Archive for ‘India alert’


Indian opposition stages giant joint rally to oust Modi

KOLKATA, India (Reuters) – India’s main opposition parties joined forces against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday at a rally which attracted hundreds of thousands of people months ahead of elections.

The 23 regional groups said they forged a common front to stop Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, which beat the main opposition Congress and regional parties in 2014.

Rural anger over weak farm prices and sluggish job creation mean Modi’s BJP faces a tough challenge to stay in power after electoral losses in three key states last month.

Hundreds of thousands of people flocked to Kolkata from rural Bengal for the rally, bringing disruption to the city.

Mamata Banerjee, chief minister of the state of West Bengal, called on regional party leaders to join a single platform to defeat the “anti-people” government of Modi, which the 64-year-old said was “nearing its end”.

A poll last month by ABP News forecast Modi’s party could fall about 25 seats short of a majority in national elections and Banerjee is among the few opposition leaders who could emerge as a prime ministerial candidate if the BJP loses.

Regional parties hold the key as they dominate the eastern states of West Bengal, Odisha, and the southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, which together send 161 members to the 543 constituencies of parliament’s lower house.

Missing from Saturday’s lineup was Rahul Gandhi, president of the main opposition Congress party and leaders of the left parties, reflecting tensions among opposition parties on who would be their prime ministerial candidate against Modi.

Gandhi sent his representatives and a letter of support.


After the formation of a strong alliance between Samajwadi and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) last week in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 members to the lower house, Modi’s party faces a risk of losing elections, Banerjee said.

Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi, said Modi had failed to fulfil his promises including job creation.

“Modi had promised to create 20 million jobs a year but after a faulty launch of national sales tax and demonetisation in 2016 more than 10 million jobs were lost,” he said.

India’s unemployment rate hit 7.4 percent in December, highest in 15 months, while the number of people employed fell by nearly 11 million from a year ago, a report by the Mumbai-based Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, said this month.

Politicians at the rally, whose organisers said was attended by more than a million people, said India’s growth had slowed during Modi’s term and their first priority was to defeat him, adding a replacement would be decided after the elections.

The BJP dismissed the prospects of an opposition alliance, questioning who would lead such a coalition.

Modi is expected to detail a package worth more than 1 trillion rupees ($14 billion) in his last budget on Feb 1, including benefits for farmers and other taxpayers.

Source: Reuters


From pariah to demi-god – transgender leader a star at massive Indian festival

PRAYAGRAJ, India (Reuters) – In a desert tent guarded by armed police and a thick-set bouncer, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi is blessing a constant stream of pilgrims, who garland her with marigolds and kneel to touch her feet.

Tripathi, a tattooed transgender leader and a former reality TV star, has become an unlikely icon at India’s Kumbh Mela, a huge religious festival being held on the banks of the Ganges river in the city of Prayagraj. Up to 150 million people are expected to attend by the time the festival ends in March.

On Tuesday, her religious movement, called the Kinnar Akhada, became the first transgender group to bathe at the confluence of the holy Ganges and the Yamuna rivers on the first day of the ancient festival, traditionally reserved for reclusive Hindu priests, almost all of whom are men.

“After centuries down the line, it was when the community finally got its due,” Tripathi told Reuters, seated on a pedestal next to her Michael Kors bag, juggling calls on an iPhone.

Many at the festival cheer Tripathi for reclaiming the lost place in Hinduism for India’s “third gender”, known as the hijras, worshipped as demi-gods for thousands of years, but ridiculed and sidelined during British colonial rule.

A law passed in 1871 classed the hijras as “criminals”.

Little changed after independence and hijras were pariahs, living in tribes, begging or soliciting for sustenance and harassed by police.

It was only in 2014 that the Supreme Court officially recognised transgender people as a third gender.

Tripathi is one of the best known. But her support for building a controversial Hindu temple on the site of a demolished mosque has angered some in the LGBT community, who allege she is courting support from India’s powerful religious right to further her own influence.


The place of hijras in Indian culture dates back to the Ramayana, a more-than 2,000 year-old Hindu epic poem venerated and performed across India.

In the text, the god-king Ram is exiled from the holy city of Ayodhya, with the entire kingdom following him into the forest. He orders them to turn back, but returning after 14 years, finds the hijras waiting for him in the same spot. Impressed by their devotion, he grants them the power to invoke blessings and curses on people.

For centuries, though their lives were far from easy, hijras held a special role in India’s royal courts, tasked with guarding harems and rising to influential positions.

Today, despite their legal recognition, many still face prejudice in what is a conservative country, forced into sex work or seeking alms at weddings and births, a long-held practice among hijras. Hate crimes against them are common and HIV prevalence within the community is many times higher than the general population.

“The ritual seeking of alms is now seen as begging,” said Anindya Hajra, a transgender activist at the Pratyay Gender Trust. “It criminalises and pushes an already vulnerable community to its very brink.”


Born in 1979 in Thane, a suburb of India’s financial capital Mumbai, Tripathi says she had a difficult childhood scarred with abuse by a close relative. A sickly child who was bullied at school for being feminine, she grew in confidence after learning Bharatanatyam, a classical Indian dance.

“I chose not to remember the prejudice,” she said. “Rather I think (about) the good things that have happened to me, and be a flamboyant rainbow.”

Long recognised as one of the most influential figures in the LGBT community in India, she become famous across the country when she appeared on reality TV show “Bigg Boss” in 2011. She was a petitioner in the landmark court ruling that recognised transgender people.

In 2015, she founded her Akhara and began a campaign to have hijras represented at the at the first “Shahi Snan”, or royal bath, of the Kumbh Mela.

“It all started to reclaim the lost position in the dharma,” Tripathi said, referring to the Hindu cosmic law underlying correct behaviour and social order. “I was not very religious until 2015 – life changed.”


Devout Hindus believe bathing in the waters of the Ganges absolves people of sins and doing so at the time of the Kumbh Mela, or the “festival of the pot”, brings salvation from the cycle of life and death.

At the festival, 13 religious orders, or Akhara, set up camp on the banks of the Ganges.

The umbrella body overseeing the Akharas initially refused to recognise the Kinnar Akhara as the 14th order.

But Tripathi has forged close bonds with the largest of the other holy orders at the Kumbh Mela, the Juna Akhara. They agreed to bathe together.

On the first royal bathing day on Tuesday, Tripathi rose at 4 a.m., dressed in a saffron sari and applied her makeup. She and her dozens of disciples then began the long procession to the river on a fleet of elaborately decorated trucks.

At the banks of the Ganges, they waited for their turn to bathe. Tripathi met with Hari Giri, the leader of Juna Akhara.

Her Kinnar Akhara “was there, is there, and will always be there”, Giri told Tripathi.

Shortly after sunrise, she plunged into the waters, to the cheers of the crowds who gathered to watch.


Tripathi has courted controversy with support for the building of a temple dedicated to Ram on the site of a former mosque in Ayodhya which was demolished by hardline Hindus in 1992, leading to riots in which thousands died.

Many Hindus claim the mosque was built over an ancient temple that marked the birthplace of Ram, and the row is expected to be a major issue in a general election due to be held in the country by May. Many activists of India’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have been agitating for the construction of a temple at the site, alarming the country’s sizeable Muslim minority.

“There has been an attempt by the right to co-opt trans voices to suit a certain version of history,” said Hajra, the activist. “Our apprehension is also that some are trying to further (their) own personal career moves.”

A letter signed in November by hundreds of transgender people and rights groups accused Tripathi of fuelling “the right-wing politics of communal hatred”.

She is unrepentant.

“Where my Lord Ram was born, there the temple has to come,” she said. The Mughals “brought (the temple) down and then they enslaved us all”, she said, referring to the Muslim emperors who ruled India in the 16th and 17th century.

Tripathi plans to spend the rest of the Kumbh festival at her Akhara, receiving visitors among her colourful band of followers, who have little in common with the holy men living monastic lives in the other camps.

“We are not celibate,” she said. “We are demi-gods, not saints. We have our own rules.”

Source: Reuters


PM Modi calls ‘grand alliance’ a coalition of dynasts, corruption

n a video address to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) booth level workers in Goa, the PM slammed the ‘mahagathbandhan’ and said that it is a “coalition of dynasts, corruption, inefficiency and inequality”.

SNS Web | New Delhi | 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday targeted the opposition parties who attended the so called ‘United India’ rally in Kolkata a day before. In a video address to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) booth level workers in Goa, the PM slammed the ‘mahagathbandhan’ and said that it is a “coalition of dynasts, corruption, inefficiency and inequality”.

Ye mahagathbandhan ek anokha bandhan hai. Ye bandhan to naamdaaro ka bandhan hai. Ye bandhan to bhai-bhativaaj ka, bhrashtachaar ka, ghotalon ka, nakaaratmakta ka, asthirta ka, asamaanta ka bandhan hai. Ye ek adbhut sangam hai (This mahagathbandhan is a strange association. This tie-up is an association of dynasts. This association is a coming together of corruption, scams, inefficiency, uncertainty and inequality. This is a strange confluence),” the PM said.

During the interaction, the PM said that while the parties who attended the so called ‘United India’ rally had formed an alliance with each other, the BJP has allied with the people of the country.

“They’ve formed alliances with each other. We’ve formed alliance with 125 crore countrymen. Which alliance do you think is stronger?” he said expressing confidence in the victory of his party in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to be held in a few months.

The PM said that the leaders present at the rally were either the sons of influential people or were trying to propel their own children.

“They’ve ‘dhanshakti’ (power of wealth), we’ve ‘janshakti’ (power of the people),” he said.

Accusing the Congress of indulging in corruption, the PM said that “truth cannot be hidden for long” referring to the goof up made by Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) leader Sharad Yadav who termed Bofors as a scam instead of Rafale while attacking the BJP.

Jis manch se ye log desh aur loktantra ko bachane ki baat keh rahe the, usi manch par ek neta ne Bofors ghotale ki yaad dila di. (From the platform where they were talking about saving the country and democracy, one leader reminded the people of the Bofors scam),” Modi said.

Aakhir sacchai kab tak chupti hai. Kabhi na kabhi to sach bahar aa hi jaata hai, jo kal Kolkata mein hua (After all, how can truth remain hidden. The truth always comes out, which happened in Kolkata),” Modi said.

Slamming the leaders who demanded that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) should not be used in the upcoming general elections, the PM said that the parties had already started making excuses for their defeat.

“EVM is being made a villain. It’s natural that every political party wants to win the polls, but it’s worrisome when some parties take public for granted. They consider public stupid and so keep changing colours,” the PM lashed out.

National Conference (NC) chairman Farooq Abdullah had during the rally called the EVM a “chor machine” claiming that it steals votes. He had urged other political heavyweights at the rally to collectively approach the Election Commission and the President of India to call for the replacement of the EVM with ballot paper system for the sake of transparency.

Read More | United India rally: Opposition leaders collectively call for ouster of BJP, PM Modi at Brigade Ground

Later in the day at a press conference, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who organised the massive anti-BJP opposition rally, announced that a committee comprising Abhishek Manu Singhvi (Congress), Akhilesh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Satish Mishra (Bahujan Samaj Party) and Arvind Kejriwal (Aam Aadmi Party) will submit its recommendations regarding the use of EVMs to the EC.

Source: The Statesman

Modi govt past its expiry date, says Mamata Banerjee, hosts mega opposition rally

“Oust Modi,” was the leitmotif of speeches at the rally, held ahead of the Lok Sabha elections this year. “The country is waiting for a new Prime Minister,” said Akhilesh Yadav as he arrived at the venue.

LOK SABHA ELECTIONS Updated: Jan 19, 2019 16:41 IST

HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Opposition rally,Mamata rally,Mamata Banerjee
Mamata ended her speech with “BJP hatao, desh bachao and Jai Hindh, Vande mataram” chant.(Twitter/@AITCofficial)

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party said the BJP must be “defeated at any cost in 2019,” while the Congress’s Abhishek Manu Singhvi warned against allowing a division of votes, also saying, “A rainbow of 22 parties is replacing dark clouds.”

“Send Modi home, save the country,” said 12th speaker M K Stalin of the DMK, speaking in Tamil. “Modi has realised that defeat is certain,” he said, also adding that he has “no personal animosity against Modi, but oppose his policies.” Stalin accused PM Modi of converting “the country into a private limited company of which he is the MD.”

Stalin invoked poet Rabindra Nath Tagore; Hardik Patel talked about Subhash Chandra Bose. In the audience are singers, poets and personalities from the Bengali film and television industry.

Read: ‘Testing times for democracy’: Opposition slams NDA govt at Mamata rally

Among other leaders on stage are former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) chief H D Deve Gowda and is son and Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumarasway, former Maharashtra CM and ex-Union minister Sharad Pawar and former Arunachal Pradesh CM Gegong Apang and Omar Abdullah of the National Conference Party and his father Farooq Abdullah.

Mamata Banerjee is using the show of strength to emphasise her position as an important leader as opposition parties attempt to build a united front to take on the ruling BJP in the general election this year, when PM Modi will seek a second term.

Read: At Mamata’s rally ‘Shotgun’ Sinha stops short of endorsing her as PM

As the BJP swept the parliament elections in 2014, reducing the Congress to its lowest ever tally of 44 seats, Mamata Banerjees party had bagged 34 of Bengal’s 42 Lok Sabha seats, emerging as the third largest party. This year, Mamata Banerjee has set her eyes on winning all of Bengal’s seats to ensure hers is the largest team in Parliament among all regional parties.

“Who is their leader? This is just an anti-Modi exercise and the people of the country can see through it,” said the BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy said at a press conference in Delhi, asserting, “People have seen the performance of the Narendra Modi government … We will form the next government with full majority.”

Source: Hindustan Times


United Opposition Rally in Kolkata: Who said what

Leaders from at least 20 Opposition parties are addressing Mamata Banerjee’s United Opposition Rally; here are some of the top quotes from the mega event in Kolkata

SNS Web | Kolkata | 

Tens of thousands of workers and supporters converged on the Brigade Parade ground in Kolkata on Saturday to attend West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee’s mega anti-BJP rally organised to raise voices against the Narendra Modi-led NDA government. Leaders from at least 20 Opposition parties are present at the United Opposition Rally.

Mamata Banerjee reached the venue almost an hour before the rally was scheduled to begin.

Here is what some of the speakers at the rally.

Gegong Apang, former Arunachal Pradesh CM: “The people in Delhi are diving the country, especially the Northeast. The Citizenship Amendment Bill is an example how a political party is dividing the country.

“I have been fortunate enough to work under Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, P.V. Narsimha Rao, H.D. Deve Gowdaji, who is present here, Atal Bihari Vajpayee. All those people believed in federal democracy. But the last four years have been testing time for Indian democracy.

Source: The Statesman


Manmohan Singh: India’s ‘accidental PM’ biopic causes stir

  • 18 January 2019
The Accidental Prime MinisterImage copyrightTHE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER
Image captionVeteran Bollywood actor Anupam Kher plays Manmohan Singh in the film

Manmohan Singh was one of India’s longest serving prime ministers and widely regarded as the architect of the country’s economic reforms. But critics say a new Bollywood biopic months before a general election reduces him to a caricature. Sudha G Tilak reports.

In The Accidental Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh sits in a garishly decorated office. He looks befuddled when he takes orders from Sonia Gandhi, then president of the Congress party which was in power at the time.

The film, critics say, could have been an engaging exploration of the career of one of India’s most enigmatic leaders.

Instead, many see it as a hatchet job on Mr Singh and Congress. One called it a “bad propaganda film”.

According to veteran Bollywood actor Anupam Kher, who plays Mr Singh, the filmmakers “worked hard to make a big epic homage to a man, scholar and politician, who is misunderstood, or rather hardly understood”.

That evaluation of Mr Singh as barely understood isn’t wide of the mark.

But few agree the film, based on the memoirs of Mr Singh’s media adviser Sanjaya Baru, does him justice.

Mr Singh – who is now 86 – served two terms as PM from 2004-2014. A former academic and bureaucrat, he kept a low profile and rarely gave interviews.

His surprise appointment capped a long and illustrious career – a master’s degree at Cambridge University and a DPhil in Oxford; stints with the UN and Asian Development Bank; chief of India’s central bank; and finance minister.

But oratory and political savvy were never his strong points. In fact he never had to win an election – he was a member of India’s upper house of parliament, whose members are elected indirectly.

Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Rahul Gandhi during a meeting.Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionCritics believed that Mr Sigh (centre) was never fully independent of Mrs Gandhi (right)

Many believe that in the end, Mr Singh was undermined by his own party.

The film is so-named because he was catapulted into the PM’s job in 2004 when Sonia Gandhi turned down the post, despite having won the election. She did so apparently to protect the party from damaging attacks over her Italian origin.

But Mr Singh was never able to fully shake off the perception that it was Mrs Gandhi who was in charge, not him.

Mr Baru wrote in his memoirs that the famous “Delhi diarchy” – Mr Singh running the government and Mrs Gandhi managing the party – failed during the government’s second term, and stifled Mr Singh’s independence.

Although he earned a reputation as a man of great personal integrity, Mr Singh’s second term was marred by a string of corruption scandals. That, say many, was partially responsible for the crushing electoral defeat by the BJP in 2014.

It’s not that the biopic doesn’t appear to hold promise. It has a brisk, documentary-like feel and it has drawn audiences.

The Accidental Prime MinisterImage copyrightTHE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER
Image captionCritics have said the film is populated by lookalikes of politicians

But unimpressed critics have been lining up to pan it.

One found the film “shockingly bad and shoddy… There is a complete absence of any art or craft in its making”.

Another wrote that Singh is “portrayed as a spineless cry-baby and his many achievements as prime minister go unacknowledged, except for the Indo-US nuclear deal”.

Columnist Vir Sanghvi wrote that the film is a “convenient peg on which to hang the anti-Congress narrative which was already current when Manmohan Singh was the PM”.

Critic Shubhra Gupta agreed, saying it was no accident the film was out now, with polls “around the corner”.

Even some Sikh leaders have had a go – Mr Singh, after all, was the first Sikh to hold the country’s top post. One community leader spoke out against the “facetious portrayal” of a prime minister who made the “community and the country proud”.

BJP leader RP Singh then defended the depiction, saying Mr Singh never really took a stand for the community.

The Accidental Prime MinisterImage copyrightTHE ACCIDENTAL PRIME MINISTER
Image captionAkshaye Khanna plays the role of Mr Singh’s media adviser

Political biopics are rare in India and its politicians rarely countenance candid portrayals: a film critical of the Emergency, imposed by Mr Singh’s party in 1975, was banned for example.

The strongest defence of The Accidental Prime Minister has come from Akshaye Khanna, who plays the pivotal role of journalist-turned-media adviser Sanjaya Baru.

“If you make an authentic political film, which talks of real people and real events, in a politically conscious country like India, it is but natural that people will react to it in different ways and there will be a collage of opinions.

“That’s to be expected and if it didn’t happen, I would have been disappointed,” he said in an interview. “But at the end of the day, it’s just a film, not an earthquake or a tsunami, so let us not get too carried away.”


Saving a river: Pollution in India’s holy Ganges makes it toxic

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Ganges river, holy to most Indians, flows from the western Himalayas down to the Bay of Bengal through crowded cities, industrial hubs and some of the most populated areas in the world.

The river begins as pristine, clear waters in the icy heights of the tallest mountain range in the world. But pollution, untreated sewage and use by hundreds of millions of people transform parts of it into toxic sludge by the time it reaches the sea, about 2,525 kilometres downstream.

Personified by Hindus as the goddess Ganga, the river is the site of thousands of cremations and ash scatterings every day. The Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a nearly $3 billion five-year plan to clean up the river by 2020, but Reuters found last year that only a tenth of the funds had been used in the first two years of the project.

A Reuters team that investigated the state of the holy river has compiled data and photographs to portray its condition.

(Click here for the interactive graphic

The government maintains it is on track to clean up the river.

Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said last month that the Ganges will be 70 percent to 80 percent clean within three months and 100 percent clean by March 2020. He did not give details on how the government had arrived at the figures and did not respond to requests for further comment.

Source: Reuters


US, India discuss potential missile defence cooperation: Pentagon

The Pentagon’s announcement in the 81-page ‘Missile Defence Review’ report released by US President Donald Trump gains significance in view of India placing a USD 5 billion order to purchase S-400 air defense system from Russia, for which the US has publicly expressed its displeasure.

INDIA Updated: Jan 18, 2019 14:51 IST

The Trump administration has discussed a potential missile defence cooperation with India as part of its effort to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership, the Pentagon has said, asserting that New Delhi is a “key element” in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy.(AFP/DRDO/Representative Image)

The Trump administration has discussed a potential missile defence cooperation with India as part of its effort to deepen the bilateral strategic partnership, the Pentagon has said, asserting that New Delhi is a “key element” in America’s Indo-Pacific strategy.

The Pentagon’s announcement in the 81-page ‘Missile Defence Review’ report released by US President Donald Trump gains significance in view of India placing a USD 5 billion order to purchase S-400 air defense system from Russia, for which the US has publicly expressed its displeasure.

Noting that the threats posed by offensive missile capabilities are no longer limited to a few regions around the world, the Pentagon in its report said there were now a number of States in South Asia that are developing an advanced and diverse range of ballistic and cruise missile capabilities.

“Within this context, the United States has discussed potential missile defence cooperation with India. This is a natural outgrowth of India’s status as a Major Defence Partner and key element of our Indo-Pacific Strategy,” said the Pentagon report on Thursday.

The report, which identifies missile development projects by Russia and China as major threats to the US, did not give any further details about its potential missile defence cooperation with India.

The US has shown reluctance to offer its missile defence system to India.

Given the tough neighbourhood that India is in, New Delhi several years ago had approached US and expressed its desire to acquire a missile defence system from it, particularly the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system popular as THAAD.

The previous Obama administration was not very forthcoming in sharing its advance missile defence system with India, following which New Delhi went ahead to procure it from Russia.

As part of its Indo-Pacific strategy, the Trump administration now seems to be more than inclined to let India procure its missile defence system with talks between the two countries having already started.

“We will deepen our strategic partnership with India and support its leadership role in Indian Ocean security and throughout the broader region,” said the 2017 National Security Strategy of the US, which has been mentioned in the Pentagon report.

The Missile Defence Review report said that the cornerstone of US’ security and diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific region is its strong bilateral alliances with Japan, South Korea and Australia, and emerging security relationships with others such as India.

Japan and South Korea are working with the US to build missile defence systems that are increasingly interoperable with American defences and increasingly capable against regional offensive missile threats and coercion.

This cooperation includes bilateral missile defence training exercises with the US.

Australia participates in a trilateral discussion on missile defence with the US and Japan. The US and Australia meet annually to discuss bilateral missile defence cooperation. New areas of focus include joint examination of the challenges posed by advanced missile threats, it said.

Source: Hindustan Times


Second grenade attack in Srinagar in 24 hours as terrorists target CRPF

Militants toss a grenade at a CRPF bunker in Lal Chowk area, 24 hours after a similar attack on policemen at Srinagar’s Zero Bridge

Statesman News Service | Jammu | 

Within 24 hours of a grenade attack in which three policemen were injured in Srinagar, terrorists on Friday tossed another grenade at a bunker of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in the busy Lal Chowk area in the heart of the city.

However, no one was injured in the attack.

In another incident, terrorists tossed a grenade at the Police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) camp in the Gagran area of Shopian district in South Kashmir.

The three attacks come days ahead of Republic Day celebrations in the country.

On Friday afternoon, the terrorists lobbed a grenade at a CRPF bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk. Officials said the grenade exploded on the roadside, adding that no one was injured.

A private car parked on the roadside and a shop in the vicinity were partly damaged due to the explosion.

On Thursday, militants hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge in Srinagar on Thursday, injuring three policemen.

Meanwhile, security forces have started a search operation in Pulwama district following information about militant presence. They have cordoned off Gulshanpora village in Tral area.

Source: The Statesman


Meghalaya miners: Drone locates one body in flooded Indian mine

Divers use a pulley to enter a coal mine that collapsed in Ksan, in the northeastern state of Meghalaya, India, December 29, 2018.Image copyrightREUTERS
Image captionThe miners have been trapped since mid-December

Indian navy divers have found the body of a worker who was trapped with 14 others inside a flooded coal mine in the north-eastern state of Meghalaya.

The men had entered the illegal pit, known as a “rat hole”, on 13 December, and were trapped when floodwater from a nearby river poured in.

An underwater drone (ROV) first detected the body at a depth of 160ft (48m), the navy said.

The fate of the other trapped miners is unclear.

The navy added that the body would be brought out from the mine under the supervision of doctors.

The Indian Navy gave some details of the operation in a series of tweets early on Thursday.

Source: The BBC

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