Just over 24 hours ago she found out her family, from Bhutan, had been granted permanent residency in Australia after a lengthy legal battle.
“I’m still in shock,” Pelden tells Guardian Australia on Sunday morning from her home in Queanbeyan, New South Wales.
“We are just all so happy, and so happy to be out of this stress.”
She pauses, takes a deep breath and tries not to cry. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I still can’t believe it.”
Pelden and her husband, Tshering, and their sons Kinley Wangchuck, 18, and Tenzin, 17, were facing imminent deportation because of Kinley’s health issues. On Friday night they were given a last-minute reprieve by the immigration minister, David Coleman, who granted the family permanent residency.
The family have lived and worked in Australia since 2012, with Pelden studying and working in childcare and helping Kinley, who is deaf, to learn sign language and to receive care for his leaning difficulties. Tshering works in aged care and as a cleaner.
The department of home affairs stipulates that to meet the health requirement for permanent residency, applicants must be free from any disease or condition that is a significant healthcare and community service cost to the Australian community.
The family’s visa expired in April and they were facing imminent deportation. They first applied for permanent residency in 2015.
Pelden says she received an email from immigration on Friday saying the family had been granted permanent residency, but she did not see it until late on Friday night. She tried to call her migration agent to confirm it was true; being late, he did not answer the phone.
“My husband and I did not sleep at all Friday night,” she says. “We thought it might be a scam. And finally on Saturday morning we tried the agent again and he confirmed it was all real. We are just so happy, my sons are so happy.”
In Haryana, atleast 65 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) will be deployed with the State Police force to conduct polling in a free, fair and peaceful manner during General Elections to Lok Sabha-2019.
While disclosing this here today, Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) Manoj Yadava said that the Centre has already given its nod to give 65 companies to Haryana. Out of these, the first contingent of three companies of Border Security Force has already reached the state to help state police maintain law and order and two more companies would arrive very soon. The remaining companies of CAPF would reach Haryana after the fifth phase of polling. Apart from this, more than 50,000 cops of State Police force including Home Guards and Special Police Officers would also pressed into service to ensure proper law and order during election process in the state.
Mr. Yadava said that preparations are going on at every level to ensure fair and incident free Lok Sabha elections in the state. District police chiefs have been asked to identify sensitive and hyper-sensitive booths in their respective areas. This exercise would be over in a couple of days. However, the sensitivity of a particular area keeps changing depending on the local law and order situation, factionalism and criminal activities taking place in the area. “Our teams are constantly monitoring each and everything. Prior to the polling, BSF along with the state police force are also conducing flag march in the districts to build a sense of confidence, trust and security among the voters,” he added.
He said that Haryana Police is constantly in touch with the police in neighbouring states too to ensure prevention of possible trespassing by criminals and other anti-social elements.
“We have got a list of around 400 proclaimed offenders, bail jumpers from neighbouring states who belong to Haryana. Our police teams are constantly conducting raids to nab these criminals and dozens are being arrested every day including bail jumpers, parole jumpers and proclaimed offenders. Apart from this, the Special Task Force (STF) is efficiently and effectively functioning to deal with the organized crime,” he added.
He disclosed that based on intelligence and other inputs, Police have so far seized a total of 2,87,079 bottles of illicit liquor and more than 2920 kg narcotic substance including heroin, opium, poppy husk, ganja, smack and charas. Police teams also seized cash worth Rs. 76,42,540 since the Model Code of Conduct came into effect. He said that instructions have already been given for deposit of licensed weapons as a result of which 80,079 licensed arms have so far been deposited by the people in Police Stations across Haryana. In addition, Police has also seized 284 illicit and country made weapons and about 250 people have been arrested on the charges of possessing illegal weapons.
Mr. Yadava urged people to come out fearlessly and ensure maximum participation in polling as the State Police administration have made elaborate arrangements for free, fair and peaceful elections in the state.
It may be mentioned here that polling for 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana will take place in sixth phase on May 12, 2019.
The Election Commission of India today gave its permission to distribute cash award to sportspersons as per CWP No. 13674 of 2018 of Punjab & Haryana High Court and which was decided on December 7, 2018.
Disclosing this here today Punjab Chief Electoral Officer Dr. S. Karuna Raju said that the cash award to the winners of World Kabbadi Cup 2016 be distributed by Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Sports and Youth Services in his office, subject to condition that no wide publicity should be done by anyone to attract political mileage in any way.
रोहतक, 4 अप्रैल। भाजपा के राष्ट्रीय महामंत्री एवं प्रदेश प्रभारी डॉ. अनिल जैन ने कहा कि राष्ट्रवाद पर पार्टी कोई समझौता नहीं करेगी और भाजपा का केन्द्र एवं राज्यसभा में बहुमत आने पर जम्मू कश्मीर से धारा 370 हटाई जाएगी। उन्होंने कहा कि भाजपा ने पहले भी अपने चुनावी घोषणा पत्र में राम मंदिर निर्माण को लेकर वायदा किया था, लेकिन मामला अदालत में विचाराधीन है और भाजपा अभी भी राम मंदिर निर्माण के लिए कटिबद्ध है। उन्होंने कहा कि कांग्रेस ने जो चुनावी घोषणा पत्र जारी किया है कि वह देख की अखंडता व एकता को समाप्त करने व सेना का मनोबल गिराने वाला है, लेकिन भाजपा देश की एकता व अखंडता के साथ कोई समझौता नहीं होने देगी। वीरवार को भाजपा प्रदेश प्रभारी डॉ. अनिल जैन हुडा काम्पलेक्स स्थित पार्टी कार्यालय में पत्रकारों से बातचीत कर रहे थे। भाजपा राष्ट्रीय महामंत्री डॉ. अनिल जैन ने कहा कि प्रधानमंत्री नरेन्द्र मोदी पहले ऐसे प्रधानमंत्री है, जिन्होंने गरीबो के लिए शिक्षा व स्वास्थ्य के क्षेत्र में योजनाएं ही नहीं बनाई बल्कि उन्हें क्रियान्वित भी किया है। उन्होंने कहा कि कांग्रेस पार्टी द्वारा घोषित घोषणा पत्र आम आदमियों के हक में नही बल्कि आंतकवादी, अलगावादी और नक्सलवादियों के हक में है। डॉ. जैन ने कहा कि कांग्रेस पार्टी स्पष्ट करे कि वह देश के साथ है या अलगावादियों के साथ। उन्होंने कहा कि विपक्ष सेना के शौर्य पर सवाल उठा रहा है, जोकि गलत है। उन्होंने कहा कि किसी को भी सेना पर राजनीति नहीं करनी चाहिए। प्रदेश सरकार द्वारा साढे चार साल में किए गए कार्यो को लेकर भी डॉ. अनिल ने कहा कि मुख्यमंत्री मनोहर लाल के नेतृत्व में सरकार ने पूरी पारदर्शिता से कार्य किया है। जबकि पूर्व में भूमाफिया, दबंग और लुटराज स्थापित करने वाली सरकारें थीं। लोकसभा चुनाव प्रत्याशियों को लेकर उन्होंने कहा कि जल्द ही पार्टी के उम्मीदवारों की घोषणा कर दी जाएगी। लोकसभा चुनाव में केन्द्रीय मुद्दो के साथ साथ प्रदेश का विकास भी प्रमुख मुद्दा होगा। उन्होंने कहा कि हरियाणा में मुख्यमंत्री मनोहर लाल ने लो प्रोफाइल में काम करने वाली सरकार दी, जिससे प्रत्येक वर्ग पूरी तरह से संतुष्ट है। उन्होंने कहा कि पहले पर्ची के आधार पर नौकरी बंटती थी, लेकिन भाजपा ने योग्यता के आधार पर युवाओं को नौकरियां दी है। उन्होंने कहा कि भाजपा के पास प्रत्याशियों की कोई कमी नहीं है और होमवर्क पूरा करके केन्द्रीय चुनाव समिति के पास नाम भेजे गए है और जल्द ही घोषणा कर दी जाएगी। पार्टी कार्यकत्र्ता व जीतने वाले प्रत्याशी को मैदान में उतारा जाएगा। हरियाणा में लोकसभा का प्रत्याशी बनने के लिए हर किसी ने उनसे सम्पर्क किया है और रोहतक की सीट सबसे पहले भाजपा के खाते में आएगी। भाजपा संगठन के आधार पर चुनाव लड़ती है और बूथ से लेकर पन्ना प्रमुख तक पार्टी पूरी तरह से मजबूत है। इससे पूर्व लोकसभा चुनाव की तैयारी को लेकर पार्टी पदाधिकारियों की बैठक हुई, जिसमें बूथ स्तर से लेकर मंडल स्तर तक पदाधिकारियों से विचार सांझा किए गए। इस अवसर पर भाजपा प्रदेशाध्यक्ष सुभाष बराला, मुख्यमंत्री के मीडिया सलाहकार राजीव जैन, विधायक एवं प्रदेश भाजपा मीडिया प्रभारी उमेश अग्रवाल, जिलाध्यक्ष अजय बंसल, जिला मीडिया प्रभारी शमशेर खरक प्रमुख रूप से मौजूद रहे।
The PGIMER here on Thursday received a donation of Rs. 20 lakh for the Eye Bank Society, PGI, Chandigarh from Jagminder Singh Bawa, President-Region India, Vibracoustic Noida Private Limited, under the corporate social responsibility fund.
Donations to the Eye Bank Society, PGI, Chandigarh are exempted under Section 80G (5) (vi) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
A formal programme was held at the Director’s office in the presence of Prof. Jagat Ram, Director, PGI, Chandigarh, Mr.Amitabh Avasthi, Deputy Director (Admn), Mr.Kumar Abhay, Financial Advisor, Prof. M. R. Dogra, Prof. A. K. Jain, Prof. Amit Gupta and Mr. Jagminder Singh Bawa, President-Region India, Vibracoustics.
The Advanced Eye Centre, PGI, Chandigarh has assured the firm that this financial assistance will help strengthen the working of the Eye Bank, PGI and will subsequently reduce the patient waiting list. Most of these patients suffering from corneal blindness in the waiting list belong to the economically weaker sections of society from all over North India.
At present, the Eye Bank at PGI is collecting 800-850 eyes and around 500 Cornea transplants are being done annually. To improve the overall efficiency of the Eye Bank and to adopt the best practices, the Eye Bank urges Corporate Groups and individuals to make donations so that the existing patient waiting list at PGI can beminimized and the surplus tissue can be given to the nearby Hospitals.
Aawaz Party launches ‘Suno Sunao, Mudda batao’ campaign to get their manifesto
North India Kaleidoscope Bureau
Chandigarh Ki Aawaz Party is the first to kickstart their election campaign in a unique mode. Led by Avinash Singh Sharma, CAP’s Lok Sabha candidate for Chandigarh, the party’s key leaders visited Jai Mata Kinner Mandir in Bapu Dham with their ‘Suno Sunao, Mudda Batao, Apne Chandigarh ka manifesto khud banao’ Campaign.
As a part of the campaign, CAP leadership
has asked the people to join them in framing the Manifesto for Chandigarh for
upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
Talking to media, Mr. Sharma said that most of the politicians hear people’s issues and problems before framing their manifesto and include these as well but they do so without suggesting the solution or roadmap of the solution. CAP would be the first party of the region to discuss the solution part also and include it in “our” Manifesto.
The national convenor of the party, Kamal Kishore Sharma said that in a democracy a representative is supposed to work for the people but leaders tend to forget their promises upon election success.
CAP plans to mandate that the representative works as per people’s issues and promises made by an advance Affidavit given by the candidate himself.
For the first time, while filling the nomination form, CAP candidate Avinash Singh Sharma would also sign an Affidavit which would be given to the Chief Electoral Officer. This Affidavit would explicitly mention that Mr.Sharma would work as per the Manifesto and spend the MPLAD and other funds on public issues. The working of Mr. Sharma, if elected, would be made public quarterly and there would be a Referendum after two years to assess the working of the candidate. If 50 per cent of the public is not happy with the candidate’s work, he would be bound to resign as per this affidavit.
Kamal Sharma also explained how the
expenses incurred on this Referendum would be borne by the candidate himself
and only the voters of 2019 election list would be eligible to vote in
Referendum after 2.5 years.
This seems to be a paradigm shift in politics as suggested by CAP which aims to make politicians and leaders more accountable. It is worth mentioning that the same party and same Mr Avinash Singh Sharma has earlier raised the issues of Lal Dora, Chandigarh Housing Board ownership rights, need-based changes and other issues to ensure justice to the common man of Chandigarh.
Pakistan has returned an Indian pilot who had become the face of the worst military crisis between the two countries in decades, in a gesture aimed at demonstrating its willingness to de-escalate the conflict.
Wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who was shot down during the first publicly acknowledged dogfight between the countries in 48 years on Wednesday, was returned to India at the Wagah border crossing in Punjab on Friday evening.
Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, had announced his impending release in parliament on Thursday, calling it a “peace gesture”.
The pilot’s homecoming sparked jubilation in India. Large crowds gathered near the border post cheering, dancing and waving Indian flags in scenes broadcast live on major TV news channels, who counted down the hours to Varthaman’s return throughout the afternoon and evening. A Bollywood filmmaker has already applied to copyright the movie title Abhinandan.
Varthaman’s return had been scheduled for the afternoon but was delayed for hours without explanation, leading TV anchors to speculate something may have gone wrong. At around 9.15pm Indian time, he appeared on the Pakistan side of the border crossing, straight-backed and wearing a blue blazer and grey trousers.
The diminutive iron gates on both sides of the border slid open and Varthaman strode out onto the no-man’s land in between. For a moment soldiers from both sides came face-to-face. Varthaman shook the hand of an Indian officer, and another took him by the waist and walked him onto Indian soil. The two gates were slammed shut behind him.
India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, tweeted:
Varthaman’s parents flew from Chennai to Delhi on a midnight flight on Thursday, where they received a standing ovation from passengers. They drove to Amritsar, the closest city to the Wagah border, soon after touching down in the capital.
Around the time he was crossing the border, Islamabad released what appeared to be a heavily edited video in which Varmathan recounts his capture, praises the way he was treated and criticises the Indian media. “The Indian media always exaggerates. They embellish the smallest thing, present it as if on fire, and people fall for it,” the footage shows him saying in Hindi.
The fate of the pilot had become a major concern in India after a series of videos were released showing him being beaten by a mob near his crash site and then interrogated by Pakistani officers while blindfolded and wearing a bloodied uniform. He gave his name, rank and religion, but when prompted for more, calmly replied: “I’m sorry, sir, that’s all I’m supposed to tell you.”
The footage was widely circulated on WhatsApp and social media and broadcast nationally in both countries, including on India’s stridently nationalistic evening talk shows.
Pakistan appeared to seize on Varthaman’s potential to be a circuit breaker in the conflict by the evening, releasing a video showing the detainee drinking chai, saying he was being treated well and lauding his captors as “thorough gentlemen”. “The tea is fantastic,” he added.
India had lodged an official complaint about the “vulgar display” of the prisoner in the videos and demand his immediate return without conditions.
Kashmir, a Himalayan region the two countries claim in full but rule in part, has been the trigger for three India-Pakistan wars since 1947. The pair regularly trade mortar fire over the heavily guarded line of control separating the two armies, including on Friday as Varthaman was being repatriated.
The stakes of the latest flare-up have been heightened by an impending general election in India and the introduction of social media and cable news in both countries, which have created new and influential public lobbies.
False news and videos including of pilots killed or injured in earlier accidents and supposed footage of India’s strike on Pakistan that later turned out to be a clip from a video game were also widely circulated.
Modi, who is currently campaigning for re-election, trumpeted the strikes against Pakistan from the hustings on Friday.
“From 2004 to 2014 there were several terror attacks,” he said, speaking at a rally in Tamil Nadu state. “The nation expected perpetrators to be punished but nothing happened … Today, we are in an era where the news reads: armed forces have full freedom to do what they want.”
Varthaman’s release on Friday was lauded as a “titanic win for India” by more jingoistic elements of the country’s media, but Khan’s announcement puts pressure on Delhi to reciprocate in a way that eases tensions before it is has necessarily achieved its strategic goals.
The current crisis was sparked by a 14 February suicide bombing by a Pakistan-based militant group in the disputed region of Kashmir that killed 40 Indian paramilitaries.
Indian jets flew more than 50 miles inside Pakistan to strike what Delhi has said was a militant training centre in reprisal, the first attack on undisputed Pakistani territory since a war between the countries in 1971.
Indian government officials said on Thursday the attack was intended to raise the costs for Pakistan of continuing to allow jihadi groups to operate with free rein on its soil. India has previously practised “strategic restraint” in response to attacks by Pakistan-based militants, including a four-day bombing and shooting operation in Mumbai in 2008 that killed or injured nearly 1,000 people.
India wants Pakistan to take verifiable action to show it is cracking down on Islamist militia groups, an issue it says Islamabad has sought to distract from by creating the impression the two nuclear-armed countries are on the brink of war.
Pakistani jets struck Indian territory near Kashmir’s ceasefire line on Wednesday morning. Both countries say they shot down an opposing jet in the ensuing aerial combat, including Varthaman’s, which landed in Pakistan-held territory.
The clashes led to the closure of airspace across Pakistan and northern India, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded as airlines cancelled flights to the region or scrambled to find alternate routes.
Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, was asked by CNN on Thursday night if his country would arrest Mahmood Azhar, the leader of the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which claimed responsibility for the attack on the Indian paramilitaries. “According to my information he is very unwell,” Qureshi said. “He is unwell to the extent he cannot leave his house.”
India has given Pakistan a dossier of evidence on the involvement of Azhar and JeM in the plot. Qureshi has said he would examine the dossier but told CNN that India needed to “give us evidence which is acceptable to the courts of Pakistan” before it arrested the militant leader.
Pakistan has not explained why more evidence than JeM’s claim of responsibility would be necessary.
The country’s climate change minister, Malik Amin Aslam, told Reuters on Friday he planned to lodge a complaint against India at the UN, claiming its airstrikes had destroyed pine trees in a forest reserve. “What happened over there is environmental terrorism,” Aslam said.
Haryana Urban Local Bodies Department has started several online services for industries through HEPC (Single Window Clearance Portal) and appealed the industrialists to make maximum use of online services to avail benefits of different schemes of the Department.
stating this here today, a spokesperson of the Department said that
through online system, the industrialists can know the status of their
application besides obtaining different certificates through online
said that the services being provided online include approval of
building plan, issuance of business licences, approval of fire fighting
scheme or fire N.O.C, information of outstanding property tax and
issuance of occupation certificate.
Welcoming the directions given by the Supreme Court regarding the ‘misadventure’ of the Haryana Government in piloting the Punjab Land Preservation (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the State Assembly recently, the State President of Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), Ashok Arora has demanded the immediate resignation of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar.
In a statement, he recalled that during the current Vidhan Sabha session, while speaking on the Governor’s address, legislators of the INLD had criticized the Government’s move to bring in the proposed amendment to the PLPA Act but their protests and warnings were brushed away.
He said that it was a brazen act of the Khattar regime to ignore the pleas and arguments of the INLD, other political parties and environmentalists and therefore has been aptly rapped by the Supreme Court.
The warning of the Court that any further step in that direction will invite contempt of court is timely and will provide relief and hope to all. He added that the remarks of the Supreme Court that it appeared that the said amendment had been carried out to oblige a chosen few friends of the Government were an indictment of the manner in which this Government has been working.
Mr.Arora also reminded that not too long ago the Supreme Court had expressed astonishment at the fact that a private mining company with interests in Dadam, Bhiwani had bypassed all administrative norms and directly approached the Chief Minister who had no hesitation in entertaining his plea. Thus, he concluded, the Khattar Government was guilty of serial offences as far as promoting crony capitalism in the State was concerned.
He further accused the BJP of showing scant respect for the environment and ecology of the State by insensitively promoting builders and destroying forest cover. He pointed out that as it is the State barely has a forest of about 3 per cent of its area and that is why it is imperative that it is nursed properly so that ecological balance is maintained.
He asserted that in recent years the BJP dispensation has been using al fair and foul means to bull doze its agenda through the legal and constitutional checks and balances even if it is to give relief to builders and real estate agents.
Giving preferential treatment to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in matters of reservation in Government jobs, the Punjab Cabinet led by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday decided to go in for a constitutional amendment for the same,
The proposed amendment
relates to insertion of Clauses 15 (6) and 16 (6) in the Constitution of India,
vide the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019.
Following the amendment, a 10 percent reservation would be provided to the residents of Punjab belonging to EWS, who were not covered under the existing scheme of reservation for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and Backward Classes, and whose families had gross annual income below Rs 8 lakhs.
The reservation will be
provided in direct recruitment to groups A, B, C and D posts in the
Departments/Boards/Corporations/Local Bodies of the state. Family for this
purpose will include income from all sources i.e. salary, agriculture,
business, profession etc ,and it will be income for the financial year prior to
the year of application.
Also persons whose family
owns or possesses any of the assets – 5 acres of agriculture land and above,
residential flat of 1000 Sq. ft and above, residential plot of 100 sq. yards
and above in notified Municipalities and residential plot of 200 sq. yards and
above in areas other than the notified Municipalities – will be excluded from
being identified as EWS, irrespective of the family income. The income and
assets of the family would be required to be certified after verifying all
relevant documents as may be specified by the Government.
The Cabinet also authorized the Chief Minister to approve framing, amendment and issue of any rules/notifications/instructions, as may be required, to give effect to this resolution.
To mark the
commemoration of the 550th Parkash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the Punjab
Cabinet has approved upgradation of the historic towns of Batala, Kapurthala
and Abohar as Municipal Corporations, thus fulfilling a long-pending demand of
the residents of these border areas.
The decision was
taken during the Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder
Singh this morning.
The move is aimed at sprucing up the existing infrastructure in the historic towns of Batala and Kapurthala as part of the 550th Parkash Purb of the first Sikh Guru and strengthening the urban infrastructure in Abohar.
would go a long way in ensuring the holistic development of these towns with
best civic amenities, road connectivity and city transport services to the
residents, thereby improving their quality of life. With the upgradation of
three towns as Municipal Corporation, the Government would ensure proper
devolution of funds to various departments and agencies for the overall
development of these towns.
With this, the
number of existing 10 Municipal Corporations across the state has now gone up
Pakistan’s army has warned it will respond to India’s aerial bombing over the disputed border in Kashmir, telling Delhi: “It is your turn now to wait and get ready for our surprise.”
Pakistan’s foreign ministry has summoned India’s top diplomat in Islamabad to protest against the pre-dawn airstrike on what India called a terrorist training camp, while India has accused Islamabad of shelling the disputed region in an “unprovoked” violation of the 2003 ceasefire.
Tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours have escalated in recent weeks with the killing of 40 Indian security personnel in a suicide bombing, and now Tuesday’s airstrike – the first such attack by India since it went to war with Pakistan in 1971.
India’s foreign secretary, Vijay Gokhale, called the attack “a pre-emptive strike” after receiving credible intelligence that the militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which was behind the recent suicide bombing, was training fighters for similar attacks at the site.
Imran Khan, the Pakistani prime minister, said India’s claim that it had hit a terrorist training camp at Balakot was “a self-serving, reckless and fictitious claim”.
“This action has been done for domestic consumption in the election environment, putting regional peace and stability at grave risk,” Khan said, referring to India’s general election which starts in two months.
Pakistan’s armed forces spokesman, Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor,said a joint session of Pakistan’s parliament would be held on Wednesday, followed by a meeting of the National Command Authority, whose responsibilities include overseeing the country’s nuclear arsenal.
The attack was celebrated in India, but it was unclear on Tuesday whether anything significant had been struck by the fighter jets, or whether the operation had been carefully calibrated to ease popular anger over the 14 February suicide bombing without drawing a major Pakistani reprisal.
Pakistan, which was the first to announce the incursion, said the war planes made it up to five miles inside its territory before they were rebuffed, dropping their payloads without casualties or damage.
Ghafoor, tweeted on Tuesday morning that the Indian jets had dropped their bombs in an empty forested area. “No infrastructure got hit, no casualties,” he wrote.
Tuesday’s attacks followed nearly a fortnight of sabre-rattling between the pair over the southern Kashmir suicide bombing, in which India has claimed Pakistan had a “direct hand”. JeM is based in Pakistan but Islamabad has rejected any responsibility for the attack.
Gokhale said Indian jets struck JeM’s largest training camp in the Balakot area, claiming a “very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis being trained for fidayeen [suicide] action were eliminated.” The facility, which he described as being in thick forest on a hilltop, was far away from any civilian settlements,overseen by the brother-in-law of the JeM chief, Masood Azhar, he added.
Significantly, Balakot is in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, about 50 miles from the line of control and well into accepted Pakistan territory. An attack there would represent an escalation from previous Indian reprisals.
“It changes the game significantly by raising the costs for Pakistan,” said Khalid Shah, a research fellow at the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation.
Islamabad released pictures on social media showing uprooted trees and cratered soil, which it claimed was the extent of the damage from the Indian bombing.
Local media in Pakistan as well as Reuters quoted residents of Balakot who said they heard four to five blasts overnight which damaged homes and left large pockmarks in the ground.
The conflicting narratives over the attack echo India’s claims in September 2016 it sent special forces to destroy militant facilities over the ceasefire border – an attack that Pakistan still maintains never happened.
The opposing positions allowed India to trumpet its reprisal against Pakistan without forcing Islamabad to respond in a way that might spiral into a larger conflict.
Indian ministers lauded the airstrikes. “It was an act of extreme valour,” said Prakash Javadekar, the human resources development minister, in the first official acknowledgement of the operation.
Another minister, Vijay Kumar Singh, posted a picture on Twitter of an eagle with a snake in its talons. “They say they want to bleed India with 1,000 cuts,” he wrote. “We say that each time you attack us, be certain we will get back at you, harder and stronger.”
Despite Pakistan downplaying the impact of the attacks, Khan, whose successful election campaign last year featured strident promises to stand up to India, could still face popular pressure to respond.
“Strategically, it is a disaster for Pakistan that India can keep doing this,” said Mosharraf Zaidi, a political analyst and columnist, referring to both Tuesday’s attack and the September 2016 strikes. “What does it say about Pakistan’s red lines that countries like India can keep violating our airspace or claim they have carried out surgical strikes?”
Sherry Rahman, a Pakistani senator and former ambassador the US, said the attack was aimed at Indian PM Narendra Modi’s re-election. “India is giving its own people a message with these strikes; this is for their electorate, the domestic voters.”
While exchanges of artillery and light weapons over the line are very common, intentional incursions by aircraft have not been publicly acknowledged since the two countries fought a war in 1971.
Military planes could be heard over Srinagar, the capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, in the early hours of Tuesday morning. There has been a large troop buildup in the region in recent days and doctors have been advised to cancel leave and stockpile medicines.
Several convoys of trucks carrying heavy artillery were being transported on highways to northern Kashmir towards the line of control. Both India and Pakistan were trading heavy mortar fire across the ceasefire line on Tuesday night.
More than 300 Kashmiri separatist activists have been detained in recent days. Hours after the attack on Tuesday morning, officers from the National Investigation Agency raided the Srinagar homes of two veteran separatist leaders, Yasin Malik, who was among those detained at the weekend, and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
India’s prime minister has warned Pakistan it will pay a “heavy price” for a suicide bombing in Kashmir that killed at least 40 paramilitaries on Thursday, the deadliest attack in a 30-year guerrilla war in the region.
No official death toll has been announced but two senior police sources in Kashmir have said at least 40 security personnel died in the blast.
The bombing was claimed by the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed and immediately sparked calls for retribution against Islamabad from across Indian politics and media.
“Our neighbouring country, which has been isolated internationally, thinks such terror attacks can destabilise use, but their plans will not materialise,” Modi said, telling an audience in Delhi that security forces had been given “complete freedom” to respond.
India’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, said there was incontrovertible evidence that Pakistan had “a direct hand in this gruesome terrorist incident” and that all diplomatic measures would be taken to isolate the country.
He said Pakistan’s most favoured nation status, a guarantee of equal treatment in trade negotiations, had been revoked – a largely symbolic gesture given the relatively small $2bn bilateral trade relationship between the countries.
The White House urged Pakistan in a statement “to end immediately the support and safe haven provided to all terrorist groups operating on its soil”.
Pakistan’s foreign ministry said it rejected “any insinuation” that it was linked to the attack, and summoned India’s deputy head of mission to Islamabad.
Jaish-e-Mohammed, whose leader Masood Azhar lives freely in Pakistan, was founded in 2000 and has been implicated in several major attacks in India including the bombing of the country’s parliament in 2001. There was a lull in its activity after the 11 September 2001 attacks when the Pakistani government cracked down on the group.
But it has re-emerged in recent years, carrying out attacks in India including on a Punjab state airbase in January 2016, and nine months later, on an army base in Uri near the ceasefire line with Pakistan.
The Uri attack killed 19 and prompted the Indian government to announce it had carried out “surgical strikes” to destroy militant camps inside Pakistan-controlled Kashmir – a measured response that salved public anger without igniting a wider conflict.
Control of the Himalayan region, one of the most militarised places on earth, is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both. China administers a smaller patch in the east.
A full-blown revolt against Indian control of Kashmir bolstered by Pakistani and Afghani fighters raged throughout the 1990s but waned after negotiations between Delhi and Islamabad.
It has been replaced by a low-level insurgency waged largely by young Kashmiris disillusioned with India’s failure to accommodate popular calls for greater autonomy or independence for the region.
Thursday’s attacker was identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, 20, a mason who joined the militancy in March last year. In a video released after the attack, Dar said he was avenging human rights violations and warned that more killing would follow.
Both the ruling Bharatiya Janata party and the main opposition Congress cancelled all political events on Friday. Indians will vote in general elections starting in April, increasing the pressure on Modi to find a carefully calibrated response.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Kurukshetra in Haryana on Tuesday and he will participate in Swachh Shakti- 2019. He will also inaugurate and lay foundation stone of several development projects in Haryana.
He will distribute the Swachh Shakti-2019 awards and visit the Swachh Sundar Shauchalay exhibition at Kurukshetra and address a public gathering.
Swachh Shakti-2019 is a national event to be attended by women Panches and Sarpanches from across the country. It is expected that 15,000 women will take part in Swachh Shakti event this year. The event is aimed at empowering women.
First edition of Swachh Shakti programme was launched from Gandhinagar, Gujarat by Mr. Modi on International Women’s Day. The next edition was Swachh Shakti-2018 from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and now the third edition is being inaugurated from Kurukshetra to empower the women.
Dedication to Nation of National Cancer Institute, Bhadsa, Jhajjar
The National Cancer Institute is the state of the art Tertiary Cancer care cum Research Institute, constructed at the AIIMS Jhajjar campus. The 700 bed hospital, will have different facilities like surgical oncology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, anaesthesia, palliative care and nuclear medicine, besides hostel rooms for doctors and attendants of cancer patients. The NCI will be the nodal institution for all activities related to cancer in the country and will have linkages with regional cancer centers and other cancer institutes within the country. As India’s premier institute of cancer, NCI, Jhajjar is responsible for identifying priority areas for Research & Development carrying out basic and applied research in molecular biology, genomics, proteomics, cancer epidemiology, radiation biology and cancer vaccines.
Inauguration of ESIC Medical College & Hospital, Faridabad
will be the first ESIC Medical College and Hospital in North India. The
510 bedded Hospital will have state of art facilities. ESIC, under the
Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt. of India provides social
security to the insured persons and their beneficiaries, especially to
worker population and their dependents
Laying of foundation stone of National Institute of Ayurveda, Panchkula
National Institute of Ayurveda, Panchkula is being set up at Shri Mata Mansa Devi Temple Complex in Panchkula. It will be a national level institute for Ayurveda treatment, education and research. Once completed, it will be highly beneficial for the residents of Haryana and other nearby states
Laying of foundation stone of Sri Krishna Ayush University, Kurukshetra
Krishna Ayush University is the first University related to Indian
system of medicine in Haryana as well as the first University of this
kind in India
Laying of Foundation stone of ‘Battles of Panipat Museum’, Panipat
museum will honour the heroes of the various battles of Panipat. The
Museum is in line with the Union Government’s initiative to honour the
unsung heroes of India, who have contributed greatly to nation building.
Laying of Foundation Stone of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay University of Health Sciences, Karnal
Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay University of Health Sciences, Karnal.
These measure are expected to give a boost to educational, health and cultural facilities in Haryana.
The Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in association with the Haryana government is organizing the Swachh Shakti-2019. Best practices from grass root level in the rural areas for Swachh Bharat will be shared by them. The event will showcase the achievements of Swachh Bharat and the recently conducted Swachh Sunder Shauchalay, (neat and clean toilet) – a unique and first of its kind in the world campaign.
The fad for true-crime documentaries continues with this investigation into the grisliest and most unpunished true crime of all. In the course of a mammoth, horribly absorbing four-hour film from Charles Ferguson we are immersed in a world of milky TV news footage, big lapels, bulbous combovers, dirty tricks, sweat, jowls and guilt. It was a time when the nation learned its president had compiled a deadly serious “enemies list” that included Paul Newman. This was the time when the US felt its face get covered by a five o’clock shadow of shame.
America’s Watergate ordeal lasted from the first break-in at the Democratic party headquarters in Washington DC on 28 May 1972, and lasted until 8 August 1974, with Richard Nixon’s blandly impenitent resignation, tendered in return for a promised presidential pardon from his successor Gerald Ford, exempting him from the criminal prosecution that put his co-conspirators behind bars.
Yet Ferguson doesn’t need to labour the point that Watergate carries on still, with the aftermath of its central mythological moment: the appointment of a special prosecutor to examine Watergate, Archibald Cox, whose existence was supposed to appease the press until the media storm blew over. But it didn’t. And then Nixon fired Cox, which simply made matters worse.
The current incumbent is all too clearly aware of the Nixonian model of bad faith and is learning from it. Don’t fire your special prosecutor – but wait, wait, wait, until the mood changes, wearied and muddled by endless denigration and chaotic pronouncements. Nixon barked his boorish insults and grotesque bigotries into secret tapes; Trump megaphones them via Twitter. Perhaps Trump has also studied that other teachable moment from the Watergate era when, at the end of the Yom Kippur war, Nixon took the nation to Defcon 3, the highest state of nuclear readiness, in a quarrel with the Soviet Union over its ships supposedly bringing nuclear weapons into Egypt. The details have never been made available. But the moment passed and the public stayed stubbornly interested in Watergate.
What an extraordinary story it is. Weirdly, though, Ferguson doesn’t spend that long on the central mystery: why on earth did Nixon install the tape recording machines in the first place, making what the formidable congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman compares to “mafiosi wiretaps”? Nixon may have been inspired by the fact that Lyndon B Johnson did the same thing (although Ferguson doesn’t mention this); he clearly intended to release those tapes or transcripts that put him in a good light and later may also have wished to undermine hostile witnesses by revealing tapes that showed a discrepancy between the recordings and their sworn testimony. But mostly he was just a paranoid control freak, an OCD bully who loved stockpiling material that could be used against his enemies, and did not foresee the blowback. The Watergate break-ins were, after all, a bugging expedition.
Ferguson gives us the nastiest moments from the tapes – the obscenities and antisemitic rants – and dramatises key scenes with actors, chiefly Douglas Hodge as Nixon himself. There is a weird fascination in those conversations between Nixon and chief of staff Bob Haldeman and domestic affairs advisor John Ehrlichman, in which they exchange bland statements, each suspecting the other of an incriminating trap. The resulting dialogue sounds like a cross between Beckett and Mamet.
As for Ferguson’s interviewees, there is White House counsel John Dean, who, although up to his armpits in the cover-up, got a reduced sentence in return for being a vital prosecution witness – the Henry Hill of 20th-century politics. He appears before the cameras here like a greybeard lawyer or academic, almost as if he was on the same team as Woodward and Bernstein. Good ol’ boy Nixon strategist Pat Buchanan also appears, cheerfully confident that he is not in the frame. The big no-show is of course Henry Kissinger, about whom there appears never to have been any question of involvement, a remarkably atypical example of Kissinger avoiding the inside track.
Some stars of the Watergate era were unknown to me before this film, particularly Barbara Jordan, the first African American woman from the south to be elected to the House of Representatives, who made a blazingly influential speech at the House judiciary committee hearings during Nixon’s impeachment proceedings. In the end, Nixon fell because of democratic opposition, especially from Republicans. Even sabre-toothed rightwinger Barry Goldwater was appalled at the consequences of the president’s squalid and pointless burglary. That, too, is a lesson waiting to be learned.