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Sitharaman leaves for France, to visit Dassault plant

Meanwhile, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, whose party has been levelling allegations of crony capitalism and compromising national interest in the Rs 59,000-crore Rafale deal against Narendra Modi government, raised questions over the timing and purpose of Sitharaman’s visit.

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Nirmala Sitharaman

New Delhi, Oct 10 : Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday evening left for France on a three-day visit that would see her visiting the Dassault Aviation production plant that manufactures Rafale fighter jets besides other engagements.

Sitharaman, who will be in France till October 13, is leading a high-level delegation, which includes the Secretary, Defence Production.

The Minister will be holding talks with her French counterpart Florence Parly on various bilateral issues pertaining to defence cooperation including expanding bilateral maritime security cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, sources in the Defence Ministry said.

Last year, the French Defence Minister had visited India.

Meanwhile, Congress President Rahul Gandhi, whose party has been levelling allegations of crony capitalism and compromising national interest in the Rs 59,000-crore Rafale deal against Narendra Modi government, raised questions over the timing and purpose of Sitharaman’s visit.

“The Supreme Court has asked for the Rafale decision making process. It’s quite simple really… The Prime Minister decided. The processes to justify his decision are yet to be invented. But work has begun,” Gandhi tweeted.

India is buying 36 Rafale jets from Dassault Aviation in a fly-away condition in a Rs 59,000-crore deal. The Congress has questioned the propriety of a newly-founded private company getting the Rs 30,000 crore Rafale offset contract at the cost of the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

IANS

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4 terrorists killed in Baramulla near LoC

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Srinagar, Oct 19: Four militants were killed by the Army near the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district, military sources said on Friday.

Although the police has not confirmed the incident unless the bodies of the slain militants were recovered, the Army sources confirmed it saying that the encounter took place in the Boniyar forests of Uri sector on Thursday evening.

“Four unidentified militants have been killed in this operation. Searches are now going on in the area,” the sources said.

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Jammu and Kashmir: 7 soldiers injured in Pulwama IED explosion

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IED Blast
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Srinagar, Oct 19: Seven soldiers were injured when militants triggered an improvised explosive device (IED) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district, police said on Friday.

The explosion took place when an armoured Army vehicle was passing through the Tahab area at around 9.30 p.m., on Thursday.

“The IED explosion was followed by firing by the militants. Troops inside the Casper vehicle retaliated and a brief firing exchange took place,” police sources said.

Of the seven soldiers, three with serious injuries were airlifted to an Army hospital in Srinagar.

IANS

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Sabarimala Temple: Amid protests women return midway

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Sabarimala (Kerala), Oct 19: Amidst protests, two women, a journalist and a devotee, have decided to return midway from the Lord Ayyappa temple in Sabarimala on Friday.

Journalist Kavitha Jakkal of Hyderabad based Mojo TV and woman activist Rehana Fatima are now returning from Sabarimala.

“We have told the female devotees about the situation, they will now be going back. So we are pulling pack. They have decided to return”, Kerala IG “told media.

Kavita, the Hyderabad-based journalist and her four member crew along with the other woman devotee from Kochi were surrounded by 80 policemen while the rest 20 were walking ahead of them.

The trek from Pamba to the temple located at a hillock generally takes around two hours. Led by Inspector General of Police S.Sreejith, they started their climb around 6.45 a.m.

According to the police, the two ladies have another 1.5 km to reach the hallowed sanctum santorum of the Lord Ayyappa shrine.

Along the route, a protesting devotee jumped in front of the police cordon but he was removed.

An angry group of devotees are however, grouped at the entrance of the pathway that leads to the temple.

Meanwhile, the temple Tantri family and members of the Pandalam royal family are considering closing down of the temple in order to stop the women from entering, according to informed sources.

The temple opened its doors on Wednesday for the first time since the September 28 Supreme Court verdict that allowed women from the 10-50 age group to enter the famed shrine.

On Thursday, there was a dawn-to-dusk shutdown across Kerala called by outfits owing loyalty to Hindu groups and the BJP.

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