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Nation at a Glance

Soldier guns down two colleagues

Jammu: A soldier on Sunday shot his two colleagues dead at an army camp in Kathua district before shooting himself in an incident that recalled a similar shootout in Srinagar in June, reports our correspondent.

Lance Naik Jagtar Singh of 167 Field Regiment, posted in Janglote, south of Jammu, picked up his gun after a heated argument with colleagues. He showered bullets on Havildar Romesh Kumar and Havildar Jeet Singh, both of whom died on the spot. Havildar Baldev Singh was critically wounded.

Later, Jagtar shot himself. He has been shifted to an army hospital at Pathankote along with Baldev.

The reason was not known. A court of inquiry has been instituted and an FIR registered.

Sources said the tension of serving in a counter-insurgency environment has affected the troops deployed in Jammu and Kashmir. The soldiers often give vent to their feelings by entering into arguments that sometimes end in shootouts, they added. Officers are often the target when they refuse leave to subordinates, the sources said.

“It would be a little premature to state that the havildar ran amok because of pressures of duty,” an army spokesperson said in Delhi on Monday. “We try to ensure that soldiers in a counter-insurgency environment get adequate leave. Troops are supposed to be rotated every three months.”

In June, a CRPF constable had gone berserk at his battalion headquarters at the indoor stadium and killed two colleagues.

Indians safe, say Taliban

Kandahar (Reuters): A Taliban official has said two Indians kidnapped on Saturday while working on a US-funded road project were alive and well, adding that demands would be made later for their release.

Mullah Roazi Khan, who the government says was behind the abduction of a Turkish engineer on the same project in October, phoned Reuters to say the men were being held by guerrillas linked to the Taliban’s former defence minister Mullah Obaidullah. “The group, which holds the two Indians, will announce their aims at a later stage,” he said. “As far as I know they are safe and in good condition.”

The duo, identified by the Indian embassy as Murali, a soil sampler, and Vardharai, a foreman, were abducted in Zabul. An official said it had heard no word from the kidnappers. “There has been no contact at all.”

Govt official jumps to death

New Delhi (PTI): An Indian Economic Services official on Monday allegedly committed suicide, jumping from a multi-storeyed building, police said.

Mona Sharma jumped from the sixth floor of Lok Nayak Bhavan in Khan Market here, they said. The 46-year-old officer was rushed to Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital where she was declared brought dead, they said.

Fishermen held

Colombo (AFP): The Sri Lankan Navy has detained another 11 Indian fishermen who were allegedly poaching in the island’s territorial waters, officials said here on Monday. The fishermen, in three boats, were taken into custody on Sunday near the northern islet of Kayts.

Close shave

Srinagar (PTI): A senior police officer narrowly escaped when militants detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) targeting Special Operation Group personnel in Baramulla on Monday. The militants set off the device near a bridge just after SOG personnel, headed by deputy superintendent Mohan Lal, had crossed.

CBI custody

Visakhapatnam (PTI): The court of CBI special judge, Y. Dhilleswara Rao has sent to judicial custody till December 22 all the three accused including former CBI DIG, A. Sudhakar Rao, who has been charged with demanding money from an official of an insurance company. Rao is accused of repeatedly demanding money and threatening to implicate the complainant, a senior divisional manager in United Insurance Co. Ltd, and using a mahila court public prosecutor as a conduit. The prosecutor has also been nabbed by the CBI’s anti-corruption unit along with her maid servant.

Heritage trains

New Delhi (PTI): The Indian Railways has earmarked Nilgiri Mountain railways on metre gauge and Darjeeling Himalayan railways on narrow gauge for promotion of heritage as part of its celebration of 150 years of the railways. Steam locomotive-hauled trains were revived and run on the Mumbai-Thane, Shimla-Kathleeghat, Bolarm-Monoharabad and Howrah-Bandel sections.

Tick

An International Council for Monuments and Site Evaluation official said he would submit his report to Unesco for inclusion of Gangaikonda Cholapuram and Dharasuram temples, in Perambalur and Thanjavur districts respectively, in the heritage list.


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