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2 killed in Pak shelling on 22 border posts, 13 villages

JAMMU: In a major escalation, Pakistani troops on Saturday indulged in heavy "unprovoked" shelling and firing on 22 border outposts and 13 villages, killing two civilians and injuring six others, including a BSF jawan, along the International Border in Jammu sector.

Over 3000 people living in border hamlets have been evacuated to safe areas under a contingency plan, enforced on Saturday after the latest ceasefire violation by Pakistan soon after midnight targeting the entire border belt of Arnia and R.S. Pura as well as Hamirpur sub-sector in Poonch.

BSF troops took positions and responded with equal calibre weapons to Pakistani firing which resulted in heavy exchange of fire till 0700 hours today, a senior BSF officer said.

"Pak Rangers resorted to heavy shelling of 82mm mortars and firing of automatic weaponry on 22 BoPs and civilian areas along IB in Arnia and R.S. Pura sub-sectors of Jammu district from 0030 hours today," the officer said.

In Jora farm, Akram Hussain and his son Aslam were killed and three other family members were injured when a Pak shell exploded inside their house after tearing the roof, said Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO), R.S. Pura, Devender Singh.

This was the heaviest unprovoked and indiscriminate firing and shelling by Pak Rangers this year along IB in Jammu frontier in violation of the 2003 ceasefire agreement, he said.

Pakistan troops also violated ceasefire twice on Saturday by resorting to heavy firing with automatic and small arms along Hamirpur sub-sector at the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, forcing Indian troops to retaliate strongly.

There was a heavy onslaught of 82mm mortar shells by Pakistan Rangers on at least 13 border hamlets, triggering panic among the people living along the IB.

Six persons including a BSF jawan, were also injured and 5 houses suffered damaged, security officials said.

Singh, who led the evacuation and rescue operation, said firing and shelling has taken place in the entire border belt of Arnia and R.SPura.

The shelling targeted villages of Sia, Jordha farm, Treva, Nikowal, Pittal, Pindi, Top-2, Gari, Gharana, Abdullian Korotana, Korotana Khurd and Vidhipur Jattan.

Among the injured are Ajay Chowdhary of Korotana Khurd and Rani Devi of Vidhipur Jattan, besides a BSF jawan.

"At least 3000 people from seven to eight villages, falling within firing range of the Pakistani troops, were evacuated by the district administration in view of their safety and shifted to safe shelters," Shant Manu, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu Zone, said.

They were housed in safe shelters in the Government High School, Rangpur, in Basspur Bungalow and theGovernment Industrial Training Institute (ITI), R.S. Pura. These two government buildings were among the accommodation identified by the district administration to protect civilians from Pakistan firing as part of the contingency plan.

Administration and police official were camping in R.S. Pura and have made arrangements for accommodating the border villagers, he said.

The heavy firing and shelling comes after the discovery of a possible cross-border tunnel from PoK along the LoC at Chalka post in Pallanwala sector of Jammu district yesterday.

There have been 16 ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in nearly a fortnight and 18 this month. PTIBack







SC refuses to postpone UPSC preliminary exam

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Saturday refused to postpone the UPSC preliminary examination.

"You raised only questions on comprehension part that has already been removed and the defect has been remedied," the apex court told the petitioner.

Nine lakh students are ready to appear in the exam and it cannot be postponed, the court said, while dismissing the plea of a Civil Services aspirant.

Notifying the new marking scheme for the Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2014 in line with the government's decision not to count the marks for English comprehension section of Paper II for gradation, the UPSC has asked the examinees to leave the questions in this section unanswered as they would not be evaluated. The two-hour duration of the paper, however, would remain unchanged.

"The maximum marks for Paper II would be '200 minus the marks earmarked for the English language comprehension skills (Class X level)'," the UPSC said in a press release. The English comprehension skills section, with its eight-nine questions, carries 22.5 marks.

The Union government had, in a recent decision aimed at resolving the row over the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) pattern introduced in 2011, announced that the marks for English section of Paper II should not be included for gradation or merit. It had also said that an extra attempt be granted to all those who had taken the Civil Services examination in 2011, to reappear in 2015. PTIBack










Five killed, 15 injured in bus-car collision

CHANDIGARH: Five persons including a NRI couple were killed and 15 injured when a Delhi-bound luxury bus from Dharamsala collided with a car here today. Three occupants of the ill-fated car were badly charred as the vehicle caught fire after the collision near a traffic signal in Chandigarh's Sector 45 here, Assistant Superintendent of Police (South) Urvija Goel said.

Three persons, two of whom hailed from Himachal Pradesh and one belonged to Rewari in Haryana, were travelling in the ill-fated car and they got trapped in the burning car after the accident.

The traffic signals were in a blinker mode at that time, Goel said.

Police said that a UK-based NRI couple Kavita and Rupesh, who hail from Himachal Pradesh, were also killed when the bus turned turtle after the collision.

The injured were rushed to a government hospital in Sector 32 here where the condition of a nine-year-old girl was said to be critical.

Goel said that a case under various Sections of the IPC has been registered against the driver of the Himachal Roadways bus, Surinder Singh.

Singh also got injuries and was admitted in the hospital, she added. -PTI


















Ajay Yadav to head Campaign committee, Jindal publicity comm

NEW DELHI: Haryana Minister Ajay Yadav, who had resigned from Bhupinder Singh Hooda government sometime back but later withdrew it, was today made chairman of the campaign committee for the poll-bound state while Naveen Jindal was appointed as chairman of the publicity committee.

The campaign committee has senior leader Kiran Chaudhary as its co-convenor and Dilu Ram Bazigar as convenor.

Chief Minister Hooda, PCC Chief Ashok Tanwar, former union minister Kumari Shelja, former PCC Chief Phool Chand Mullana, lone party MP in Lok Sabha from Haryana Deepender Singh Hooda, Shadi Lal Batra, Shruti Chaudhary, AICC spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala and Jindal were among the 40 members of the Haryana Pradesh Election Campaign Committee announced today.

The Haryana Pradesh Publicity and Publication Committee headed by Jindal has Ajay Sharma as convenor and seven other members including Deepender Hooda.

AICC General Secretary Janardan Dwivedi said that the Congress President Sonia Gandhi has approved the Haryana Pradesh Congress Campaign Committee and Publicity and Publication Committee.

The party has taken care to represent various sections in these committees of the faction-ridden Haryana state unit where elections are due in few months.

Haryana is first among the four states where elections are going to be held this year.

A number of Congress leaders in Haryana have left the party and joined BJP and INLD in last few months.

Ajay Yadav had also announced his resignation from the Hooda Ministry but was made to withdraw it after leadership's intervention, which resolved the "minor issues".

While Deepender Hooda, son of the Chief Minister, has been represented in both the committees, known detractors of Bhupinder Singh Hooda have also been accommodated.

The leadership has some time back ruled out the change of guard in the state amid demands from a section of state leaders that the party should not fight the next polls under his leadership. PTI



















Speaker defends decision on LoP, says SC made no observations against her

INDORE: A day after the Supreme Court decided to interpret the provision of Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said today her denying LoP's post to Congress was based on rules and tradition and that the apex court had made no observation against her.

"The Supreme Court has questioned the Centre on the issue of Lokpal's appointment in the absence of LoP and the Attorney General will inform the court about the government's stand. It has made no observation against the Speaker," She told journalists.

She defended her decision of not according LoP's status to the leader of the Congress party in the House for want of numbers.

"I have taken the decision afters studying the rules and traditions and after taking experts opinion on the issue.

No opposition party has more than 55. Till date the rule that a party should have a minimum of 10 per cent seats in the House (for being accorded the status of LoP) has not changed," she said.

In any case, Mahajan said, the Opposition exists in the Lok Sabha and is doing its work properly except for the fact that there is no Leader of Opposition.

The Speaker also said in 1980 and 1984 there was no Leader of Opposition in the House because no party had the required strength.

In a significant development, the Supreme Court had yesterday decided to go into the issue of interpreting the provision of LoP in Lok Sabha in the matter of selection of statutory bodies when there is no recognised LoP.

Asking the government to make its stand clear within two weeks, a bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha had emphasised the importance of the post saying Leader of Opposition conveys the voice of representation different from government in the House.

The government had to put on hold the appointment of a new chief of Central Information Commission yesterday due to the absence of LoP in the selection committee, leaving the transparency watchdog headless for the first time since its inception in 2005. PTI



















Bindra withdraws from cricket affairs, DP Reddy takes over

CHANDIGARH: After a career spanning nearly 36 years as cricket administrator, Inderjit Singh Bindra decided to withdraw from the cricket affairs and in his place PCA Vice President and senior IAS officer, DP Reddy today took over with immediate effect today.

The Executive Committee (EC) of the PCA met at PCA stadium at Mohali today where the two decisions were taken.

According to PCA Secretary M P Pandove, the EC met to consider the request received from 70-year-old Bindra, regarding his unavailability to discharge the day-to-day responsibilities of the PCA affairs and his inability to attend to the administrative works of the Association, especially in view of the works relating to upcoming new PCA Stadium at Mullanpur.

Bindra requested the Executive Committee to make alternate arrangements to discharge the duties of the President.

Pandove said the Executive Committee placed on record its immense appreciation for the works done By Bindra and unanimously decided to appoint 56-year-old DP Reddy to discharge the duties of the President.

The Executive Committee also discussed the proposal of the Secretary to summon the Extra Ordinary General Body Meeting to make relevant amendments, in tune with time, to the Memorandum and Articles of the Association and authorised the Pandove to call the meeting at an appropriate time.

The Executive Committee discussed and decided to appoint various sub-committees and Incharge of various activities for the successful conduct of the CLT-20 to be held next month. PTI














Messi's FB post on Israel-Gaza conflict stirs controversy

JERUSALEM: Soccer star Lionel Messi has been dragged into the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, two weeks after the Argentinian wrote in a Facebook post that he was "deeply saddened" by the loss of young lives with a photo of an injured Palestinian boy.

Israeli social media users have exhorted Messi to acknowledge the death of Daniel Tregaron, a four-year-old Messi fan who was killed yesterday by a mortar fired from Gaza.

"As a father and a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, I am terribly saddened by the images coming from the conflict between Israel and Palestine, where violence has already claimed so many young lives and to injure countless children," Messi wrote in his Facebook post.

Tregaron was the first Israeli child to be killed since the beginning of the Operation Protective Edge on July 8.

Messi also plays for the Qatar Airways-sponsored FC Barcelona.

Daniel's images on social media show him wearing a Messi jersey.

Seeking a response from Messi, Israelis shared photos of the four-year-old in his Messi jersey, and tagged the soccer player.

"Hey Leo Messi, take a look at that boy, wearing the national jersey of the best player in the world," Liran Cohen wrote in a Facebook post yesterday, tagging Messi and FC Barcelona.

On Twitter, Lior Vaknin, along with many other Israelis, shared photos of Tregerman, also making sure to tag Messi.

"Daniel was killed by a terror organisation your team's #1 sponsors is sponsoring," a post read.

"The mortar that killed Tregerman was fired by Hamas, the terrorist organisation that rules Gaza.

The Strip has been a recipient of generous donations from Qatar", said another.

At least 2,097 Palestinians have been killed while on the Israeli side 68 people have died so far. PTI











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