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‘Use of human shield wrong, but don’t overlook Kashmir Valley circumstances’




New Delhi, April 19:With the Indian Army facing flak for using a man as a shield against stone pelters in Jammu and Kashmir, a former chief has said the action was a violation of its code on human rights — but added that the “exceptional circumstances” in Kashmir valley should also be kept in mind.

Former army chief General V.P. Malik said one should keep in mind the “exceptional circumstances” under which the army was functioning in the violence-hit valley, while former Army Chief General Bikram Singh (retired) said though it was a violation it was a “one off incident — an aberration”.

Asked about the April 13 incident in which a Kashmiri was shown tied to the front of a army jeep, Malik said: “We have to first understand the exceptional circumstances which are prevailing in the Valley today… Exceptional in the sense of the kind of agitations, stone pelting, abusing and pushing of armed services people…”

“There is no doubt it was a violation of the Army code on Human Rights, but then I think when we look at his (the indicted army officer) offence and his misdemeanour, you have to take into account the circumstances in which he was,” Malik added.

“This is not a black and white case. If I was a Commander there, I would take into account all those circumstances.”

“This is an aberration, a one off incident, I am sure the Army will take corrective action… The Indian Army is a very big organisation which has always upheld the rule of law. The Army has been known for following the rules of engagement,” General Singh said.

“I really do not know under what circumstances the officer was compelled to adopt such a tactic. The facts will certainly come out in the inquiry already underway,” he said.

“Incidentally, the Indian Army is known to operate with a people-friendly stance even in situations marked by grave provocations,” Singh said, adding that the rules of engagement followed by the Indian Army have evolved from legal as well as moral constraints.

He also said “uncorroborated inputs” suggest that the officer through this tactic was able to extricate the voting booth staff with the Electronic Voting Machine on April 13, the day of re-poll ordered for 38 booths for the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat.

“I am told that about 350 stone-pelting locals had surrounded the election duty officials carrying the EVM and the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) protection party. Imagine what would have happened if the ITBP had opened fire in self defence?”

“There would have been a large number of civilian casualties. So, let’s wait for the inquiry to be over,” he added.

A video, shot on April 13 during re-polling in the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-polls was posted on social media last week showing a man, later identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar, being tied on the bonnet of an army jeep with a placard in Badgam.

The Indian Army is probing the incident.

An FIR has been registered by the Jammu and Kashmir Police against the security forces.

Malik said it was not a “good thing to happen”, but added, “You have to understand human nature. He (the army officer) was reacting to local circumstances. I would take all those things into account when you charge him for violation.”

Asked about the FIR, Singh said the law should take its own course.

“Law of the land is supreme and I am certain that this incident, like all other earlier reported human rights violations, will also be investigated impartially and in the backdrop of the circumstances and of course, the officer’s intent,” Singh said.

He added that India should not let Pakistan’s “game plan” to succeed in the Kashmir Valley.

“I would only like to remind all those who are gunning for the officer without even knowing the facts that we need to be mindful of Pakistan’s game plan and not allow it to succeed.”

“While upholding human rights we also have to ensure that our actions do not unnecessarily impinge on the soldier’s morale,” he added.



Second defence industrial corridor to come up in UP: PM



UP investor summit
Yogi Adityanath and PM Modi in UP Investor summit

Lucknow, Feb 21: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that the government would establish a defence industrial production corridor in Uttar Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore that would also generate 250,000 jobs.

“I am making an important announcement. In this year’s budget, we had announced that we will establish two defence industrial production corridors. One of them will be in Uttar Pradesh,” Modi said addressing the ‘Investors Meet’ here.

The event organised by the Yogi Adityanath government is aimed to showcase the investment opportunities in the state. Corporate honchos are attending the summit.

The Prime Minister said the decision was taken keeping in mind the developmental requirements of Bundelkhand region.

The corridor will link Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Chitrakoot, he said.

The government had earlier announced that it would develop two such corridors. The first of the two runs between Chennai and Bengaluru – connecting Kattupalli port, Chennai, Tiruchi, Coimbatore and Hosur.

Modi also praised the Uttar Pradesh government for curbing red tape and rolling out a red carpet for investors and taking decisions that have linked industrial development with employment generation.

“There is no dearth of resources and opportunities in Uttar Pradesh where you find ‘Lucknowi chikankari’, ‘Banarsi zardosi’, brassware of Moradabad and glassware industries of Firozabad,” Modi said.

He also asked the Uttar Pradesh government to compete with Maharashtra in achieving a target of one trillion dollar economy.

“I set this challenge before Uttar Pradesh to compete with Maharashtra and let us see who will become the first trillion dollar economy,” he said.

He said Uttar Pradesh today was the number one state in the production of grains, wheat, sugarcane, milk and potatoes in the whole country.

It is also the second largest producer of fruits and third largest producer of vegetables in the country.


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Canadian PM visits Golden Temple in Amritsar



Trudeau in Golden Temple
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau visits Golden Temple (Photo-ANI)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accompanied by his wife and two children, offered prayers at the Golden Temple on Wednesday, underlining the significance of the large Sikh and Punjabi community settled in Canada.

Trudeau and his family landed at the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport here from Mumbai and headed straight for the shrine to offer prayers.

Wearing an off-white kurta-pyjama and head covered with a “kesari” (saffron) headscarf, Trudeau entered the Golden Temple complex with wife Sophie, who was wearing a turquoise kurta, and their children, who were also wearing traditional Indian outfits.

Trudeau’s family members had their heads covered. Slogans of “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal” were heard as the Canadian Prime Minister and others entered the complex housing Sikhism’s holiest shrine.

Trudeau and his family members first went to to the “Langar Hall”, where thousands of devotees partake langar (community food) and also do “sewa” (voluntary service). The Golden Temple’s Langar Hall is the biggest community kitchen in the world.

Trudeau and his family sat down on small stools inside the Langar Hall to knead flour and roll chapatis.

The Canadian Prime Minister also did “parikarma” before entering the sun-soaked and glittering all-gold sanctum sanctorum. The family bowed before the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book that is considered as a living guru.

The Trudeaus touched their foreheads on the ground inside the sanctum sanctorum. They were given “Siropa” (traditional robe of honour) by the head priest inside the shrine.

Trudeau’s visit holds political and social significance in Canada as the country has a substantial Indian diaspora, a majority of them from Punjab.

Trudeau, who was accompanied by Canadian federal ministers Harjit Singh Sajjan and Amarjit Bains, had asked local authorities to let him and his family enjoy the spirituality of the Golden Temple during their visit.

He was received at the Golden Temple entrance by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Gobind Singh Longowal, along with Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

The leader is also expected to meet the Punjab Chief Minister,Prakash Singh Badal today.

Earlier, Trudeau was received at the airport by Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Tight security was in place in and around Amritsar for Trudeau’s visit. Government security agencies and SGPC volunteers formed a tight security ring around the Canadian Prime Minister and his entourage inside the shrine complex.

Hundreds of personnel of Punjab Police and other security agencies were stationed at the airport and on the road from the airport to the Golden Temple complex.

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India 7th most targeted nation for Web Application Attacks: Report



Web cyber attack

Bengaluru, Feb 21: Nearly 40 per cent of over 53,000 cyber attacks in India occurred in the financial services sector during 2017, placing it at the seventh spot in the list of targeted countries for Web Application Attacks (WAA), a new report said on Wednesday.

Security incidents like phishing, website intrusions and defacements, virus and ransomware targeted the rapidly growing of the Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) sector in India, warranting a robust infrastructure and planned roadmap for cybersecurity, said the report from content delivery network services Akamai Technologies.

“A key motive of attackers has always been financial profit. In the past few years, we have seen adversaries move to more direct methods to achieve that goal such as ransomware,” noted Martin McKeay, Senior Security Advocate at Akamai.

“Crypto-mining offers attackers the most direct avenue to monetise efforts by putting money immediately into their cryptowallets,” McKeay added.

The report, titled “Akamai State of the Internet Security Q4 2017,” also stated that the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack frequency in the BFSI sector increased by 50 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 over the last quarter.

It also placed India seventh in the list of the top source countries for WAA.

“While India maintained the same position in the third quarter last year, it is interesting to note that the attacks sourced have seen a drop of approximately four million in number as compared to last quarter,” the report said.

The newly-released data that analysed more than 7.3 trillion bot requests per month found a sharp increase in the threat of credential abuse, with more than 40 per cent of login attempts being malicious.

This indicates that DDoS attacks remain a consistent threat and the Mirai botnet is still capable of strong bursts of activity.

Akamai’s findings also confirmed that the total number of DDoS attacks last quarter increased 14 per cent from the same time last year.

“The hospitality industry suffered as the biggest target of fraudulent credential attacks, with 82 per cent of their login attempts being from malicious botnets, the report said.

The financial industry saw a sharp increase in the number of DDoS attacks, experiencing 298 DDoS attacks against 37 distinct organisations last quarter.

There was a 31 per cent increase in DDoS attacks sourcing from the US last quarter compared to the same timeframe in 2017, the report said.

With Inputs from IANS

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