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New facts reveal how Congress callously gave away Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka, says PM Modi

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New facts reveal how Congress callously gave away Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka, says PM Modi

New Delhi, March 31 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said that new facts on Katchatheevu, a small island that was conceded to Sri Lanka in 1974, showed how Congress had callously given away the strategic location.

In a post on X, PM Modi said, “Eye opening and startling! New facts reveal how Congress callously gave away #Katchatheevu. This has angered every Indian and reaffirmed in people’s minds- we can’t ever trust Congress! Weakening India’s unity, integrity and interests has been Congress’ way of working for 75 years and counting.”

The PM’s reaction follows a shocking revelation by an RTI reply that shows how Indira Gandhi ceded a strategically important island to Sri Lanka.

The information obtained by Tamil Nadu BJP Chief K. Annamalai through an RTI application shows how India lost control of the island to Sri Lanka.

The document also shows India’s indecision that marked the response until 1974, when it finally gave up the island which is a 1.9 square km of land about 20km from Indian shore.

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–IANS

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What recovery of Austrian assault rifle from J&K terrorists means

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What recovery of Austrian assault rifle from J&K terrorists means

What recovery of Austrian assault rifle from J&K terrorists means

Srinagar, July 20 (IANS) The recovery of an Austrian assault rifle from two slain foreign terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir’s Keran sector on July 18 has added another complex dimension to the ongoing terrorism in J&K.

The first weapon to be recovered from the militants in J&K was on September 12, 1988. Militants had attacked the residence of the then Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Ali Mohammad Watali, in Raj Bagh residential area of Srinagar city.

One militant identified as Aijaz Dar, who lived in the nearby Jawahar Nagar area was killed in retaliatory firing by the guards at the DIG’s residence and one assault rifle was recovered from his possession.

Another senior police officer, Shaikh Owais was the Superintendent of Police (SP), Srinagar at that time. Owais was among the first senior officers to reach the DIG’s residence since he also lived in the same area.

This was a weapon not in use in the police force, nor was it the standard weapon issued to the army back then. At a meeting of the experts called in from the army, the weapon was identified as Kalashnikov.

It belonged to a family of assault rifles also known as AK platform, AK rifle or simply AK based on the original design of Mikhail Kalashnikov. Experts identified the rifle as AK-47, officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova which is the originating firearm of the Kalashnikov family of rifles.

It was developed in the Soviet Union by Russian small-arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov in the middle of the 20th century.

“AK-47’s name stands for Automat Kalashnikova 1947, the year it was first produced. In 1949, the AK-47 became the assault rifle of the Soviet Army,” an officer said.

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Over the years, since 1988, the militants started using long-range sniper rifles and also the subsequent versions of the AK rifle series like AK-54 and AK-74 denoting the year of manufacture of the rifle with improvements over the original AK-47 version.

J&K police force was not issued any assault rifle of the AK series till then, and to combat the firepower of the adversary, police, paramilitary and the army were subsequently issued assault rifles of the AK series as well in addition to Indian-made INSAS rifles.

“The possession of AK assault rifles by the militants unequivocally established that they had been trained and issued weapons by trainers of the Pakistan army. Due to the presence of the Russians in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s support to the Afghan militias, AK rifles were aplenty in Pakistan since practically no border existed between the two countries at that time,” said a senior intelligence officer.

As militancy sprouted into outright terrorism by the entry of the foreign mercenaries into J&K by the middle of 1990s, more weapons in their improvised versions like AK-54, AK-74 and under-barrel grenade launchers (UBGLs) came to be used by the terrorists.

Since the foreign mercenaries were battle-hardened, the security forces had to live up to the growing challenge by introducing Para commandos and those trained in mountain warfare into its anti-terrorism operations in J&K.

“J&K police also underwent a sweeping change in its training of commandos, use and expertise of modern assault rifles and strenuous training in developing stamina and focus. Commitment to eradicate terrorism and usher in peace was the preamble of such training,” said a senior police officer supervising physical and weapon handling training of the local police force.

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Paramilitary forces like BSF and CRPF were not behind in bringing their troops up to the maximum level of efficiency to deal with terrorism in different parts of the country.

As terrorism started getting more hands by way of foreign mercenaries who were pushed into J&K from across the border, motivated and indoctrinated by both religious fanaticism and the lure of money, the handlers and their masters in the Pakistan army started encouraging them with better weapons.

On July 11, 2022, one M4 carbine rifle was recovered from an encounter site in the Awantipora area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district where Jaish-e-Muhammad commander, Kaiser Koka and one another terrorist were killed.

This was a new challenge for the security forces. The M4 carbine also replaced most submachine guns and selected handguns in US military service, as it fired more effective rifle ammunition that offered superior stopping power and was better able to penetrate modern body armour.

“A review had become necessary of the bulletproof vests issued to the security forces. The older version of the BP jacket wouldn’t suffice to meet the new challenge.

“Better and lighter BP jackets have been issued to security forces fighting terrorism and these are designed to stop the armour-piercing bullets,” said another senior police officer deployed on anti-terrorism operations.

While M4 assault rifle is US-made and it is issued to the American army, it is obvious that while leaving Afghanistan, the US forces left behind some of their sophisticated weaponry which came into the hands of the Afghan fighters. This assault rifle found its way into J&K through Pakistan.

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On July 17, 2024, two foreign terrorists were killed by the army while foiling an infiltration bid on the LoC in the Keran sector.

A Steyr AUG assault rifle was recovered from the slain terrorists.

“The StG 77 (Sturmgewehr 77) is the designation given by the Austrian Armed Forces when they adopted the Steyr AUG in 1977. This is the standard assault rifle issued to the Austrian army.

“The Steyr bullpup assault rifle is only matched by the Israeli-made Tavor assault rifle.

“Tavor is a gas-operated, selective-fire bullpup assault rifle built around a long-stroke piston system. The main objective behind the development of Tavor is to maximise reliability, durability, simplicity of design, and maintenance-free, particularly under unfavourable or battlefield conditions.

“Tavor has a semi-automatic mode, burst mode and full-auto mode chambered in standard 5.56×45 mm ammunition. It is considered to be more reliable and accurate than M4 carbine of the US and Steyr of Austria. The Tavor TAR-21 holds magazines of 30 rounds,” said an arms expert.

“As challenges are in plenty for the security forces fighting terrorism in J&K, weapons systems, armour-resistant apparel and other equipment used by our security forces are regularly and constantly reviewed.

“A couple of M4 carbine rifles or Austrian bullpup assault rifles cannot save the terrorist from a professionally trained and highly modernised army of India,” said the senior intelligence officer.

For obvious reasons, no serving intelligence, security forces and army expert speaking to IANS agreed to be quoted by name.

–IANS

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School children to get eggs four days a week in Karnataka: Siddaramaiah

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School children to get eggs four days a week in Karnataka: Siddaramaiah

School children to get eggs four days a week in Karnataka: Siddaramaiah

Bengaluru, July 20 (IANS) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced on Saturday that the students of government and government-aided schools will get eggs for four days a week.

He spoke while inaugurating a programme, in partnership with the Azim Premji Foundation, to provide free supplementary nutritious food six days a week to children in government and aided primary and secondary schools.

Quality food is essential for mental health and good education, said the Chief Minister. “Creating opportunities for good education for the children of the poor is our aspiration,” he underlined.

“I have seen children come to school without breakfast and stay until noon without lunch. Hence, we decided to provide meals and eggs two days a week. The Azim Premji Foundation has joined hands with the government in this noble cause to provide eggs and supplementary nutritious food to children four days a week,” he said.

He called on school children to develop scientifically and intellectually, stating that only then can they become socially responsible.

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“Creating opportunities for good education for the children of the poor is our aspiration. For this reason, we are providing uniforms, shoes, and socks, and opening more residential schools,” he said.

Education Minister Madhu Bangarappa, Wipro Chairman Azim Premji couple, the government’s Additional Chief Secretary L.K. Atheek Ahmed, Chief Minister’s Political Secretary Naseer Ahmed, and Guarantee Implementation Committee Vice President Mehrooz were present.

–IANS

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Woman killed, 3 injured as portion of Mumbai building crashes

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Woman killed, 3 injured as portion of Mumbai building crashes

Woman killed, 3 injured as portion of Mumbai building crashes

Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) A woman was killed and at least three others injured when portions of a balcony and slab of an old building crashed near Grant Road station, here on Saturday, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Disaster Control said.

The incident happened around 11 a.m. when a part of the balcony and slab portions of the second and third floor of the Rubinissa Manzil building collapsed and another part was hanging precariously.

At least seven or eight residents were stranded on the top floor of the four-storied building and the Mumbai Fire Brigade along with police, ambulances and civic staffers rushed to launch a rescue operation.

After around an hour, the body of one was retrieved from the debris and the injured were rushed to the nearby Bhatia Hospital for treatment.

More persons are still feared to be trapped under the rubble and hectic efforts are underway to save them, said the BMC Disaster Control.

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This is the current monsoon season’s first major house crash tragedy as torrential rains clobbered Mumbai and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region in the past 72 hours, with heavy rains lashing the vicinity since Friday-Saturday midnight.

–IANS

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UP CM launches tree plantation campaign

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UP CM launches tree plantation campaign

UP CM launches tree plantation campaign

Lucknow, July 20 (IANS) Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Saturday launched ‘Ped Lagao Ped Bachao Jan Abhiyan 2024’ by planting a tree at Soumitra Van and stressed the goal of planting 36.50 crore trees with a “Sanatan bhaav” (spirit of Sanatan).

Ahead of the programme, he shared on social media platform X that “In our tradition, trees and plants are not only considered living beings but we also see God in them. With this Sanatan bhaav, Uttar Pradesh aims to achieve the goal of planting 36.50 crore trees today.”

Calling for active participation in the mega tree plantation campaign, he said, “Ensure your participation in the tree plantation campaign by joining the call ‘Ek Ped Maa Ke Naam’ (one tree in the name of mother) of the respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji. Come, let us fulfil our duty as a son, plant trees and save the environment,” the UP CM wrote in a post on X.

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In order to revive the Kukrail River, CM Adityanath will plant trees in the Akbarnagar area, which has been cleared of unauthorised encroachments.

Following his directives, all in-charge ministers and public representatives will lead this campaign in their respective districts.

Government office employees, school staff, and other institutions will also participate in the campaign for half a day alongside the public.

The campaign sets a target to plant trees across all 18 divisions. The Lucknow division aims to plant over 4,01,73,000 trees, Kanpur division 2.96 crore, Chitrakoot 2.89 crore, Jhansi 2.82 crore, Mirzapur 2.62 crore, Ayodhya 2.39 crore, Devipatan 2.14 crore, Prayagraj 2.07 crore, Bareilly 1.91 crore, Varanasi 1.76 crore, Moradabad 1.83 crore, Agra 1.68 crore, Gorakhpur 1.65 crore, Azamgarh 1.30 crore, Aligarh 1.22 crore, Meerut division 1.16 crore, Basti 1.11 crore, and Saharanpur division 90.23 lakh trees. The planting sites will be geo-tagged for monitoring.

Department-wise targets include 14.29 crore for Forest, Environment, and Climate Change, 13 crore for Rural Development, 2.80 crore for Agriculture, 1.55 crore for Horticulture, 1.27 crore for Panchayati Raj, 1.05 crore for Revenue, 44.97 lakh for Urban Development, 22.54 lakh for Higher Education, 14.19 lakh for Sericulture.

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Besides, the department-wise target includes 14.93 lakh trees for Public Works, 12.66 lakh for Railways, 13.41 lakh for Water Resources, 15.43 lakh for Basic Education, 19.91 lakh for Health Department, 15.55 lakh for MSME, 7.73 lakh for Industrial Development, 11.63 lakh for Secondary Education Department, 10 lakh for Home Department, 7.26 lakh for Animal Husbandry, 5.60 lakh for Energy, 7.60 lakh for Cooperation, 8.38 lakh for Housing Development, 4.95 lakh for Defence, 8.06 lakh for Technical Education, 2.69 lakh for Labour, and 2.53 lakh for Transport Department.

–IANS

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Will protest against harassment of RTI activists who ‘exposed’ MUDA case: K’taka BJP

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Will protest against harassment of RTI activists who ‘exposed’ MUDA case: K’taka BJP

Will protest against harassment of RTI activists who ‘exposed’ MUDA case: K’taka BJP

Bengaluru, July 20 (IANS) Karnataka BJP on Saturday has warned the state government that it will protest if the RTI activists, who “exposed” the Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) case, allegedly involving the role of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

“Congress, which has a dark history of imposing Emergency, has mastered the art of silencing, threatening, and jailing those who attempt to expose their true nature using their power. Karnataka BJP will protest if any kind of harassment occurs to the RTI activists named in the complaint filed by Congress to the Mysore Police Commissioner,” BJP State President B.Y. Vijayendra said.

He said that they must be provided with adequate police protection, adding that the Congress members, who have failed to silence RTI activists with arm-twisting tactics in Mysuru’s MUDA case are now trying to silence them using police force.

“RTI activists who are uncovering the original documents related to the 14 plots acquired from MUDA in the name of the Chief Minister’s wife, and revealing the details of the illegal purchase of Survey No. 464 in Kesare land, have had complaints filed against them by the police,” Vijayendra said.

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Mysuru District Congress Committee President B.J. Vijaykumar and Congress Spokesperson M. Lakshmana submitted a memorandum to the Police Commissioner of Mysuru city on Friday alleging that RTI activists Gangaraju and Snehamayi Krishna are making false allegations against Siddaramaiah.

Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Steel H.D. Kumaraswamy had also slammed the Congress government over the issue and accused the state government of harassing RTI activists who “exposed” the MUDA case.

–IANS

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