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PM Modi gives 500 scholarships for children of slain Afghan forces

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The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including the ongoing cooperation between the two countries and the Indian aid programme.

Narendra Modi

PTI
India will give 500 scholarships for children of martyrs of Afghan security forces, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today as he met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and other leaders and discussed a wide range of issues, including bilateral cooperation and security matters.Modi, who flew in here from Moscow in the wee hours, was received by Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar and Deputy Foreign minister Hekmat Karzai.”From Russia to Afghanistan. A pre-dawn arrival in Kabul begins a day of engagements with another ‘dost’ (friend),” tweeted External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup. Modi was then accorded a ceremonial welcome after which he met Ghani who received him warmly at the Presidential palace.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Related Read: LIVE Updates: PM Modi addresses Afghan Parliament, announces 500 scholarships for children; promises everlasting friendship”A meeting between friends…President @ashrafghani warmly welcomes PM @narendramodi as they begin their meeting,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) tweeted. “The embrace of a friend, the strength of a true partner.Prez @ashrafghani welcomes PM @narendramodi in Kabul,” Swarup tweeted.The two leaders discussed a wide range of issues, including the ongoing cooperation between the two countries and the Indian aid programme. The two leaders also took stock of the security situation in Afghanistan where the signs of resurgence of Taliban are being witnessed.After the meeting, Modi inaugurated the new Afghan Parliament building which has been constructed by India and addressed the lawmakers of this country. “Today, I announce 500 scholarships for the children of the martyrs of Afghan security forces,” he said in his speech in Afghanistan’s Parliament.Modi said India’s scheme of 1,000 scholarships every year for Afghan students will continue. “We are pleased with the response to our special scholarship scheme in agriculture science,” he added.”Power and water will flow out of Salma Dam soon. The Stor Palace will again stand as a symbol of your priceless heritage,” he said. The Prime Minister also expressed gratitude to the Indian diplomats, officers, engineers and doctors, “who serve here with pride, to the families of our Indian martyrs”.Modi also met other Afghan leaders, including Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Abdullah Abdullah and former president Hamid Karzai.

Was India made to talk Kashmir in Bangkok, asks Omar Abdullah

Abdullah’s comment came two days after the BJP spokesperson had asked National Conference to clear its stand on Jammu and Kashmir after senior NC leader and Abdullah’s uncle Mustafa Kamal had said “Kashmir was destined to get Independence”

Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday asked BJP to answer if India was “made to talk Kashmir” during the meeting between the National Security Advisors of the two countries in Bangkok as there was no mention of it when their prime ministers had met in Ufa.”If Pakistan was made to talk terror, was India also made to talk Kashmir since J&K had found no mention in Ufa (sic)?” Omar wrote on Twitter. Abdullah was reacting to BJP’s statement in which the party had yesterday claimed: “The follow up of Ufa talks has happened. Pakistan has been made to talk terror, which they refused so far.” He asked BJP to make it clear as to what was discussed about Jammu and Kashmir during the talks in the Thai capital.”Perhaps now Mr (Nalin) Kohli will care to make his party’s position clear on what was discussed about J&K (sic),” he tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Abdullah’s comment came two days after the BJP spokesperson had asked National Conference to clear its stand on Jammu and Kashmir after senior NC leader and Abdullah’s uncle Mustafa Kamal had said “Kashmir was destined to get Independence”. On the talks at various levels between India and Pakistan, Abdullah said it is “like cabs when it’s raining – don’t get one for ages and then suddenly 3-4 come around all at the same time.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi had met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at COP21 Summit in Paris last week, which was followed by the NSA and foreign secretary level talks in Bangkok yesterday. The foreign ministers of the two countries are expected to meet later this week in in Islamabad where Sushma Swaraj is scheduled to attend a conference on Afghanistan.

Mufti Sayeed responsible for hate attacks in Jammu and Kashmir: Omar Abdullah

The former chief minister maintained he had extended support to PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for forming the government in the wake of the hung assembly to keep such elements out of the state.

Omar Abdullah

Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday held his successor Mufti Mohammad Sayeed responsible for “hate attacks” in the state, claiming that the latter had “bartered everything” to save his chair.”Our Chief Minister (Sayeed) has bartered everything to save his chair. The Chief Minister is directly responsible for the attacks which have taken place in Rajouri, Udhampur or elsewhere in the state,” Omar told reporters after paying tributes to his grandfather and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 110th birth anniversary. Omar, the working president of National Conference, was reacting to questions about the increase in attacks on Muslim transporters in Rajouri and other areas of Jammu region.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The former chief minister maintained he had extended support to PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for forming the government in the wake of the hung assembly to keep such elements out of the state.”When the election results were declared, National Conference extended a hand of friendship towards Mufti Mohamamd Sayeed with the intention of keeping such forces out of the state who only want to set the state on fire.”We had an apprehension that allowing the BJP and particularly the RSS into the state would be fraught with dangers. Unfortunately, our apprehensions have been proved correct in the nine months (of PDP-BJP government),” he said.Omar said while large scale arrests were being made in Kashmir, “these people (RSS) are holding armed rallies in Jammu and no one says anything”. On being asked about the denial of the state government to confer ‘Sher-e-Kashmir’ title on National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the leader said that the party founder was not only the tallest leader of the state but was revered in the entire country. The state government, in response to an RTI query, had said it had no record available to say who was ‘Sher-e-Kashmir in the state of Jammu and Kashmir’.Omar, however, noted that, “He (Sheikh) left an indelible impression by his political role and more than that the economic contribution he made to the state by virtue of Land to Tiller (Act) and loan waiver. “No one can have differences with the economic contribution of Sheikh Sahab even though they may differ with his politics. Jammu and Kashmir today has the least poverty and it is only because of these two steps taken by him,” he said.The Sher-e-Kashmir title has been used for the National Conference founder, with many universities, bridges, conference halls, police training institutes and several other public buildings and welfare schemes being run under this title.

PM Modi is most focused PM on Jammu & Kashmir so far: CM Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed

Replying to another question that no talks are being held between India and Pakistan for past nine months, he said “First of all we have to do our home work very well.” On a question related to remarks of Farooq Abdullah that PoK is part of Pakistan, he said, “It is an evolutionary process.

File Photo

PTI
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed on Wednesday said as compared to his predecessors, Narendra Modi is the “most focused” Prime Minister on the state so far.”From the day one (since government formation) there is full focus of Prime Minister on J&K. I have seen Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and V P Singh as Prime Ministers but the Prime Minister Modi is focused more than anybody else,” Sayeed told reporters.”I am not ungrateful. He is totally focused. He is so focused that he called Chief Secretary of J&K twice to know about the rehabilitation of people due to Krishen Ganga Power Project in Valley,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the question of expectations from the Centre, he said, “We have got beyond our expectations from the Centre. From day one, there is full focus of Prime Minister on J&K. I am not ungrateful.”Replying to another question that no talks are being held between India and Pakistan for past nine months, he said “First of all we have to do our home work very well.” On a question related to remarks of Farooq Abdullah that PoK is part of Pakistan, he said, “It is an evolutionary process.”What is the reality? What is the de-facto position, de-juro, there is no need to jump the guns, let us see how the situation evolves. But our efforts will be there.”We want to make it easy on the trade front,” he said.”I want to take the confidence building measures between India and Pakistan forward. The telephone connection, the banking facility and increase in people-to-people connect and journey on two sides of LoC,” he added.”Our government is quite responsive on this front. I feel that there is some reservation from across the border,” he added.On the issue of radicalisation in Kashmir and whether it is threat to government, he said “I don’t think so. Kashmir has gone through very bad times in past. They have seen what it means by taking to guns. How they have suffered. Even the Imamic Qaba said that it is condemnable (terrorism) whatever be the reasons. They said that this should not happen.” Asked whether the graph of militancy has increased in J&K, he said, “I hope that history will repeat itself.”During my past period and since 8-10 years nothing has happen. I must say that reconciliation is the only answer.” “I read it in the newspaper that two of jawans of Pakistan Army were killed in Karachi. They are also suffering from terrorism. But we should all also correct our internal situation here,” he added.On the issue of handshake between Modi and Nawaz Sharif, Mufti said that I don’t know what has transpired between them but I felt the meeting between the two very good.”

BJP slams Farooq Abdullah for ‘PoK part of Pakistan’ remarks, seeks apology

BJP strongly condemned the statement of the National Conference Patron yesterday that “PoK is part of Pakistan”.

BJP on Saturday sought an apology from former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for his remarks that ‘PoK is part of Pakistan’, and said he was “deliberately raking up” the issue in order to remain in news for his political survival. “Probably Farooq Abdullah is either suffering from amnesia or deliberately raking up the settled issue in order to remain in news for his political survival,” BJP spokesperson Virender Gupta told reporters here. Gupta strongly condemned the statement of the National Conference Patron yesterday that “PoK is part of Pakistan” and will remain with it while India will continue to control its part of Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP spokesperson said Maharaja Hari Singh while signing the Instrument of Accession made the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, under his control, part of the Dominion of India. He said Farooq Abdullah’s father Sheikh Abdullah had even endorsed the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Gupta said Pakistan was an aggressor which forcibly occupied the part of Jammu and Kashmir that is presently under its occupation and that it was India which took up the matter with the UN Security Council. He added that Indian Parliament, in a resolution in 1994, unanimously resolved its determination to get vacated PoK, part of Jammu and Kashmir, from illegal occupation of Pakistan. “Abdullah by his uncalled-for statement has acted against the resolution and harmed the interest of the nation and weakened India’s position on the J&K issue,” the BJP spokesperson said.Replying to queries about the reported demand in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) of joining India, Abdullah had yesterday said, “It will never happen. It (PoK) is part of Pakistan and will remain part of Pakistan. This (Jammu and Kashmir) is India’s part and will remain part of India…” Gupta said Abdullah must seek apology from the nation for his this blunder and set things in the right perspective. It looks like that the leaders of National Conference have been so much demoralised and frustrated that they have lost their wit and giving such irresponsible statements, he alleged.

PoK is and will remain part of Pakistan, says Farooq Abdullah

PoK is part of Pakistan and it will remain so. Jammu and Kashmir is part of India and it will remain so. You need to understand this. Only thing is that India and Pakistan should talk and find the solution, said Farooq in Jammu.

J&K deputy CM Nirmal Singh with former CM Farooq Abdullah after paying tribute to veteran Congress leader Girdhari Lal Dogra on the occasion of his death anniversary in Jammu on Friday

PTI
A major political storm has hit the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir after the former chief minister Farooq Abdullah said Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is and will continue to remain the part of Pakistan.”PoK is part of Pakistan and it will remain so. Jammu and Kashmir is part of India and it will remain so. You need to understand this. Only thing is that India and Pakistan should talk and find the solution,” said Farooq in Jammu.Farooq, a three time chief minister and former union minister, noted that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had told the then Pakistani president Parvez Musharaf to retain PoK while they would keep Jammu and Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”How long have we been saying that PoK is part of India? Have we ever taken it back? I know when Vajpayee went to Lahore he told me that he asked Musharaf that they should keep PoK and we will retain Jammu and Kashmir which they (Pakistani) refused…Today they are ready, and India should talk,” he said.Farooq’s remarks has stoked a major political row with Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh terming it unconstitutional and against the spirit of resolution passed by the parliament in 1994.”Parliament passed a unanimous resolution in 1994 saying that if there is any outstanding issue with Pakistan it is Pakistan Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK). It has been illegally occupied by Pakistan. Not only we have claim on PoJK but constitutionally it is our integral part and we should get it back. If someone is making such remarks it is unconstitutional and puts a question mark on Jammu and Kashmir which the country will not accept,” said Singh.Ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) too has joined the chorus terming Farooq statement as “hypocrisy”. “When he (Farooq) was a chief minister it (PoK) was part of India and when he is out of power it is not part of India.They are responsible for the mess. PoK could have been part of Jammu and Kashmir had Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah acted timely,” said Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, PDP spokesman and political analyst to chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.

Watch: Farooq Abdullah says PoK will remain with Pakistan, Jammu & Kashmir with India

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference party leader Farooq Abdullah on Friday said that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) would remain in Pakistan, while Jammu and Kashmir with India.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference party leader Farooq Abdullah on Friday said that Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) would remain in Pakistan, while Jammu and Kashmir with India.Speaking to reporters Abdullah said, “PoK is in Pakistan, and will remain. Jammu & Kashmir is in India, and will remain. We need to understand this.”He further added, “War is not the solution, only lives our lost. Dialogue is the only option.”

No surprise if PDP shuns BJP to ally with Congress, says Omar Abdullah

However, the PDP rubbished the claims saying the coalition government will complete its full term as the alliance with BJP was an opportunity to bring the regions of the state closer and keep Jammu and Kashmir united.

Omar Abdullah

Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday said he would not be surprised if PDP ended its alliance with BJP and formed a government in coalition with Congress and independent MLAs in Jammu and Kashmir but Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s party ruled it out.”After the Modi/Mufti accord where Mufti Sahib and his party are concerned nothing would surprise me Junaid,” Omar said in a tweet. Omar was responding to a post on twitter by National Conference spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu who claimed that there were strong rumours about PDP realigning with the Congress and some independent MLAs. “Strong rumours about PDP’s imminent realignment with the Congress and some independent legislators. Would you be surprised?” Mattu said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, the PDP rubbished the claims saying the coalition government will complete its full term as the alliance with BJP was an opportunity to bring the regions of the state closer and keep Jammu and Kashmir united. “The alliance with BJP was forged after proper and detailed thought by PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed after consulting all party leaders.”In view of the mandate in 2014 assembly elections, it is an opportunity as well as a big challenge to keep the state united,” PDP chief spokesman Mehboob Beg told PTI. Beg, who quit National Conference ahead of the Assembly elections, said the former chief minister should stop worrying about the coalition issues. “This coalition will complete full term. He (Omar) should stop bothering about these issues,” he added.

‘Omar should stop bothering’ about the alliance: PDP spokesman says PDP-BJP coalition will complete full term

Srinagar: Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said on Monday that he  would not be surprised if PDP ended its alliance with BJP and formed a government in coalition with Congress and independent MLAs in Jammu and Kashmir but Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s party ruled it out. “After the Modi/Mufti accord where Mufti Sahib and his party are concerned nothing would surprise me Junaid,” Omar said in a tweet.

Omar Abdullah and Mehboob Beg. IBNLiveOmar Abdullah and Mehboob Beg. IBNLive

Omar Abdullah and Mehboob Beg. IBNLive

Omar was responding to a post on twitter by National Conference spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu who claimed that there were strong rumours about PDP realigning with the Congress and some independent MLAs. “Strong rumours about PDP’s imminent realignment with the Congress and some independent legislators. Would you be surprised?” Mattu said. However, the PDP rubbished the claims saying the coalition government will complete its full term as the alliance with BJP was an opportunity to bring the regions of the state closer and keep Jammu and Kashmir united. “The alliance with BJP was forged after proper and detailed thought by PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed after consulting all party leaders. “In view of the mandate in 2014 assembly elections, it is an opportunity as well as a big challenge to keep the state united,” PDP chief spokesman Mehboob Beg said. Beg, who quit National Conference ahead of the Assembly elections, said the former chief minister should stop worrying about the coalition issues. “This coalition will complete full term. He (Omar) should stop bothering about these issues,” he added.

PTI

Message sent out from Nitish Kumar’s swearing-in confusing: BJP

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said Kumar’s swearing-in witnessed a range of opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Pawar and H D Deve Gowda, but all them were highly ambitious

Nitish Kumar

BJP on Sunday observed that the “message” sent out at Nitish Kumar’s oath-taking ceremony in Patna, about an anti-BJP front taking shape, was “confusing” as leaders of various parties who attended it were all ambitious, making it difficult for them to come together.BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said Kumar’s swearing-in witnessed a range of opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Pawar and H D Deve Gowda, but all them were highly ambitious making it difficult for them to come together. “People like Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal had gathered there. But the message they tried to send out from there was a confused one. They are highly ambitious… All have national ambitions. It seems to be too many swords in one sheath,” Patra, who was here to participate at the party’s Social Media Volunteers’ Meet, said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, Chief Ministers of West Bengal, Delhi, Mamata Banerjee, Arvind Kejriwal, National Conference leaders and former Jammu and Kashmir CMs Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar, AIUDF leader from Assam Badaruddin Ajmal and former prime minister and JDS supremo H D Deve Gowda were present at the ceremony. Congress chief ministers like Virbhadra Singh (Himachal Pradesh), Oommen Chandy (Kerala), Tarun Gogoi (Assam) and Siddaramiah (Karnataka), CPI(M)’s Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s Sudhakar Reddy and D Raja, DMK’s M K Stalin and T R Baalu also attended the event.Some allies of BJP, Akali Dal’s Sukhbir Badal (Punjab Deputy Chief Minister) and Ram Das Kadam and Subhash Desai of Shiv Sena were also present. Union Minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who was deputed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was also present. On whether a Third Front could emerge as an alternative force, Patra said, “Third Front has been a failed front and history has witnessed that time and again. This is not for the first time that they tried to build up a Third Front; but nothing happened.”Talking about BJP’s debacle in Bihar elections, Patra said, “This is a democratic country where parties win and lose elections… I would have been very happy if we had won the elections in Bihar… We will congratulate the coalition government… we will also wish them best of luck.” In the same breath, he, however, said, “The Grand Alliance has qualified because RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was disqualified.”Addressing BJP workers, Patra stressed that “media” had become “the first pillar of democracy” and advised them to open Twitter accounts with a healthy number of followers. “…One can easily feel the importance of social media these days… BJP has been very active in social media and we have done that in Bihar elections… We will continue doing that in other elections also,” Patra said. SCH MD PRM

Nitish Kumar invites Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for swearing-in ceremony

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar invited Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for his oath-taking ceremony on Monday.

File Photo
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar invited Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for his oath-taking ceremony on Monday, say reports.Kumar also invited his West Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee for the swearing-in ceremony on November 20 and she has agreed to attend it. “Nitish Kumar called up our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and invited her for the swearing in ceremony and she has agreed to attend the ceremony,” Trinamool Congress national spokesperson Derek O’ Brien told PTI. Last week, the two leaders had spoken over phone after the Bihar results were announced and Kumar had thanked Banerjee for supporting the grand alliance in Bihar in their fight against BJP.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Banerjee had congratulated Kumar over twitter and termed the victory of grand alliance in Bihar as a defeat of “intolerance”. The JD-U leadership had last week extended its support to Banerjee in her fight against BJP and had said that along with AAP and TMC it would fight for strengthening cooperative federalism in the country. Kumar has invited former Jammu and Kashmir CM Farooq Abdullah for the oath-taking ceremony.

Omar Abdullah slams critics,asks why can’t we praise PM’s excellent speech

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday took on critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to British Parliamentarians asking “why cannot we take pride” in the excellent speech made by him.

Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday took on critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech to British Parliamentarians asking “why cannot we take pride” in the excellent speech made by him.”The Indian PM made an excellent speech to British MPs in their Parliament. Why can’t we just take pride in that?,” Omar said in response to a tweet on a Twitter account which claims to be a handle for Congress volunteers.”PM didn’t address joint session of parliament, but a speech to MPs in the royal gallery. Yeh Jhoot bhi pakda gaya (this lie has also been caught),” the volunteer handle, @withCongress, had tweeted. The former Chief Minister remarked on some of the questions asked of the Prime Minister saying it would be safe to assume that the British press was not “advised” about the questions to be asked.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I think we can safely assume that the British press was not ‘advised’ about what to ask & what not to. Some very hard hitting questions!,” he said. However, he made it clear that second part of the question asked by the British newspaper ‘Guardian’ was “disrespectful” towards the Prime Minister.”The second part of the @guardian question to PM Modi was rather disrespectful to say the least,” he said. The Guardian reporter had asked Modi about protests on the streets of London saying he did not deserve the respect that would normally be accorded to the leader of the world’s largest democracy given his record as Gujarat Chief Minister.

Bihar results is a wake-up call for Centre: Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah noted that the people want “real change” and are not impressed by the Prime Minister’s functioning.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah
File Photo
PTI
The Bihar Assembly election results was a “wakeup call” for the Centre, former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said on Tuesday, while expressing doubts whether the BJP-led NDA government would change its functioning after the drubbing it got.”This (Bihar election results) is not just a reply to divisive or communal forces, but a wake up call for the central government as well as their policies,” he told reporters at Anantnag.The leader, who was at Anantnag in south Kashmir, for the National Conference (NC)’s workers convention, noted that the people want “real change” and are not impressed by the Prime Minister’s functioning.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The way the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) himself ran the campaign of the BJP and addressed more than 30 public rallies, the way BJP president (Amit Shah) stay put in Bihar, the money that they spent, the number of Central ministers who campaigned in Bihar… their programmes and their way of functioning is not liked by the people and people want a change in the real sense,” he said.Omar, however expressed his doubts about the NDA government changing its functioning for the better in the aftermath of Bihar election results.”I have doubts that neither will these divisive forces change their work, nor is the central government ready to change or better its functioning,” he said.The National Conference working president said the Bihar results, which gave almost a three-fourth majority to the Nitish Kumar-led Grand Alliance, was a befitting reply to communal and divisive forces.Speaking on the death of a youth in alleged security forces action at Zainakote here on November 8, the day the Prime Minister announced Rs 80,000 crore financial package for the state, Omar called for introspection by the government regarding the reasons behind the occurrence of such events.”The death of any youth in this manner is regrettable for all of us. However, much we condemn it, will be less. The present government will have to focus on as to why it is happening. The people, who came out, did not come out for any package,” he said.The NC leader also stressed on the need for addressing Kashmir issue politically.”The basic issue of Jammu and Kashmir is a political one. Till the time you address the issue politically, such protests will take place. And unfortunately, what we wanted to hear from the Prime Minister in Srinagar, we did not. I have this fear that instead of the situation getting any better, I see it worsening,” he said.Addressing the party workers earlier today, Omar said the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir the country’s only Muslim-majority state – felt “insecure and threatened” because of the PDP-BJP alliance and the platform given by the BJP to RSS in the state.”While the youth of Kashmir are robbed of the right to even criticize the BJP and RSS without being hounded and arrested, RSS is allowed to march with guns and swords on the streets of Jammu. What could be a more damning indictment of this government and that of Chief Minister (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed)?” he said.

Fallout of Bihar results: Pressure on PDP to say goodbye to BJP

Leading the charge is PDP Lok Sabha member from Srinagar Tariq Hameed Karra, who has asked his party bosses to wake up and come out of the alliance to salvage some pride in Jammu and Kashmir.

Clamour is growing within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to walk out of the alliance with the BJP and realign with the secular forces taking a cue from the Bihar poll results.Leading the charge is PDP Lok Sabha member from Srinagar Tariq Hameed Karra, who has asked his party bosses to wake up and come out of the alliance to salvage some pride in Jammu and Kashmir.”It (defeat of NDA in Bihar) is wake up call. There is still time to salvage something. Walking out of the alliance is of course the only way to salvage (our pride). What we did (alliance with BJP) is antithesis. We might have committed mistake. But there is always a time when we can rectify the mistakes,” Karra told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Karra, a former J&K finance minister who defeated National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah in his pocket borough of Srinagar in 2014, said the door has been closed for “communal forces” and Bihar results is a window of opportunity for the secular forces of the country to realign.”Entire secular forces of the country should learn lessons from people of Bihar who deserve to be congratulated for showing the path. It is the time for the secular forces to realign because doors have been slammed for the communal forces in the country,” he said.PDP leader, who was not present at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Srinagar on Saturday, said he would have been happy if the message of realignment of secular forces would have come from Jammu and Kashmir.”The message from Jammu and Kashmir would have been more forceful, meaningful and politically loaded. But unfortunately it did not happen. I would still say that there is still time to salvage,” said Karra.Main opposition National Conference (NC), which lost both Lok Sabha and assembly polls last year, went gaga over the defeat of NDA in Bihar elections.NC working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah was among the first few leaders who called up Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar to congratulate him for the victory. “Spoke to Nitish Kumar Sahib to congratulate him on behalf of my father and myself for his great victory”, Omar tweeted.Without naming anyone, Omar poked fun over the “crackers in Pakistan” comment after the poll results showed Nitish winning landslide. “Sorry, it’s all the smoke from the crackers in neighboring Pakistan ;)”, said former chief minister.Even the separatist camp is rejoicing the victory of Nitish Kumar in Bihar. “It is indeed a good news that BJP led NDA has been defeated because successes had gone to their heads,” said a separatist leader requesting anonymity.

Need to defeat divisive forces harming India and Jammu & Kashmir: Farooq Abdullah

The party also passed a series of resolutions maintaining that the Kashmir issue has both “internal as well as external” dimensions which need to be addressed for sustained peace in the region.
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Opposition National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Monday expressed “grave concern” on the recent incidents of “intolerance” in the country, saying there was a need to defeat divisive forces who were inimical to the interests of the country in general and Jammu and Kashmir in particular.”There is a need to defeat divisive forces who are inimical to the interests of the country in general and the state of Jammu and Kashmir in particular. The recent incidents of intolerance are of grave concern to the party and the people of the state,” Abdullah said. He said this while addressing the party’s working committee meeting at his residence here, which was also attended by his son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The party also passed a series of resolutions maintaining that the Kashmir issue has both “internal as well as external” dimensions which need to be addressed for sustained peace in the region.”To address the external dimensions, the NC unanimously resolves the demand for restoration of a sustained and comprehensive dialogue between India and Pakistan without any further delay. To address the internal dimensions, the party resolves the demand for the opening of dialogue by the Central Government with all internal stakeholders, including the Separatist Leadership. Any proposed resolution of the Kashmir Issue shall be to the satisfaction of all stakeholders,” the party said in a statement.The party said that the restoration of the state’s autonomy forms the bedrock of the party’s political agenda.”The party is committed to upholding the political dignity and rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. While the party passed the Autonomy Resolution with two-thirds majority in 2000, we will continue to struggle for this goal in the future with vigour and sincerity of purpose,” the NC said.It said while the party has put forth the restoration of autonomy as a viable and credible solution to the political issue, it welcomes the alternative methods of resolution that would be acceptable to the people of the state and address their political aspirations. The party said it is committed to uphold the ideals of pluralism and secularism and protecting the rights and liberties of people in all three regions of the state.”The integrity of the state was non-negotiable and the party will defeat all sinister designs to create fissures between the regions of the state,” Abdullah said.Abdullah highlighted the need for peace between India and Pakistan, saying mutual cooperation and peaceful co-existence between the two neighbours was imperative to the goals of development and prosperity in the sub-continent.The NC working committee expressed deep disappointment with the way the relief and rehabilitation of the last year’s flood victims had been handled.”The Prime Minister had promised all support to the flood victims based on which the NC-Congress Government of the day projected a realistic demand of Rs 44,000 crores as a comprehensive Flood Relief and Rehabilitation Package. International agencies have termed the 2014 Jammu and Kashmir floods as the most economically devastating natural disaster of 2014 in the entire world. In light of this, the paltry relief released by the Government of India is tantamount to rubbing salt in the gaping wounds of the flood victims,” the NC said.The working committee of the party also discussed various organisational aspects and also deliberated on the current political scenario prevalent in the state.

Omar Abdullah accuses Narendra Modi of snubbing Mufti Sayeed

Omar said this was indicative of the systematic erosion of the institution of the Chief Minister under the incumbent Chief Minister and “how despite his unending praise of the RSS and BJP the Chief Minister stands discredited and snubbed by his own ally”

Omar Abdullah

Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “snubbing” J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at the former’s public rally here recently.”The NC working president (Omar) condemned how the Prime Minister snubbed an elected Chief Minister during his public meeting in Srinagar when the Prime Minister said he did not require anyone’s advice on the Kashmir issue after the Chief Minister’s speech,” a statement issued by the opposition party at the end of its working committee meeting said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Omar said this was indicative of the systematic erosion of the institution of the Chief Minister under the incumbent Chief Minister and “how despite his unending praise of the RSS and BJP the Chief Minister stands discredited and snubbed by his own ally”. The party also passed a resolution on the issue. “The issue of Kashmir is a political issue that has foxed many great minds over generations and no single individual can claim to be bestowed by the acumen to resolve this issue single-handedly.”The Working Committee of National Conference takes serious note of the arrogance displayed by the Prime Minister during his public meeting in Srinagar wherein he said that he did not require anyone’s advice on the Kashmir Issue, thereby snubbing an elected Chief Minister,” the resolution read. The party also lamented the “systematic erosion of the institution of Chief Minister under the current, incumbent Chief Minister.”At the meeting, the former Chief Minister discussed various organizational aspects and suggestions put forth by the members of the Working Committee. He reiterated the party’s efforts to not only streamline the organizational functioning of the party but also consolidate its grassroots presence in all the three regions of the state. Omar expressed satisfaction at the party’s revitalization in Leh and Kargil. He also reiterated the party’s vision to strengthen the minority, women and youth wings of the party and increase the party’s connect with various sections of the society.

Taliban encourage Afghan quake relief as toll rises past 300 | Reuters

KABUL/ISLAMABAD The Taliban encouraged aid groups to help victims of the massive earthquake in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan as rescuers struggled to form a clear picture of the damage caused by the disaster as the death toll passed 300.

With large mountainous areas of Afghanistan hit and icy weather closing in, the unstable security situation has posed a major challenge to international aid groups that have been repeatedly targeted by insurgents.

But the Taliban, which have driven their Islamist campaign against the Western-backed government in Kabul across the country this year, indicated they would not stand in the way of aid efforts and ordered fighters to help victims.

“The Islamic Emirate calls on our good-willed countrymen and charitable organizations to not hold back in providing shelter, food and medical supplies to the victims,” the group said in a message of condolence to quake victims, using its formal name.

“And it similarly orders its mujahideen in the affected areas to lend their complete help.”

Authorities confirmed 228 deaths in Pakistan while in Afghanistan, the death toll reached at least 115, Sayed Zafar Hashemi, President Ashraf Ghani’s deputy spokesman, said. At least 4,000 houses and compounds had been destroyed or damaged, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah said.

The toll could climb as road and communications links are restored to isolated villages and as winter sets in across the rugged Hindu Kush mountains where the earthquake struck, the plight of thousands left homeless is becoming more serious.

“We have insufficient food and other aid,” said Abdul Habib Sayed Khil, chief of police in Kunar, one of the worst-hit provinces, where 42 people were confirmed dead. “It has been raining for four days and the weather is very cold.”

The worst impact was reported in Faizabad, capital of Badakhshan province but there was also significant damage in the provinces of Kunar, Nuristan, Laghman, Takhar, Baghlan and Nangarhar.

In Kabul, the capital, NATO officials said they were helping Afghan security forces plan relief operations but aid groups were still assessing how to reach the areas and how to operate once they were there given the danger to their teams.

“Security is of course a large factor,” said Kjersti Haraldseide, acting Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council. “There is a limitation to humanitarian actors’ access to some of the areas,” she said.

In Pakistan, where landslides and heavy rain and snow over the weekend had already left thousands of tourists stranded in mountainous areas of the north, the well-equipped military was heavily involved in relief efforts.

By Tuesday evening, troops had managed to clear and reopen the region’s main road, the Karakoram highway linking Pakistan to China, after it was blocked by landslides. Two army helicopters joined the relief mission.

The earthquake struck almost exactly six months after Nepal suffered its worst quake on record, on April 25. Including the toll from a major aftershock in May, 9,000 people lost their lives there and 900,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.

Monday’s initial quake of magnitude 7.5 was followed by seven aftershocks, of intensity ranging as high as 4.8, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The latest aftershock came just before dawn on Tuesday.

The quake was 213 km (132 miles) deep and centred 254 km (158 miles) northeast of Kabul.

The United States and Iran were among countries that offered humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan, which already depends heavily on foreign aid after decades of war wrecked its economy and infrastructure.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said a relief package would be announced after damage had been assessed.

(Additional reporting by Mehreen Zahra-Malik in Islamabad and Krista Mahr in Kabul; Writing by Kay Johnson and James Mackenzie; Editing by Nick Macfie, Clarence Fernandez and Richard Balmforth)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

280 dead as powerful 7.5 earthquake rocks Afghanistan, Pakistan and India

A massive earthquake struck remote and impoverished regions of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday, killing at least 280 people as it shook buildings across South Asia and knocked out power and communications to already-isolated areas.

The 7.5-magnitude quake was centered deep beneath the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan’s sparsely populated Badakhshan province, which borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

In the Afghan capital of Kabul, buildings shook for up to 45 seconds, walls cracked and cars rolled in the streets as electricity went out. Frightened workers who had just returned from lunch also rushed from swaying buildings in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad and to the south in the Indian capital of New Delhi.

263 confirmed dead/ AP263 confirmed dead/ AP

263 confirmed dead/ AP

“I was praying when the massive earthquake rattled my home. I came out in a panic,” said Munir Anwar of Liaquat Pur in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province.

At least 228 people were killed in Pakistan, with more than 1,000 injured, while Afghan officials reported 33 dead and more than 200 injured, and authorities in the Indian-controlled Kashmir region reported two deaths. Officials expected the casualty toll to rise as they reached the remote areas.

Authorities struggled to reach the hardest-hit areas in Afghanistan near the epicenter, located 73 kilometers (45 miles) south of Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan province.

Abdul Humayoon Dehqan, the head of the National Disaster Management Authority’s provincial office, said he knew of only 12 dead and 20 injured in the province, mostly in collapsed buildings, and that his teams would not reach affected areas until Tuesday morning to get a better count.

Despite vast mineral deposits, Badakhshan is one of Afghanistan’s poorest provinces. It is often hit by earthquakes, but casualty figures are usually low because it is so sparsely populated, with fewer than 1 million people spread across its vast mountains and valleys. It also suffers from floods, snowstorms and mudslides.

Taliban-led insurgents have used its remote valleys as cover recently to seize districts as they spread their footprint across the country. Dehqan said some districts remain under Taliban control “and we don’t know how we will be able to help people in those areas.”

In Takhar province, west of Badakhshan, 12 students at a girls’ school were killed in a stampede as they fled shaking buildings, said Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the provincial governor. Another 42 girls were taken to a hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan.

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah convened an emergency meeting of disaster officials and urged them to ensure that people were prepared for aftershocks. That could mean many hundreds would be forced to sleep outdoors in nighttime temperatures dropping below freezing. He instructed doctors and hospitals to be prepared to receive casualties.

President Ashraf Ghani sent condolences to those who lost relatives and property and appointed an “assessment committee” to ensure emergency relief reached the needy as soon as possible, his office said.

The U.S. said it has emergency shelters and relief supply kits stored in warehouses throughout Afghanistan that could be used.

White House spokesman Josh earnest says the U.S. government has been in touch with officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is ready to provide any additional support.

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was completing a trip to the U.S., said in a televised comment from London that he planned to fly to the quake-affected region Tuesday. He called the quake a “tragedy,” saying most of the casualties and damage were reported in remote areas in the country’s northwest.

Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Raheel Sharif, ordered troops to the areas, the military said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had contacted Sharif to offer help, Pakistani state-run media said. Pakistani TV said Sharif thanked Modi for the offer but provided no further details.

Pakistan will not issue any appeals to the international community for help as the country has the required resources to carry out the rescue and relief work, said Information Minister Pervez Rashid.

“We have enough resources to handle the situation. Our top priority is to help those affected because of the earthquake,” Rashid told a news conference.

Pakistani meteorological department official Zahid Rafiq said the quake was felt across the country. As buildings in Islamabad shook, panicked residents poured into the streets, and many recited verses from the Quran.

Many Pakistanis recall the 7.6-magnitude earthquake of Oct. 8, 2005, that killed more than 80,000 people and left more than 3 million homeless, most in the northwest of the country and in the divided region of Kashmir.

That quake was much shallower than Monday’s — 10 kilometers (6 miles) below the surface, compared with 213 kilometers (130 miles) — and thus caused greater damage, said Mohammad Hanif, an official at the Meteorological Department.

In Srinagar, the main city in the India-controlled portion of Kashmir, tremors lasted at least 40 seconds, with buildings swaying and electrical wires swinging wildly, residents said.

People ran from buildings shouting, crying and chanting religious hymns to try to keep calm.

“I thought it was the end of the world,” shopkeeper Iqbal Bhat said.

Kashmir’s Chief Secretary B.R. Sharma said the quake had caused limited damage, though in some areas “many houses and government buildings have developed cracks, and some have also partially collapsed.”

AP

PM Modi must follow Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s friendship policy with Pakistan: Farooq Abdullah

Observing that not only Kashmiris but also Muslims in general are feeling whether they are safe in this country, Abdullah said the Government of the day is doing nothing to allay their fears.
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Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should follow Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s policy of friendship with Pakistan to find a solution to Kashmir issue, saying he will not be able to win hearts and minds of Kashmiris merely by doling out packages.Observing that not only Kashmiris but also Muslims in general are feeling whether they are safe in this country, Abdullah said the Government of the day is doing nothing to allay their fears. Terming the situation in Kashmir as “very dangerous”, Abdullah said that even if the Prime Minister announces a Rs one lakh crore package, it is not going to win heart and minds of people by only dishing money.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Final solution of the state has to be done with Pakistan. Otherwise we will suffer. The terrorists will keep on coming. What do we have to show other than God’s beauty that we have. And tourists don’t come when there is fear that their life is not safe. Has the Prime Minister tried to remove that fear in the mind of people of India,” Abdullah told a TV news channel.Advocating that talking to Pakistan was must, he said, “it is vital for our survival so that we can progress like other states of India. Other states have reached the moon and we are still on the ground.” And the National Conference leader’s advice for Modi was that he should follow what Vajpayee, a BJP stalwart and a former Prime Minister, did by inviting the then Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf despite the Kargil war as he was clear that if the nation has to progress, then friendly ties with the neighbours are must.”Vajpayee ji said that he will talk about Kashmir within realms of humanity (Insanayaat ke daayre mein) and this is what the present Government should do. I would tell him that if he wants to be the next Mahatma Gandhi of India, then be strong to fight those forces that are trying to divide this nation, divide religion, divide areas. Fight them and become greater than Mahatma Gandhi,” Abdullah said in a veiled reference to right wing outfits which he blamed for spreading communal hatred in the country.

Disempowered and neglected: Status of women remains a worrying aspect in Kashmir narrative

By David Devadas

The suicide of a young married woman in Srinagar a few days ago not only shocked Kashmiris but also brought to the fore a generally neglected facet of Kashmir’s social realities. The stresses that married women endure have increased manifold over the past three decades. These decades have been a time of militant violence. The environment of violence has vastly increased the challenges that women face. Yet, most narratives on violence have either ignored women or treated them as objectified victims. Such deeper social trends as the social disempowerment of women have gone largely unnoticed.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

According to neighbours’ and relatives’ accounts, the woman who died of burns had suffered great torment and humiliation at her marital home. Finally, she could take it no more on Eid this year, and set herself on fire. Her desperate act is surely only the tip of an iceberg of societal distress.

Although a much larger number of women are educated now than a couple of generations ago, the ironic fact is that they generally feel more disempowered than their grandmothers did. This is partly a result of the waves of rural-to-urban migration over the past three decades, during which vast sprawls of erstwhile farmland and wetlands have become suburbs. Albeit illiterate, the woman of a rural household had great autonomy, even authority, over not only her kitchen but the household and farm too.

As in much of south Asia, an educated woman works, perhaps as a teacher, but must also take care of all the housework. University professors complain sotto voce that they must take off their burqa as soon as they get home after work and go straight to work in the kitchen. By evening, they must supervise the children’s homework, have everything clean and tidy, and smile warmly while serving tea to any guests their husbands might bring home – generally without notice. “I cannot complain that I have a headache,” says one with a wry smile.

Educated women face another kind of disempowerment from rising tides of social and religious conservatism. Just a few weeks ago, young women were groped and assaulted for trying to attend Kashmir’s first marathon. The most galling aspect of this repression is that after they suffer such indignities, women’s voices and narratives are flatly denied, even on purportedly gender-sensitive media platforms.

This sort of denial of their narratives combines with repression by clerical and other culture police – including, ironically, members of the police force – to frustrate them. An all-girls rock band had to wind up after facing threats and vicious abuse a few years ago. It must be said that this too is common enough in other parts of south Asia but, in contemporary Kashmir, many feel the implicit threat of violence more keenly than elsewhere.

Since the state is used to viewing Kashmir through the prisms of ‘terrorism’, ‘radicalisation’, ‘alienation’ and ‘insurgency’, whatever space is given for the expression of talents or fulfilment of economic and cultural aspirations is provided primarily to young men. Such strategies are oblivious to the fact that young women not only have a key role in moulding society, they are also inherently likely to have a greater stake in peace.

Ironically, one of the reasons for such skewed policies is populism, which many politicians feel impelled to adopt. As Prime Minister-cum-Sports Minister of the state before 1953, Sheikh Abdullah used to stand on the Polo Ground in the centre of Srinagar and supervise sports for women students. Principals of the Government College for Women such as Mehmooda Ali Shah were exemplars and courageous enthusiasts of such co-curricular activities as theatre.

Contemporary political leaders have not given the same importance to promoting women and their rights as Abdullah, GM Bakshi and GM Sadiq did. Although today’s women leaders such as Mehbooba Mufti and Sakina Itoo are courageous in their own right but, apart from Hina Bhat of the BJP, they have been discreet about espousing women’s rights.

Policymakers would do well to address this lacuna. For, young women urgently seek space for the fulfilment of their aspirations. Leaving a women’s college in the heart of downtown after conducting a survey a few years ago, one found a couple of young women in the college uniform waiting at the gate. “We want to thank you, sir,” they said. Perplexed, one asked why. “Somebody came to ask what we want,” they replied. “Koi poochhta nahi hai, ke hum kya chahate hain (Nobody asks what we want).”

(Author of `In Search of a Future, the Story of Kashmir,’ David Devadas is an expert on Kashmiri politics and society.)

Jammu & Kashmir police detain youth who unfurled tricolour in Lal chowk

On the day the legislators unanimously passed the resolution reiterating firm and unshakable faith in secularism, pluralism and tolerance, Jammu and Kashmir assembly speaker Kavinder Gupta came down heavily on the police for detaining two youth for unfurling Indian flag in Lal Chowk.“I have come to know that police have arrested two youth for raising Indian flag at Lal Chowk earlier today. Those who raise Pakistani flag should be arrested and not those who raise the Indian flag” Gupta told the House.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tension gripped the Lal Chowk this morning when shopkeepers downed their shutters after rumours spread that some youth were trying to unfurl a party flag. Police immediately swung into asction and took two youth into custody as a precautionary measure to avoid any law and order break down.Police have not registered any case saying the duo Sachin Kumar and Gourav Ram of RS Pora area in Jammu did not commit any crime by trying to unfurl the national flag in Lal Chowk.However, Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association suspended their work and staged a sit in on the road, outside the High Court complex to register their protest. The Association alleged some BJP workers had tried to unfurl party flag on the clock tower.The high drama was witnessed on the day the legislators cutting across party and ideological lines unanimously passed the resolution in the Legislative Assembly reiterating the firm and unshakable faith of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in its age-old tradition of secularism, pluralism and tolerance.Moved by former chief minister Omar Abdullah, the resolution urged the “leadership at the national level across the party lines and seeks the support of the people throughout the country in creating an environment of peace and harmony so that all sections of the society become real stakeholders in the idea of India”. “We are at the crossroads of history and have to again become torch-bearers of secularism, pluralism and tolerance in the country. The message of inclusiveness preached by great leaders must not get eclipsed by the action of those who create panic leading to insecurity amongst the minorities of the country”, said Mufti Mohommad Sayeed, J&K chief minister. Earlier, police foiled the march of the supporters of independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid and detained some of them when they were marching towards assembly to protest against the beef ban.

Religion must not be used as mask to satisfy hunger for power: President Pranab Mukherjee

The President’s remarks come against the backdrop of lynching of a 50-year-old in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over beef rumours and the ongoing political slugfest over it.
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Amidst the raging beef controversy that has triggered communal overtones, President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday warned that “hate speech and fear mongering” should stop and asserted that religion should not be used as a mask to satisfy hunger for power of some individuals.In an interview to Arabic daily ‘Al Ghad’ ahead of his visit to Jordan, Mukherjee underlined the need to “amplify the voice of moderation”.”Hate speech and fear mongering should come to an end. Our values should become part of our daily life. We must amplify the voice of moderation. We should not permit religion to be used as a mask to satisfy hunger for power and control of some individuals,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The President’s remarks come against the backdrop of lynching of a 50-year-old in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri over beef rumours and the ongoing political slugfest over it.”Tolerance and co-existence are basic tenets of our civilisation. We hold them very dear to our hearts,” he said while noting that the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had propounded the five principles of peaceful co-existence among nations.Related read: Core values of tolerance, plurality cannot be wasted, says President Pranab MukherjeeMukherjee said he agreed with Jordanian King Abdullah that the world is confronted with a “third world war to which we must respond with equal intensity. I also agree that we must go back to essence of respective faiths and creeds”.Referring to a speech made by Abdullah, he said that leaders of every country, every belief, every neighbourhood need to take a clear and public stand against intolerance of any kind. Mukherjee said India has sought to challenge and repudiate the terrorist narrative that global counter- terrorism efforts are directed against any particular religion or ethnic group.”We are convinced that terrorism can be rolled back only through comprehensive, coordinated international cooperation combined with a strengthened, enforceable international legal regime,” he said.India is aware of the impact of the Syrian crisis on Jordan’s resources and truly commends its leadership and people for their compassion and untiring efforts to mitigate the sufferings of the victims of the ongoing strife in Syria, the President said. Mukherjee will embark on his first historic visit to Jordan, Palestine and Israel beginning October 10.India and Jordan are united in the fight against terrorism and extremism which have become a global menace, he said adding that his visit will serve the dual purpose of improving bilateral relations and providing an opportunity to exchange views on regional and global developments.

Supreme Court suspends Jammu & Kashmir High Court ban on beef for two months

The Supreme Court on Monday suspended the Jammu & Kashmir High Court order banning the sale of beef in the state, for two months.

The Supreme Court on Monday suspended the Jammu & Kashmir High Court order banning the sale of beef in the state, for two months.The Supreme Court was hearing a plea by Jammu and Kashmir government against two “conflicting” orders of the High Court pertaining to the slaughter of bovine animals and enforcement of a bar on beef sale in the state, claiming these were being “misused” to disturb peace.The apex court kept in abeyance for two months the Jammu bench’s order barring the sale of beef and asking police to enforce the ban.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It also directed the high court’s chief justice to set up a three-judge bench to resolve issues arising from the conflicting orders of the two benches.While the Jammu bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ordered enforcement of the bar on the sale of beef in the state, the Srinagar bench scrapped the law that barred slaughter of bovine animals.Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was rocked by opposition’s protest over beef ban.National Conference (NC) raised the issue of beef ban with its leader Omar Abdullah questioning why the BJP-PDP Government approached the Supreme Court when the legislature is “free” to scrap the 1932 provision in the Ranbir Penal Code prohibiting cow slaughter.(With agency inputs)

Internet blockade in Kashmir kicks off storm in the time of Digital India

From tourism to industry to health care, Jammu and Kashmir has suffered huge losses as Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led government imposed the three-day ban on the internet

Internet blockade has sparked off a major controversy in Jammu and Kashmir at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pushing for the digital India in the United States.From tourism to industry to health care, Jammu and Kashmir has suffered huge losses as Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led government imposed the three day ban on the internet from Friday fearing that the uploading of pictures of the animal sacrifices by Muslims on Bakr Eid might trigger communal clashes.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have suffered Rs 30 to 40 crore losses due to the internet ban in the last three days. From current booking to future bookings, everything has gone for a toss. Most importantly the internet ban has sent a wrong message across which could affect our tourist arrivals next year”, GM Dag, president, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Federation (KHROF), told dna.Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and industry (KCCI) has decided to take up the internet ban with the chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed since the industry has suffered colossal losses due to the cyber-blockade”Call centers operating in Kashmir became duds due to the internet blockade. Hotel and ticket booking suffered immensely. Export communications came to a standstill. On top of it we could not file the income tax returns because online system was not working. Ironically internet was blocked when Prime Minister was talking of digital India,” Mushtaq Ahmad Wani, president of KCCI, told dna.Mufti Mohommad Sayeed’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), however, defended the decision to suspend internet “for the greater good and maintaining harmony” between the two regions of Jammu and Kashmir”Internet ban was done in view of law and order situation. It has obviously helped in de-escalating the panic. There was no loss of life, no panic and no tensions in the two regions. It is not as if oxygen has been stopped,” said Waheed-ur-Rehman Para, spokesman of PDP and political analyst to chief minister.Unimpressed by government’s explanation, premier opposition party National Conference (NC) called the move “draconian and anti poor”. “When they say there is peace in Kashmir then what is the need of blocking internet… Internet ban has hit hard our hotelier, houseboat owner, poor shikara operator et al,” said Farooq Abdullah, president of NC.Former chief minister Omar Abdullah took to twitter to lampoon government by wishing people “Internet Mubarak” after the ban was revoked on Monday morning. “Oh the irony of listening to the PM talking about digital India while we in J&K spent 3 days totally disconnected due to his party & allies”, he tweeted.BJP, which shares power with PDP, defended the decision to ban the internet saying people of J&K had a blissful Eid. “Motive (to ban internet) was peaceful atmosphere should prevail so that mischievous elements will not use internet as free broadcasting station”, said Khalid Jehangir, BJP spokesman in Kashmir.

VB Singh, Farooq Abdullah asked to vacate government bungalows

The Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA) had cancelled the allotment of the bungalow to HP CM Singh in April this year.

Farooq Abdullah

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah and the widow of late Congress leader Arjun Singh have been asked by the Urban Development Ministry to vacate the government bungalows occupied by them. The Cabinet Committee on Accommodation (CCA) had cancelled the allotment of the bungalow to HP CM Singh in April this year. But Singh continued to overstay, so the eviction notice was served by the Directorate of Estates. According to a senior UD Ministry official, Singh has written to the Directorate of Estates to allow him to retain the house. Representative of the Himachal will meet meeting DoE official on September 29 to sort out the issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Besides Singh, the eviction notice has been served a few days ago to Abdullah and Arjun Singh’s widow Saroj Kumari, the official said. Saroj was allowed to stay at Caning Lane bungalow after the Congress veteran died in 2011. The UPA government had allowed her to stay till 2016 while the NDA cancelled the allotment and asked her to vacate the house. Abdullah continues to stay at the Teen Murti Lane house after demitting office in 2014. The Home Ministry has conveyed verbally to the UD Ministry to let the National Conference leader stay on security grounds. However, the UD Ministry now wants it in writing so that it could be sent to the CCA for a final decision, the official added.

Modi in US 2015: Islamic State greatest challenge facing international community, says PM Modi

During a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, Modi discussed ways to prevent radicalisation of youth and to counteract extremist messaging, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said after the meeting on Friday.

PTI
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has acknowledged that the dreaded terror group Islamic State poses one of the greatest challenges facing the international community today and said there is a need to “delink terrorism from religion”.During a meeting with King Abdullah of Jordan on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, Modi discussed ways to prevent radicalisation of youth and to counteract extremist messaging, External Affairs Ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said after the meeting on Friday. “Both leaders acknowledged that ISIS was one of the greatest challenges facing the international community. The Prime Minister said that there is a need to delink terrorism from religion,” Swarup said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi said the only way to combat international terrorism and the menace of organisations like IS (also known as ISIS) was to have a global response. He specially referred to the long pending proposal of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, saying the time has now come for the international community to speak on one voice on this important issue and adopt this global convention.Modi and King Abdullah also discussed the UN Security Council reform.”Prime Minister mentioned that it was inconceivable that a country as large as India representing one sixth of humanity was not in the Security Council,” he said. “This was something we have been agitating for a long time. We want that the 70th anniversary of the United Nations to be an occasion for the international community to step up to its obligations and reform this very important body of the United Nations,” Swarup said.The King of Jordan said he has fully supported this and he always supported India’s aspirations to be a permanent member of the Security Council, he said, adding that Jordan is a very important country in a very important region from India’s point of view. During the meeting, the Prime Minister commended King Abdullah for the strong leadership that he has shown in the fight against international terrorism.He also thanked the King for the support that Jordan had provided when Indian citizens were trapped in Iraq and Syria and have to be evacuated. King Abdullah said he valued India as a partner and wanted to increase the economic and security co-operation that Jordan has with India, Swarup added.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee condoles loss of lives in Mecca stampede

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah also tweeted condolences.

dna Research & Archives
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday condoled the death of piligrims in a stampede near the holy city of Mecca.Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah also tweeted condolences. At least 717 people of different nationalities were killed and over 860 others, including two Indians, injured in a stampede today when Haj pilgrims jostled their way to perform symbolic stoning of the devil here, marking the culmination of the annual pilgrimage.

Clashes in Srinagar mark first ever international half marathon in valley

Srinagar: Clashes erupted in Srinagar on Sunday between the youth and security forces near the venue of the first-ever international half marathon in Kashmir valley.

The youth shouted slogans and pelted stones at the forces near the venue in Hazratbal area of the city, police said.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The security personnel fired teargas shells to disperse the protesters at Habak Crossing. “The situation is under control now,” police said.

The were no reports of any injuries.

The 21-km half marathon was flagged off in the morning from the Kashmir University at Hazratbal. It was to pass through the banks of Dal Lake along Foreshore Road.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was also scheduled to take part in the event. He later cancelled his participation owing to the situation.

As many as 15 international athletes had confirmed their participation in the event for which more than 15,000 people had registered.

PTI

Mufti sabotaged NSA-level talks with Pakistan, says Omar Abdullah

Omar said when Sayeed did not allow Hurriyat leaders to talk to Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi, how would he facilitate their dialogue with the Centre as mentioned in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of BJP-PDP coalition.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday accused his successor Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of sabotaging the NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan, saying he prevented Hurriyat leaders from meeting Pakistan High Commissioner by arresting them.”Now he (Sayeed) says that NSA talks should have been held. Jenab, if anyone sabotaged those talks, it is you (Sayeed) when you arrested these (Hurriyat) leaders,” Omar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Omar, the working president of National Conference (NC), was speaking to the reporters on the sidelines of a function to mark the 33rd death anniversary of his grandfather and party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at Hazratbal. He said when Sayeed did not allow Hurriyat leaders to talk to Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi, how would he facilitate their dialogue with the Centre as mentioned in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) of BJP-PDP coalition.”Where has that Mufti gone, who used to say that this is the battle of ideas? Those people, with whom his thinking does not match, are arrested. You said in your agenda for alliance (CMP) that you will facilitate dialogue between the Centre and the Hurriyat. (But) when you did not permit Hurriyat to talk to Pakistan in Delhi, how would you let them talk to the Centre. Even if I or Farooq (Abdullah) sahab have lakhs of shortcomings, but never were Hurriyat leaders arrested to prevent them from meeting Pakistani leaders in the 12 years that we (Abdullah and me) ruled the state,” he said.Omar however, also said Pakistan was deliberately creating obstacles in the way of dialogue.”The atmosphere which is being created is not a good thing. A threat after threat is given. Rather than creating a good atmosphere, they are talking of making the situation worse. The NSA talks did not happen. Now, the DGMO talks are in danger.”We are hearing that Pakistan wants the UN to monitor ceasefire. They know that such a thing will never be acceptable to India. So, you are deliberately creating obstacles in the way of dialogue. What benefit does it serve?” Omar said. He said both India and Pakistan should stop their guns on the borders and resolve the issues through dialogue.”They should stop their guns on both the sides and issuing these threats should be stopped, then there will be some betterment in the situation and we will make a forward movement on talks. We all know that there is no solution to this issue than talks. If a solution would have happened due to gun, then we have been facing the gun for the 25 years but we aren’t anywhere near a solution. India and Pakistan have fought three-and-a-half wars, the issue has not been resolved,” he said. He said it was the responsibility of both the countries to create a conducive atmosphere for talks.”If it (issue) has to be resolved, it is through talks only and it is the responsibility of both India and Pakistan to create a conducive atmosphere for talks,” he said.

Omar Abdullah accuses Jammu and Kashmir government of spying on him

Taking to twitter, Omar Abdullah levelled the allegations.

Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah has accused the ruling PDP- BJP government of spying on him. Taking to twitter, Omar Abdullah levelled the allegation. According to Omar, a journalist working for a national daily was coming to interview him. She was reportedly quizzed by the CID personnel about purpose of his meeting outside the gate. He said that Mufti government is resorting to brazen spying and they should merely call him up if they are interested in knowing his whereabouts. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is what Omar Abdullah said about the entire incident: Jammu and Kashmir government is yet to respond to this serious accusation.

Top most babu decides to step down over differences with Mufti government

An IAS officer of 1978 batch, Khandey was made the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir on February 18, 2013 during the National Conference-Congress government led by Omar Abdullah. He was scheduled to retire in November this year.

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed PDP-BJP government has suffered a major embarrassment after its top most bureaucrat and chief secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khandey decided to step down following differences with the the ruling establishment.An IAS officer of 1978 batch, Khandey was made the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir on February 18, 2013 during the National Conference-Congress government led by Omar Abdullah. He was scheduled to retire in November this year.Khandey was apparently not happy the way the ministers were taking decisions and tossing the officers at will. Sources said even the junior officers were promoted and superseded without any logic.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Some officers were transferred even before they could settle down in their respective postings. No procedure was followed and no logic was given for transfers of officers intermittently. Even the chief secretary was not being taken into loop”, said an insider. Khandey was also not apparently happy with some of the decisions regarding the financial matters. Sources said he was not consulted on these matters which was also the reason that he decided to step down. “Some of the ministers were not gelling with him well. He is a tough task master who always goes by the book. He believes in transparency and will not succumb to any pressure. Therefore he decided to step down”, said a senior bureaucrat. Khandey, who was acquitted in the infamous Srinagar sex scandal by the CBI court in Chandigarh, has been Mufti’s principal secretary in his first stint as J&K chief minister from 2002-05. Khandey’s daughter Sehar Iqbal unsuccessfully contested 2008 Assembly election on Mehbooba Mufti led People Democratic Party (PDP) ticket from Kokernag. She however lost to the Congress leader Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed.

NSA talks cancelled: Jammu & Kashmir CM Mufti disappointed; separatists put blame on Centre

Sayeed expressed disappointment and hoped that “the break in talks would be temporary”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed on Sunday expressed disappointment over cancellation of India-Pakistan NSA talks while his predecessor Farooq Abdullah put the blame on separatists who in turn accused India for the development.Abdullah’s son and another former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, while expressing disappointment over the development, said he expected this to be the fate of the proposed talks going by last year’s experience when India cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks over Hurriyat issue.Sayeed expressed disappointment and hoped that “the break in talks would be temporary”. He had a veiled advice for Pakistan and separatists too, saying “It is neither warranted nor desirable to insist upon all-inclusive participation, directly or indirectly, in each and every bilateral meeting, like that between the two NSAs.” Hoping that India and Pakistan will “re-engage soon in a meaningful dialogue” and steps taken by New Delhi to remove impediments in normalization of relations will be reciprocated by Islamabad, Sayeed said he wants to see both the countries “walk the bridge of trust together”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Farooq Abdullah termed the cancellation of talks as unfortunate and blamed separatist leaders for the breakdown. “These self-claimed champions of Kashmiris should have shown some courage and backed off themselves. What was the hurry? The Hurriyat and other separatists receive funds from Pakistan. Their viewpoint is already reflected by Pakistan,” he said.”What point does it serve them to show their presence at reception? They could have easily avoided that,” he added.Omar told PTI, “(I am) very disappointed at the turn of events.” He said he was worried about this from the time when Foreign Secretary level talks were cancelled last year on the same issue. While this was expected seeing the turn of events, nevertheless that “doesn’t make the sense of disappointment any less acute”, he added.Moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said calling off of the talks was unfortunate.”Yet another opportunity lost by both the countries to engage with each other. The last nail in the coffin was put by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj when she made it clear that there will not be any talks on Kashmir. Instead of moving forward, we are only moving backwards,” he said.He regretted that the BJP had assured, along with its ally PDP, that they would talk to all shades of opinion. “I think there is a lot of difference in what they say and what they do,” the Hurriyat leader said. He hoped a better sense will prevail and the government will discuss Kashmir with Kashmiris.Another separatist leader Shabir Shah, who continues to be under house arrest at the guest house in South Delhi, said he was disappointed that the talks had been cancelled.”I wish the government had not put any conditions to Pakistan ahead of talks,” he said.Hardline Hurriyat Conference, headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, also termed the cancellation of NSA talks as unfortunate but said “at the end of the day, it is a diplomatic victory for us as well as Pakistan”.Ayaz Akbar, the spokesman for the hardline group, said, “A message has gone to the world that Kashmir issue is not a bilateral territorial dispute between India and Pakistan and that people of Jammu and Kashmir are the principal party to it. The fanatic approach adopted by government is not practicable. How long will New Delhi pursue this policy?” CPM leader Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami said the development was a “huge disappointment” for all those who want the peace process to be strengthened. “The cancellation of talks has only helped the fundamentalist and extremists on both sides,” he said.He appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif not to fall prey to “domestic sectarian compulsions” and resume a composite dialogue so that the dangers ahead are resisted together.

National Conference won’t allow ‘disintegration’ of J&K: Farooq Abdullah

Jammu: National Conference (NC) President Farooq Abdullah urged Jammu and Kashmir youths to fight “myopic politics” being played by vested interests to divide the state on regional and communal lines.

“Youth has a very crucial role to fight myopic politics being played by vested interests to divide Jammu and Kashmir on regional and communal lines,” Abdullah said while addressing the party workers at party office on Saturday.

File photo of Farooq Abdullah. AFP Photos.File photo of Farooq Abdullah. AFP Photos.

File photo of Farooq Abdullah. AFP Photos.

He said fragmenting society into bits and pieces is against the composite ethos of the state, which has all along been nurtured and sustained by National Conference even at the altar of sacrifices.

He said the state is home to divergent faiths and cultures, which makes it unique across the country. “We have to grow as a vibrant state where equal opportunities are available to Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians,” he said, urging the youths to strengthen these values by maintaining unity and peace.

He hoped the people will stand together against forces determined to dismantle the pluralistic way of life in the state.

He said that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are one and they have to stand together for the future progress of the state.

Referring to obtaining political situation in the state, senior leader Abdullah asked the cadre to gear up and be ready for meeting any challenge in near future.

“Political workers must always remain ready to face public scrutiny”, he said.

He said National Conference has always stood strongly against divisive forces and foiled their repeated attempts to destabilize the state and create impediments to peace and harmony.

He said the party will always play its designated role to strengthen the bonds of amity and brotherhood.

The National Conference President expressed happiness over reconstitution of various wings of the party and hoped these will become an engine of change.

“It is incumbent upon workers to fan out in their areas and work towards the betterment of people in their humble way by highlighting problems and seeking their resolution,” he said, and urged the women workers to make their units strong at the grass-root level.

PTI

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah refused to comment on separatist detention

“Hurriyat leaders were never relevant elements to discuss issues of Kashmir with Pakistan”

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on Saturday refused to comment about the detention of separatist Kashmiri leader Shabbir Shah in Delhi saying that the government must have thought in the national interest before taking this step.”The Government of India has taken a decision that they are not going to allow the Hurriyat to meet them. This is a process that has been started and it has culminated in arresting him, and as the others will travel they will also be arrested,” said Abdullah.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Who am I to question the decision of Government of India. They must have thought in the interest of the country and taken the decision (of detaining the separatist leader),” he added.He also said that the Hurriyat leaders were never relevant elements to discuss issues of Kashmir with Pakistan amid fears that Pakistan can cancel the NSA- level talks tomorrow.Earlier on Friday Abdullah criticised Pakistan for inviting the separatists for a meeting with its NSA Sartaj Aziz, saying Islamabad wants to show that the Hurriyat represents Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh.”When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had decided to have talks with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif over the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, there were as such no talks about the involvement of a third party,” he added.

Farooq Abdullah ‘surprised’ that Pakistan considers Hurriyat as Kashmir’s only ‘representatives’

Abdullah said that if the talks are called off by India, cross-border shelling would resume, “may be, with added intensity”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said that Pakistan should not indulge in any talks with Hurriyat leaders if they are serious about its commitment to fight terrorism. “Decision of Indo-Pak NSA level talks was taken by the two leaders in Moscow, but involvement of any third party was not discussed. It is surprising that Pakistan wants to demonstrate that only Hurriyat represents Jammu and Kashmir. If Pakistan serious about its commitment to fight terrorism, they must not hold talks with Hurriyat. Even Hurriyat must also be magnanimous,” Abdullah said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”If the Hurriyat wants that the Indo-Pak talks go forward, then they should tell Pakistan that any talks with them is not possible right now,” he further added. Earlier on Friday, Abdullah had urged the separatists not to meet Sartaj Aziz. “I request them (separatists) not to meet Aziz and let the National Security Adviser-level talks go ahead between the two countries… may be something comes out of these talks that will (deal with) cross-border shelling,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said. Abdullah was responding to the Ministry of External Affairs’ ‘advice’ to Pakistan not to go ahead with Aziz’s engagement with the Kashmiri separatists during his visit to India for talks with NSA Ajit Doval on August 23.Abdullah said that if the talks are called off by India, cross-border shelling would resume, “may be, with added intensity”. He, meanwhile, slammed “vested interests” in both India and Pakistan for being opposed to peace prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir.

Indo-Pak NSA meet: Omar Abdullah compliments Centre for continuing dialogue with Pakistan

“‘Violence and talks can’t go together’ BJP circa 2004-2014. This is one U turn I’m very glad to see,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

“‘Violence and talks can’t go together’ BJP circa 2004-2014. This is one U turn I’m very glad to see,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

PTI
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday gave a back-handed compliment to the BJP-led government at the Centre for continuing on the path of dialogue with Pakistan in the back drop of continued violence in the state, saying it was one U-turn he is “very glad” to see. “‘Violence and talks can’t go together’ BJP circa 2004-2014. This is one U turn I’m very glad to see,” Omar wrote on microblogging site twitter.com. Omar was apparently reacting to media reports that Pakistan has agreed to talks between the National Security Advisors of the two countries on August 23. “Hope NSA talks lay strong foundation,” the working president of National Conference said. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

2007 Samjhauta blasts case: How is bail for Aseemanand different from Pak’s bail for Lakhvi, questions Omar Abdullah

“How is the Indian justification of bail for #Aseemanand any different from the Pakistani justification of bail for #Lakhvi?,” Omar wrote on micro blogging site Twitter.

Omar Abdullah

File Photo
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday questioned the justification of bail to Swami Aseemanand, chargesheeted in the 2007 Samjhauta blasts case, saying how was it different from Pakistan’s explanation in Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi case.”How is the Indian justification of bail for #Aseemanand any different from the Pakistani justification of bail for #Lakhvi?,” Omar wrote on micro blogging site Twitter. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) yesterday decided not to oppose the conditional bail granted to Aseemanand as it did not find any grounds for it. This was stated by Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary in Lok Sabha while replying to a written question by Asaduddin Owaisi of All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM).

Taliban leader Mullah Omar is dead, confirms White House

Noting that this comes on the heels of key milestones, he said in last year’s Afghan election, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah honored the efforts of millions of Afghan voters by ensuring the first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in the nation s history.

The US intelligence community assesses that the Taliban leader Mullah Omar is now dead, although the circumstances of his death is not yet clear, the White House has said.”The US Intelligence Community assesses that Mullah Mohammed Omar, the former leader of the Afghan Taliban, is dead,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.Earlier this week, Taliban confirmed the death of Omar in a statement, without saying when and where he died.”While the exact circumstances of his death remain uncertain, it is clear that his demise, after decades of war and thousands of lives lost, represents a chance for yet more progress on the path to a stable, secure Afghanistan,” he said in a statement last night.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Noting that this comes on the heels of key milestones, he said in last year’s Afghan election, President Ashraf Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah honored the efforts of millions of Afghan voters by ensuring the first peaceful and democratic transfer of power in the nation s history.At year’s end, President Barack Obama ended the US combat mission in Afghanistan, bringing the longest war in American history to a responsible conclusion.”But Afghanistan remains a dangerous place, and the Afghan people still suffer from a brutal insurgency that continues to take innocent lives and hinder Afghanistan s prospects for peace,” Earnest said.At this time of transition, the Taliban can choose to continue to fight their own people and destabilise their own country, or they can choose peace, Earnest said.”We encourage the Taliban to heed President Ghani’s call for reconciliation and make genuine peace with the Afghan Government,” he said.”We and our international partners will continue to support President Ghani, the National Unity Government, and an Afghan-led reconciliation process as we work together to improve Afghanistan’s security, continue to target terrorists, and preserve the gains we have made together over the last 13 years,” said the White House Press Secretary.

Gurdaspur terror attack similar to those in Jammu, tweets Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said that the Gurdaspur terror attack is similar to those in Jammu.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said that the Gurdaspur terror attack is similar to those in Jammu.Taking it to micro blogging site, Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Will be very interested to see what emerges about the identity of the terrorists involved in the Gurdaspur attack this morning.”He further added, “The timing of the attack, methodology & location are all eerily similar to attacks in the border belt of Jammu.”Suspected terrorists wearing Army uniforms opened fire at a bus and attacked a police station in Gurdaspur district early today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The assailants came in a car and they first opened fire at a moving bus which was coming to Punjab side from Jammu and Kashmir on the Amaritsar-Pathankot highway.According to reports, six civilians, three police home guards have been killed.Home Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and discussed the situation.Rajnath Singh has also asked security to ‘step up vigil on ‘Indo-Pak border’.

Display of ISIS, Pakistan flags is expression of ‘anger’, says Farooq Abdullah

Necessary measures need to be taken to “get these boys back into the national mainstream”, he said, adding, “You have to look at the what is pinching them.”
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
With ISIS and Pakistani flags being repeatedly displayed in Kashmir, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Friday said it was an expression of “anger” and “frustration” by the youth who want to “wake up the nation”.The former Chief Minister said “none of us has bothered about them” and there is no way for them to express themselves other than displaying such flags.”It is actually the frustration and anger in the youth. Nothing is being done for them. They can’t show their anger by any other method except by putting these flags up,” Abdullah said when asked about the frequent hoisting of ISIS and other controversial flags during protests in Kashmir.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They (youth) want to wake up the nation that ‘think of us’. None of us has bothered about them. That is the tragedy of it,” said the NC chief whose party was in power in the state from 2009 to the last year-end.Necessary measures need to be taken to “get these boys back into the national mainstream”, he said, adding, “You have to look at the what is pinching them.”At the same time, he said that borders between India and Pakistan can never be changed as referred to a series of grenade attacks carried out by militants in Srinagar on Friday.”They (militants) are attacking towers. What is attacking a tower going to do? Do you think that will change anything. I am absolutely clear the border will never change, whatever you may do. The border is not going to change,” Abdullah said after a meeting of his faction of the state’s Cricket Association.Invoking former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he advocated friendly relations with Pakistan.”What must be done is friendship between the two countries. It is essential for survival of Kashmir and when I say Kashmir, it means Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. I remember Vajpayee Ji’s words that friends can be changed but neighbours cannot be. Either we can have friendly relations with the neighbours or destruction is around the corner. They (Pakistan) should also understand this that the Muslims across the world today are facing destruction. Who is responsible for it,” he said.Abdullah said the young generation in Kashmir was on the path of destruction and everyone, except the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led state government, was concerned about it.”Everybody is concerned about it. Recently, the NSA (Ajit Doval) had also come to review this (situation). Instead of countering these things, they (the state government) is busy with (affairs of) cricket association,” the NC chief said.He was referring to the recent election conducted by the rebel faction of the association which elected Sports Minister Imran Raza Ansari as the president, replacing Abdullah as the head of the cricket governing body after 35 years.”The young generation is going on to a path of destruction and Mufti sahib’s government is not thinking about how to save the situation from going back to the 1990’s. Youth is now educated and wanting to take the gun,” he said.Abdullah criticised the PDP-BJP coalition government for “withdrawing security of people who are most vulnerable” to militant threats.”Those who are facing the most threat, their security is being withdrawn. Mufti sahib, we also were in power. Farooq Abdullah never reduced your security. Did I trouble you in any way. How long will you continue this way? ‘Jitna aap badla lena chahenge, utna hi Allah bhi aap ka Jinazah jaldi nikalega’ (As much as you will try to take revenge, Allah will hasten your death),” he said.Asked if his security had also been downgraded, Abdullah, who has ‘Z-Plus’ cover, evaded a direct reply saying he was not bothered.”I am not bothered about my security, I have faith in Allah. No security can save me when I am destined to die but I am worried about those who live in vulnerable areas and are at the mercy of God,” he added.

PDP unleashes coup to oust Farooq from scam hit JKCA

Farooq was replaced by the Jammu and Kashmir sports minister and PDP MLA from Pattan constituency Imran Raza Ansari as the president of JKCA in the elections that were stayed by the excise magistrate Jammu just hours after the results were out.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) virtually unleashed a coup d’état to oust the former chief minister Farooq Abdullah from the last bastion of power as the president of scam-tainted Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) on Monday. Farooq was replaced by the Jammu and Kashmir sports minister and PDP MLA from Pattan constituency Imran Raza Ansari as the president of JKCA in the elections that were stayed by the excise magistrate Jammu just hours after the results were out. It is the second time in the last one year that Farooq had to taste a defeat. Farooq lost the elections for the first time in his political career last year when he was defeated by PDP leader Tariq Karra from Srinagar LoK Sabha constituency. Later in December 2014, his National Conference suffered a crushing defeat in the assembly polls.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Ansari was elected unopposed with 44 out of 64 members that form the electoral college, present in the elections which were held in the presence of senior IAS officers here on Monday morning. Farooq, who was the head of powerful JKCA since 1980 with a break of just one year in between, was not present when the polls were held. Farooq along with nine others are accused in Rs 113 crore cricket scam that rocked the JKCA some years ago. Investigators have proved prima facie involvement of Farooq in the murky dealings of the JKCA. Farooq along with nine office-bearers, are charged under Sections 406, 168 and 120-B of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) for making the sports body a lending agency and for operating many bogus accounts. A high drama unfolded after the elections with Ansari led new office bearers’ team rushing to take over the charge and opertionalizing the bank accounts of the JKCA despite the court’s stay. “Excise magistrate Jammu has stayed all the decisions taken by the working committee of JKCA today. Court has passed the order and unless it is vacated it is to be followed and obeyed. Farooq continues to be the president of JKCA”, Abhinav Sharma, counsel for Farooq Abdullah faction of JKCA told dna. A crisis of sort however hit the JKCA after both factions quoting rule books claimed that their nominee –Imran Raza Ansari and Farooq Abdullah – is the president of the sports body. Former IAS officer and PDP leader Mehboob Iqbal, who was elected chairman of JKCA, claimed Ansari has been duly elected as president of the JKCA given that Farooq’s one year term had already ended on May 11 this year under rule 8 of the Association. “Working committee comprised of 64 members. We have 34 affiliated clubs and each club has two members in the working committee. The rule 8 says elections are to be held every year. Rules can be altered. , but it has to be done in the extraordinary council meeting which has not been held before June 26”, Iqbal told dna. ML Nehru, general secretary of Farooq led JKCA, however said rule 8 has been amended on June 26 2011 by the general council and the term of president has been increased from one year to three years. “This is a dissident group which have pre-poned the elections. The elections are illegal because the rule says the notice has to be issued by general secretary and all working committee meeting has to be chaired by the president. We have the judgement of Justice Kirmani passed on July 2 2007 in this regard”, Nehru told dna. Crisis notwithstanding, Ansari remained unfazed saying the elections have been held and he has been duly elected the president. “Cricket is in mess and there is a lot of problem. Cricket Association has been sending letters to Farooq Sahab to hold elections. We have held the elections and the file will now go to BCCI”, he said. Farooq too was not in a mood to relent saying he would fight to the grave. “I am not a gunda like them. I am the son of Sher-e-Kashmir and will fight to the grave. PDP is adopting divide and rule policy. Instead of solving problems of the people, the PDP government is creating more”, he said

Kashmir celebrates Eid; 60,000 devotees offer prayers at Hazratbal

Even as the prayers passed off peacefully everywhere, police said that a few isolated incidents of stone-pelting on security forces occurred in the city and Anantnag town in south Kashmir.

Representational image

ANI
Barring stray incidents of stone- pelting, Eid prayers passed off peacefully across Kashmir amidst precautionary measures which saw top separatist leaders being placed under house arrest ahead of the occasion.Hazratbal shrine witnessed the biggest Eid congregation with Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and his predecessor Omar Abdullah joining more than 60,000 devotees in offering Eid prayers, officials said. The rival leaders also exchanged Eid greetings in a gesture of warmth that delighted those present.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The second largest congregation, they said, had gathered at Eidgah where nearly 50,000 people offered Eid prayers, marking the culmination of the holy fasting month of Ramzan.More than 25,000 people offered prayers at Polo Ground in the city while smaller gatherings were recorded at all major shrines and mosques in the Valley, they said.Large congregations were seen at the Baramulla and Anantnag districts headquarters as well, they added.Even as the prayers passed off peacefully everywhere, police said that a few isolated incidents of stone-pelting on security forces occurred in the city and Anantnag town in south Kashmir.Nobody was hurt in these clashes and police and other agencies were able to restore law and order within a short span of time.Top separatist leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Mohammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Khan and Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai were placed under house arrest as a precautionary measure, the officials said.

#RAWattacksAfghanParliament: How Twitter in Pakistan blamed Taliban attack on India

How brazen can brazen be? Consider the voices emanating from Pakistan over Monday’s terror attack on the Afghan parliament and this question will ring out loudly.

Many Pakistanis seriously believe that India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) choreographed the terror attack on Afghan parliament. #RAWattacksAfghanParliament has been the top trending subject on Pakistan Twitter since news of attack on Afghan parliament broke out.

An Afghan security personnel runs at the site of an attack in front of Parliament building in Kabul . AFPAn Afghan security personnel runs at the site of an attack in front of Parliament building in Kabul . AFP

An Afghan security personnel runs at the site of an attack in front of Parliament building in Kabul . AFP

The top trending subject highlights Indian defence minister Manohar Parikkar’s reported remark that “You have to neutralise terrorist through terrorist only”. It also quotes him as saying that the Modi government is different from the previous one because it has given the Indian Army a free hand to tackle terrorists through intelligence.

An objective and dispassionate account of the attack can be read in the London Telegraph here

Needless to say, such campaigns on social media are an integral feature of the psyops of Pakistani intelligence and security establishments. Consider some of the tweets soaked in malicious Pakistani propaganda.

Attempts have been made by Pakistani spin doctors to clothe their outlandish claims with some weird strategic logic, an example of which can be seen here.

These spin doctors are claiming that RAW was behind Monday’s Afghan parliament attack as India is deeply upset over the intelligence deal signed last month between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS).

The line being pushed by the Pakistani intelligence brass over the Afghan parliament attack is that “the only beneficiary” of this terror attack is India as it would cause strain in Afghanistan-Pakistan ties.

The first-of-its-kind deal between the two intelligence agencies followed a visit by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, accompanied with Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif and ISI Chief Lt Gen Rizwan Akhtar, to Kabul in May 2015 aims at taking the level of intelligence cooperation between the two countries sharing a border of 1700 kms to another level.

The pact envisages cooperation in counter-terrorism operations and joint probe of terror suspects. Besides, the ISI would also equip the NDS and train its personnel. During this trip, the Pakistan government denounced Taliban and said that future violence by the militant group would be treated as terrorism.

ISPR’s Maj Gen Asim Bajwa said, “MoU signed by ISI and NDS includes intelligence sharing, complementary and coordinated intel operations on respective sides.” Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman Ajmal Abidy was quoted by Afghanistan’s ToloNews, as saying: “The focus of this agreement is mostly on jointly fighting terrorism.” The ToloNews also quoted officials of the previous Karzai government as saying that no such agreement existed in the past.

The real truth is light years away. Obviously, Pakistan is trying to pre-empt India by blaming its external intelligence agency before international agencies eventually turn heat on Islamabad.

The real victim here is Afghan President Ashraf Ghani who decided to sup with the devil against the recommendation of his intelligence brass in sealing the deal with the ISI.

The fact that the Taliban has claimed responsibility for the attack shows that Taliban is no longer a pet parrot of ISI. Moreover, the attack coincides with the Taliban wresting control of yet another district in Afghanistan’s Kunduz province.

Taliban launches spring offensive in Afghanistan every year. The real test of President Ghani, who is having acute differences with his country’s CEO Abdullah Abdullah, lies in how ferocious and bloody the Taliban’s spring offensive is going to be this time.

As for India, it enjoys massive grassroots-level support in Afghanistan, despite the fact that it has pumped in only $2.4 billion of investment in that country against scores of billions pumped in by the West. But the Indian investment has given benefit to the common man and that’s why it has a vibrant intelligence network in Afghanistan.

That doesn’t mean that India can afford to be complacent. The attack on Afghan parliament was on the old building. India is constructing the new parliament building which is nearly complete at the cost of over $125 million. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be traveling to Kabul later this year to inaugurate the new parliament building.

Army’s importance has diminished due to lack of wars for the last 40-50 years: Parrikar

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Sunday that the importance of the Indian army had gone down because it had not fought any wars for the last 40 to 50 years.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar. PTI

Parrikar, however, also clarified that he was not endorsing wars.

He was speaking at a conference in Jaipur on challenges and solutions regarding border safety.

“I have written to many chief ministers (over defence matters). Some have acted on it and at many places, it (response) has ended. The primary reason for this is that we have not been to war for 40-50 years. I don’t mean to say that we should go to war. I mean to say that without war, the Army’s importance has diminished,” Zee News quoted the Defence Minister as saying.

Parrikar also stressed on “zero tolerance” to acts of terrorism to address concerns about national security, according to PTI.

“You can drop a glass but you don’t drop a child because you take all precautions and that is mindset. The day you would take a decision not to drop the glass, you won’t drop it ever. Zero tolerance is the only solution for matters related to national security and that has to be the mindset,” he said.

Apparently referring to the army’s cross-border strikes in Myanmar following the killing of 18 soldiers in an ambush in Manipur, the minister said, “A recent incident has changed the national security scenario and there appears to be a change in the mindset of people.”

Parrikar said national security may be endangered due to internal disturbances, which could be a result of “internally or externally created problems.”

He said external issues could pose a threat to national security as happened during the Bangladesh liberation war in 1971 when people from that country crossed into India to escape “genocide”.

“External issues could be problematic to a nation as it happened in Bangladesh in 1971 when people had started moving to India due to genocide. Danger to India by external factors… I am not going into details… but it is permutation and combination of various factors,” he said.

Parrikar also sought to assuage the concerns of ex-servicemen protesting over the delay in the implementation of the One Rank One Pension scheme. “I assure you whatever we have promised that all would be done… but some people need to be patient,” Parrikar said.

(With inputs from PTI)

Myanmar operation: Omar Abdullah says ‘chest thumping’ uncalled for

In a first-of-its-kind cross border operation, special forces of Army had on Tuesday carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar “with the knowledge of Myanmarese authorities” killing at least 38 insurgents who were part of the groups believed to be responsible for the ambush on June 4 that left 18 soldiers dead.

Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has termed the statements about the Myanmar border operation as an “amazing self goal”, saying that country’s denial that the operation took place on its soil, had proved counterproductive. In a first-of-its-kind cross border operation, special forces of Army had on Tuesday carried out a surgical strike inside Myanmar “with the knowledge of Myanmarese authorities” killing at least 38 insurgents who were part of the groups believed to be responsible for the ambush on June 4 that left 18 soldiers dead.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, Myanmar maintained that Indian forces had carried out an attack on insurgents inside India, refuting claims that the attack happened in their territory, according to reports. “What an amazing self goal!!! Next time you have a good covert Op, let the Op speak for itself and leave the chest thumping for the campaigns,” Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter. Referring to Myanmar’s denial that the operation took place on its soil, the National Conference leader said the statements had proved counterproductive. “All the chest thumping did is force Myanmar to deny the Op ever took place on their soil thus proving totally counterproductive #selfgoal,” he added.

Over 600 mobile towers restored in Kashmir

Sopore, a police district, was the worst-hit area where all but two of the 177 towers were shut down in the wake of a series of attacks by militants that led to death of two persons and injuries to three others.

A series of attacks by militants in Kashmir led to death of two persons and injuries to three others in the last week.
File Photo
AFP photo
Authorities have restored over 600 of the 1,058 mobile transmission towers affected by the recent militant attacks and threats in Kashmir while efforts are on to make the rest functional soon, sources said today.Out of 2,903 towers of various telecom companies installed across Kashmir Valley, 1,058 towers had been shut down due to attacks and threats by militants to landlords in whose premises the equipment was installed, according to highly placed police sources.Police, with the assistance of the telecom companies, has made 609 mobile transmission towers functional within a short span, they said, a day after Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed directed the police to provide security to mobile towers and those managing them, saying people cannot be pushed into stone age.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sopore, a police district, was the worst-hit area where all but two of the 177 towers were shut down in the wake of a series of attacks by militants that led to death of two persons and injuries to three others.The sources said police has been able to restore 59 towers — mostly hub sites and those located close to security forces camps and police stations.In Baramulla district, excluding Sopore, 110 of the 185 affected towers have been restored while in Srinagar — the summer capital of the state — 91 of the 141 affected towers have been restored.Srinagar has a tower strength of 714.Anantnag district in south Kashmir and Kupwara, barring Handwara police district, in north were unaffected by the crisis.None of the 485 towers in these two districts were affected by the militant activities in the district and have been functional.Out of 123 towers in Pulwama district, 101 towers were affected by the militant threats while more than 50 per cent of the 140 towers were shutdown in Awantipora police district, the sources said.Sayeed held a meeting on Tuesday with senior civil and police officers to discuss the situation arising out of a series of attacks by militants targeting telecom facilities across Kashmir over the last few days.He took strong note of the disruption of cellular networks in various parts of the Valley, saying mobile and internet services have become integral to modern-day functioning in government and others sectors.Political parties had condemned the attacks with former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioning why Sayeed had failed to “reassure” the people in the Valley.

Omar Abdullah backs Arvind Kejriwal in fight with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung

dullah, who had earlier backed Kejriwal through a series of tweets, said numerous governments were “dismissed” in Jammu and Kashmir over similar tussle between the Chief Minister’s office and the governors.

Omar Abdullah

File Photo
Omar Abdullah on Sunday came out in strong support of Arvind Kejriwal on the issue of his ongoing tussle with the Delhi Lt Governor, saying Jammu and Kashmir had to pay a “heavy price” for similar issues involving the office of the chief minister and the Raj Bhavan. The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said that Kejriwal, with an overwhelming mandate to run the government, should have the “freedom and flexibility” to choose his team instead of an “unelected LG”. “I have been the Chief Minister of a state and particularly where this perception often comes in of New Delhi running the state from the backseat. Either don’t have a government in Delhi. Run it through the L-G’s office, which is fine. “But why have an election where you elect the chief minister and then tie his/her hands behind the back and then take decisions. Nobody has elected the LG of Delhi,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Abdullah, who had earlier backed Kejriwal through a series of tweets, said numerous governments were “dismissed” in Jammu and Kashmir over similar tussle between the Chief Minister’s office and the governors. “People of Delhi have elected Kejriwal whether you like it or not. You have to give that person freedom and flexibility to choose his/her team and then to succeed or fail but not like this where you end up in a sort of power tussle.”J&K has paid a very heavy price for this sort of tussle between the Raj Bhavan and the CM’s office. We had numerous governments that have been dismissed and sort of machinations that we have seen Raj Bhavan indulge in,” he said. The former J&K CM said although he had no personal rapport with Kejriwal and was yet to meet him, his support was based purely “on principle”. “I have a whole lot of sympathy for Kejriwal on this issue. It (support) was purely on principle. I mean I believe that (opinion expressed through tweets), not because I have any personal rapport with him,” he said. Referring to AAP’s massive electoral victory and stunning majority in the Delhi Assembly, Abdullah said it would not be repeated as the verdict was based “purely on expectations”.”But it doesn’t go beyond that. The verdict that the guy has got, I hope he enjoys it because he is never going to have it again. It’s inconceivable (67 out of 70 MLAs) because he will have a track record that he will have to explain and there is no way he is going to to be able to realise those expectations to the point that he gets 67 out of 70 next time,” he said.The appointment of senior bureaucrat Shakuntala Gamlin as acting Chief Secretary by the LG last week had triggered a full-blown war between the ruling AAP and the Lt Governor with Kejriwal questioning the LG’s authority and accusing him of trying to take over the administration. The Centre yesterday issued a notification giving absolute powers to the LG in appointment of bureaucrats and clarifying that he need not “consult” the chief minister on subjects like police and public order.

India can’t be micromanaged: Omar Abdullah to PM Narendra Modi

Omar recalled Modi’s stewardship of Gujarat and said, “Running a state and running a country are two very different things. It’s tough enough to micro-manage a state, even a state like Gujarat. It’s impossible to micro-manage a country and a country the size of India you can’t do it.”

Omar Abdullah

dna Research & Archives
It is impossible to micro-manage India or run it as a “one man show”, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah commented on Sunday as the Modi government completes one year in office. Omar recalled Modi’s stewardship of Gujarat and said, “Running a state and running a country are two very different things. It’s tough enough to micro-manage a state, even a state like Gujarat. It’s impossible to micro-manage a country and a country the size of India you can’t do it.”And therefore if every decision has to be sort of looked at a micro level right up to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), it’s not going to happen,” Omar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>When asked about the perception that PMO was micro-managing the affairs, Omar said, “Look I am not sitting in PMO. I am not in the Cabinet. I am just telling you that the perception one has talking to friends in government and in business picking up from what the media has to say, there is no doubt that decisions that needed to be taken are not being taken. And the general perception is that’s because the PMO…very heavy PMO is involved in all these decisions.”On the performance of the Modi government, he said, “…The Prime Minister and his ministers are victims of their own campaign. They raised expectations to a place where delivery was always going to be difficult and impossible.” He said people had lot of expectations especially because after a long time, a single party had come to power. “People expected a lot more in terms of delivery on some tricky issues that he has been promising and clearly that has not been happening. “Whether it is the economy, whether it is areas to do with defence and other governance related issues. Simple matters like putting a right person in right place for bodies like vigilance commission and information commission,” he said.”It’s actually surprising how such a Chief Minister, who was known to be decisive, has allowed a situation where he has allowed a perception where his government is seen indecisive on crucial areas,” he said.The posts of CVC and CIC have been lying vacant since September and August last year. “And that’s why as I said this perception that crucial decisions are held up on statutory bodies whose leadership needs to be put in place, it’s a telling sign. “That one year into the government you don’t have the Information Commissioners. Till recently we had one-man Election Commission. Other organisations also require to be taken care of,” the former Chief Minister said.He made it clear that a country like India cannot be run “as a one man show. It simply can’t”. Omar said a year was enough time for them to realise that it doesn’t work. This government and the Prime Minister in particular “is very sensitive” to what people say, particularly on social media, and it will be not long before Modi picks up that “it’s not working and needs to go back to the drawing board.” On the internal front as far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, he expressed clear disappointment saying, “For me the biggest test of this Prime Minister was helping the people of Jammu and Kashmir affected by the floods of last year. And in that this government has single-handedly failed the people of the state.”

PM Modi’s attacks part of ‘me, myself and I alone’ syndrome: Omar Abdullah

Omar Abdullah also took a dig at Modi, saying,”because the implication of that is he himself was embarrassed to be Indian until exactly one year ago. Which means that he did not get a visa to go to America but everywhere else that he went as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he was actually embarrassed to show his passport.

Deprecating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attacks abroad on previous governments, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today saw it as a part of “that whole thing of about me, myself and I alone”.Abdullah, also a former Minister of State for External Affairs, said it was wrong for Modi to criticise the opposition during his foreign visits or say that people felt ashamed of being born Indian till he became Prime Minister.”That is something that I don’t approve of. To go abroad and target your political opposition or to say that people were embarrassed to be an Indian till I came along as Prime Minister, I think it is wrong. It again is part of that whole thing of about being me, myself and I alone,” Abdullah told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He also took a dig at Modi, saying,”because the implication of that is he himself was embarrassed to be Indian until exactly one year ago. Which means that he did not get a visa to go to America but everywhere else that he went as Chief Minister of Gujarat, he was actually embarrassed to show his passport.”And he probably apologised to every immigration official saying ‘Look I am really sorry it is an Indian passport, main kyan karun, mujhe badi sharam aah rahi hai, lekin mujhe dikhana padega (what should I do, I am very ashamed but I have to show my passport)’. That is the implication of what he is saying, which is wrong.”During his recent trips to China and South Korea, Prime Minister Modi had said Indians were ashamed of being born in the country before his government came to power. His remarks have evoked sharp reactions from various political leaders.Modi’s remarks had also drawn criticism on social networking sites including Twitter, with the hashtag #ModiInsultsIndia trending on the top.Noting that Modi does not travel as leader of BJP, Abdullah said,”He (Modi) is going as the representative of 125 crore Indians which he himself says.”He also said that during his foreign visits, Modi “needs to leave the campaign behind and focus just as Prime Minister”.However, Abdullah praised Modi for inviting leaders of the SAARC nations for his government’s swearing-in last year and his interactions on the global stage.

PM Modi third most followed leader on Twitter, Sushma Swaraj most followed foreign minister

Berlin: In less than a year after assuming office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as the third most followed world leader on the social networking site, topped by US President Barack Obama, according to a report released on Tuesday.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj is the most followed foreign minister on Twitter.

Narendra Modi. PTINarendra Modi. PTI

Narendra Modi. PTI

“US President @BarackObama is still the most followed world leader, with close to 60 million followers but Pope Francis (@Pontifex) is catching up fast with close to 20 million followers on his nine language accounts,” the annual Twiplomacy analysis of Twitter accounts released by PR firm Burson-Marsteller said.

“Since his election in late May 2014, India’s Prime Minister @NarendraModi has skyrocketed into third place, surpassing Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (@RT_Erdogan) and the @WhiteHouse with more than six million followers each,” it said.

Modi had 10,902,510 followers till 24 March.

In terms of influence, Pope was the most effective. Prime Minister Modi was the fifth most influential leader preceded by Obama.

“The meteoric rise of the Indian Prime Minister and the large following of the Turkish President and the King of Saudi Arabia shows that leaders of the most populous countries and countries where Twitter penetration is high have a clear advantage in garnering a large army of dedicated followers,” the report said.

“The number of followers of a country’s leader has in some cases become a question of national pride,” it said.

“Fifteen world leaders have seen some of their tweets retweeted more than 20,000 times, reflecting major announcements and historic events, such as @NarendraModi’s election tweet: ‘India has won! The conquest of India. Good days are ahead’,” the report said.

Pope Francis, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, the US State Department, Prime Minister Modi, Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro all appear on more than 10,000 Twitter lists.

Swaraj, who is the most followed foreign minister with 2,438,228 followers, was far ahead of Abdullah Bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (1,608,831 followers) and Turkey’s Mevlut Cavusoglu with only 376,429 followers.

“It is impossible to say whether governments pay to promote the accounts of their leaders but we have seen an interesting pattern on the @IndianDiplomacy and the @MEAIndia accounts whose tweets are automatically retweeted by an army of 90 tweeps who all follow each other and whose sole purpose is to retweet the tweets from @IndianDiplomacy, @MEAIndia and @TOIIndiaNews, three accounts listed on each of their public Twitter list, aptly entitled ‘RT’,” the study said.

“Thanks to their dedicated action the tweets of @IndianDiplomacy and @MEAIndia are consistently retweeted 100 times but rarely favourited,” it said.

“When the social media team of former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided to archive the @PMOIndia account, including its 4,400 tweets and its 1.2 million followers, it caused a public outcry because this action would have deprived the new government of a large and captive audience. What has become known as #Handlegate has since been reversed by the Indian government,” it added.

PTI

Homemade sandbags to evacuation: Srinagar takes no chances as flood threat looms

Srinagar: Outside his electronics store in Lal Chowk, in the heart of Srinagar city, Nisar Ahmad Qureshi sullenly looks at a thin crowd in an otherwise bustling market. The overcast sky is pregnant with rains and amid fear of another flood, a group of labourers have been hired to empty the store of its goods.

“As soon as it began to rain and the road was turned into a pool, everyone panicked and began to evacuate their shops. We can’t take a risk given what happened in September last year. Almost all the shopkeepers in Lal Chowk have shifted their stock to safer places,” Quarshi, 46, told Firstpost on Tuesday, before it started raining again in most parts of the Kashmir valley.

PTIPTI

PTI

There is great fear of another flood in the valley, where the memories of September’s large-scale devastation are still fresh in the minds of the people. Lal Chowk is the hub of commercial activity in Srinagar but it wore a deserted look on Tuesday. Many shops were closed. Roads were surprisingly free of any traffic bottlenecks, as people across the state preferred to stay away from the city that sank in last year’s flood.

The meteorological department has predicted more rains in the state in the coming 48 hours. Although the Jhelum river was flowing below the danger mark on Tuesday, authorities have relocated people living along its embankment to safer places, and a low intensity flood has not been ruled out if it rains for the next two days.

“The government has done a good job this time but we have learnt lessons from the last flood. We emptied our shops and shifted the stock to safer areas. We only trust our experience and instincts now. Last time we trusted the government and lost everything,” Qureshi says.

On Sunday evening, the entire city centre of Srinagar including Residency Road, Polo View and  A Road was inundated in rainwater. Fearing fresh floods, shopkeepers and residents migrated to higher areas of the city. When Qureshi returned to his shop on Monday, he found the market surprisingly dry.

“Under the previous government, it would take days to dewater the market. But the officials worked through the night which gave us a sense of security,” he said.

But there is a palpable fear and anguish among the business community and residents of Srinagar city, as the fear of rains and flash-floods looms large. As it began to rain on Tuesday evening, many residents thronged the banks of river Jhelum on Bund to check the level of water, hoping that it would not spill over into the city, and crash into their homes, like it did the last time.

Having learnt from the failures of the Omar Abdullah led government, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed himself spent time with the traders in Lal Chowk on Sunday. Authorities have been kept on high alert to deal with any eventuality. The rains have already started wreaking havoc. Sixteen people belonging to two families including a 22-day-old baby were killed when a landslide struck a home in Ledam village of Budgam.

“There is fear among people and we are on tenterhooks. If at all the government tells us to, we will leave this area,” Haji Ghulam Din Bhat, a resident of Shivpora locality, one of the worst hit by September flood last year, told Firstpost late on Tuesday evening.

“The young as well as the old of our area have been filling sand bags since the last two days to strengthen the embankment of Jehlum where it breached the last time. We are not taking any chances,” he said.

“We have to live the trauma of September flood for the rest of our lives. At one point of time, we used to welcome rains. Now, we fear them,” Bhat said.

Kathua attack Live: One militant shot dead, Rajnath talks to J&K DGP

9.35 am: One militant shot dead

One of the terrorists who attacked the Rajbagh police station in Kathua has been shot dead by security forces, according to reports.

8.59 am: Rajnath speaks to J&K DGP, Home Ministry monitoring situation

The Ministry of Home Affairs is monitoring the situation in Kathua. The Home Secretary LC Goyal has also spoken to the Jammu and Kashmir DGP about the terror attack.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh has also spoken to the Jammu and Kashmir DGP and has instructed the Home Secretary to closely monitor the situation.

8.40 am: Terror attack carried out by 3 to 4 terrorists of LeT suicide squad, say reports

A gunbattle in underway at the Kathua police station. The Jammu-Pathankot national highway has also been closed due to the attack, according to ANI.

“We have issued an alert in various areas in Samba,” a security officer said.

The terror attack was carried out by 3 to 4 terrorists, who reportedly belong to the suicide squad of the Lashkar-e-Taiba and were heavily armed with assault rifles and Chinese grenades, according to Times Now.

8.26 am: My thoughts are with brave security personnel, tweets Omar Abullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was the first politician to react to the terror attack and said that his thoughts were with the brave policemen dealing with the attack.

Terrorists attack police station in Kathua, 1 officer dead, civilian injured

A policeman has been killed on early Friday morning after a group of militants attacked a police station in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, police said.

Three CRPF personnel and a civilian has been injured in the attack till now.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Times Now reports that the terrorists are believed to be holding several hostages inside the police station. A report on CNN IBN said that security forces have been rushed to the spot.

The militants attacked the Rajbagh police station in Kathua district in the early hours of Friday.

“Militants used automatic weapons and hurled grenades at the Rajbagh police station in Kathua district today morning. One policeman was killed in the attack and three were injured,” a senior police officer told IANS.

Exactly a year back, in March 2014, Kathua had witnessed a similar, audacious terror strike which left three people dead, including an army personnel.

Three militants had arrived in the Indian Army’s combat uniform. They, then stopped a car and opened fire.

Militants walked into Jammu from across the border: Omar Abdullah on Kathua attack

Jammu: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the militants who carried out a Fidayeen attack on a police station in Rajbagh area of Kathua district came from across the border.

Omar Abdullah. Agencies.Omar Abdullah. Agencies.

Omar Abdullah. Agencies.

Omar said the attack was carried out on the past pattern. “These Fidayeen will have walked across the border last night and launched their attack this morning which is the past pattern as well,” Omar said on his twitter account.

“My thoughts are with those brave security personnel dealing with the Fidayeen attack in Kathua town of Jammu this morning,” he tweeted.

A group of two to three Fidayeen militants stormed into Rajbagh Police Station in wee hours today and opened indiscriminate firing, killing one policeman and injuring another, a senior police office said, adding the encounter is going on.

PTI

Obama bids farewell to India after historic bromance with Modi

New Delhi: US President Barack Obama left for Saudi Arabia, wrapping up his three-day visit in India during which both the countries broke a seven-year logjam to operationalise a landmark civil nuclear deal, besides enhancing defence and trade ties.

Obama, accompanied by his wife Michelle, folded his hands in a traditional “namaste” and waved before boarding Air Force One at the Palam airport where Union Minister Piyush Goyal and, Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, were among those present.

AFP

Obama and the US First Lady had planned a visit to the Taj Mahal but cancelled their trip to the world heritage site and instead decided to visit Saudi Arabia to pay condolences to the Royal family following death of King Abdullah.

In his talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday, both leaders managed to remove the hurdles to operationalise the civil nuclear deal besides deciding to jointly produce military hardware and stepping up economic engagement.

In what Obama called a “breakthrough”, the two sides resolved key hurdles pertaining to the liability of suppliers of nuclear reactors in the event of an accident and the tracking of fuel supplied by the US.

Obama yesterday became the first US President to grace the Republic Day celebrations. He is also the first American President to visit India twice.

The American President today addressed a Town hall event at Siri Fort Auditorium here during which he spoke on a range of issues and made a strong pitch for religious tolerance.

PTI

Omar Abdullah formally approaches governor with offer of support to PDP

In a communique addressed to the governor on Tuesday, NC working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah informed that his party has offered support to PDP, which has emerged as the single largest party in the just-concluded assembly elections.

Omar Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) on Tuesday formally wrote to the governor NN Vohra offering support to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in a bid to break the current political impasse over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir.NC move is seen by the PDP as an attempt to push them into a corner after Jammu and Kashmir was placed under governor’s rule on January 8 following Omar’s decision to step down as the caretaker chief minister.In a communiqué addressed to the governor on Tuesday, NC working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah informed that his party has offered support to PDP, which has emerged as the single largest party in the just-concluded assembly elections.“However, the political impasse in the state, due to indecisiveness of the PDP has led to the imposition of governor’s rule and placing the state assembly in suspended animation despite an overwhelming participation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in the electoral process,” the letter reads.Omar also urged the governor to consult the party leadership before taking any final decision regarding the future of the present assembly.NC received a drubbing in the recent polls with the party winning only 15 seats against 28 in 2008. PDP emerged as the single largest party winning 28 seats followed by BJP with 25 seats. The alliance should have 44 members to form the next government in Jammu and KashmirPDP, which is holding informal talks with BJP, was surprised by NC’s move to approach governor with formal offer of support. “They (NC) are trying to push us into a corner. We will discuss it in our party forum and respond. It is the party which has been routed in the polls. Now, they are in greater hurry than everybody else to form the government,” Naeem Akthar, chief spokesman of PDP told dna.Akthar, however, reiterated that the PDP will pursue its own line and form the stable government in Jammu and Kashmir. “People have voted for change. They have not voted for NC to be part of the government,” he said.

Governor’s rule in Jammu & Kashmir crucial to restore democracy: Jitendra Singh

Union Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh said on Sunday that Governor’s rule in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is important “to restore democracy”.”Governor’s rule does not mean that it will be there permanently, it is also a process of democracy. Sometimes wars are fought to restore peace in the same way sometimes governor rules are imposed to restore democracy,” he said at a function organized by Panun Kashmir, an outfit of Kashmiri Pandits here. In another event here, newly-elected BJP MLA from Billawar Nirmal Singh held former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah responsible for Governor’s rule in the state.”As Omar Abdullah refused to continue as the caretaker Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Governor’s rule was imposed in the state which otherwise would have been imposed only after January 18,” he told reporters. The leader said that even though BJP is in touch with other parties regarding government formation, it might take a bit longer to form the next government in the state. “The party leadership is in touch with other parties and the channels of dialogue are open. We want to form a government with like minded parties who accept our ideology,” he said.”As the Governor’s rule is in place, we will take time to form the government in the state,” Nirmal added. The state was placed under Governor’s rule following failure of PDP, which emerged as the single-largest party with 28 seats, and BJP with 25 seats in the 87-member Assembly failing to cobble up the required numbers to take a shot at government formation. National Conference won 15 seats and Congress 12 in the results announced on December 23. The decision was also prompted by Omar Abdullah who refused to continue as caretaker Chief Minister on the ground that the state needs a full-time administrator.

Jammu and Kashmir to have stable government soon: BJP

Hinting that Governor’s rule imposed two days back in Jammu and Kashmir may be for a brief spell, BJP on Sunday said a stable government would soon be in place in the state which will see all round development.Addressing party workers in Poonch, state president of the party and MP from Jammu, Jugal Kishore Sharma said,”Government shall be in place soon and a huge task is ahead for all of us to provide equitable development for all the areas in the region.” Jammu and Kashmir was placed under Governor’s rule following failure of PDP, which emerged as the single-largest party with 28 seats, and BJP with 25 seats in the 87-member Assembly failing to cobble up the required numbers to take a shot at government formation. National Conference won 15 seats and Congress 12 in the results announced on December 23.The decision was also prompted by Omar Abdullah who refused to continue as caretaker Chief Minister on the ground that the state needs a full-time administrator. BJP would also work in all the neglected areas to ensure full-scale development in the days to come, Sharma said.”The areas that have been neglected need immediate attention… It is high time that due attention is given to all the sectors where no attention had been paid by successive governments,” he said.In Akhnoor, a senior Congress leader accused BJP of “hijacking” the agenda of Kashmir-based separatists to create political instability in the state.”BJP is least interested in formation of government in the state, they just want to hijack the agenda of the Hurriyat Conference to create political uncertainties and instability in Jammu and Kashmir,” Sham Lal Sharma said while addressing youth workers of the party.”People voted for a change, let them now judge how their mandate is being humiliated. Despite having the requisite numbers they failed to form a government which resulted in the imposition of the Governor’s rule in the state,” he said. BJP has compromised with the sentiments and aspirations of the people of the Jammu region, he said.The Governor’s report sent to Home Minister Rajnath Singh had contained some suggestions including the option of a spell of Governor’s rule in the wake of no party getting the number required to form a government after the highly-fractured verdict in the Assembly elections. After the election results were out neither PDP nor BJP could get the magic figure of 44 to stake claim to form a government.BJP President Amit Shah had said in Vijayawada on Friday that his party was in talks with both the PDP and the NC to form the next government in the state. “Our talks are going on with the two parties in Kashmir…We are trying to form a BJP government in the state,” he said.

PDP blames former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for ‘Governor’s rule’ in Jammu and Kashmir

PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats in the recently concluded state elections which threw up a hung Assembly.

Omar Abdullah has been criticized by PDP

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has not been able to cobble an alliance for government formation in Jammu and Kashmir, on Friday blamed former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah for forcing ‘Governor’s Rule’ on the state.”We had time till January 19 to form a government but the situation has been forced (on the state) by Omar,” PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar said.He said the PDP was in talks with various political parties for formation of a stable government in the state.”We could have forged an alliance…We are in touch with different parties as informal channels are open with all parties,” he said. Akhtar said the party will continue its efforts for formation of a stable government in the state.”We are hopeful that we will be able to form a stable government soon,” he added. Asked if fresh election in the state was a possibility, Akhtar said “we will discuss the situation if it comes to that”.Also Read: Omar Abdullah attacks BJP over ‘negotiations’ with PDP, raises AFSPAOmar, soon upon his return from England, met Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra asking to be relieved from being the caretaker chief minister of the state. The National Conference (NC) working president said the state needed a full-time administrator to deal with the situation arising out of border hostilities between India and Pakistan in Jammu region and rehabilitation of flood victims in the Valley.PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats in the recently concluded state elections which threw up a hung Assembly. BJP won 25 seats in the 87-member house while NC and Congress bagged 15 and 12 seats respectively. However, there has been a deadlock over government formation since the results were declared on December 23 as no combination of parties have been able to come together.While BJP and PDP have claimed that back channel talks were on, there is no clarity on the progress made in these talks as both parties have maintained a wait-and-watch approach.

Kashmir headed for Governor’s Rule as Omar decides to quit as caretaker CM

Srinagar: The political impasse in Jammu and Kashmir has taken a new turn with Omar Abdullah deciding not to continue as caretaker Chief Minister, arguing that the state needed a full-time administrator to deal with the situation along the border with Pakistan.

Caretaker CM of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah. PTI

Omar met state Governor NN Vohra in Delhi last night soon after his return from London after a 12-day visit to his ailing parents and is understood have conveyed that he wished to be relieved of the position of caretaker Chief Minister.

He was asked to continue as caretaker Chief Minister on 24 December after his resignation in the wake of defeat of his party, National Conference (NC), in the Assembly poll on 23 December. NC could manage only 15 seats. PDP emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats followed by BJP with 25 in the 87-member House.

Following the hung verdict, BJP has been in touch with both NC and PDP for government formation but nothing concrete has emerged so far to break the deadlock. NC does not appear to be in favour of joining hands with BJP and PDP is struggling to convince its cadres for a tie up with the saffron party.

The new government is required to be constituted before 19 January when the term of the current Assembly expires failing which Governor’s rule looks inevitable. Omar’s decision means such a rule may have to be imposed earlier.

The Governor, according to the sources, will now be submitting a report to the President in which he may recommend a spell of Governor’s rule to avert a Constitutional breakdown.

Omar is believed to have told Vohra that it was not possible for him to provide relief as a caretaker Chief Minister to the people along the border in Jammu where constant shelling has led to loss of houses and migration to safer places. He was not in a position to help people affected by the floods in the Valley who are facing a harsh winter.

Sources said Omar has conveyed to the Governor that nearly 10,000 people have been dislodged along the International Border and Line of Control due to escalated tension between Indian and Pakistani forces.

Omar reasoned that the state effectively did not have a government since October last week after the Model Code of Conduct came into force for the Assembly polls, the sources said.

Omar has already put the onus on his arch-rival PDP for pushing the state to a Constitutional crisis. “I don’t envy the @jkpdp having to explain the imminent imposition of central rule when they’ve had a credible offer of support from @JKNC,” Omar had tweeted on Wednesday.

The state is witnessing such a stalemate for the second time in 12 years. A similar situation had arisen when Farooq Abdullah had asked the then Governor G C Saxena to relieve him of being a caretaker Chief Minister as PDP and Congress were taking a lot of time in cobbling up numbers to form the government.

Despite intervention by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Abdullah refused to continue as the caretaker Chief Minister and the Governor’s rule had to be imposed for a fortnight from October 18, 2012.

PTI

Jammu and Kashmir faces possible Governor’s rule under shadow of political impasse

Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday appeared hurtling towards a spell of Governor’s rule with incumbent NN Vohra sending a report to the Centre on the political impasse after Omar Abdullah asked him to relieve him as caretaker Chief Minister.The report to the President is understood to be containing two or three suggestions including the option of a spell of Governor’s rule in the wake of no party being in a position to cobble up numbers required to form a government after the highly-fractured verdict in the Assembly elections, sources said.The Governor’s report comes a day after Omar met him in Delhi on Wednesday night soon after his return from London after a 12-day visit to his ailing parents and asked him to relieve him as caretaker Chief Minister. Omar told him that the state needed a full-time administrator to deal with the situation along the border with Pakistan and providing relief to flood-affected people in the Kashmir valley.”Just to confirm I did meet Gov Vohra sahib last night and ask him to relieve me as caretaker CM. I had agreed to stay temporarily,” Omar tweeted.
He was asked to continue as caretaker Chief Minister on December 24 after his resignation in the wake of defeat of his party, National Conference (NC), in the Assembly poll on December 23. Omar said he had assumed government formation would be a matter of week or 10 days. “Today we seem even further away from that goal than we were 10 days ago,” he said. “Given the situation on the border with 10,000 displaced, the hardships of winter & the continuing need for relief for flood affected, I believe the interests of the state will only be served by a full time administrator & not a caretaker with no mandate to govern,” he said in a series of tweets.Also Read: Omar Abdullah to step down as caretaker Chief Minister, makes Governor’s rule inevitable in Jammu and KashmirHe also needled arch-rival PDP to say that it was for that party to “explain to the people that with 28 MLAs and offers of support from 2 other parties, why the state has central rule.” NC and Congress had offered support to PDP.More than a fortnight after the results have been out, neither PDP which emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats nor BJP with 25 could get the magic figure of 44 to stake claim to form a government in the 87 member House. NC has 15 MLAs while the Congress has 12. Following the hung verdict, BJP has been in touch with both NC and PDP for government formation but nothing concrete has emerged so far to break the deadlock. NC does not appear to be in favour of joining hands with BJP while PDP was struggling to convince its cadres for a tie up with the saffron party.The new Government is required to be constituted before January 19 when the term of the current Assembly expires failing which Governor’s rule looks inevitable. Omar’s decision may have also hastened the Governor’s decision to send a report.