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India

Four terror camps hit in PoK, number of terrorists killed: Army Chief

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Gen Bipin Rawat

New Delhi, Oct 20 : Four terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) were hit and a number of terrorists killed in retaliatory artillery firing by India following the ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday, Army chief, General Bipin Rawat said.

“We had information that terror camps are operating in PoK in areas opposite Keran, Tangdhar and Nowgam sectors which we call the Leepa valley. These were targeted. At least 6-10 Pakistani soldiers were killed in the attack. A similar number of terrorists have also been killed.

“There is more information about terrorists killed which we will share later. We have confirmed information about more at least three terror camps have been destroyed in the attack. There have been damages to a fourth camp too,” Rawat told the media.

IANS had reported earlier during the day that four terror camps have been hit in PoK in the retaliatory firing by India.

Earlier, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to top army officials, including the army chief, on Sunday to take stock of the ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir in which two Indian soldiers and a civilian were killed.

The Army identified the soldiers as Hawaldar Padam Bahadur Shrestha and Rifleman Gamil Kumar Shrestha. Both were killed by artillery firing by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in the Tangdhar sector on the intervening night of October 19 and 20.

“Rajnath Singh spoke to Gen Rawat and took stock of the prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir. He enquired about the counter-attack launched by Indian security forces and the martyrdom of the two soldiers killed and the civilian casualty during the ceasefire violation,” a senior official told IANS.

Rawat said that the political leadership has been kept abreast of the developments in Jammu and Kashmir.

“The political leadership is always kept abreast about incidents of these nature. We have full backing of the political leadership in our action against countering terror in whichever manner we do,” he said.

Civilian areas in Ghundhishat village in Tangdhar were also hit by the Pakistan Army’s artillery firing on Saturday night. The deceased civilian has been identified as Mohammed Sadiq, 55. The three injured civilians have been identified as Mohammed Maqbool, 70, Mohammed Shafi, 50, and Yusuf Hamid, 22.

Army officials confirmed that calibrated escalation of area weapons was undertaken by the Indian side in which terrorist launch pads, Pakistani Army posts giving incidental protection to these launch pads and certain gun positions were hit.

Sources said that at least 35 Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) militants were killed in retaliatory artillery firing. Army sources said at least four terror launch pads in the Neelam Valley of PoK opposite the Tangdhar sector. They also said that at least four to five Pakistani soldiers were killed in the retaliatory firing.

The developments in Jammu and Kashmir come a day before Rajnath Singh and Rawat are slated to visit Ladakh for opening a strategic bridge near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China along the newly-constructed all-weather motorable Leh-Karakoram road.

Till October 10 this year, Pakistan has violated ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir for 2,310 times. As per the Army, 147 terrorists have been killed till October 10 in various operations in the hinterland and the LoC.

India

Tale of two Delhi Police responses

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JNU Student and Delhi Police

New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) In an incident reminiscent of then Delhi police commissioner Neeraj Kumar directing his force to unleash water cannons and tear gas on the protesting youth in the aftermath of the gruesome Nirbhaya gang-rape case in December 2012, Delhi Police on Monday came down heavily on the students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) demanding “complete rollback” of the recent hostel fee hike.

The police action caused injuries to many students, many of whom had blood streaming down their faces — for their part, the police said many among them were injured in the clashes.

Hundreds of students were stopped by the police on Monday near the JNU campus soon after they began marching towards the Parliament. The protests brought traffic in the area to a standstill.

In response, the police lathi charged and beat up the protesting students, including visually-impaired students.

Just 10 days ago, the same police personnel protested after they had clashed with lawyers in Delhi’s Tis Hazari court premises.

Many JNU students and academia have now started questioning, “Were the cops who thrashed the students venting their spleen for being beaten up by the lawyers?”

On Monday, a visually impaired student, Shashi Bhushan Pandey, who was taking part in the march to the Parliament, was roughed up by Delhi Police personnel following which he had to be taken to the AIIMS trauma centre.

“I was taken away from the human chain. I thought since I told them that I am visually impaired, they would spare me a beating, but no. I was hit on the leg. The boy who helped me and took me to the hospital was also attacked by the Police,” Pandey later said.

“When I told the policemen that I was blind, they said, ‘If you are blind, why have you come for the protest’,” said Pandey.

The university’s visually challenged students’ forum has issued a statement in condemnation of the police action. While senior police officers accepted the fact that it was not correct, they also endorsed the lathi charge on the agitating students.

“We asked them to stop and not cross a particular point, but they kept marching and thereafter indulged in clashes. It should have been avoided,” said a senior IPS officer.

On November 5, in an unprecedented protest by Delhi Police, thousands of its personnel laid siege outside the Police Headquarters for several hours and staged a virtual revolt against Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik for not speaking up for them when they were attacked by the lawyers on Tis Hazari court premises on November 2.

The senior officers who came to address their grievances faced their ire. Amidst slogans like “We Want Justice” and “Go Back, Go Back”, senior officers, including Patnaik, were forced to leave, putting a big question mark on the leadership of the force.

Senior officers of Delhi Police declined to comment on the decision to order a lathi charge on JNU students.

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Election

Supreme Court moved over discrepancies in 2019 Lok Sabha poll data

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Lok Sabha Election 2019

New Delhi, Nov 20 : Two non-government organisations (NGOs) have moved the Supreme Court seeking a probe into alleged discrepancies in the voter turnout data and votes counted in 347 constituencies in the 2019 general election.

“There have been serious discrepancies in the number of voters in different constituencies (i.e. the voter turnout data collated and provided by the Election Commission) and the number of votes counted,” said the plea filed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the Common Cause.

The NGOs have clarified that the plea didn’t challenge the Lok Sabha election results, or the process adopted to conduct polls.

They contended that the EC declared results of the election on provisional figures and without determining the exact vote count and without due reconciliation of the discrepancies in various constituencies.

“The EC has not laid down any prescribed system for compiling, reconciliation and publishing of poll data and therefore, has been evading placing the methodology followed by it, in public domain”, the petition stated.

It sought a direction to the EC to place the information in statutory forms — 17C, 20, 21C, 21D and 21E — for the general elections and all future elections, in public domain.

The discrepancies between the actual voter turnout and provisional data in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections as pointed out were significant and couldn’t be set aside without a satisfactory resolution of the same, it said.

“The current statute has a procedure for resolution of a dispute through an election petition, but no provision for resolution of the doubts arising out of discrepancies in a large number of constituencies all over the country,” it said.

The plea highlighted the dereliction of duty by the EC in declaring results of the Lok Sabha and Assemblies through electronic voting machines (EVMs) based on accurate and indisputable data which is put in public domain.

The petitioners said, the discrepancies ranged from 1 to 1,01,323 votes, which was 10.49 per cent of the total votes.

However, there was no particular co-relation with any party regarding discrepancies found in its research, the ADR added.

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India

Cabinet approves sale of stakes in BPCL, 4 other PSUs

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New Delhi, Nov 20 : The Cabinet on Wednesday approved sale of government’s stake in five blue-chip PSUs, including Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL), Shipping Corp of India (SCI) and Container Corp of India along with transfer of management control, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

The government will sell its 53.29 per cent stake in BPCL after taking out Numaligarh refinery from its portfolio, she told reporters here.

Besides, the government will sell its stake in THDC India and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO) to state-owned NTPC Ltd, she said.

Finance Minister said the Cabinet has also approved cutting government’s stake in select PSUs below 51 per cent while retaining management control.

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