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Kashmiri journalist shot dead, Cops releases CCTV footage of suspected killers

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Image: Kashmir Observer

Srinagar, June 15: Jammu and Kashmir Police released a CCTV footage of suspected killers of Senior journalist and Editor-in-Chief of English daily “Rising Kashmir” Shujat Bhukhari. 

Bhukhari was shot dead by militants outside his office on Thursday.

Following this, in an official statement, the police said, “In connection with the today’s attack at Srinagar’s Press enclave, police requests the general public to identify the suspects for the purpose of the police investigation.”

“Any information pertaining to the suspects in the photographs should be submitted to Police Station Kothibagh on 9596770623 or PCR Srinagar on 9596222550, 9596222551, 01942477568 or Police Control Room Kashmir on ‘100’,” the statement added.

State police chief S.P.Vaid said that it was around 7.15 p.m., the Iftar time, that Bukhari came out of his office in Press Enclave and was boarding his car when he was attacked by militants.

“Three motorcycle-borne militants came and fired at Bukhari and his guards. Bukhari and one guard were killed and another security guard critically injured,” he stated.

The murder drew wide condemnation from politicians across India and media organisations.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said: “Shocked & deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Shujaat Bukhari. The scourge of terror has reared its ugly head on the eve of Eid. I strongly condemn this act of mindless violence & pray for his soul to rest in peace. My deepest condolences to his family.”

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in a tweet, recited the Muslim prayer on hearing about a Muslim’s death, and said: “Shocked beyond words. May Shujaat find place in Jannat & May his loved ones find strength at this difficult time.”

The Congress said it was anguished, with party President Rahul Gandhi terming Bukhari “a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace”.

“He was a brave heart who fought fearlessly for justice and peace in Jammu and Kashmir. My condolences to his family. He will be missed,” Gandhi tweeted.

Several journalist bodies condemned the killing and demanded swift action against the forces responsible for his killing.

Condemning what it called a “dastardly attack”, the Editors Guild of India said that Bukhari was “a voice of moderation and a courageous, big-hearted editor who mentored a large cadre of young journalists from Kashmir”.

“The guild calls upon the government of Jammu and Kashmir to take urgent steps to bring to book the culprits and ensure safety and security for the media in the state,” it said in a statement.

It added that an attack on a journalist challenges the very foundations of a free press and vibrant democracy and more so in a state like Jammu and Kashmir that is going through militancy, and called upon the state and Central government to enhance security for all journalists in the state.

“Recent weeks have also seen threats of violence against many journalists in different parts of the country,” it added.

The Press Club of India also “strongly condemned” the killing in the holy month of Ramzan and said that “forces inimical to restoring peace in Kashmir Valley had silenced a voice of reason, logic and peace”.

“Press Club of India deeply mourns the loss of Shujaat Bukhari’s life and extends its condolences to the bereaved family in this hour of crisis,” it said in a statement.

It added that the “terror attack” showcased that lives of journalists were not safe.

“Press Club of India has time and again underlined the threat to the lives of journalists working under difficult and challenging circumstances and demanded protection for them,” it stated.

Bukhari stepped into media as a young reporter with Kashmir Times and he was associated with The Hindu in the 1990s. Later, he established his own English daily Rising Kashmir.

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India

Government is committed to Air India’s strategic disinvestment: Union minister

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Air India

New Delhi, June 20: Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha on Wednesday said that the central government is committed to he strategic disinvestment of national carrier Air India. 

Speaking to media, he also informed that a team headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was reviewing the airline’s financial and liquidity requirements.

“We are committed to supporting and strengthening Air India whatever its financial and liquidity requirements we’ll continue to support it like in the past.

The minister said a team headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was reviewing the airline’s financial and liquidity requirements.

Alternate mechanism headed by Arun Jaitley is reviewing the situation&as required will take the appropriate decision ” News agency ANI quoted Sinha as saying.

The development comes after no bids were received for the Expression of Interest (EOI).

The BJP-led government, which had approved strategic disinvestment for the state-run carrier in last June, had on May 31 this year said no initial bids were received for the proposed stake sale.

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A.R. Rahman appointed Sikkim government’s brand ambassador

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A.R. Rahman

Gangtok, June 20: Famed Indian composer and singer-songwriter A.R. Rahman has been appointed the brand ambassador of the Sikkim government, news agency IANS quoted a senior minister as saying on Wednesday.

“We have appointed Rahman as the state government’s brand ambassador for a year,” Sikkim Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation and Commerce and Industries Ugen T Gyatso, told IANS over phone.

As the government’s brand ambassador, Rahman would keep coming to the Himalayan state from time to time and promote it, said the Minister.

The 51-year-old music producer, who has in his kitty two Academy and two Grammy Awards, is now in Sikkim. “He will leave on Thursday,” the Minister said.

In an official notification, Chief Secretary A.K. Srivastava said Rahman will promote and project the state’s achievements nationally and globally.

Sikkim, with its natural and pristine beauty, has over the last two decades emerged as a world famous eco-tourism destination, besides attaining a distinct identity as the first fully organic farming state of the country, it said on Monday.

The state government had earlier this year made Mr. Rahman its Brand Ambassador of tourism and business.

Rahman is a widely awarded music personality and has worked in an array of international projects.

In 2010, Rahman was conferred the country’s third highest civilian honour Padma Bhushan.

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Arvind Subramanian resigns as Chief Economic Advisor

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New Delhi, June 20: Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian resigned on Wednesday due to personal reasons. 

Union Minister Arun Jaitley made the announcement on Facebook.

Jaitley said “Few days ago Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back to the United States on account of pressing family commitments. His reasons were personal but extremely important for him. He left me with no option but to agree with him”.

Reacting to Jaitley’s note, said in a tweet “Profoundly grateful & humbled by these extraordinarily generous words by Minister @arunjaitley announcing my decision to return-for personal reasons-to researching & writing. CEA job most rewarding, fulfilling, exciting I have ever had. Many many to thank”.

Subramanian, a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, was appointed as India’s Chief Economic Adviser (CEA) in October 2014.

His term was for three years, which was to end on October 16, 2017. He had got an extension of one year in September last year.

Here what Arun Jaitley wrote in his Facebook post!

Few days ago Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian met me over video conferencing. He informed me that he would like to go back to the United States on account of pressing family commitments. His reasons were personal but extremely important for him. He left me with no option but to agree with him.

Arvind had joined us as the Chief Economic Advisor on 16th October, 2014 for a period of three years. On the expiry of the three year I had requested him to continue for some more time. Even at that stage he told me that he was torn between family commitment and his current job which he considered the best and most fulfilling he has ever done.

Arvind’s interaction with the Government in the Ministry of Finance, Prime Minister’s Office and with other Departments was both formal and informal. His instantaneous communications with his interlocutors had increased his effectiveness. The Chief Economic Advisor’s job had multi-facets to it. He is not a spokesman of the Government. He is an Advisor who has to analyse and thinks several steps ahead. It is a unique responsibility with freedom to the work that he enjoys. Arvind functioned within these parameters and concentrated on the challenges to the economy. His early diagnosis of the twin balance-sheet had led us to adopt the macro-economic strategy of higher public investment in the Budget of 2015-16. He conceptualised JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhar, Mobile) as a data base for availing public benefits. He contributed to the debate of federalism by conceptualising that the Indian federalism has not merely to be cooperative but also competitive. He came out with newer ideas, policy reforms in the sectors of clothing, fertilizers, kerosene, power and pulses. His report on the Revenue Neutral Rate was of great use in forging a consensus which led to the constitution amendment enabling the GST. He participated in every meeting of GST, gave his independent views and was heard in rapt attention by almost every Finance Minister.

He elevated the quality of the analysis and the presentation of ideas for public deliberation in his four “Economic Surveys”. His documents for four years was treated by several independent critics as one of the best ever produced. The latest survey had about 15 million visitors from 117 countries.

The Economic Survey today is a basic teaching material all over India. He thought ahead and, therefore, came out with futuristic ideas on rationalisation of removal of “subsidies for the rich”, universal basic income, climate change, from “socialism without entry and capitalism without exit” and the four C’s that he had historically paralysed decision making. He conducted the first online course on Indian economy for the benefits of students and teachers across the country. He launched the Government’s online education platform “Swayam”, which became one of the most followed courses in India. He travelled across the country and spoke on public platforms on economic issues to elevate the quality of public discourse. He built up a strong team of both “insiders” and “outsiders” in the Economic Division of the Ministry.

Personally I will miss his dynamism, energy, intellectual ability and ideas. He would walk into my room – at times several times a day, addressing me as “Minister” to give either the good news or otherwise.

Needless to say his departure will be missed by me. But I know that his heart is very much here. I am sure he will keep sending advice and analysis wherever he is.

I wish Arvind Subramanian and his family all the very best.

Thank you Arvind.

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