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For first time in history, no camel contingent at Republic Day parade

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First time in the history of the Republic Day celebrations that the iconic BSF camel contingent will not be ambling down the Rajpath on the coming January 26.

Officials said the 90-member Border Security Force (BSF) camel-mounted troops and band contingent has not been practising during the dress rehearsals of the event being held in the Capital, in the absence of official directions.bsf camel-wefornews“While the contingent is in Delhi since the last few months, it has not been included in the rehearsals as there are no official orders issued in this regard,” they said.

The majestic and elegantly dressed four-legged ‘ship of the desert’ belonging to the border guarding force first became a part of the national festival celebration in 1976 after it replaced a similar squad of the army which had been participating in the Republic Day parade since the first such event in 1950.

“The BSF camel contingent has since been the intrinsic part of the parade at Rajpath on every January 26. There are two teams which take part in the event, the 54-member mounted contingent and the 36-member band,” a senior official involved with the camel squad said.

While the first contingent showcases smartly dressed BSF border guards with weapons riding camels, the second follows with bandsmen in beautiful multi-colour dresses on the back of camels playing martial music.

Officials said the January 26 parade this time is undergoing a number of changes such as non-inclusion of paramilitary forces like Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) whereas some new features have been added to it including the dogs squad contingent of the army and a team of French soldiers.

“The camel contingent may also not be a part of the Beating the Retreat Ceremony to be held on January 29 where they stand along the ramparts of the North and South blocks on Raisina Hill,” they said.

French President Francois Hollande is the chief guest of this year’s event with dignitaries like President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others and general public.

The BSF camel contingent is the inheritor of the heritage of the Bikaner Royal Camel Force, known as ‘Ganga Risala’, and is based in the border town of Jaisalmer in north Indian state of Rajasthan.

Every year it travels to Delhi in November to participate in the Raising Day event of the BSF on December 1 and the Republic Day parade after which it retreats to its base.

The contingent has been called in to greet and honour foreign dignitaries many times in the past and recently was present for welcoming US President Barack Obama last year and for entertaining the guests during the Afro-India summit held last year.

The BSF is country’s largest border guarding force of the country raised in 1965 and it is mainly tasked with securing Indian frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Wefornews Bureau

India

Kashmiri students turned out of PG accommodations in Haryana after Pulwama attack

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Kashmiri-students-Rajasthan

Kashmiri students turned out of PG accommodations in Haryana after Pulwama attack

Chandigarh, Feb 16 Over 100 Kashmiri students, including girls, have been turned out of their paying guest (PG) accommodations in Mullana village in Haryana’s Ambala district, forcing them to seek refuge with the authorities of a private deemed university where they are studying.

The Kashmiri students of the Maharishi Markandeshwar (deemed to be university) in Mullana, around 75 km from here, are being accommodated in the institution’s hostels, sources said.

With sentiments riding high against terrorists from Kashmir and Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack, the Kashmiri students were ordered out of PG accommodations by respective landlords after the Mullana village sarpanch (headman) Naresh Kumar issued an ultimatum to PG owners to oust Kashmiri students.

With tension mounting in the village, the Haryana Police are keeping a close watch and have assured Kashmiri students about safety.

“We are talking to the Kashmiri students and assuring them. More force has been deployed in the village,” said Ambala district police chief Aastha Modi.

The village sarpanch on Friday issued an ultimatum to PG owners to oust Kashmiri students from accommodations within 24 hours. The ultimatum was issued after residents of the village took out a march against the Pulwama terror attack.

Most of the Kashmiri students were asked to leave on Saturday. “The ultimatum came all of a sudden. We were asked by our landlords to vacate accommodation. We are scared,” a second year student from South Kashmir told IANS.

Some of the Kashmiri students have reportedly moved with friends in nearby places like Ambala, Chandigarh and Rajpura, sources said.

The village sarpanch justified the ultimatum to Kashmiri students. “After the Pulwama attack, some Kashmiri students posted comments on social media celebrating the deadly strike. We have to be cautious about such elements,” Kumar said, adding the ultimatum was not for all Kashmiri students, but for three students who were behind the unwarranted posts.

Meanwhile, the district authorities claimed that the situation was under control. “Students have been shifted to the university hostel for safety. We have warned the village sarpanch,” said Ambala Deputy Commissioner Sharandeep Kaur Brar.

Though the authorities have asked students to return to respective PG accommodations, the students have chosen to remain inside the campus for around four days.

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Rajnath holds meeting with RAW chief, NSA, other security officials

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Rajnath Singh

New Delhi, Feb 16 Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday held a meeting with RAW chief A. K. Dhasmana, Additional Director IB Arvind Kumar, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and NSA Ajit Doval in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack that left 49 CRPF troopers dead.

What transpired between them was not immediately known or officially communicated, but sources in Home Ministry said that Singh took stock of the security situation in Kashmir in the aftermath of the terror attack by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM).

The meeting also come in the wake of outrage and anger among the people post the attack as the country expecting retaliation from the government.

From the US, China, Russia, Canada, Australia and the European Union to Afghanistan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, various countries have come in support of India and expressed solidarity with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Just a day after the Pulwama attack, India started the process of isolating Pakistan on the international stage with Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale meeting at least two dozen envoys in the national capital.

It also withdrew the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status given to Pakistan. According to experts, India’s decision to withdraw the MFN status to Pakistan would adversely impact the neighbouring country’s economy.

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Congress won’t acquire farm land without farmers’ consent: Rahul Gandhi

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Rahul Gandhi

Jagdalpur (Chhattisgarh), Feb 16 : Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said his party governments will not take farmer’s land without their consent.

“If any farmer’s land is taken for industry or a project, then the industry or project has to be set up within five years. If it is not done within this period, the land has to be returned to farmers,” he said at a farmers’ rights convention at village Dhuragaon in Lohandiguda block of Chhattisgarh’s Bastar district.

“The Congress has taken the step of returning the land of tribals. Chhattisgarh is the first state where this has been done,” he said, stressing tribals have the first right over forests and should enjoy the benefits.

He said the Congress, which has returned to power in the state after 15 years, would fulfil its promises. He said tendu leaf collectors now get Rs 4,000 against the Rs 2,500 they were getting during the Raman Singh-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.

Gandhi distributed land right titles to farmers for area acquired by the previous BJP government for a Tata Steel project, which never materialised due to local opposition and eventually the company pulled out.

The Congress had made the return of land a campaign promise in the November assembly elections.

Gandhi also distributed loan waiver certificates to eligible farmers and forest rights certificates. He also laid the foundation stone of the food park being built by the state government in the area.

Taking pot-shots at the previous government, He said it claimed that it had no money for farmers. “They were putting your money into their own pockets or pockets of their 15 businessmen cronies,” he alleged.

He also attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bailing out top industrialists but not waiving farmers’ loans. “Our government had sought 10 days to waive loans and did it within six hours.”

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