QBullet: PM Modi Meets Sultan of Oman; Sunjwan Attack Toll Rises
Here are the top stories of the day.
1. Terror Attack on Jammu’s Sunjwan Army Camp Toll Rises to 9
A day after the pre-dawn strike by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorists at the camp of the 36 Brigade of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry at the Sunjuwan town of Jammu, the death toll touched nine on Sunday with the recovery of the bodies of three Army personnel, one civilian and a terrorist.
As the gun-battle entered the second day on Sunday, one terrorist was eliminated, while three jawans – Havildar Habibullah Qureshi, Naik Manzoor Ahmad and Lance Naik Mohd Iqbal – and a civilian, identified as the father of Lance Naik Iqbal, were killed on Sunday, an Army spokesman said.
"During the operation, the Army killed four terrorists, donning Army combat dress and carrying AK-56 assault rifles, a large quantity of ammunition and hand grenades. The terrorists were holed up inside the family quarters in the camp," defence spokesman Lt Col Devendra Anand said.
2. In Oman, PM Takes on Congress Over Graft
"No one can accuse my government of corruption," PM Narendra Modi declared on Sunday while addressing a gathering of 34,000 Indians in Oman's capital, Muscat, the last stop in a tour that has taken him to Jordan, Palestine and the UAE.
Speaking at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex from a royal box that is used by the sultan – becoming the first foreign dignitary to do so – Modi said he has ensured that the trust people have reposed in him was not bruised, remarks which are significant amid Congress's relentless bid to intensify attacks on the PM and his government over the Rafale deal.
Modi said that while preceding regimes had to explain embezzlement of taxpayer money under their watch, his government is being asked how much money has flowed into the exchequer.
3 71 Killed as Russian Passenger Jet Crashes near Moscow, Burning Debris Seen Falling from Sky
A Russian passenger plane carrying 71 people crashed near Moscow on Sunday after taking off from the capital’s Domodedovo airport, killing everyone on board.
The Antonov An-148 plane operated by the domestic Saratov Airlines was flying to Orsk, a city in the Urals, and crashed in the Ramensky district on the outskirts of Moscow.
“Sixty-five passengers and six crew members were on board, and all of them died,” Russia’s office of transport investigations said in a statement.
News agencies said witnesses in the village of Argunovo saw a burning plane falling from the sky. President Vladimir Putin offered “his profound condolences to those who lost their relatives in the crash,” his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
4. Asma Jehangir: a Symbol of Resistance, a Votary of Peace
She braved death threats, beatings and imprisonment to win landmark human rights cases while standing up to dictators.
Asma Jehangir was the country’s symbol of human rights and resistance and a fierce opponent of military dictators for over four decades. She was also a vocal advocate of India-Pakistan peace and was part of several ‘Track 2’ delegations to India.
Born in Lahore on 27 January 1952, Jehangir had a prominent career both as a lawyer and a rights activist. After obtaining a law degree from the Punjab University in 1978, she started her career as an advocate at the judiciary.
She soon became a champion democracy activist and was subsequently imprisoned in 1983 for participating in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy against the military rule of Zia-ul-Haq.
(Source: The Hindu)
5. All Options, Including Re-Election, Open After Final Peace Accord: Govt to Naga Groups
The Centre in its bid to ensure elections in Nagaland is learnt to have assured Naga groups, political parties and armed organisations that all options are open, including re-elections in Nagaland, whenever an accord is finalised with NSCN(IM) and and other Naga groups to pave the way for new leadership.
In recent discussions with armed groups, the Centre, it is learnt, also gave assurances that armed cadres may be absorbed after arriving at a solution. “This is still under discussion. There are a few options that we are looking at and we have sought an opinion from the rebel groups. One of them is to raise an All Naga Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) at the disposal of the state but the Centre can help fund and train them,” said an official.
Polls are expected to be held on 27 February in the state and results will be declared on 3 March.
6. RSS Chief Says Can Raise Force in Days, Army Needs Months
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat on Sunday said his organisation had the capability to raise a force, when the country needed it, in “three days”, compared to the Army which would take “six to seven months” to do the same.
He said: “Hamara military sanghatan nahin hai, military jaisi discipline hamari hai. Aur agar desh ko zaroorat padey, aur desh ka samveedhan… toh sena tayyar karne ko chhe saat mahine lag jayenge, Sanghke swayamsevakon ko leke teen din me tayyar honge, yeh hamaari kshamata hai. (Ours is not a military organisation, but we have military discipline. And if the country requires it and the Constitution… then the Army would take six to seven months to get ready, our volunteers will take three days. This is our capability).”
7. Kamal Haasan: Alliance With Rajinikanth Unlikely If His Colour Is Saffron
Movie actor-turned-politician Kamal Haasan has made it clear that any political alliance with superstar Rajinikanth is unlikely if his colour is "saffron", in an apparent reference to the BJP.
Haasan, who had recently announced his foray into the electoral politics, said that his "true purpose today is to challenge the status quo and mediocrity in politics, that is plaguing the state of Tamil
Responding to a question on Rajinikanth joining politics, Haasan did not rule out an electoral alliance with him if there is some commonality of thoughts and ideas between them and similarities in their manifestos. But, he quickly referred to the sharp differences between them on religion and on 'saffron', which was interpreted as the BJP.
8. DRI Authority’s Clean Chit to Adani Firms Is Illegal: Customs Appeal
The order of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, adjudicating authority to strike down all proceedings launched by the DRI against two Adani Group firms in a power equipment overvaluation case of nearly Rs 4,000 crore, is “erroneous, illegal and improper not only in law but also on facts”, according to the Customs department.
In an appeal filed at the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) in Mumbai on 28 November, the department claimed that the adjudication order “suffers from several contradictions which indicate either total non-application of mind or recklessness in passing of the order”.
It alleged that “…the manner in which the adjudicating authority has gone on to describe an otherwise dubious contract process in glowing terms as transparent, independent and good corporate governance practice… only points at eagerness and bias on the part of adjudicating authority to justify overvaluation ignoring facts to the contrary”.
9. Mid-Air Collision Averted After Vistara Flight Comes Close to Air India Plane
A mid-air disaster was averted in the Mumbai air space when a Vistara aircraft came perilously close to an Air India plane, prompting the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) to launch a probe.
On 7 February, the Vistara’s UK 997 Pune-bound aircraft from Delhi, carrying 152 passengers, was just 100 feet away from the Air India’s AI 631 flight for Bhopal which had 109 passengers on board.
The AI flight captain has written in her resolution advisory report that the aircraft was just 100 feet away when it was taken to a safer distance.
The collision was averted after an automatic warning alerted the pilots of the two planes of being in close proximity to each other, an official said.
The commander of the Air India flight acted swiftly on the instrument warning and steered the aircraft to a safer distance, a senior official of the airline said.
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