India indicts Pakistani militant in 2019 Kashmir bombing

India’s anti-terrorism agency named Pakistan-based militant leader Masood Azhar as the prime mastermind in a 2019 car bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian soldiers and brought two nuclear-armed rival nations to the brink of war. (File/AP)
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Updated 26 August 2020

India indicts Pakistani militant in 2019 Kashmir bombing

  • The Feb. 14, 2019, bombing was the single deadliest attack in the divided region, and escalated tensions between India and Pakistan

NEW DELHI: India’s anti-terrorism agency named a Pakistan-based militant leader as the prime mastermind of a 2019 car bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir that killed 40 Indian soldiers and brought the nuclear-armed rivals to the brink of war.
The National Investigation Agency filed a charge sheet on Tuesday that named Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammed, and 19 others among the accused.
“The investigation has revealed that the Pulwama attack was the result of a well-planned criminal conspiracy hatched by Pakistan-based leadership of terrorist organization Jaish-e-Mohammad,” the document says.
Jaish-e-Mohammad, which is based in Pakistan, had claimed responsibility for the bombing, according to media reports, even though the attacker was identified as a Kashmiri militant. A prerecorded nine-minute video, circulated on social media, showed the purported attacker in combat clothes and surrounded by guns and grenades hours before he rammed an explosives-laden van into a paramilitary convoy.
The Feb. 14, 2019, bombing was the single deadliest attack in the divided region, and escalated tensions between India and Pakistan. In response, India launched an airstrike against suspected militant training camps inside Pakistan, saying it hit one and killed “a very large number” of militants. Pakistan said the strike only damaged three trees in a forest.
Islamabad then responded by shooting down an Indian warplane and capturing a pilot, who was then returned to India as a peace gesture.
India has long accused Pakistan of cultivating militant groups in a proxy war against New Delhi. Pakistan denies the charge.
The conflict in Kashmir dates back to the late 1940s, when India and Pakistan won independence from Britain and fought two wars over the Himalayan region.


Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

Updated 26 November 2020

Danish PM in tears after visiting mink farmer whose animals were culled

COPENHAGEN: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen broke down on Thursday when visiting a mink farmer who lost his herd following the government’s order this month to cull all 17 million mink in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Frederiksen has faced opposition calls to resign and a vote of no confidence in parliament after an order by the government in early November, which it later admitted was illegal, to cull the country’s entire mink population.
The order was given after authorities found COVID-19 outbreaks at hundreds of mink farms, including a new strain of the virus, suspected of being able to compromise the efficacy of vaccines.
“We have two generations of really skilled mink farmers, father and son, who in a very, very short time have had their life’s work shattered,” Frederiksen told reporters after a meeting with a mink farmer and his son at their farm near Kolding in Western Denmark.
“It has been emotional for them, and... Sorry. It has for me too,” Frederiksen said with a wavering voice, pausing for breath in between words.
The move to cull Denmark’s entire mink population, one of the world’s biggest and highly valued for the quality of its fur, has left the government reeling after it admitted it did not have the legal basis to order the culling of healthy mink.
After a tumultuous couple of weeks since the order was given on Nov. 4, the Minister of Agriculture, Mogens Jensen, stepped down last week after an internal investigation revealed a flawed political process.
Denmark has proposed a ban on all mink breeding in the country until 2022. Tage Pedersen, head of the Danish mink breeders’ association, said this month the industry, which employs around 6,000 people and exports fur pelts worth $800 million annually, is finished.
Denmark’s opposition says the cull of healthy mink should not have been initiated before compensation plans were in place for the owners and workers at some 1,100 mink farms.