In today’s edition: Four soldiers killed in J&K terror attack; on flight to Kabul, homecoming stories; drought looming in Jharkhand; and more.
Four days ahead of Independence Day, four soldiers were killed in a militant attack on an Army camp in Rajouri district of Jammu on Thursday. Both the militants involved in the attack were gunned down in the four-hour firefight that followed, the Army said.
Here’s what happened: According to the Army, the soldiers challenged the two militants who lobbed grenades while attempting to gain entry inside the post. The security personnel then cordoned the area and engaged them in a firefight, he said.
Tale of kin left behind: Hours before he succumbed to militants’ bullets in the early hours of Thursday, Subedar Rajendra Prasad Bhamboo, 48, had spoken with his daughter on a video call, before hanging up due to poor cellphone network. Meanwhile, Rifleman Nishant Malik, 21, spoke with his family, based in Hansi town of Haryana’s Hisar district, on a video call on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, his sister dialled Malik’s number — it was the day of Raksha Bandhan. There was no response.
Only in the Express
Students returning home, a doctor on leave from her hospital in New Delhi to visit her ailing mother, a man who managed to get a medical visa and was going back home after his treatment, a cloth of aid workers — these are some of the 90 or so travellers returning to Afghanistan aboard the A343 Kam Air flight that departed from New Delhi on Thursday afternoon. The plane to Kabul offered a small glimpse into New Delhi’s tentative efforts to build a relationship with the Taliban, without recognising the regime.
In our opinion section today, former Commissioner of Police, Pune, Meeran Chadha Borwankar, writes about the slow execution of the police as an institution: “The Indian Penal Code defines conspiracy as an illegal act and holds each conspirator to be equally responsible, but it does not define “killing of an institution” as an offence. It has emboldened the executive to strike at not only the police but at the criminal justice system as a whole.”
From the Front Page
China has blocked a proposal by India and the US at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to designate Abdul Rauf Azhar, brother of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar and deputy chief of the Pakistan-based proscribed terror group, as a “global terrorist”.
CJI N V Ramana on Thursday acknowledged that the impact of freebies promised by political parties on the country’s fiscal health was “a serious issue” but said he was not in favour of derecognising any party over it because that would be “anti-democratic”.
A 49-year-old woman from Bengaluru has approached the Delhi High Court with an unusual case — to stop her friend, a Noida-based 48-year-old man with a debilitating health condition, from travelling to Europe allegedly to undergo assisted suicide or euthanasia — an option not available in India to a person who is not terminally ill.
A drought is looming over Jharkhand this year. The state’s Agriculture Department has launched a statewide survey to “understand the depth of the drought” and the condition of farmers. “Every three years it is the same problem, and then there is a food crisis,” said Mahato, the Bokaro farmer. At the fields, there is already fear of farmers falling into debt traps.
As Lumpy Skin disease continues to spread across Kutch, trenches and bloating cattle carcasses have become commonplace on the pastoral land adjoining the Mundra-Mandvi coastal highway. The viral disease that originated in Africa has been sweeping Gujarat for three months since the first case was reported on April 23 in the Kutch district, where many depend on cattle-herding for their livelihood. The border district, with livestock population of around 23.79 lakh, has been the worst affected district, accounting for 38,891 cases or 52 per cent of the total reported cases in the state as of August 10.
Lower-than-expected United States inflation data at 8.5 per cent in July, down from the 9.1 per cent of June, has generally boosted investor sentiment around the world. Indian markets were already drawing comfort from softening crude oil prices and overall inflation, and were on the rise. However, experts say that inflation remains a concern. We break down what the US numbers boost means for India.
You need to cross a water obstacle to reach the home of India’s best steeplechaser. Not the vertical hurdle on a flat track that Avinash Sable gracefully leaps over to bag medals, but a five-foot wide crater, with brown slushy water, that can swallow a sedan. In his blink-and-you-miss-it village, Mandwa, in Maharashtra’s Beed district, where a GPS is of little use, his under-construction eight-bedroom home has become a reference. But Sable’s story doesn’t begin at this under-construction palace, instead, it starts at a tin-shed hut with no lights and one room a kilometre downhill.