony also shown.

Major General Anil Khosla, the Military Secretary to the President, also made a presentation on the procession from the main entrance of the Parliament to the Central hall. A full dress rehearsal will be conducted on July 22.
16:06   Yogi delivers on farm loan waivers of Rs 36,000 crore
The Yogi Adityanath government today presented its first Rs 3,84,659.71 crore budget for 2017-18, making a special provision of Rs 36,000 crore to honour its poll promise of farm loan waiver through debt redemption.

Presenting the budget in the Assembly, Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal said the budget is 10.9 per cent higher than last fiscal's and earmarks Rs 55,781.96 crore for new schemes.

The farm loan waiver was a major promise in the BJP's election manifesto and the fulfilment of the commitment was a big challenge before the Adityanath government, which has just completed 100 days in office.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath described the budget as "progress" and asserted that his government is determined to fulfilling the pre-poll commitments made by his party.

Starting his speech eulogising the massive mandate for his party in the last Assembly elections with a triumph over "pseudo-secular and vested coalitions", Agarwal mentioned the challenges of the government in the form of a dismal state of affairs it inherited from the previous regimes.
Elaborating on the budgetary provisions for farmers and villages, he said the government has brought in a package for potato growers and ensured payment of cane dues worth Rs 22,682 crore in the first 100 days of coming to power.
15:23   Virat will be consulted on new coach, insists Ganguly
In other news:

Former captain and CAC member Saurav Ganguly has maintained that skipper Virat Kohli will be consulted over the selection but was not the main person to decide on the issue.

"We respect his (Virat's) decision. At the end of the day it is his team, he is going to lead the team. He (Virat) will be consulted and no, he will not be the main person and he doesn't want to be the main person," Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of a promotional event in Mumbai.

Ganguly made his foray in start-ups by investing in Mumbai-based entertainment company Flickstree. "When you speak to Virat Kohli, he is aware. He doesn't want to be the main person. No, we can get hold of him (talk to him), that's the way I look at it. There are people who think differently," the Cricket Association of Bengal president said.

Suspense continued over India's next coach with the Cricket Advisory Committee (CAC) yesterday deciding to put the appointment on hold while sending a pointed message to skipper Kohli to understand "how coaches operate".

"Virat will need to understand how coaches operate. At the same time, you have to give credit to Virat that he has stayed out of the coach selection process. We will have a detailed chat with him once he is back from the West Indies," Ganguly, flanked by committee member VVS Laxman and joint secretary Amitabh Choudhary, told a press conference last evening.

Asked today whether it was a message from the CAC to Virat, Ganguly said, "There is no message. Its just to bring him in confidence. I respect him immensely. He is a terrific player for India and he is the captain of India. You have to respect the captain of India and I respect him."
15:15   Maharashtra govt to airlift bodies of two Amarnath victims home
The Maharashtra government has made arrangements for airlifting the mortal remains of two Amarnath pilgrims to Dahanu from Surat. Two Amarnath pilgrims from Dahanu -- Usha Sonar and  Nirmala Thakur -- lost their lives in yesterday's terrorist attack at J&K. Other pilgrims from Maharashtra who were injured are under treatment at a hospital in J&K. The Maharashtra government is in constant touch with the Centre and the J&K authorities.

Last night terrorists killed seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others as they struck at a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2001. Five of those killed were from Gujarat and two from Maharashtra. In 2001 terrorists had struck in the Sheshnag area close to the holy cave of Amarnath, killing 13 people.

Prior to that, terrorists had attacked Amarnath pilgrims on August 1, 2000 in Pahalgam area, killing 30 people, who also included porters.

Image: J-K CM Mehbooba Mufti speaks to the injured in the bus attack.
14:38   Voices from Kashmir
Khurram Parvez, whose Twitter handle says he is a human rights activist posts this on his Facebook page:  Kashmiri civil society groups have decided to organise a sit-in to protest against the killing of 7 Amarnath pilgrims today at 5:30 pm at Pratap Park, Lal Chowk, Srinagar. Let us unambiguously & emphatically show solidarity towards those killed and demand a credible investigation against this and all other crimes perpetrated in Jammu and Kashmir. We request all those interested to come by 5:30 pm.

Gowhar Geelani
, journalist and activist tweets, "Hurriyat Conference might call a day-long hartal 2 protest d attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag. Deliberations on, confirmation awaited."
14:22   Amarnath attack condemnation reflects Kashmiriyat: Rajnath
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today said he saluted the people of Jammu and Kashmir who had condemned the attack on Amarnath pilgrims and kept the spirit of Kashmiriyat alive.

The attack on Amarnath pilgrims in which seven people were killed was a "cowardly act of terror" but it was heartening to see the whole nation stand united against terrorism, the minister said.

"I am pained at the loss of lives of Amarnath pilgrims. But I salute the people of Kashmir as all sections of society have condemned the attack. It shows the spirit of Kashmiriyat is very much alive," he said.

Singh described the attack on Amarnath pilgrims as very "unfortunate and painful".

Seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, were killed and 19 injured when terrorists attacked a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district. The home minister today reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and ordered enhanced security for pilgrims visiting Amarnath cave shrine.

The pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the Himalayas at an altitude of 12,756 feet, started on June 29 and will conclude on August 7.
14:06   Karan Singh bats for President's rule in Kashmir
Veteran Congress leader Karan Singh on Tuesday said that Jammu and Kashmir needs to be put under President's Rule as the BJP-PDP state government has not been able to combat terrorism in the region effectively.

Singh further asserted that the Amarnath Yatra must continue and every effort must be made to ensure that a terror attack like the one on Monday was not repeated.

"I see no step other than imposition of governor's rule in the prevailing situation, this is my individual opinion," said Singh.

"Yatra should continue, but such an attack should not take place again. I think governor's rule should be imposed in J&K," he added.

Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said the government needs to introspect as to why despite advance intelligence inputs there was a failure to prevent this act.
Attack on Amarnath pilgrims: Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat arrives in Srinagar to take stock of security situation.
13:37   Amarnath massacre: Bodies, injured yatris come home to Surat
The bodies of seven Amarnath pilgrims killed in the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir were today brought to Gujarat's Surat airport along with the injured and their family members in an IAF plane.

An alert was issued in Gujarat late last night after the news came in of the terror attack, in which majority of the victims were from the state.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani condemned the attack and said the country will never bow down to such an ideology.

Terrorists last night killed seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others as they struck at a bus in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2001.

The Gujarat government has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the kin of each of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh each to the injured. Chief Minister Rupani and Patel will travel to Surat to receive the bodies and the injured people.

"I am leaving for Surat along with Nitin Patel and Jitu Vaghani (state BJP president)," Rupani said. "Medical treatment will be provided to those who need it. The government will bear the cost of treatment of the injured," he said.

Rupani termed the attack as an act of cowardly people. "We condemn the terror attack. This is an act of cowardly people. India will never bow down to such ideology," he said.

Image: J-K CM Mehbooba Mufti lays a wreath on the coffin of one of the victims.
MoS PMO Dr Jitendra Singh and MoS Home Hansraj Ahir to leave for Srinagar shortly.
13:24   Madras HC order staying slaughter ban to cover entire country: SC
In other news: The Supreme Court today said the interim direction of the Madras High Court staying the Centre's notification banning sale and purchase of cattle from animal markets for slaughter will remain in force and would cover the entire country.

A bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justice DY Chandrachud took note of the statement of the Central government that it was reconsidering the notification by taking into account various objections and suggestions of stakeholders and would come up with an amended notification.

"Needless to say that the interim direction issued by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court shall continue and extend to the entire country," the bench said.

The bench then disposed of the plea filed by the All India Jamiatul Quresh Action Committee challenging the constitutional validity of the May 23 notification.

Additional Solicitor General P S Narasimha, appearing for the Centre said, the recent notification, in any case, will not be effective unless the state governments earmark local markets as stipulated under it where cattle sale takes place.
13:10   Faith in security shaken, says Amarnath victim's son
After the terror attack on the pilgrims of the Amarnath Yatra on Monday, the family of one of the deceased, Lakshben Patel, questioned the government's security provisions and said that how would someone have faith in the nation's security system.

Patel's son Suresh told ANI, "Despite the presence of security officials, terrorists attacked. What is the use of such security? They shouldn't have taken a route where the officials were inactive. If anyone can come and fire a bullet at you, then we are not safe."

Suresh said the whole family was tense after hearing news of the attack."I saw the news on the attack. We were tense whether, my mother is safe or not. Police confirmed the news of her death," Suresh said.

He said he does not know where she was hit or the details of what happened.

At least seven people were killed and 19 injured, after a group of terrorists had earlier opened fire at the bus carrying the pilgrims on Monday in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district.

The incident occurred at 8.20 p.m. last night when the bus, carrying the pilgrims was travelling from Baltal to Mir Bazar. -- ANI

Image: Suresh Patel, whose mother Lakshben Patel, was killed in the terror strike.
12:18   No reason why India, China can't handle border differences this time: Jaishankar
India and China have handled border issues in the past and there is no reason the two countries will not be able to handle them this time, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said in Singapore today.

"It is a long border, as you know no part of the border has been agreed upon on the ground. It is likely that from time to time there are differences," Jaishankar said.

He was responding to questions on the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in the Dokalam area of the Sikkim sector at a lecture on 'India-ASEAN and the Changing Geopolitics'.

The lecture was organised by the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and the Indian High Commission. Underlining that this was not the first time that China and India had border differences, Jaishankar said, "When such situations arise, I see no reason, when having handled so many situations in the past, we would not be able to handle it."

China and India have been engaged in a standoff in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan tri-junction for over three weeks after a Chinese Army's construction party attempted to build a road.

Doka La is the Indian name for the region which Bhutan recognises as Dokalam, while China claims it as part of its Donglang region. Of the 3,488-km-long India-China border from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh, a 220-km section falls in Sikkim.  -- PTI
12:16   Mahatma's grandson, diplomat, Gopalkrishna Gandhi is Opposition's VP candidate
Gopalkrishna Gandhi to be the Opposition's nominee for vice president, says PTI. 

Eighteen opposition parties today met to discuss the upcoming vice presidential election, with Sharad Yadav of the JD(U) which had broken ranks with them over the presidential poll, also in attendance.

Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, her deputy Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, TMC's Derek O'Brien, CPI(M)'s Sitaram Yechury, SP's Naresh Agarwal, NC's Omar Abdullah, JD(S)' Deve Gowda, BSP's Satish Chandra Mishra and RLD's Ajit Singh were among those who attended the meeting.

Others who participated in the meet include Jai Prakash Yadav of the RJD, Hemant Soren of the JMM, D Raja of the CPI and representatives of the CMK, the NCP, the Kerala Congress.

The opposition floor management for the Monsoon Session of Parliament, which starts on July 17, was also on agenda. The session is likely to see opposition protests on the raids on RJD chief Lalu Prasad.

The leaders also observed a two-minute silence at the start of the meeting to condole the deaths of seven Amarnath pilgrims in a terror attack in Kashmir yesterday. -- PTI

Image: Former PM Dr Manmohan Singh arrives for the meeting with Congress leader Ahmed Patel.
11:47   Braveheart driver refused to stop bus during terror attack
The driver of the bus carrying the pilgrims who were shot and killed has emerged a hero after media reports say he was singularly responsible for limiting the fatalities.

Seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 19 others were injured in a terrorist attack in south Kashmir's Anantnag district last night.

The bus, bearing a Gujarat registration number, was on its way from Baltal to Jammu when the attack took place around 8:20 pm. However, the bus was not part of the Amarnath yatra convoy and was plying after the 7 pm deadline imposed by the state government.

One of the injured women told NDTV that the driver, who has been identified as Saleem Mirza, kept going even after the bus came under attack and drove them to safety.

Saleem's cousin, Javed told ANI that he received a call around 9:30 pm from Saleem informing him about the firing on the vehicle. "He couldn't save seven lives, but managed to move 50 people to a safe place. We are proud of him," Javed said.

Security has been beefed up along all routes leading to the Pahalgam and Baltal base camps in Anantnag and Ganderbal districts respectively. Additional police and paramilitary personnel have been deployed en route to the holy cave shrine to prevent repeat of any such incident, a police official said. He said investigations have been launched into the attack and few people have been detained for questioning.
@abdullah_omar The 18 Opposition parties meeting this morning have joined to condemn the attack on Amarnath yatris & observed a minute of silence.
11:15   Fresh batch of Amarnath pilgrims leave for shrine post attack
A day after seven pilgrims were killed in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, a fresh batch of devotees on Tuesday leave for the holy shrine of Amarnath.

CRPF Inspector General (Operations) Zulfiqar Hasan earlier in the day assured that the investigation of the terror attack on the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims is being investigated and that the Yatra will go on peacefully.

"It is being investigated by the Jammu and Kashmir Police. It will take some time but we will nab the culprits," assured the IG (Operations) CRPF.

The death toll in the attack on the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims at Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir rose to seven.

The police have also confirmed that as many as 19 people have been injured.
-- ANI
11:01   Head of every Kashmiri hangs in shame over attack: Mehbooba
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Anantnag is a "blot on all Muslims and Kashmiris".

While visiting the injured in a hospital in Anantnag yesterday, she said the head of every Kashmiri hangs in shame over the incident. "Pilgrims come to Kashmir every year for the yatra despite all difficulties. And seven people died today. I have no words to condemn it. I hope the security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir police arrest the perpetrators forthwith and take stern action against them," the chief minister told reporters.

"This incident is a blot on all Kashmiris and Muslims. We will not keep quite till we bring the culprits to book," Mehbooba said.

She said efforts will be made to ensure that quick action is taken against the culprits and justice is done. The chief minister said seven people, including six women, were killed in the dastardly attack.

Those killed and injured in the attack were on a bus carrying pilgrims from Valsad district of Gujarat. The bus came under terrorists' fire near Khanabal in Anantnag district. -- PTI

Image: J-K CM Mehbooba Mufti comforts a yatri whose relative was hospitalised in the terror attack. Pic: ANI
10:50   J-K CM pays tribute to slain Amarnath yatris before bodies are sent home
Governor NN Vohra, CM Mehbooba Mufti, deputy CM Nirmal Singh pay tribute to those killed in Amarnath terror attack. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who described the attack as an assault on India's values and traditions, hoped to arrest and punish the those involved.

Terrorists killed seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others as they struck at a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2001.

Mehbooba called on security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police to act swiftly and nab the perpetrators so that a stern message went out to anti-social elements that severe and punitive action can be taken against them if they went against the law.
Amarnath attack: PM Narendra Modi to be briefed about the situation in Kashmir.
10:32   Gujarat CM to receive bodies of Amarnath victims
Amarnath attack: Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, state BJP President Jitu Vaghani and others leave for Surat to receive the dead bodies of the Amaranth yatra victims.
10:28   Rajnath chairs high-level meeting on Amarnath security
Home Minister Rajnath Singh is holding a high-level meeting to review the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the killing of Amarnath pilgrims by terrorists.

At the meeting are National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, top officials of the home ministry, intelligence agencies and central paramilitary forces are attending the meeting. The meeting will take stock of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, security of Amarnath pilgrims and how to prevent such possible attacks in the future, official sources said.

A high-level central team led by Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir will also visit Jammu and Kashmir to assess the security of the pilgrimage to the high altitude cave shrine located in the Himalayas. Director General of CRPF R R Bhatnagar has already reached Srinagar to review the deployment of the central forces in the pilgrimage route. He will also attend a security review meeting convened by Governor N N Vohra in Srinagar.
10:23   'Indira Gandhi was the James Bond of power politics'
"She was the only prime minister who won a decisive military victory. She won a real war; she didn't play video games on prime time TV over surgical strikes! She understood power better than any other politician, saw it as her birthright and used it with inborn expertise. Every politician today who tries to be a "supremo" through populism and absolute control over his or her party is referring to the Indira Gandhi playbook!"'s Nikhil Lakshman interviews Sagarika Ghose on her book, Indira: India's Most Powerful Prime Minister.

Part one of a two-part interview. Do read
10:16   Follow safety protocol, Centre tells Amarnath pilgrims
The Centre on Tuesday appealed to all pilgrims undertaking the pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine to follow existing safety protocol and to cooperate with the administration.

Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting M Venkaiah Naidu said he was confident that the state government and central security forces are making all arrangements for the safety and security of the pilgrims.

"The information that is available is that that the bus was not registered with the shrine board, nor was there any security with the bus. However, the administration is probing the matter and something can be said once the final report comes," Naidu said.

"I hope the pilgrims will cooperate by giving advance intimation, information and also follow the protocol of security so that they are all secured," he added.

Naidu condemned Monday night's dastardly strike on pilgrims in the strongest words and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.

"I feel sad about the dastardly act of terrorists killing the Amarnath Yatra pilgrims. It is an act against humanity. It brings a bad name to the state of Kashmir and nobody can approve such heinous crimes against pilgrims. No religion accepts this. Terrorists, as we say, have no religion. I condemn the incident and condole the death of the pilgrims and convey my heartfelt sympathies to the bereaved families."

Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will chair a high-level security review meeting at his residence in Delhi in the regard.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor NN Vohra has also called a meeting over the same.

Yesterday, the Union Home Minister had spoken to Governor Vohra and Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and assured full assistance to the injured.

The Home Minister also spoke to the Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police.Yesterday, a group of terrorists opened fire at a bus carrying pilgrims in the Anantnag district.

The incident occurred at 8.20 p.m., when the bus, carrying 17 pilgrims from Baltal to Mir Bazar, became victim of the terror attack.

Reportedly, the bus was neither a part of a convoy nor registered with the shrine board.

The death toll in the terror attack has risen to seven and as many as 19 have been injured.

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have condemned the attack in the strongest terms.
JUST IN: All educational institutes closed in Jammu for two days. Jammu's political parties, chamber of commerce have called for a bandh.
09:27   Amarnath attack carried out by Lashkar-e-Tayiba: J-K police
The Jammu-Kashmir police has stated that the Amarnath Yatra attack in which seven people died and 19 others were injured was carried out by the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and the mastermind was Pakistani terrorist identified as Ismail. 

Earlier, Jammu-Kashmir Governor NN  Vohra called for a high-security meet while Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also called for a meet at 10 am today. 

The J-K police has also announced that the yatra would continue today. 
08:51   Amarnath attack: Rajnath Singh to chair security meet at 10 am today
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh will chair a high level security review meet in New Delhi, following the terror attack in Anantnag in jammu and Kashmir which killed seven Amarnath Yatra pilgrims. 

National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval, RAW chief, and top Ministry of Home Affairs officials will attend the meeting. 

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Governor NN Vohra has also called for an emergency security meet in Kashmir at 11 am following the terror attack. 
08:20   Amarnath terror attack: Internet services suspended in Jammu
Internet services were suspended in the Jammu region today after the terror attack on Amarnath pilgrims in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district, official said. 

Internet and broadband services in the region have been suspended as a precautionary measure following the killing of Amarnath pilgrims in a terrorist attack in the Kashmir Valley, the SSP control room said.

Terrorists on Monday night killed seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others as they struck at a bus in Kashmirs Anantnag district, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2001.  
The Jammu-Kashmir police release a list of the victims of the terror attack at the Amarnath Yatra. 
08:00   Amarnath attack: Victims to be airlifted to Delhi, yatra to continue
Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said the Amarnath pilgrims injured in a terror attack at Anantnag district will be airlifted to Delhi on Tuesday.

He informed that the dead and the injured pilgrims will be shifted to Srinagar, from where they will then be airlifted to New Delhi in a special BSF aircraft this morning.

Terrorists on Monday night killed seven Amarnath pilgrims from Gujarat, including six women, and injured 32 others as they struck at a bus in Kashmir's Anantnag district, in the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since the year 2000.

Meanwhile, Divisional Commissioner Mandeep Bhandari said the Amarnath yatra will continue from Jammu.

"The yatra will not be disrupted and it will continue as per the plans tomorrow," he said. 
02:15   Centre conspiring against the state : Mamata
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday kept up her tirade against the Centre, accusing it of hatching conspiracy against the state and refusing to co-operate with it on any issue.
"Both the central and the state governments are elected by the people. Why should the central government conspire against a state government? Why should it spread lies against a state? I want an answer to this," Banerjee said while speaking at a programme.
The Centre should look after the international border, she said and accused it of opening the gates and letting "outsiders" enter the country. "They (Centre) are conspiring and initiating violence," she alleged.
"You (Centre) have opened the border and let criminals enter the state. Now you are asking the state to submit the report. Only because we are running the administration the people can live in peace in the state," she said.
Refuting her charges, the BJP said such complaints were not made by any other bordering state.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the BSF was posted at the borders in various other parts in the country and no state government has made such an allegation.
"The TMC government is yet to give land for the construction of border outposts," he alleged.
The chief minister said despite the state's request and court order, the Centre was yet to send CRPF in Darjeeling and alleged that the BJP is behind the "politics of dividing Bengal."
"Playing divisive politics in West Bengal will not be an easy task. Bengal did not allow any division in the past."