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At-least 44 CRPF troopers killed in suicide attack on convoy

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Adil Ahmad, Jaish-E-Mohammed, CRPF Jawans, Kashmir Terror attack, Uri attack, Moulana Masood Azhar, CRPF soldiers, Pulwama, Jammu and Kashmir National news

Srinagar: In the worst ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in 1989, a suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his SUV packed with explosives into a CRPF bus on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Pulwama district, killing at least 42 troopers and leaving the security established stunned.

The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the horror and released a video clip of the suicide bomber, a ‘commander’ identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, which it claimed was shot before the young man carried out the strike in Lethpora, about 30 km from here.

While precise details of the attack were still unclear, police sources said the suicide bomber-driven SUV came along the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bus when a 78-vehicle convoy carrying 2,547 security personnel was going from the transit camp in Jammu to Srinagar and rammed it into the bus around 3.15 p.m., triggering a deafening explosion.

So devastating was the attack — one report spoke of 200 kg of explosives, including probably RDX, packed into the SUV — that the CRPF bus was left in a mangled heap, many of its occupants losing their limbs. The bus was transporting 39 troopers.

CRPF officials said the bus which was the main target of the militants was destroyed fully while another CRPF vehicle was partly damaged. “It is difficult to believe how anyone in that bus could have survived,” said a police officer.

Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Dilbag Singh said it could have been a suicide attack. This was confirmed by other officials later.

In a statement to a local news agency GNS, a caller claiming to be a spokesman of JeM said it was a ‘fidayeen’ (suicide) attack.

All the injured were shifted to the Army’s 92 Base Hospital in the Badamibagh cantonment of Srinagar city. Some of them were in critical condition.

 

Suicide bomber rammed SUV into CRPF bus, killing 44 troopers:

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in condemning the horror.

“The attack … is despicable. I strongly condemn this dastardly attack. The sacrifices of our brave security personnel shall not go in vain. The entire nation stands shoulder to shoulder with the families of the brave martyrs,” he tweeted.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who was to visit Bihar on Friday, is set to reach Srinagar instead. Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba cut short his visit to Bhutan to rush to Srinagar for a high-level security meeting on Friday.

“Today’s dastardly attack … is extremely painful and disturbing. I bow to each and every CRPF jawan who has sacrificed his life in service to the nation,” Rajnath Singh said.

All traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway came to an abrupt halt. Senior police and CRPF officers rushed to the spot for a post-explosion analysis.

An officer said the CRPF and police would carry out a detailed investigation to understand the circumstances in which the attack took place.

This is the worst single attack in Jammu and Kashmir since a nascent Pakistan-backed separatist campaign began in 1989. It is also the worst attack carried out by militants after the one on the Uri Army camp on September 18, 2016 left 19 soldiers dead — forcing New Delhi to launch ‘surgical strikes’ on terrorist camps in Pakistan.

Officials said the reason why so many CRPF personnel were on the move at one go was because the Srinagar-Jammu highway had been shut the past two days due to bad weather. The convoy left Jammu before dawn.

 

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Ayodhya LIVE: SC orders allotment of alternative land to Muslims for mosque

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The Supreme Court on Saturday pronounced its verdict in the politically sensitive case of Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute in Ayodhya. The five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, includes Justices SA Bobde, DY Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer.

The Ayodhya dispute, India’s longest-running historical, political and socio-religious debate, culminated on Saturday when the country’s Supreme Court ruled on the title suit of the 2.77 acre land in this Uttar Pradesh town that is claimed both by Hindus and Muslims.

There was unprecedented security in Uttar Pradesh as well as other parts of India with Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that the judgement would not be anyone’s ‘victory or defeat’ but ‘would give strength to India’s tradition of peace, unity and amity’.

Here are highlights from the verdict:

* Sharp at 10.30 am, the 5-judge bench assembled to read out the verdict.

* The bench dismissed the appeal of the Shia Waqf Board, pronouncing an unanimous verdict in the case. Shia Waqf board’s claim was over the disputed structure. Court says the land is held by the government, according to revenue records.

* SC said the disputed land was government land in revenue records.

* SC referred to the content of the lawsuit of devotee Gopal Singh Visharad — the first to approach court in 1950 — seeking right to worship at the site.

* Top court held that Nirmohi Akhara’s suit is barred by limitation, not a shebait or devotee of deity Ram Lalla.

* SC lent credence to the archeological evidence on the disputed site.

* SC said that terming the archeological evidence as merely an opinion would be a great disservice to the Archeological Society of India.

* The Apex court said the Babri mosque was not built on vacant land. The underlying structure was not an Islamic structure.

* Court said the fact that there lied a temple beneath the destroyed structure has been established by the ASI.

* ASI had not established whether temple was demolished to build the mosque.

* Hindus consider this place as birthplace of lord Ram, even Muslims say this about disputed place: SC

* Faith of Hindus that Lord Rama was born at demolished structure is undisputed: SC

* The existence of Sita Rasoi, Ram Chabutra and Bhandar grih are the testimony of the religious fact of the place: SC

* Title cannot be established on ground of faith, belief; they are kind of indicator for deciding dispute: SC

* Evidence suggests Hindus were in possession of outer court yard, says SC

* Extensive nature of Hindus worshipping at outer courtyard at site has been there: SC

* Evidence suggest Muslims offered Friday prayers at mosque which indicates they have not lost possession: SC

* Despite obstruction caused in offering prayers at mosque, evidence suggest that there was no abandonment: SC

* Iron railing was set up at site in 1856-1857, it suggests Hindus kept worshipping at the site: SC

* Muslims have not adduced evidence they were in exclusive possession of dispute site: SC

* Muslims were not in possession of outer courtyard of the site: SC

* UP Sunni Central Waqf Board has failed to establish its case in Ayodhya dispute: SC

* On the contrary, Hindus established their case that they were in possession of outer courtyard: SC

* SC directs allotment of alternative land — of 5 acres — to Muslims to build new mosque.

* Damage to Babri mosque was violation of law: SC

* SC asks Centre to frame scheme within 3 months and set up a trust for construction of a temple.

* SC dismisses plea of Nirmohi Akhara seeking control of entire disputed land.

* Possession of disputed 2.77 acre land will remain with central government receiver for the temple: SC

* Centre, UP govt can monitor together future actions by authorities: SC

* SC grants entire 2.77 acre of disputed land in Ayodhya to deity Ram Lalla.

* SC directs Centre and UP govt to allot 5 acre land to the Muslims at a prominent place for building mosque.

* SC asks Centre to consider granting some kind of representation to Nirmohi Akhara in setting up of trust.

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