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Two Indian Air Force commandos, two militants killed in encounter in J-K’s Bandipora.
National  
Hindustan Times

 
Two Indian Air Force commandos, part of a joint security team, and two militants were killed in a gunfight in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district on Wednesday morning.
 
It is a rare loss for the IAF in the Valley as it is not involved in day-to-day anti-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
The two men were from IAF’s elite unit the Garud Commando Force. They were training with the army for operational experience, army spokesman Rajesh Kalia said.

 

 
The gunfight started when a joint patrol of the army, police and Garud commandos cordoned off an area in Hajin Bandipora after being alerted about the presence of militants, sources said.
 
The militants opened fire early in the morning, injuring the two men who later died of their wounds.
 
Kalia said the gunfight was intense. “Two terrorists were killed and two air force Garud paras were martyred in the action,” he said.
 
The firing had stopped and search operations were on, local sources said.
 
The identity of militants, suspected to be from Pakistan-based Lashkar-a-Taiba, was yet to be ascertained.
 
 
The security forces have stepped up the offensive in the Valley with the government hardening its stand against militants after violent street protests and attacks on security personnel in the border state.
 
The Garud force, tasked with guarding air force bases, trained in fight terrorists and insurgents and in search and rescue, origins lie in Jammu and Kashmir.
 
The need for a dedicated force was felt when militants attacked two air bases in Jammu and Kashmir in 2001. The first batch of Garuds was unveiled on February 6, 2004. It was Garud force that led the operation to flush out militants from Pathankot air base in January 2016.

 
 


 
 
‘You can’t see because you wear Italian glasses’: BJP bigwigs attack Rahul Gandhi in Amethi
National  
Hindustan Times

BJP leaders, including party president Amit Shah, launched on Tuesday a concerted attack on Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, questioning his commitment to development of his constituency Amethi and asking people to defeat the Congress in the next Lok Sabha election.

“You have trusted the Gandhi-Nehru family for 60 years. You put your trust for once in the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, you will not regret,” Shah told the people of Amethi, where the BJP won four of the five assembly constituencies in the last Uttar Pradesh assembly polls.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and Union minister Smriti Irani, who lost to Rahul Gandhi in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, also attacked Gandhi at the public meeting.

 

 

Describing Gandhi as “Shehzada (prince) of Congress”, Shah said the Congress leader can’t see the development work done by the Modi government as he wears Italian glasses.

“He (Rahul) is seeking answers from the Modi government for its performance of last three years but the people of Amethi are seeking answers from the three generations of Gandhi family which has ruled from panchayat to Parliament in the last 70 years.”

Shah said while Amethi had been a VIP constituency for decades, why there was no collectorate office, TB hospital, FM centre of All India Radio and houses for the poor.

Referring to Gandhi’s visit to Gujarat, Shah said: “There are two development models in the country. One is Gandhi-Nehru model while another is Modi model. In Gujarat there is 24-hour power supply, drinking water in every house, a good public health centre in every tehsil.”

 

Similarly, he said, after the BJP took power in Uttar Pradesh, development had picked up pace. The government had written off farmers’ loans and given away nine lakh houses for the poor.

“I can assure you that Uttar Pradesh will become a developed state like Gujarat. There is Yogi in UP and Modi in Delhi. This jodi (pair) will together develop the state fully.”

He said the people of Gujarat know what development is. “You just look at Amethi. You have destroyed it.”

Shah said the Centre had initiated a number of schemes for the poor, Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Caste, youth and farmers. “There are 106 schemes initiated by this government. Rahul Gandhi will not be able to even count them.”

Referring to the surgical strikes on terrorist hubs in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir last year, Shah told Gandhi: “You cannot even see it because you wear Italian glasses. Changes are taking place in the country. There will be change in Amethi too in 2019.”

Yogi said the Congress can never do development work for the country as it had no vision.

Irani accused Gandhi of paying lip service to development. She said the Congress leader was making fun of development in Gujarat but had no answer for the lack of it in his own backyard in Amethi.

“This state was once ruled by the Congress and the Gandhi clan has been representing Amethi for long. Now is the time for them to answer the people why there has been no development,” she said.

Irani accused Gandhi of failing the people of Amethi and cheating the farmers by grabbing their land through the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

“A vast stretch of land was given by farmers long back for construction of the Samrat cycle factory. When nothing much happened, there is an effort to occupy the land illegally and despite eviction notice they are not letting the land go.”

 
 


 
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