Three-wheeler driver injured in alleged army firing in Pulwama

A three-wheeler driver was injured late on Friday evening in alleged army firing in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Police sources said Muhammad Shafi Ganai, a three-wheeler driver was flagged down by army soldiers at a check post in Romishi Nallah late on Friday.

“The driver ignored the signal and drove past the check post after which the soldiers fired. The driver sustained a gunshot injury on his hand. He has been admitted at a hospital in Srinagar city for treatment,” police sources said.



India ‘disappointed’ with Pakistan’s response on Pulwama dossier

India on Thursday expressed its disappointment over Pakistans response to its detailed dossier on Jaish-e-Mohammeds (JeM) complicity in the Pulwama terror attack and said that identical script was followed by Islamabad in the past after the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008 or in Pathankot in 2016.

India also said that Pakistan should take immediate, credible, irreversible and verifiable actions against terrorists and terror organisations operating from territories under its control.

External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in response to a media query that Islamabad continued to be in denial and even refused to acknowledge the Pulwama incident as a terror attack.

He, however, said that India was still examining the paper handed over to it by Pakistan.

“India is disappointed at Pakistan’s response to our detailed dossier on Jaish-e-Mohammed’s complicity in the cross-border terror attack in Pulwama and the presence of its terror camps and leadership in Pakistan. Regrettably, Pakistan continues to be in denial and even refuses to acknowledge Pulwama as a terror attack,” Kumar said.

He also said that Pakistan did not share the details of the credible actions, if any, taken by it against terrorists or terrorist organisations based in territories under its control.

“We are hardly surprised, as this identical script was followed by Pakistan in the past after the terror attacks in Mumbai in 2008 or in Pathankot in 2016. It is a well-known fact that the UN-designated terrorist organisation Jaish-e-Mohammed and its leader Masood Azhar are based in Pakistan. This was also acknowledged recently in international media by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister,” he said.

Kumar said there was no dearth of sufficient actionable information and evidence in Pakistan to take action against them, provided there was sincerity and intent to do so. “Nevertheless, we are examining the paper handed over by Pakistan,” he said.

Kumar said Pakistan should abide by the commitment it made in 2004 and which its current leadership has recently repeated, i.e, vowing not to allow any territory under its control to be used for terrorism against India in any manner.

Pakistan had on Wednesday sought more information from India on the involvement of the JeM in the Pulwama terror attack which killed 40 CRPF troopers on February 14, and the presence of JeM camps on its soil.

The Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad was recently called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the “preliminary findings” on the “Pulwama incident” were shared with him.

India handed over the Pulwama dossier to Pakistan last month with details of JeM’s complicity in the attack, for which the terror outfit had claimed responsibility.

Pakistan also claimed that it had examined 22 locations of terror training camps shared by India in connection with the Pulwama attack, but found no such camps and was willing to allow visits to the locations.

“While 54 detained individuals are being investigated, no details linking them to Pulwama have been found so far. Similarly, the 22 pin locations shared by India have been examined. No such camps exist. Pakistan is willing to allow visits, on request, to these locations,” it said.

It also said the Indian dossier contained 91 pages in six parts and only part 2 and part 3 pertained to the Pulwama incident. “Other parts are generalised allegations,” the Pakistan Foreign Affairs ministry said in a statement.

It said the investigation team had examined all the information provided by India, including the “confessional” video of Pulwama suicide bomber Adil Dar in which he “claimed” responsibility for the attack, the WhatsApp and telegram numbers used to share videos and messages, a list of 90 individuals suspected of belonging to a proscribed organisation and 22 pin locations of alleged training camps.

It said the service providers have been requested for data, including the details of activities and contacts of the GSM number provided by India.

“A request for assistance from WhatsApp has also been made to the US government. Additional information and documents from India would be essential to continue the process of investigations,” it said.



NDA gains in opinion polls after Pulwama, Budget

Even as the slugfest between the BJP and opposition parties continues over alleged politicisation of the post-Pulwama airstrikes in Pakistans Balakot, opinion polls show that the BJP-led NDA has made substantial gains in terms of number of seats it may win if Lok Sabha elections are held now.

Polls also show that while the National Democratic Alliance (NDA)’s seat projections were on a decline since the beginning of 2018 (when it was 322) and slipped to 237 in January this year, its fortunes reversed after the government’s announcement of 10 per cent quota for economically backward sections among the forward castes and the Budget in which it announced a slew of measures for farmers, unorganised labourers and the middle class.

While not all opinion surveys are conducted consistently every month, an average of such polls indicates that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led front managed a gain of 18 seats post-Pulwama strikes in March, taking its projected figure to 274 seats against 256 in February.

The complication with this comparison is that while the data for five surveys was available for March, it was available for only two polls in February.

If one takes only the Times Now-VMR opinion poll (the only poll for which data was available for all three months of this year), the NDA, which was projected to win 252 seats in January, gained 18 seats and took its projected tally to 270.

This was the time when the government announced 10 per cent EWS quota in mid-January, followed by tax relief for the middle class by making income (after deductions) up to Rs 5 lakh effectively tax-free. It also announced an annual direct income support of Rs 6,000 for small and marginal farmers.

In the March poll, the first after the post-Pulwama airstrikes in Pakistan, the survey gave the NDA 283 seats, taking it across the 272-seat threshold.

The seven-phased Lok Sabha polls are scheduled from April 11 to May 19, and vote count will take place on May 23.

The ABP-Cvoter survey also gave substantial gains to the NDA government after the three major events (EWS quota, Budget and airstrikes), taking its tally from 233 in January to 264 in March, just short of the 272-mark. The poll was not conducted in February.

Somewhat similar trend could be seen in the India TV-CNX poll as well, which was conducted in March 2019 and December 2018. As per the poll, the NDA marginally improved its figure from 281 seats to 285 seats.

While the India Today-Karvy poll also reflected the declining trend of projected seats for the BJP from 281 in August last year to 237 in January this year, the result of their poll post the airstrikes is still not available.

However, irrespective of which opinion poll one considers, the undisputed trend remains that the BJP-led front has successfully turned the tide in its favour over the last two-three months by shifting the rhetoric to national security and by taking measures such as the EWS quota, tax benefits for the middle class and income support for farmers.



PM not admitting Pulwama intel failure; Digvijaya

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijaya Singh blamed the Pulwama attack on the government’s intelligence failure and said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had no explanation for it and his party was instead busy fanning Hindu-Muslim tensions.

Singh, Congress candidate from Bhopal, was addressing party representatives using Shakti app.

“The Pulwama martyrs’ families are asking why weren’t they airlifted when the government had alert of an attack. The Prime Minister hasn’t given them an answer. This is the biggest proof of an intelligence failure,” he said.

“The international media is asking questions, but the government has no reply. The only strategy the BJP has now is to create tension between the Hindus and Muslims,” the former Chief Minister said.

Attacking the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, Singh said, “The RSS calls itself a Hindu cultural organisation. It says it is not into politics. If it works for Hindus, why does it hate me?”



Pulwama terror attack triggers dangers of virtual SIMs

As reports emerged of the suicide bomber behind the Pulwama attack in Jammu and Kashmir using virtual SIMs for communication with his handlers, the country woke up to the dangers of allowing these kinds of app-based communication services.
What are these virtual SIMs and how do they work?
Virtual SIM is an application-enabled service that requires you to install an app to use a number. With this technology, it is possible for one to have numbers of different countries.
There are a number of apps that offer virtual SIMs for Android and iOS users. InstaVoice ReachMe, for example, offers virtual numbers from the US, UK, France and Canada. Incoming calls to the virtual number can be answered for free in the ReachMe app, over data or Wi-Fi.
FreeJe is another such app that offers virtual numbers of more than 70 countries.
These apps which often offer calling as well as messaging services generally work using the VoIP (voice over IP) technology.
There are several benefits of a virtual SIM. If you have to travel to a foreign country, you can give your virtual SIM number to a friend and make use of free incoming call services that many of these apps offer.
If you run a business, virtual SIMs can help you have a different number for business purposes while keeping your physical SIM number completely private.
However, there are also dangers of using virtual SIM as the verification process can easily be faked by bad actors.
Adil Dar, the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) bomber behind the Pulwama attack, reportedly used virtual SIM generated by a service provider in the US, prompting security agencies in India to seek more details about the terrorist and his associates from the US service providers.
“Now this is an issue, because first of all you will have to depend on how closely the other country would cooperate and the second issue is that the address and other details might be faked,” Faisal Kawoosa, Chief Analyst at market research firm techARC, told IANS.
The February 14 Pulwama attack killed 40 CRPF personnel and brought India and Pakistan on the brink of a conflict.
“The government must simply ensure that such virtual coordinates are blocked in India,” Kawoosa said, while adding that virtual SIMs should not be confused with eSIM or embedded SIM that users of the latest iPhone models can use.
In India, telecom operators Airtel and Reliance Jio offer eSIM, or digital SIM support.
“eSims first of all let you change the operator without any swap of SIMs and you would digitally go to a new operator. Upon registration your eSim would get reconfigured on a new operator network,” Kawoosa said.
“eSIMs are the inevitable future as regards the evolution of SIMs. It’s going to happen and more smartphones are going to be launched with eSIM,” he added.

China and Pakistan to discuss Pulwama terror attack fallout

The recent India-Pakistan tensions after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF troopers, will figure in the talks between the Chinese and Pakistani Foreign Ministers which will begin on Tuesday.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi arrived in Beijing earlier on Monday on a three-day visit during which he will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi under the first China-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.

The meet comes at a time when India’s ties with China and Pakistan, who are close allies, have come under strain after the suicide attack claimed by the Pakistan-based terror outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) whose chief Masood Azhar, Beijing once again refused to declare as an international terrorist.

Though the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed that India-Pakistan tensions will be discussed during the meet, it said that it was not aware if the listing of Azhar as an international terrorist will figure in the talks.

“On March 19 in Beijing, State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will have the first China-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue with Pakistani Foreign Minister to discuss the international and regional issues of mutual concern,” Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said here.

“As you said, the issues causing regional tensions will be discussed. As a neighbour, China would like to see the easing of tensions between the two countries and would like to see the two nations engage in dialogue for peace and stability in the region,” Geng said when asked if the aftermath of the Pulwama attack will be discussed.

Geng, meanwhile, welcomed India-Pakistan talks on the Kartarpur corridor which will enable pilgrims from India to travel to the Sikh shrine inside Pakistan through a dedicated corridor.

“India and Pakistan are neighbours and they will always live with each other. A harmonious relation serves the fundamental interests of both and the common aspirations of the international community. We hope that two sides can continue to show goodwill, meet each other halfway, resolve differences through dialogue and improve relations and uphold regional peace and stability.”

Asked if the Azhar issue will figure in the talks, Geng said: “Well, I cannot prejudge the topics that are going to be discussed in the meeting. But as I said, they will discuss the issues of bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual concern.

“So, as for the listing issue, I believe you are well aware of China’s position so I will repeat here. China will continue to deal with this issue in a responsible and constructive manner and will maintain close communication with all parties, including India and Pakistan.”

On March 13, China for the fourth time put a technical hold on the proposal by the UK, US, and France to the UN to ban Azhar who is responsible for deadly terror attacks in India.

Following the Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force pounded the JeM’s hideout at Balakot, Pakistan, after which Islamabad scrambled its fighters jets that resulted in a dogfight with Indian warplanes.

Each side downed one jet of the other side. An Indian pilot was captured by Pakistan but Islamabad released him as a “peace gesture”.



Main Pulwama attack conspirator eliminated; Army

The main conspirator of the audacious February 14 Pulwama attack that left 40 CRPF troopers dead has been eliminated, Chinar Corps commander Lt Gen K.J.S. Dhillon announced on Monday.

Mudassir Khan was among the two militants killed in the gunfight in Pinglish village in Tral area of Pulwama on Sunday, he said at a joint press conference with the police here.



We hit terrorists in their backyard after Pulwama; Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said India hit terrorists in their backyard after the Pulwama terror attack and accused the previous Congress-led UPA government of lacking courage to take action against Pakistan-based terror groups after 26/11 Mumbai terror attack in 2008.

Addressing a rally here, Modi said what his government did post-Pulwama has not been done in decades.

“We hit terrorists in their houses. The terrorists and their masters were not expecting this kind of response. The air strikes were done at 3.30 am and Paksitan lost its sleep. They tweeted at 5 a.m. and started saying that Modi has hit us,” he said.

Recalling the surgical strike of 2016 in the wake of terror attack at Uri, he said terror masterminds were accustomed to thinking that India would do nothing, but his government has “taught them a lesson”.

He alleged that perception about inaction by India was due to the government that ruled India before 2014.

Modi said that there was need of action after the Mumbai terror attack that killed 166 people as the world community was with India.

“But it needs courage. There were proofs of involvement of terror masterminds based in Pakistan. But what did India do?” he asked.

Modi said the forces were ready for action but “Delhi was cold”. He said terror cannot be fought by constraining hands of defence force.

Referring to the terror incidents after the Mumbai attack, Modi said these were also linked to Pakistan but the “remote-controlled” government showed inaction.

“What did the then government do? They did not change the policy, but (changed) only home ministers. If they had shown the courage, given reply to terrorists in their language, terrorism would not have become such a big problem (for the country),” he said.




No link between Pulwama attack, Pakistan-based outfit; Ex-Pakistan envoy

India has not given any evidence to establish link between Pulwama terror attack and an organisation based in Pakistan, said Pakistan’s former High Commissioner to India Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and insisted that the new government under Prime Minister Imran Khan has been taking action against terror outfits in the country.

“As far as Pulwama thing (terror attack) is concerned, India’s attempt to link Pakistan seems to have completely flopped, a complete failure. It was a suicide bomber. What is the authenticity of the video, in which he claims to be a member of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)? There is absolutely no evidence which can link any organisation based in Pakistan or Azad Kashmir (Pakistan-administered Kashmir) with this incident,” Qazi said in an interview to Tiranga TV programme “Upfront” aired on Sunday.

He said Pakistan had, however, started taking measures against all extremist organisations.

“We have taken measures with regard to closing down their offices, stopping their finances. There are a whole lot of measures under consideration… We now have a new government with a new determination to do kind of things which might not have happened before,” said Qazi, also former Ambassador to the United States, China and Russia.

On JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan identifying the suicide bomber soon after the Pulwama attack, Qazi said: “Even if he made such a statement, that is not an evidence. People make statements all the time.”

He said India claimed it had “incontrovertible evidence”.

“Show the evidence. Of course that will be considered. And you have distributed the evidence all over the world. If there is a credible evidence, they will come back,” he said.

Qazi refused to accept that the attack on CRPF convoy in Pulwama of Jammu and Kashmir, which led to the death of 40 troopers, was an act of terror.

“It was an attack on them, which led to the unfortunate loss of life. It does not automatically meet the requirements of the definition of terror. It is resistance…armed resistance,” he said.

“US General Assembly resolution defines terrorism. There is as yet no UN definition of terror, but there are existing UN General Assembly resolutions which legitimise armed resistance to oppression, which denies the exercise of acknowledged rights of the community, who then take arms on behalf of those. This is not terror.”

Qazi said the Pulwama crisis would give way to more peaceful interaction, including the possibility of the top leadership of the two countries meeting each other.

“After all they will be meeting for the very first time since Imran became Prime Minister and to try and chart a way forward.

“The primary commitment of Imran is to build new Pakistan, corruption-free Pakistan, with deep structural reforms, all of which need a peaceful neighbourhood. Major reduction in tension with neighbours primarily includes India. If we are able to step on to that path together, I do think he will have space to build that Pakistan. Then we can try and see whether we can transform our mutual narratives to be more inclusive and include more positive elements…”

Qazi said the F-16 fighter jet did not cross the LoC but said the Americans said they wanted to have an investigation.

“We have agreements with the American on use of F-16. They are used for defence purpose on our territory. The negative narrative…is partially based on inventive and fake evidence.”

He said let the US Embassy in Pakistan complete the investigation and then see what came out of it.



Pak, Chinese ministers discuss Pulwama attack over phone

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone conversation with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to exchange views on the recent suicide attack in Kashmir.

Qureshi informed Wang about Pakistan’s stance on the attack and measures to deal with it, reaffirming the country’s sincerity and resolution to communicate with India and find out the truth of the incident, Xinhua news agency reported.

Qureshi said Pakistan’s position on maintaining regional peace and fighting terrorism will remain unchanged and it is willing to join hands with other countries to cooperate in this area.

In the phone conversation, Wang thanked Qureshi for his briefing on the issue. He said China supports Pakistan and India to resolve the issue through dialogue as soon as possible and avoid an escalation of the situation.

Wang called on both sides to collaborate on fighting terrorism and jointly safeguard the security and stability of South Asia.

Pakistan, Chinese ministers discuss Pulwama attack over phone



Modi, Centre had prior information of Pulwama attack; Mamata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of doing politics with the blood of the slain CRPF troopers ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, and claimed that the Centre had “prior information” regarding the February 14 Pulwama terror strike.

Condoling the bereaved families of the 40 paramilitary troopers who were killed in the Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed terror strike on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, Banerjee questioned why nearly 2,500 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) men were not airlifted and instead allowed to travel in a convoy without “proper sanitisation and naka-checking” of the route.

“Modi-babu, where were you when the incident (Pulwama attack) took place?

“You knew from before that the incident would happen. You had prior information,” the Trinamool Congress supremo said at the party’s extended core committee meeting here.

“The central government had intelligence inputs about it. Then why were the jawans not airlifted that day? Why no naka-checking and sanitisation of the convoy route took place?

“Why were the troopers left to die? Is it because you wanted to politicise the matter before the elections? The blood of our jawans should not be politicised in this way,” she added.

Banerjee also ridiculed Modi, claiming that he has been pretending to be a “messenger of peace” while his party was secretly trying to create a war-like situation in the country and start a riot.

She claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) might attempt to tamper with the EVM machines across the country, including in West Bengal during the Lok Sabha polls to manipulate votes in their favour.

The Chief Minister formed a three-member committee comprising of senior party leaders to train booth-level workers on how EVMs and VVPAT machines function.

“They (BJP) will try to tamper the EVMs. I have heard that they have contacted a private company to manipulate the EVMs in Bengal as well.

“We need to train our workers on how the EVMs and VVPATs work. During counting of votes after the polls, only depute those who are trained in these things,” she directed.

“I am forming a small committee in this regard. Party leaders Dinesh Trivedi, Sougata Roy and Partha Chatterjee will be in the committee who will train the district level leaders about the functions of EVMs and VVPATs. We will not let BJP tamper with votes here,” she added.



Pulwama not a poll issue, but can’t be ignored; Paswan

Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan says the NDA does not want the Pulwama attack and subsequent developments to become an election issue but “it cannot be ignored” as he made it clear that the government “is as serious as the people of the country” after the terror attack.

While not going into the specifics of what the government may do to retailiate against the Pakistan-sponsored operation in Pulwama, he acknowledges that there are expectations from the government to “act”.

In an interview to IANS, Paswan said he feels the much-talked about Grand Alliance of Opposition parties is a non-starter due to contradictions among the parties and will in no way affect the chances of NDA returning to power, says Union Minister and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Paswan.

He also rules out his dumping the NDA in case of a hung verdict in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

“We have done a lot of development work. We don’t need to make it an election issue. But the Pulwama incident cannot be ignored. The entire world is speaking now. US President Donald Trump has reacted. France has said it will take the initiative to get the Pulwama attack by Jaishe-e-Mohammed condemned in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

“We don’t want to make it a political or election issue. Every political party has come forward and has shown unity in national interest. What government will do I can’t say. But the government has taken it seriously. The government has taken it as seriously as the people have taken it,” he said on the Pulwama terror attack and the demands being made to avenge the terror sponsored from across the border.

Paswan said the people were outraged and the Prime Minister has clearly said that “every drop of soldier’s blood will be avenged”.

“Their sacrifices will not go in vain,” he said, adding people and parties should believe in what the Prime Minister has said.

Dismissing the possibility of the grand alliance being a threat to the NDA returning to power, he said the ruling coalition will get more number of MPs than now and Narendra Modi will again be the Prime Minister.

“I do not think there will be a pre-poll alliance (among Opposition parties). The NDA will be the biggest gainer and it will form the government as President will invite the majority pre-poll group.

“Do you think Mamata Banerjee will go along with Congress and the Left in Bengal? Will SP-BSP go with Congress in Uttar Pradesh? The situation is similar everywhere. There will not be any grand-alliance,” he said.

Asked about the description of the grand alliance as ‘mahamilavat’ (highly adulterated) by the Prime Minister and the BJP too striking deals with other parties in states, Paswan said there was nothing wrong with that.

“We are pure. There is no adulteration. They (Opposition) are adulterated. As Prime Minister says it is ‘mahamilavat’ (highly adulterated). In Opposition, all are tainted. Lalu Prasad is tainted, Mayawati is tainted, Akhilesh is tainted. Mamata Banerjee’s party is in Saradha scam,” he said.

The Union Minister also felt that the Congress contesting alone in Uttar Pradesh would cut into the votes of the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which would benefit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“The SP-BSP alliance is not going to continue because the man who built the SP, Mulayam Singh Yadav, is against it,” Paswan said and recalled Yadav’s praise in the Lok Sabha and his wish to see Modi return to power.

Asked about challenges being posed by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-led grand alliance in Bihar, Paswan said that it will have no impact on the NDA.

“We are in solid position in Bihar whereas in the Opposition camp, there is uncertainty over distribution of seats. If someone gets lesser seats than expected, it will come out of the grand alliance. The Congress cannot go with the RJD. There is no question of if and but. We will win Bihar and Uttar Pradesh too despite opposition alliance,” he said.

To a query about what will be his party’s strategy in case of a hung verdict and NDA not being in a position to form the government, Paswan said, “We are with the NDA and will remain with the NDA.”

Talking about why the NDA will come back to power, the Minister said that the tax sops for those with annual income of Rs 5 lakh and schemes like the Ayushman Bharat health scheme, housing scheme for poor and toilet, electricity and gas in all the poor homes would vouch for the government’s performance.

The decision to provide 10 per cent quota for economically weaker sections would also remove the anger among the upper castes while issues like demonetisation and rural distress have faded into the background.



Telangana announces Rs 25 lakh to kin of Pulwama attack victims

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday announced Rs 25 lakh financial assistance each to kin of the 40 CRPF troopers killed in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.

He made the announcement while moving a resolution in the state Assembly to condemn the terror attack claimed by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terror outfit.

The resolution was unanimously passed with members cutting across party lines condemning the carnage. The House also observed a two-minute silence.

As soon as the House met for the Budget session, the Chief Minister moved the resolution and termed the attack as “inhuman” and “barbaric”.

“This was an attack on the nation,” he said and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.”

Leader of Opposition Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka said the entire nation was united behind the families of the victims.

Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator Ahmed Balala and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator Raja Singh also backed the resolution and condemned the attack.




What was PM doing 2 hours after Pulwama attack; Congress

Raising questions on what Prime Minister Narendra Modi was doing in the immediate aftermath of the Pulwama attack, the Congress for the second day on Friday asked why he failed to mention the attack and its victims while addressing a rally in Rudrapur district of Uttarakhand just two hours later.

“We want to ask the Prime Minister what he was doing between 3.10 p.m. (when the attack happened) and 5.10. At 4.40 p.m., he addressed a rally through mobile phone. To the best of our knowledge, not even once did he mention the attack,” said Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari at a press conference, where he played a DD news video as evidence of PM’s address.

“If he had condemned the Pulwama attack, he would have paid a tribute to the martyrs.. none of that happened,” he said.

The Congress leader said there was an even “more frightening scenario” than the Prime Minister merely failing to mention the attack in his speech.

“Was he unaware of the attack between 3.10 p.m. and 5.30 p.m.? He was either not informed about it by his office or he was incommunicado. That speaks a lot about the state of communication in the higher echelons of Indian state,” Tiwari said.



BJP president Amit Shah slams Congress for ‘politicising’ Pulwama

BJP president Amit Shah on Thursday slammed the Congress “politicizing” the Pulawama terror attack and raising doubts about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to national security.

Holding that Modi government gave top priority to national security during last five years, he said the opposition party’s allegations would have no impact on people who trust the Prime Minister.

Shah said when the unfortunate incident happened, Modi was in a programme and Congress was trying to make it an issue.

He was apparently reacting to Congress leader Randeep Surjewala’s allegation that Modi was shooting a documentary in the Corbett National Park on the day of the Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed by a suicide bomber, and continued filming even after news of the terror attack emerged.

The BJP president was addressing a public meeting in this Andhra town to launch ‘Labharthi Sampark Abhiyan’, a nationwide campaign to contact over 22 crore beneficiaries of BJP government’s programmes.

The BJP chief asked Congress not to teach patriotism to the BJP, alleging that the opposition party even took support of terrorism to remove Modi.

He said the Congress had no moral right to question Modi or the BJP as it was the Congress which termed the Army ‘galli ka goonda’, raised doubts over the 2016 surgical strikes and whose leader Navjot Singh Sidhu embraced the Pakistani Army chief.

He also alleged that the former Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) cried over the death of terrorists and its present President (Rahul Gandhi) visited Jawaharlal Nehru University to praise those who raised “anti-India slogans”.

Amit Shah said the entire country was standing like a rock behind the families of the martyred soldiers. He said the Prime Minister had given free hand to the Army to decide time and place to give a befitting reply to terroris.

He also held former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru responsible for Kashmir problem remaining unresolved. “If Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had become the Prime Minister, there would have been no problem of Kashmir. Sardar Patel tackled Hyderabad which is today proudly a part of India,” he said.




Pulwama; Congress questions government over intelligence breach

The Congress on Thursday attacked the Modi government and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval over the suicide bombing in Kashmir that killed 40 CRPF troopers and questioned the intelligence breach that led to the attack.

“Is our Intelligence so weak under Ajit Doval that terrorists were able to carry 350kg of explosives through the most protected highway in the country?” Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said at a media briefing here.

“How did the terrorists know the exact route of the CRPF jawans? Was there an intelligence breach? If so why has no action been taken against those responsible in the intelligence agencies,” he asked.

The Congress leader also questioned the government for ignoring the video released by the Jaish-e-Mohammad terror group barely 48 hours ahead of the attack.

The Congress pointed out that the CRPF’s requests for movement of its men by air were also denied by the Home Ministry.

“CRPF troopers were stuck in the region for a week due to bad weather. Airlifting them from the region would have saved their lives,” he added.

Surjewala accused Modi of shooting a film in Jim Corbett National Park while the suicide attack happened.

“There is no better example than this of Modi’s insult to our soldiers. At 3.10 p.m. when the Pulwama attack occurred and was all over news, the PM was shooting for a film till 6.45 p.m in Corbett National Park,” he stated.



Pulwama fallout; SC to hear pleas on Kashmiri students attacked

The Supreme Court is likely to hear on Friday a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking direction to the Centre and the state governments to protect Kashmiri students, who are being targeted across the country in the wake of Pulwama terror attack.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Sanjiv Khanna on Thursday said they might hear the PIL on Friday after senior counsel Colin Gonsalves mentioned the same for an urgent hearing. 

“It is neither possible, nor necessary,” Gogoi said as Gonsalves urged the court to hear the PIL in the afternoon at least by 2 p.m.

The PIL petitioner Tariq Adeeb has referred to a dozen media reports of attack on Kashmiri students across the country after a CRPF convoy was attacked by an explosive-laden SUV on February 14 that resulted in the death of over 40 personnel.

He also said the students from the valley were living in other states in constant fear and threat post the Jammu and Kashmir attack.

Adeeb also referred to the statement of Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy exhorting the boycott of Kashmiris and their goods.




NIA takes over Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama terror attack probe

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case and is launching a fresh probe into the terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama in which 40 troopers were killed on February 14.

“We have re-registered the Pulwama terror attack case,” said an NIA spokesperson, here on Wednesday.

The move comes five days after the worst-ever terror attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy since militancy erupted in 1989 in the state.

The first case in the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed attack was registered by the Jammu and Kashmir Police on the day of attack.

A day after the terror attack on the CRPF convoy, the counter-terror probe agency officials along with explosive and forensic experts had collected material evidences required for the probe.

A team of senior NIA officers has been camping in Srinagar since the suicide attack on the Jammu-Srinagar highway when an explosive packed SUV rammed a bus carrying the CRPF troopers.


IMB News Room

An Indian Muslim’s Response To The Comments After Pulwama Attack | Umar Shariff

The aftermath of the Pulwama Attack has been very disturbing; very foolish in some cases. The preposterous comments in the social media, against the Muslim community of India, has pushed Umar Shariff to give a fitting reply. Although convincing is not possible in many cases. This would help the reasoning minds for sure.

An IMB Production


Business worth Rs 25,000 cr hit as traders protest against Pulwama attack; CAIT

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) on Monday said that business worth about Rs 25,000 crore was hit due to the “Bharat Trade Bandh” that was called to protest against the recent Pulwama terror attack.

According to CAIT, the day-long bandh saw seven crore business establishments remain closed across the country, including Delhi.

“Business of about Rs 25,000 crore was hit due to today’s ‘Bharat Trade Bandh’,” the confederation said in a statement.

“In the wake of tremendous and spontaneous voluntary response from traders across the country, the CAIT has decided to create a Special Relief Fund exclusively for the welfare of the forces,” it said.

In the worst-ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in 1989, a suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his SUV packed with explosives into a CRPF bus on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district, killing as many as 40 troopers and leaving many injured.



Pulwama; Rs 2.5 mn, house, job for children of slain Kerala trooper

A cash compensation of Rs 2.5 million, a brand new house, a permanent government job and free education for the two children of CRPF havaldar V.V. Vasanth Kumar were announced on Tuesday after the trooper was killed in the February 14 Pulwama terror attack.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said this to the media here after the weekly cabinet meeting.

“Of the cash compensation, Rs 1.5 million would be given to the widow, while Rs 1 million will go to Vasanth Kumar’s mother,” Vijayan said.

The Central Reserve Police Force personnel’s wife at present works in a temporary post of assistant at the state-run Veterinary College at Wayanad.

“That will be turned into a permanent job. The two children’s education will now be taken care of by the Kerala government,” said Vijayan.

“Today the widow and her kids live in a home built by Vasanath Kumar’s father and there are other claimants to that home. So it has been decided to build a new home for the widow and her kids,” added the Chief Minister.

The day the mortal remains of Vasanth Kumar was brought to his home in Wayanad last week, the state government had committed that the cabinet meeting on February 19 would take a call on the best way to compensate the huge loss to the family.

The 40-year-old Vasanth Kumar had returned to Srinagar earlier in February to take up his new assignment, after spending 10 days at home.

He had completed 18 years of service and was due to take retirement in less than two years’ time.

He is survived by his mother, his wife, and two children – an eight-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.