Srinagar: In a big setback to the Congress party in Jammu and Kashmir, Mubashar Azad, nephew of senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad of the erstwhile state, joined Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) on Sunday along with dozens of supporters.

Mubashar Azad, a youth leader from Doda, is also the nephew of Ghulam Nabi Azad. He joined BJP along with his supporters at the BJP headquarter, Trikuta Nagar, Jammu.

J&K BJP President Ravinder Raina, accompanied by former MLA Dalip Parihar and BJP ST Morcha President Haroon Choudhary, extended a warm welcome to Mubashar Azad, who was closely associated with Congress Working President Rahul Gandhi for a long time.

J&K BJP Office Secretary Tilak Raj Gupta, Media Secretary Dr. Pardeep Mahotra, and Sanjay Bakshi were also present on the occasion.

Mubashar Azad said that he was deeply hurt over the disrespect of his uncle, former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad by the present Congress leadership in Jammu & Kashmir and the Centre. “The way the Congress party treated Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the charismatic leaders of Congress party, has hurt the sentiments of the masses,” he said, stressing that PM Modi Ji has given recognition to the efforts of former CM.

He added that while there is total selfish infighting within the Congress party, “Modi Ji has gained the trust of the masses and thus we pledge to stand with Modi Ji and BJP in the interest of the society and the Nation.”

Ravinder Raina welcomed Mubashar Azad along with other new entrants into the party fold and said that the parties like Congress, National Conference, and PDP did nothing but enjoy the luxuries of power. He said that it was only the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government that took “substantial steps” to make sure that the democracy is strengthened at the basic level in Jammu & Kashmir, giving rights to every community living here. He added that the policies of the BJP leadership were being appreciated by one and all, and that is the reason that almost daily, active social and political personalities were coming forward to embrace the party to serve the masses.

Raina added that these new entrants led by Mubashar will not only strengthen the party in Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban, and other areas but will encourage the youths from the whole region of Jammu & Kashmir to work for the Nation and the society. He appreciated the efforts of senior BJP leaders Sunil Sharma and Shakti Parihar along with Dalip Parihar, for their efforts in strengthening the party with these young and energetic faces.

Abu Dhabi: The Emirates Mars Mission, the first Arab interplanetary mission, is celebrating the first anniversary of its successful entry into Martian orbit and the gathering of a unique set of Mars observations by the Hope Probe. In Feb 2021, the Hope Probe successfully reached Mars’ orbit at 19:42, completing one of the most complex and intricate stages of its mission, after a 7-month journey of 493 million kilometres in space. A year later, the autonomous spacecraft has achieved historic milestones as part of its mandate to expand our understanding of Mars.

Congratulating the team and the country for the feat, H E Sarah bint Yousef Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “Tuesday 9 February 2021 has become an historic occasion for the Emirates, marking a unique achievement for our young nation. The Hope Probe is an inspiring success story for the youth of the Emirates and the Arab world in general and comes as the culmination of a multinational effort to drive the development of our space sector, contribute to our growing space sector and bring new insights into our human understanding of our nearest planetary neighbours – Mars.”

A release issued by the UAE space agency shared that since its arrival, Hope Probe has circled the Red Planet over 170 times, at a rate of one cycle every 55 hours. So far, the data captured by Hope Probe has been made available in two tranches, with a commitment to continue publishing and making new batches available every three months.

The first two batches of scientific data were published in October and January respectively. The first batch, included scientific data gathered during 9 February to 22 May and totaled 110 GB.

The Hope Probe has made a number of key new observations of Martian atmospheric phenomena, including the elusive discrete aurora on Mars’ nightside, remarkable concentrations of oxygen and carbon monoxide and never-before seen images of Martian dust storms as they billow across the planetary surface, the agency said.

On 15 March, 2021, the EXI camera captured multispectral images of this oblique view of the heavily cratered region known as Arabia Terra.  At the time, the Hope Probe was approximately 3500 km above the surface of Mars, with the image center being at about 25°N latitude, 48°E longitude.  North is toward the top-right. The image was taken in early-spring in Mars’ northern hemisphere.

The unprecedented scientific observations of Martian atmospheric phenomena made by the Hope Probe include capturing of the elusive discrete aurora on Mars’ night side, foggy craters, remarkable concentrations of oxygen and carbon monoxide and never-before seen images of Martian dust storms as they billow across the planetary surface.

The Hope Probe is scheduled to continue its scientific mission to explore Mars until the middle of 2023, with the possibility of extending it for an additional Martian year (two Earth years), the agency shared.

Chamkaur Sahib: Poll promises are getting intense across party lines as the election fever peaks in Punjab. Making it clear that youth is its focus, Congress CM candidate and present Chief Minister of Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi, said that if Congress is voted to power in the state again, his first task on the first day of his government in office would be to clear one lakh jobs for youth and offer interest free loans to those aspiring to start their own business.

Speaking to The New Indian during his campaign trail in assembly constituency, Channi said, “Before first 100 days, I will make sure that one lakh youth get employment. In fact, I will put my signature on the the file clearing jobs to one lakh youth on the very first day itself. We will also provide interest free loans to the youth to start their own business. This is my primary aim. My main focus remains youth in the state.”

He was responding to a question on what his government wants to do in the state in first 100 days if voted to power.

Channi was declared as the party’s chief ministerial candidate on Sunday by former party chief Rahul Gandhi in Ludhiana.

While announcing his name, Rahul Gandhi said, “The people of Punjab want gareeb ghar ka CM, so Channi is our party’s chief ministerial candidate.”

When asked about the three repealed farm laws, on which hundreds of farmers from Punjab have protested at the borders of Delhi will have any impact in elections here, he said, “The issues of farmers have been resolved and the concerns have been settled. So it will not have an impact here.”

Hundreds of farmers from Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh had staged a protest near the borders of Delhi for over an year demanding repealing of the three farm laws.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the repealing of the three farm laws in November last year ahead of Winter Session of Parliament.

The three laws were repealed during the Winter Session of Parliament.

Over 700 farmers had died during the year long protest.

The ruling Congress is eyeing a second consecutive term in the state while the Siromani Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party, the BJP and the Captain Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress is also looking to make a dent in the grand old party’s vote share to gain power in the 117 member assembly.

Polling is scheduled on February 20 in Punjab and counting of votes will take place on March 10.

Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims in large numbers took part in a candle light protest against the killing of civilians belonging to minority communities in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk. Most protesters demanded stern action against the culprits and adequate security for the minorities. Take a look at our special report.

NEW DELHI: A major terrorist strike is said to have been averted in the national capital after Delhi Police in co-ordination with central security agencies arrested an alleged Pakistan national, Mohammad Ashraf, alias Ali, with a huge cache of arms and ammunition from Ramesh Park area of East Delhi on Monday.

Ashraf was said to be masquerading as Pir Maulana in Laxmi Nagar area of Delhi. He was arrested by a team of Special Cell, the anti terrorist unit of Delhi Police, last evening. The preliminary investigations have revealed that the accused was planning subversive strikes during Dussehra-Deepawali festivities. He had even surveyed the crowded markets to select targets for planting bombs for terrorist attacks.

Ashraf had allegedly intruded India via Bangladesh 10 yrs ago. He was working at the behest of a Rawalpindi (Pakistan)-based ISI operative, Nasir, and was a part of the ‘sleeper cell’ of Pakistani ISI. He was allegedly coordinating with other terrorists active in India and was waiting for further instructions.

Pak Spy Married A Woman In Bihar To Acquire Indian Passport

According to Pramod Singh Kushwah, DCP, Special Cell, “Ashraf was identified after security agencies tracked down his movements. He had obtained Indian identity by getting forged documents. Ashraf came to India a decade ago and had been shifting bases. He has been to Jammu and other parts of the Kashmir Valley as well. It was in Bihar that he married a woman to acquire an Indian passport”, DCP added.

According to the police, the accused has confessed to his involvement in the terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir, a claim that the police is trying to further verify. “Ashraf was put to sustained interrogation, following which he revealed his real identity. He claimed he was Mohammad Ashraf, son of Umardeen, a resident of Village Kotli Sindhwan, post office Kanjroor of Narowal district in Punjab, Pakistan,” shared the DCP.

Huge Cache Of Arms And Ammunitions Recovered

The Special Cell sleuths recovered one AK 47 assault rifle with additional loaded magazine, 60 rounds of cartridges, one hand grenade, two sophisticated pistols with 50 rounds at Ashraf’s instance from near Yamuna Ghat, Kalindi Kunj in South East Delhi. He was also carrying Indian IDs and two mobile phones. His call details are being scanned.

Preliminary investigations have revealed that Ashraf was in regular touch with his handlers in Pakistan. He was taken to Turkman Gate in the Walled City area by the police team and an Indian passport was recovered at his instance. “We are trying to identify other people involved in helping Ashraf”, Kushwah said. Four other people, who were in touch with Ashraf, are being questioned by the police, he further said.


Ashraf has been arrested under sections of UA(P) Act, Explosive Act, Arms Act and other provisions of law are being invoked against him.

Ashraf is being jointly interrogated by the Delhi Police and central security agencies. They are trying to decipher coded messages received by the alleged Pakistani terrorist from his handlers in Pakistan and as well as from those who had stayed with him at his Ramesh Park hideout, the police said. 

Meanwhile, Special Cell is carrying out raids in other parts of the city and adjoining areas to apprehend the accomplices of Ashraf. More arrests are likely. As of now, it appears to be a carefully hatched sinister plot to create mayhem in the city during the festive season, senior officials said. 

It may be recalled that Delhi had witnessed a series of blasts on October 29, 2005, just a day before the Diwali. Scores of people were killed in bomb blasts at crowded Paharganj and Sarojini Nagar markets. This time around too, Pakistani ISI had prepared a sinister plot to singe Delhi during festivities, officials added.