Kashmir nuclear conflict warning 'daft'

Updated 23 January 2013
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Kashmir nuclear conflict warning 'daft'

SRINAGAR, India: The top elected official in Indian Kashmir yesterday described a public advisory telling residents to prepare for nuclear war by building basement shelters as a “daft idea”.
The State Disaster Response Force in a notice this week urged people to build shelters to prepare for a potential nuclear conflict in the disputed region, which has been on edge after deadly border clashes between Indian and Pakistani troops.
“What a daft idea!” Indian Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said in a post on a micro-blogging website, referring to the advisory which appeared in a local English-language newspaper.
The notice instructed residents in the Himalayan region to build toilet-equipped underground shelters “where the whole family can stay for a fortnight” and said the bunkers should be stocked with non-perishable food.
A cease-fire took hold last week in the territory after India and Pakistan agreed to halt cross-border firing that threatened to unravel a fragile peace process between the nuclear-armed nations, but tensions remain.
State civil defense authorities in Kashmir confirmed that they had issued the notice on Monday but said it “should not be connected with anything else”, in an apparent reference to the recent border flare-up.
The advisory was part of regular year-round civil defense preparedness, Mubarak Ganai, deputy inspector general of civil defense in the Kashmir police force, told AFP.
The notice in the Greater Kashmir daily vividly described a nuclear war scenario to prepare residents to deal with “the initial shock wave”, telling people to “wait for the winds to die down and debris to stop falling”.
“If the blast wave does not arrive within five seconds of the flash, you were far enough from the ground zero,” it said.
The prime minister of Pakistani-administered Kashmir yesterday dismissed the nuclear warning as a pressure tactic.
"India cannot impose even conventional war on Pakistan, and if it does, each and every child of Kashmir will fight shoulder-to-shoulder with the Pakistan armed forces against India," said Chaudhry Abdul Majeed.
India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over the divided territory. Each country controls a part of the region but claims it in full.
Earlier this month, three Pakistani soldiers and two Indian soldiers were killed in the worst bout of fighting in Kashmir since a cease-fire accord was signed by the countries in 2003.
In light of the violence, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Sunday he was reviewing future ties with Pakistan.


Protests across Spain as sexual abuse gang released on bail

Demonstrators shout slogans as they take part in a protest rally in Valencia on June 22, 2018, a day after a court ordered the release on bail of five men sentenced to nine years in prison for sexually abusing a young woman at Pamplona's bull-running festival. (AFP)
Updated 20 min 12 sec ago
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Protests across Spain as sexual abuse gang released on bail

  • All five, aged between 27 and 29, were convicted of sexual abuse in April but were acquitted of the more serious crime of sexual assault
  • Thousands of people had already protested in Pamplona, Bilbao, Barcelona and other cities on Thursday after the court issued its ruling

MADRID: Protesters hit the streets across Spain for the second day running on Friday, after five men sentenced to nine years in prison for sexually abusing a young woman at Pamplona’s bull-running festival were released on bail.
The men, who called themselves “The Pack” in a WhatsApp messaging group, had been accused of raping a woman, then 18, on July 7, 2016, at the start of the week-long San Fermin festival, which draws tens of thousands of visitors.
All five, aged between 27 and 29, were convicted of sexual abuse in April but were acquitted of the more serious crime of sexual assault — which includes rape — as the court did not consider the victim to have been subjected to intimidation or violence.
The men appealed their jail terms and a Pamplona court on Thursday ordered the five to be released on bail of 6,000 euros ($7,000) pending the outcome of the appeal.
Thousands of people of all ages demonstrated outside the justice ministry in central Madrid on Friday evening, shortly after the five men left jail after spending nearly two years in custody.
“I was stunned” by the court ruling, Aratz Beranoaguirre, a geologist, told AFP at the Madrid protest.
“Men have been educated with the idea that we can do anything, and with this ruling we have seen that you can rape and nothing happens.”
The crowd chanted: “They don’t believe us if they don’t kill us.”
Other protests were held in the southern city of Seville, the hometown of the five men, Pamplona — where the crowd held a large banner that read: “No is no. Justice!” outside of city hall — Granada, and elsewhere.
Thousands of people had already protested in Pamplona, Bilbao, Barcelona and other cities on Thursday after the court issued its ruling.
Women’s groups took to social media to call the protests with the slogan: “If the pack hits the streets, we will as well.”
Marches after the verdict in April brought tens of thousands of protesters out on to the streets.

“It is not fair that they are released with a sentence of nine years, and just a few days before San Fermin, they can even go there,” said Lucia Rodriguez, a 60-year-old protester in Madrid, referring to the upcoming running of the bulls festival which gets underway on July 6.
In its decision on Friday, the Navarre court said the five had been allowed out on bail because the social pressure on them made it “practically unthinkable” they would risk re-offending.
The men will remain under judicial monitoring. They have had their passports withdrawn and must report to court three times a week.
They are also banned from traveling to Madrid, where the victim lives.
One of the men is a policeman with the Guardia Civil — who is currently suspended — and another was once in the army. Several are “ultras” or hardcore fans of FC Sevilla.
The fact that the men videoed the attack on their smartphones and bragged about it within their WhatsApp group added to the outrage over the case.

The mayor of Pamplona, Joseba Asiron, said Friday his office would appeal the decision to release them, saying there was “a growing distance... between society itself and certain decisions taken by the courts.”
An online petition calling for the five to be kept behind bars had garnered 657,000 names by Friday night.
New socialist Justice Minister Dolores Delgado has not commented on the court decision, speaking only of a need to “change mentalities.”
The first step announced by the government of Pedro Sanchez, who took office earlier this month at the head of cabinet that includes 11 women, was to train magistrates in awareness about violence against women.
Noelia Garcia, 41, said she did not trust that the situation would change with a new government dominated by women.
“That is not enough. There needs to be a reform of the judicial system. Judges from another era need to be replaced,” she added at the Madrid protest.