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INDIAN (E)

Arrested terrorists 'got visas from Pakistan High Commission in Delhi'

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NEW DELHI: Two “Pakistan-trained” Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorists arrested by police in Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday claimed that they received visas from the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi, reported ANI.

“The arrested terrorists were given Pakistani visas by Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. It’s pertinent to mention that for past couple of years police has unearthed several such modules who lure young boys to Pakistan to get trained and join militancy,” ANI quoted the Baramulla police as saying.

The two terrorists were arrested in a joint operation by the police, Army and CRPF in Baramulla.

“These militants of Lashkar-e-Taiba were nabbed immediately after returning via the Wagah-Attari border before they could formally join the militant ranks here in Kashmir,” PTI quoted a police spokesman as saying.

The terrorists have been identified as Abdul Majeed Bhat, a resident of Kreeri, and Mohammad Ashraf Mir, of Pattan.

The duo revealed that they had travelled to Pakistan on valid Pakistani visas to receive arms training, to carry out terror attacks in the Valley.

“They said terrorist training camps are located near Burma Town, in Islamabad, and are being run by a terrorist commander operating under code names Hanzala, Adanan and Omar. Other terrorists imparting training to young boys are operating with code names Osama, Naveed and Hataf,” the spokesman said.

Upon questioning the two also revealed that they had trained alongside a large group of Pakistani boys, most of whom were from Balochistan, reported ANI.

The group had members as young as 10 years old.

Earlier this week, TOI had reported that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) believes Pakistan is involved in providing technical support to separatists. The agency further believes that Pakistan’s spy agency ISI has a “Kashmir Committee” headed by a Brigadier-rank officer to plan and execute terrorist attacks, violence, stone pelting, funding, recruitment, logistics and other anti-India activities.

Among the documents the NIA cited to prove a nexus between the Pakistani government, ISI and Hurriyat leaders, was a letter written by a Pakistani Prime Minister to main hawala conduit and charge-sheeted Valley businessman, Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali.

Watali is close to Pakistan’s spy agency ISI and has been charged for bringing in several crores illegally through hawala and other means.


(With inputs from agencies)



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J&K govt okays withdrawal of stone-pelting cases against 9,730 people

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JAMMU: Jammu and Kashmir government has approved withdrawal of cases registered against 9,730 people involved in stone-pelting incidents, including first-time offenders, between 2008 and 2017, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday.

The government action to withdraw 1,745 cases is subject to “certain conditions” and is based on recommendations of a committee constituted to look into the matter, Mufti said.

She said her government has also recommended to give amnesty to more than 4,000 people, who are said to be involved in minor incidents of stone pelting over the past two years.

In a written reply to a question in the Assembly, Mufti did not disclose the particulars of first-time offenders due to security considerations for them and their families.

However, she said 3,773 cases were registered in 2016 and 2017, leading to the arrest of 11,290 people, of whom 233 remained untraced.

Seven cases were not admitted and 1,692 were chargesheeted, while 1,841 cases were under investigation, Mufti, who hold the home department portfolio, said.

Intense clashes had rocked Kashmir Valley in 2016 following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July that year, resulting in the death of over 85 people.

The chief minister said while 2,904 cases were registered and 8,570 people were arrested in connection with stone- pelting incidents in 2016, the number of such cases in 2017 dropped to 869 in which 2,720 people were arrested.

The highest 2,330 people were arrested in Srinagar followed by 2,046 in Baramulla, 1,385 in Pulwama, 1,123 in Kupwara, 1,118 in Anantnag, 783 in Budgam, 714 in Ganderbal, 694 in Shopian, 548 in Bandipora, 547 in Kulgam and two in Doda districts during 2016 and 2017, she said.

She said 56 government employees and 16 Hurriyat Conference activists were among the 4,949 people found involved in stone-pelting incidents, while 4,074 were not affiliated with any separatist or militant group.



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Shivraj Singh Chouhan expands council of ministers, inducts 3 new members

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BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday expanded his council of ministers by inducting three members, including one in the cabinet, ahead of the Assembly polls slated later this year.

After the oath-taking ceremony of the new ministers, the chief minister said another cabinet expansion is on the cards.

BJP legislators Balkrishna Patidar, Narayan Singh Kushwaha and Jalam Singh Patel were inducted in the council of ministers.

While Kushwaha was given cabinet rank, Patidar and Patel were made ministers of state. Their portfolios would be announced later.

This is the second time that Kushwaha is serving in the Cabinet led by Chouhan, who is in office since November 2005.

The three MLAs were administered the oath of office by governor Anandiben Patel at a function in the Raj Bhavan here this morning.

Besides Chouhan, senior ministers of his cabinet and top officials were present on the occasion.

Patidar, who belongs to the Nimar region, is the MLA from Khargone, while Kushwaha comes from the Gwalior-Chambal region and represents Gwalior South in the Assembly.

Jalam Singh Patel hails from the Mahakaushal region. The MLA from Narsinghpur is the younger brother of BJP MP and former Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel.

Chouhan told newspersons another expansion of his team would be undertaken soon.

“We have got new colleagues… This will enhance our strength and we will be able to use their expertise. Another brief expansion would be done soon,” he said.

The Congress had opposed the expansion of the council of ministers in view of enforcement of model code of conduct in two assembly constituencies — Mungaoli and Kolaras – where bypolls are scheduled on February 24.

Replying to a question, Chouhan said, “Raising questions without any basis has become a habit of the Congress. Cabinet expansion is a prerogative of the chief minister and I have exercised it.”

The expansion is being seen by some as an attempt by the BJP to balance regional aspirations of the people of the state, where assembly polls are expected by the year-end.

Before today’s expansion, the Chouhan government, in its third term, had 20 Cabinet ministers, including the chief minister, and nine ministers of state.

According to constitutional provisions, the state can have a maximum of 35 ministers.

The BJP is in power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003.



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INDIAN (E)

What credit ratios tell you about a state’s economy

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Banks help convert people’s savings into investment, which in turn creates employment, income and assets. The process of conversion is called credit creation in which banks lend money to businessmen, farmers and consumers who need loans and are creditworthy. States with higher credit demand and more creditworthy people convert higher share of deposits into credit and have a high credit-deposit ratio. States with low credit-deposit ratios are those whose income, savings or both are higher than their investment needs — mostly the poor ones. India’s average credit-deposit ratio is 73.6. Here’s a look at how different states fare…

| Feb 3, 2018, 14:53 IST

What credit ratios tell you about a state’s economy

Banks help convert people’s savings into investment, which in turn creates employment, income and assets. The process of conversion is called credit creation in which banks lend money to businessmen, farmers and consumers who need loans and are creditworthy. States with higher credit demand and more creditworthy people convert higher share of deposits into credit and have a high credit-deposit ratio. States with low credit-deposit ratios are those whose income, savings or both are higher than their investment needs — mostly the poor ones. India’s average credit-deposit ratio is 73.6. Here’s a look at how different states fare…

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    Northeast is at heart of 'Act East Policy': PM Narendra Modi in Assam

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    NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today that the progress of northeastern India is “at the heart of the Act East Policy’ of the government.

    “The Act East Policy requires increased people to people contact, trade ties and other relations with countries on India’s east, particularly ASEAN countries,” said the PM, in an address at the inaugural session of Advantage Assam-Global Investors Summit’18 in Guwahati.

    The prosperity of people living in Northeast is key to India’s growth story gathering speed, he said.

    The PM said that the name of the summit is in essence its “comprehensive vision”, and elaborated on how cooperation between the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – will be of benefit to people of all these countries.

    “Whether it’s the ASEAN countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan or Nepal, we are all in one way or another, dominantly agrarian economies – so the unity of our farmers in these regions can propel us to new heights,” said the PM.

    He added that the recently announced Union Budget 2018 has provisions extremely beneficial for the northeast, especially its farmers.

    “Now with about Rs 1,300 crores allocated in the budget for the restructuring of the ‘National Bamboo Mission’, the people of the northeast, especially its farmers, will gain immensely,” said PM Modi.

    He also praised Assam for being ranked first among the northeastern States in the ”Ease of Doing Business’ report.

    “With present leadership of the state government, Assam is going to further improve its current position to emerge as one of the most sought after states for investment,” the PM forecast.



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    US Air Force Chief flies fighter jet Tejas in Jodhpur

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    | Updated: Feb 3, 2018, 12:59 IST

    Highlights

    • This is the first instance that the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was flown by a foreign military chief
    • Goldfein is in India on an official visit and is accompanied by US Pacific Air Forces Commander General Terrence O’Shaughnessy

    NEW DELHI: US Air Force Chief of Staff General David L Goldfein today flew the Indian Air Force‘s indigenous fighter aircraft Tejas from Air Force station in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.

    .

    This is the first instance that the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) was flown by a foreign military chief.

    Manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, the single-engine, mutli-role fighter jet was inducted into the Indian Air Force in July 2016.

    Goldfein is in India on an official visit and is accompanied by US Pacific Air Force Commander General Terrence O’Shaughnessy.

    The General met Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa on Friday and discussed ways to further enhance cooperation between the two forces.

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    India-China ties a 'cold war-like' bond in making: US expert

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    WASHINGTON: India and China have a “cold war-like” relationship in the making but New Delhi is unlikely to join something framed as a US-led front to contain Beijing, a former American diplomat has said.

    Alyssa Ayres, who served in the South and Central Asia Bureau of the State Department, made the remarks last week in New York during the launch of her latest book ‘Our Time Has Come: How India is Making Its Place in the World’.

    “It is a cold war-like relationship in the making. India and China have had a strong commercial relationship, but that is increasingly less satisfying for India, for many of the same reasons the United States is dissatisfied with its trade relationship with China,” she said.

    To a question on India-China ties, Ayres, currently a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a top American think-tank, said that for a while the commercial relationship between the two countries had relegated their strategic competition to the backseat.

    “I think India (is) concerned about the increasingly larger presence that China is establishing across the Indian Ocean, with a base in Djibouti,” she said.

    She added that India may also be concerned over China’s “deep relationship” with Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the investments it is making in the two countries.

    Asked about the impression in the US that New Delhi is a “good bet” to contain Beijing, she said India is unlikely to be part of such an initiative.

    “I think India is going to be highly unlikely to be enlisted in something framed as a US-led effort to contain China. That is not what India seeks to do. It seeks to defend its own interests. It seeks to uphold the liberal world order,” Ayres said.

    “India has been a big supporter of global norms, of freedom of navigation. But it also partners with China in many arenas. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), India is the number two capital contributor,” she noted.

    The BRICS organisation went from being just an idea in a research paper to being a real institution, she said, adding India is very active with that and the five-nation grouping has created its own development bank.

    “India became a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. It’s hedging its own bets as global governance reform lags on in the 20th-century institutions. And so where it has put some of its eggs in the new organisations basket, it has partnered with China on that front,” Ayres said.

    To another question, she said that there would be a measured response from India if there was a repeat of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack.

    “Based on what we saw with the surgical strikes of the previous year or the year before last, I would not expect a completely passive response. I would expect something measured, but much more active,” she said.



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    Shiv Sena demands probe into Hyderabad theatre rape case

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    | Feb 3, 2018, 10:54 IST
    Shivsena president Uddhav Thackeray. (TOI file photo by Santosh Hirlekar)Shivsena president Uddhav Thackeray. (TOI file photo by Santosh Hirlekar)

    MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena on Saturday demanded a probe into the rape of a 19-year-old girl inside a Hyderabad movie theatre, given that other audiences were also present there.

    “It’s shocking how such an incident can occur in presence of hundreds of people in a theatre,” Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande told ANI.

    “There are security guards and CCTV cameras; I don’t know if there are, but ideally theatres should be covered with CCTV cameras. It is quite unbelievable and shocking and should be probed,” she added.

    The victim had gone to watch film ‘Padmaavat’ at the theatre on Friday, when she was raped by a man, whom she had befriended on social media two months back.

    According to police who arrested the accused, the latter said that he took advantage of the fact that there were only a few people in the theatre and nobody was near them.

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    CBI charges former Haryana CM Bhupinder Hooda for 'Rs 1,500 crore con’

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    | TNN | Feb 3, 2018, 06:10 IST

    CHANDIGARH: The CBI on Friday submitted a chargesheet against former Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda and 33 others in connection with an alleged land acquisition scam in Manesar that caused farmers a loss of around Rs 1,500 crore.

    According to the chargesheet, in 2004, the Hooda government issued a notification to acquire 912 acres of land to set up an Industrial Model Township at Manesar, Naurangpur and Lakhnoula.

    However, before the acquisition could begin, builders bought 400 acres of land worth Rs 1,600 crore for just Rs 100 crore from farmers who were led to believe it would otherwise be acquired by the state government at meagre rates.

    In 2007, the director of industries released the 400 acres from the acquisition process in favour of the builders, instead of the original land owners.

    The accused have been charged with, among others, criminal conspiracy, cheating, and various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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    Kashmiri students assaulted in Haryana, Mehbooba Mufti demands probe

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    NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has urged the Haryana government to take stringent action against the perpetrators for assaulting Kashmiri students and demanded a probe into the case.

    | Feb 3, 2018, 08:00 IST

    Highlights

    • The students were beaten up while returning to campus after offering Friday prayers in Mahendragarh
    • The victims suffered injuries in the attack and were taken to the local hospital
    • “Shocked and disturbed to hear reports of Kashmiri students being assaulted in Mahendargarh, Haryana,” said Mehbooba Mufti

    Aftab, one of the students allegedly assaulted (Photo: ANI)Aftab, one of the students allegedly assaulted (Photo: ANI)

    NEW DELHI: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has urged the Haryana government to take stringent action against the perpetrators for assaulting Kashmiri students and demanded a probe into the case.

    Mehbooba made the statement on Friday, hours after reports of the Kashmiri students of the Haryana Central University being assaulted surfaced.

    The victims were beaten up while returning to the campus after offering congregational Friday prayers in Mahendragarh town.

    Irked Mehbooba took to Twitter and said, “Shocked and disturbed to hear reports of Kashmiri students being assaulted in Mahendargarh, Haryana.”

    Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet and said that the incident goes against the spirit of his outreach for Kashmiris.

    “This is terrible & goes against the spirit of what @PMOIndia @narendramodi ji said from the ramparts of the Red Fort. I hope the authorities in Haryana act quickly against this violence.”

    The reason behind the attack is yet not known.

    Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Shesh Paul Vaid has been coordinating with his Haryana counterpart to ensure the safety of the Kashmiri youths.

    “In touch with DGP Haryana. Police is taking cognisance of the incident,” he said.

    The victims suffered injuries in the attack and were taken to the local hospital.

    They were, however, released after treatment.

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