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Terrorists kept firing for over 20 minutes after bus fell, recall Reasi attack survivors

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Jammu, June 11 (IANS) Survivors of the June 9 terrorist attack on pilgrims in J&K’s Reasi district have said that the attackers kept on firing at the fallen bus for almost 20 minutes.

They said that after the driver was hit in the firing, the bus plunged into a deep gorge in the Poni area of the district and the terrorists kept shooting indiscriminately.

Five of the deceased had gunshot wounds. And, out of the 41 injured, 10 suffered gunshot injuries.

Bhawani Shankar of Tughlakabad extension in Delhi had gone to pay obeisance at the Mata Vaishno Devi shrine on his marriage anniversary. He was accompanied by his wife, Radha Devi and two children, 5-year-old Deksha and 2-year-old Raghav.

“Even after the bus crashed into the gorge, the terrorists kept firing at the bus. I managed to push my children under the seats of the bus despite being injured myself.

“It was a horror I will never forget in my life,” Shankar said lying in the super speciality government medical college hospital where he is being treated for injuries.

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Not all pilgrims on the bus were lucky to survive the terrorist firing.

Four members of a family from Rajasthan’s Jaipur, including a 2-year-old boy, and two cousins from Uttar Pradesh’s Balrampur district were among those killed in the terror attack on the bus.

The members of the family from Chomu near Jaipur who died were identified as 30-year-old Pooja Saini, her 2-year-old son Levansh, Pooja’s paternal uncle 44-year-old Rajendra Saini and 40-year-old wife of Rajendra’s wife Mamta.

Santosh Kumar Verma of Balrampur district of Uttar Pradesh recalled what he saw. “I first saw the militants blocking the road of the bus and then I saw the driver’s head falling on the steering wheel. And, then the bus fell into the gorge,” he said.

Survivors said that they pretended to be dead inside the bus till the terrorists thought their job was over and left the place.

Rajat Ram Sharma lost his 14-year-old son in this attack.

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“Suddenly, someone cried that militants had attacked the bus. I immediately pushed my wife and son under the seat, but before we could take the cover, the bus fell into the gorge and I lost my grip on my son,” he said.

Two-year-old Titu Sawhney and his mother Pooja, the bus driver and conductor, are among the deceased.

J&K Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha met the injured at Narayana Hospital in Katra town and the government medical college hospital in Jammu city. The administration has given Rs 10 lakh ex gratia relief to the next of kin of those killed in this incident and Rs 50,000 each to the injured survivors.

Security forces have formed 15 teams to hunt down the perpetrators of this terror attack. Some arrests have already been made and the arrested persons are being questioned.

The Resistance Front (TRF) — a social media front of various terrorist outfits, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jaish-e-Mohamamd (JeM) — has owned responsibility for the attack.

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The killings of innocent pilgrims have been widely condemned in the union territory.

–IANS

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Dying terrorism in J&K has made our neighbour desperate: Lt Guv Sinha

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Jammu, June 23 (IANS) J&K Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha said on Sunday that terrorism is on its last leg and this has made the exporter of terrorism, our neighbouring country, desperate.

LG Sinha was addressing recruits of the 16th batch of Basic Recruitment Training Course (BRTC) at the subsidiary police training centre in Reasi District of Jammu division where he said, “J&K Police has always shown a high level of professional excellence under extremely challenging circumstances.

“Since several decades, this elite police force is working with dedication to preserve the integrity and security of our country.”

Without naming Pakistan, the LG said, “The police force has kept the wheels of J&K’s progress moving. Terrorism is breathing its last and this has made the exporter of terrorism, our neighbouring country, desperate.”

“The recent terror acts are sign of our enemy’s desperation. Our aim is complete elimination of terrorism. We must hunt down the terrorists, their aides and harbourers,” he stressed.

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The LG took salute at an impressive parade of the recruits at the training centre.

–IANS

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385 motorists caught for drunk driving in Telangana's Cyberabad

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Hyderabad, June 23 (IANS) Telangana’s Cyberabad Police have apprehended 385 motorists for drunk driving in a large-scale drive.

Drunk driving tests were conducted at various locations under the limits of Cyberabad Police Commissionerate on Saturday night.

As many as 182 offenders were caught in the IT corridor alone. Police said all those caught will be produced before the court.

Those apprehended include 292 bike riders, 80 people driving four-wheelers, 11 driving three-wheelers and two heavy vehicle drivers.

Four offenders were caught with the highest Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 550 mg/100 ml.

If anybody indulges in driving under the influence of alcohol and causes accidents killing people, such persons will be arrested and sent to jail under section 304 part II of IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) for which the maximum punishment is 10 years of jail, the police said.

The Cyberabad police conducted the special drive for a second consecutive week-end.

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During the similar drive on the night of June 15, Cyberabad Traffic Police had apprehended over 349 people for drunk driving.

A total of 253 two-wheelers, 16 three-wheelers, 74 four-wheelers, and 6 heavy vehicle drivers were caught during the Driving Under Influence (DUI) checks.

Cyberabad Joint Commissioner of Police Traffic, D. Joel Davis stated that drunk driving and unauthorised driving have been major causes of road crashes and fatalities in Cyberabad.

In view of the increasing number of road accidents due to drunk driving, the police have begun to act strictly against such drivers.

People who knowingly allow or accompany drunk drivers are also being prosecuted for abetting the crimes.

Meanwhile, Cyberabad Traffic Police (CTP) also registered 22 FIRs against 114 vehicles for wrong-side driving in various locations across Cyberabad on June 22.

Police said it was making continued efforts to curb the dangerous practice of wrong-side driving. As of June 22, the CTP has registered a total of 122 FIRs and apprehended 631 vehicles for wrong-side driving offences.

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–IANS

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BJP youth leader shot in Indore; search to nab suspects underway

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Bhopal, June 23 (IANS) A BJP youth leader was allegedly shot dead in Indore at the Chiman Bagh Chowk early on Sunday morning, police said.

The victim has been identified as Monu Kalyane, a youth wing leader of the BJP’s Indore District unit.

Kalyane was supposed to organise a ‘Bhagwa Rally’ by Sunday evening, for which, he along with his associates, had been putting up banners at several places in the city.

“Monu and some of his friends were putting up poster, banners early on Sunday morning, during which, he was shot dead,” a senior police officer told the Press.

Police have launched a search operation to nab two suspects, Piyush and Arjun, who are Monu’s neighbours.

Police said the preliminary investigation suggested that the murder was the result of a personal rivalry.

Local BJP leaders, including former BJP MLA Akash Vijayvargiya, son of senior BJP minister Kailash Vijayvargiya reached the victim’s home.

Sources told IANS that Monu was close to Akash Vijayvargiya.

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Meanwhile, a group of people pelted stones and set vehicles on fire that were parked outside Piyush and Arjun’s homes.

Police were trying to control the situation. Further details are awaited.

–IANS

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Union ministers Jaishankar, Puri pay tributes to victims of Kanishka bombing on 39th anniv of terror attack

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New Delhi, June 23 (IANS) Union Ministers S. Jaishankar and Hardeep Singh Puri paid homage on Sunday to the over 300 victims of the Air India ‘Kanishka’ flight bombing, commemorating the 39th anniversary of the terrorist attack.

In a post on X, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar expressed his condolences, stating, “Today marks the 39th anniversary of one of the worst acts of terrorism in history. Pay my homage to the memory of the 329 victims of AI 182 ‘Kanishka’ who were killed on this day in 1985. My thoughts are with their families. The anniversary is a reminder why terrorism should never be tolerated.”

Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas, also took to X, sharing images of his tribute.

He remarked, “My homage to 329 victims of Air India ‘Kanishka’ Flight 182. This dastardly bombing on 23 June 1985 remains one of the most reprehensible acts of terror committed against India.”

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Puri further condemned the ideology behind such attacks, stating, “Actions anchored in such extremism have no place in a sane & civilised world. Unfortunately, the systems & mindsets that condoned Kanishka bombing & subsequent acts of terrorism continue to find forces & sympathisers violating international norms & commitments to combat violent extremism & terrorism.”

The Air India Flight 182, en route from Montreal to New Delhi, exploded 45 minutes before it was scheduled to land at Heathrow Airport, London, on June 23, 1985.

All 329 people on board, mostly Canadians of Indian descent, lost their lives.

The bombing was attributed to Sikh militants, believed to be retaliating against ‘Operation Bluestar,’ a 1984 Indian Army operation aimed at removing terrorists holed up inside the Golden Temple with arms and ammunition.

–IANS

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Yogi govt to plant 350 million saplings this year

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Lucknow, June 23 (IANS) The Yogi Adityanath government plans to plant 350 million saplings this year to expand Uttar Pradesh’s green areas.

The goal is to increase the state’s green cover from 9 to 15 per cent by 2026-27 with public cooperation.

Specific targets have been set for all departments and divisions in the state-wide campaign. The Yogi government has also directed proper preparations to ensure the availability of high-quality saplings for all stakeholders.

As in the previous year, this year, preparations have begun for a safe plantation and the achievement of the target.

The goal is to plant 350 million saplings, with specific targets assigned to various departments: 140 million from Forest, Environment, and Climate Change, 125.9 million from Rural Development, 25 million from Agriculture, 15.5 million from Horticulture, 12.8 million from Panchayati Raj, 10.6 million from Revenue, 3.5 million from Urban Development, 1.8 million from Higher Education.

Besides, 1.3 million saplings each will be planted by Public Works, Railways, and Water Power, 1.2 million from Basic Education, 1.1 million from Health, 900,000 from Industry, 800,000 each from Industrial Development and Secondary Education, 700,000 each from Home-Animal Husbandry, 600,000 each from Energy and Cooperation, 500,000 each from Housing Development, Defence, and Technical Education, and 300,000 each from Labour and Transport.

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Under the campaign, saplings will be planted in all 18 divisions.

Targets for all have been fixed. Lucknow division has been given the target of planting the maximum number of saplings.

Four crore saplings will be planted in the Lucknow division, 3.13 crore in Kanpur division, 2.76 crore in Chitrakoot, 2.58 crore in Jhansi, 2.27 crore in Mirzapur, 2.20 crore in Ayodhya, 1.95 crore in Devipatan, 1.89 crore in Prayagraj, 1.87 crore in Bareilly, 1.78 crore in Varanasi, 1.76 crore in Moradabad, 1.74 crore in Agra, 1.43 crore in Gorakhpur, 1.34 crore in Azamgarh, 1.20 crore in Aligarh, 1.14 crore in Meerut division, 1.08 crore in Basti and 88 lakh in Saharanpur division.

There will also be geo-tagging of plantation sites. The Forest Department will plant 12.60 crore saplings in the divisions, and other departments will plant around 22.40 crore saplings.

The Yogi government has directed officials to plant trees statewide to turn Uttar Pradesh green.

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Trees will be planted on forest land, village panchayat and community land, around expressways and canals, on land owned by development authorities and industrial complexes, on defence and railway land, on medical and educational institution grounds, on other government properties, on private farmland with farmers’ cooperation, and by citizens on their private premises.

–IANS

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