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Separatist leader Asiya Andrabi dismisses allegations of any IS link

“We do not have any connections with any other group outside the state,” she claimed. Three Hyderabad-based cousins, who allegedly planned to join “jihadi terror groups”, were picked up from Nagpur international airport while on their way to Srinagar, months after they were put under watch for being influenced by online ISIS propaganda. The trio allegedly aspired to meet Andrabi using the name of their late uncle, former chief of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Syed Salahuddin. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Jammu and Kashmir HC asks state govt to release separatist leader Masarat Alam, again

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Rajnath Singh visits Mufti Sayeed in AIIMS

The Chief Minister was admitted in AIIMS on December 24 after he complained of uneasiness at his residence in Srinagar and was flown to Delhi in a state aircraft. Sayeed’s condition is stated to be stable. He had taken over as Chief Minister of a PDP-BJP alliance government in March this year. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

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Also ReadIndiaGujarat HC extends bail of Naroda-Patiya convict on health groundsIndiaJ&K HC grants bail to separatist leader Masarat AlamIndiaRajnath Singh visits Mufti Sayeed in AIIMSIndiaNo interviews for government jobs from January 1; skill test may continue: DoPTIndia’Awakened’ Hindus can lead world on path of peace: RSS Gen Sec Suresh JoshiIndiaNo Rs 2000 for people violating Kejriwal’s Odd-Even rule in Delhi <!– /.block –>

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Hyerabad Police questions youths who allegedly wanted to join jihadi groups

“The trio wanted to reach Srinagar from where they wanted to explore joining some terror organisation. They did not have any well-prepared plan,” the police had said.

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Militants target police party, injure two cops near Srinagar

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J&K CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed flown to Delhi after complaining of uneasiness

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After complaining of uneasiness, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was flown to Delhi, to be admitted to AIIMS.

J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was flown to Delhi, on Thursday, after he complained of some uneasiness at his residence in Srinagar.79-year-old Sayeed was rushed to Delhi in a state aircraft and will be taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), official sources said.He had taken over as Chief Minister of a PDP-BJP alliance government in March, 2015.

Movies are making a quiet splash in the land of no cinemas

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happy ending: The organisers have received 400 entries from 50 countries in 60 different languages from around the world

The festival is being organised by the Experimental Moving Images and Theatre Association
dna photo

In the entertainment-starved paradise, the films are making a quiet debut. Thanks to the fifth edition of International Film Festival of Kashmir (IFFK), the no-cinema valley is on a high after one of the biggest cinematic extravaganza kicked off to the packed house on Monday.Organised by the Experimental Moving Images and Theatre Association (XMITA), the three-day festival will showcase 40 films from the renowned filmmakers of the country and abroad. Iranian short-fiction Waskat and Gilgit-Baltistan short fiction ‘Stunning’ were screened on the opening day of the festival on Monday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Over the next two days, 40 movies in over 10 international languages will be screened at a festival expected to attract some 2000 viewers. The selected films belong to seventeen countries including Iran, Russia, UK, USA, Phillipines, Turkey, Mexico and India,” said Ali Emran, the IFFK Curator.Such was the enthusiasm among the filmmakers that the organisers received 400 entries from 50 countries in 60 different languages from around the world.IFFK has major sections that include International competition, Indian panorama and J&K Select.”We have selected five films in the best of Indian panorama category. Similarly we have five films –one feature and four short—in J&K select. Thirty others are the international films. Plus there will be a Spanish package of six short films”, said Emran.Interestingly the film festival is being organised in a place where no cinema halls, 70mm halls or multiplexes are operational. Allah Tigers, now a defunct militant outfit, had banned the cinema halls and sale and consumption of liquor in 1989. Led by self styled ‘Air Marshal’ Noor Khan, the outfit had ransacked and looted the liquor shops and threatened to set ablaze cinema halls prompting them to shut instantly.There were eight single screen theatres in summer capital city of Srinagar. Of which four were in sensitive old city which had become the citadel of separatist movement in early nineties. In 1999 Farooq Abdullah led government tried to reopen Regal cinema in Srinagar. But on the inaugural show, militants attacked the cinema with grenades killing one person and injuring 12 others. Later two cinema halls –Neelam and Broadway—tried to reopen amid tight security but they were unable to attract the cine-goers owing to security reasons. With the result Broadway closed some months later. Neelam Cinema crutched along but finally closed down in 2010. Cine goers had a narrow escape when militants attacked Neelam on September 7, 2005. Two militants and a policeman were killed in the attack. History is made Cinemas or no Cinemas, Kashmir has made history once again by hosting another edition of the international film festival.”XMITA will continue to host some events for the festival in the lines of workshops through different national and international organizations”, said a spokesman of XMITA

Mercury hovers near freezing point in parts of North

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Foggy conditions were witnessed in the city during the morning, significantly reducing the visibility to 500 meters.

Winters in North

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Cold wave coupled with fog affected normal life in most parts of North India, as road and rail traffic were hit in the region, while mercury hovered around freezing point in some parts of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan on Saturday. Delhiites woke up to a chilly Saturday with the minimum temperature settling at 6.8 degrees Celsius, one notch below the season’s average. The maximum temperature was recorded at 21 degrees, also a notch below the normal, said a MeT department official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Foggy conditions were witnessed in the city during the morning, significantly reducing the visibility to 500 meters. In Jammu and Kashmir, Srinagar witnessed the season’s coldest night so far with the minimum temperature settling at a low of minus 4.4 degrees as the cold wave tightened its grip in the Valley where mercury slipped further below the freezing point. The night temperature in Srinagar dipped further by over a degree from the previous night’s minus 3.2 degrees Celsius and settled at a low of minus 4.4 degrees Celsius, causing fringes of famous Dal Lake to freeze, the MeT official said. The mercury in Qazigund, the gateway town to Kashmir Valley, also went down to a low of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, the official said. The tourist resort of Pahalgam which serves as a base camp for the annual Amarnath Yatra in south Kashmir registered a low of minus 7.9 degrees Celsius. The famous ski-resort of Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 10.5 degrees Celsius. Leh, in the frontier region of Ladakh, was the coldest place in the state with minus 13.7 degrees Celsius. The temperature in the nearby Kargil town also dropped nearly three degrees to a low of minus 10.2 degrees Celsius. In Haryana, Narnaul was the coldest at 1.6 degrees Celsius, as ongoing cold conditions continued unabated in the state and neighbouring Punjab. Hisar also reeled under biting cold at a low of 4 degrees Celsius.Cold conditions also swept Karna and Ambala with 5 and 6.7 degrees Celsius respectively. Chandigarh experienced a cold night at 5.6 degrees Celsius, down two degrees than normal, the MeT Department here said. In Punjab, Amritsar reeled under severe chill at a low of 2.2 degrees Celsius, down two notches while Ludhiana also experienced a cold night at 4.2 degrees Celsius. Patiala recorded a low of 6.7 degrees Celsius. While in Rajasthan, biting cold conditions continued to prevail as Churu in plains was the coldest place at 1.4 degree Celsius whereas the sole hill station Mount Abu was freezing at zero degree Celsius.Meanwhile, dense fog affected movement of trains under North Western Railway with 10 trains running late, a railway spokesperson said.

Islamic State in Kashmir? Here’s why this notion is rooted solely in fiction, not fact

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Cold wave sweeps north India; Leh records minus 12 degree Celsius

Delhiites woke up to a chilly morning with the mercury dipping to 6.8 degrees Celsius, a drop of nearly five notches from Saturday when the minimum settled at 11.5 degrees.

A train moves on snow covered railway tracks after seasons first snowfall, in Anantnag district of south Kashmir

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Cold wave swept in several parts of north India today with Leh in Ladakh region experiencing the coldest night of the season at minus 12 degrees Celsius and higher hills of Himachal Pradesh receiving another spell of moderate snowfall.Delhiites woke up to a chilly morning with the mercury dipping to 6.8 degrees Celsius, a drop of nearly five notches from Saturday when the minimum settled at 11.5 degrees. According to MeT officials, Sunday’s low was two notches below the season’s average. In Jammu and Kashmir, Leh experienced the coldest night of the season so far as the mercury plunged 12 degrees below freezing point. Leh recorded a minimum of minus 12.1 degrees Celsius — down by over seven degrees from the previous night’s minus 4.6 degrees.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The night temperature in Srinagar – the summer capital – decreased marginally. The city recorded a low of minus 0.8 degrees as against 0.6 degrees the previous night. Most parts of Himachal Pradesh shivered under piercing cold wave conditions as high altitude tribal areas and other higher ranges received another spell of moderate snowfall and foggy conditions prevailed in mid and lower hills.The mercury dropped by a few notches and Keylong in tribal Lahaul and Spiti district recorded minimum temperature at minus 4.6 degrees Celsius while Manali and Kalpa recorded a low of minus 3 degree and minus 2.2 degree Celsius. The high altitude tribal areas groaned under biting cold wave conditions with minimum temperatures staying between minus eight and minus 14 degrees Celsius.Dark convective clouds overcast the sky in state capital Shimla and strong velocity icy winds swept the region causing sharp fall in day temperature which dropped to 8.8 degrees Celsius, forcing people to stay indoors. Meanwhile, cold wave conditions swept many parts of Haryana and Punjab, with Narnaul turning out to be the coldest place at 2.5 degrees Celsius.Narnaul in Haryana reeled under biting chill as the minimum temperature today dropped four notches below normal level. While Hisar experienced a cold night at 4.5 degrees Celsius, three notches less than normal, minimum temperature in Ambala however, settled within the normal limits at 9.3 degrees Celsius. In Punjab, Amritsar had a cold night at 6 degrees Celsius while Ludhiana also experienced the chill at 6.8 degrees Celsius.

Season’s first snowfall drapes Srinagar in white

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When dogs and cows marched for human rights in Kashmir

Braving bone-chilling cold, protesters waving black flags started from Sher-e-Kashmir Park and marched through fashionable Residency Road before they were stopped by the police.

The protesters started from Sher-e-Kashmir Park and marched up to fashionable Residency Road

Imagine cows and dogs coming out on to the streets for the protection of human rights in Kashmir. Thanks to Awami Ithaad Party (AIP) led by independent MLA from Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid, cows, dogs, horses and even goats made their debut in the unique protest parade in Srinagar.Braving bone-chilling cold, protesters waving black flags started from Sher-e-Kashmir Park and marched through fashionable Residency Road before they were stopped by the police.Led by Rashid, who was smeared with black ink in Delhi for allegedly hosting a beef party in Srinagar in October, the agitators were trying hard to herd the “protesting” animals.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I am Sangh Parivar’s cow… I am secure than Kashmiris,” read a placard slung by the neck of a cow. “I am Rashtrapati Bhawan’s horse, I am secure than Kashmiris,” read the placard slinging down the neck of a horse.Police had a tough time to control the march and tame the animals mostly the horses. Police successfully herded several animals but it was the horse that was unwilling to go with the khaki-clad cops. Later several policemen joined hands and bundled the horse into the police station Kothi Bagh.”Through this innovative protest, we want to convoy to world community about our sufferings. They should ask the government of India why was it depriving Kashmiris of their fundamental rights and why are the perpetrators of human rights abuses roaming free and being awarded with promotions, perks and privileges?” asked RashidAIP president noted that while India is celebrating Afzal Guru’s hanging, the killers of Gowhar Nazir, Khalid Muzaffar Wani, Zahid Bhat and dozens others are not being taken to task as required by the law.”Government of India is misleading world community over custodial killings, forced disappearances, illegal detentions, juvenile detentions, tortures and other numerous human rights abuses”, he said.Batting for the right to self determination, Rashid, a two time MLA, appealed the world community to impress upon New Delhi to allow Kashmiris to exercise their rights.”The protest should act as an eye opener for those who often get misled by soft spoken sermons being given by Indian leaders from time on non violence”, he said.

Two militants, soldier killed in north Kashmir encounter

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Is the rise of ISI agents in J&K Police, Armed Forces an alarming situation?

Back in 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir Police was left rattled after a similar busting of a militant module that was responsible for 13 attacks that Srinagar had witnessed between 2011-12, including killings of atleast four police officials and one National Conference activist .

The busting of a major espionage network involving a BSF personnel and a librarian from Rajouri area of Jammu and Kashmir, has uncovered an alleged nexus between Pakistan’s premier intelligence agencies, members of the Indian armed forces and the J&K police. Crime Branch officials told dna that the arrests might be a part of a nation wide exercise to sanitise security forces across country from suspected espionage networks. This however is not the first time when such a network has come to light since an armed insurgency against the Indian state erupted in the valley in 1989.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Back in 2012, the Jammu and Kashmir Police was left rattled after a similar busting of a militant module that was responsible for 13 attacks that Srinagar had witnessed between 2011-12, including killings of atleast four police officials and one National Conference activist . The arrested men included a policeman, named Abdul Rashid Shigan, and a released Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) militant, Imtiyaz Ahmad Gojri who were operating under the shadow name of Omar Mukhtar and General Usman.However, what makes the current bust even more important is the fact that the Crime Branch of Delhi police believes that the arrested librarian, identified as Kaifaitullah Khan, had managed to penetrate not only the security agencies but also the Indian Armed forces. He had also roped in his cousin Abdul Rasheed who is accused of directly sending secret information relating to army deployment to ISI agents.While J&K Director General of Police (DGP), K. Rajendra Kumar maintained that the security forces in the state, including JK police, are ‘professionals’ curbing terrorist activities on daily basis, Dr Ajit Kumar Singh, of the South Asia terrorism portal, said the phenomenon of providing state secrets to Pakistani intelligence needs to be curbed immediately with better selection ,training and recruitment procedures of the Indian armed forced as well as the J&K police.Kaifaitullah during his interrogation disclosed that in 1992, he was selected in BSF but he did not join the service. In 1993, he got selected in J&K police and after completing the training, he was posted in J&K armed police till 1995 after which he got job as Library Assistant in in a Higher Secondary School in Manjakot, Rajouri. The Crime Branch maintains that Kaifaitullah had begun his operation to penetrate the Indian army only 2-3 years back, but given his history, it is unlikely he was dormant from 1995, the year he joined militancy. This could well mean that he has served as an ISI handler for over 20 years even after being arrested by the state police on several occasions. Singh attributes this to botched up investigation into terror acts which according to him is detrimental to the cause of fighting terrorism.His research titled ‘J&K Police, The enemy within’ also documents one such botch up during the investigation of 26/11 attacks of Mumbai. “When Mukhtar Ahmad Sheikh (arrested on June 16, 2012) was detained by the Kolkata (West Bengal) Police in December 2008 in the aftermath of November 26, 2008 (26/11) Mumbai attacks for supplying SIM cards to Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants, the cases against him were dropped after the J&K Police informed their Kolkata counterparts that he was an undercover agent, and was trying to infiltrate into the terror group”, reads his research paper.”According to the data compiled by the Institute for Conflict Management, a total of 21 Policemen were arrested for their links with militants since 1990. While there were only three such arrests till 2009, 2010 alone witnessed four arrests and it increased to seven in 2011. The current year has already witnessed seven such arrests. Apart from these Policemen, four Army personnel and a Central Reserve Police Force trooper have also been arrested since 1990,” the paper reads.”We will have to look into his records. The case indeed is very alarming,” said a senior official of the JK police.

The flood story from Kashmir to Chennai: Why don’t we ever learn a lesson?

Large parts of the city under water, ceiling-high grime in the lower floors of thousands upon thousands of houses, tens of thousands sick in hospitals, losses amounting to tens of thousands of crores …it’s a dismal list. This was the story of Chennai a week ago. It was the same story in Srinagar 3,000 kilometres to the north just 15 months ago.

The rest of the story too is common to both places: failure to de-silt water bodies, colonies built on former marshes and wetlands, reclaimed lakes, vast rural-to-urban migrations… yes, regarding causes too, the story is long, and it is depressing.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

For, if there were lessons to be learnt, they would have been learnt from the Kashmir floods last year. But no lessons were learnt. That devastation was put down simply to flooding of the river Jhelum – floods which the state government kept telling us were unexpected. Of course, the cyclonic storms off the Chennai coast in the Bay of Bengal can be called unexpected even more easily.

It is of course tough to predict when exactly a flood will come. But an array of factors can make obvious how badly a flood will affect populations if and when it does come – factors that are not only predictable but manmade. But if causes were to be acknowledged, the state government, city officials, and the Centre, would have to take some responsibility for dereliction of duty – and no one is willing to do that.

In both places, one in the Himalayas and the other on the Deccan coast, the marshes, wetlands, lakes and other waterways that served as natural catchments for excess water had been taken over by concrete jungles – extensions of each of those rapidly expanding city.

In each place, politicians had ignored the likely consequences of this unregulated expansion. Their responses were shaped by populism, and even more so by the nefarious influence which property investors exercise on politicians and officials – not to speak of the property investments of the corrupt in both categories.

A historical review of Google maps of both areas makes clear the extent to which both have been ravaged by haphazard urban expansion, and the extent to which construction has obstructed the natural flow-paths to and in catchment areas.

Natural gradients allow excess water to flow freely from higher planes to low-lying catchment areas such as marshlands, swamps, rivers, lakes, wet lands and other minor and major water bodies. But official are callous about the likely effects of disturbing the natural equilibrium. So much so that the Srinagar Development Authority has built a huge office building and `habitat centre’ on what was wetland, cheek-by-jowl by Kashmir’s main flood overflow channel.

It has benignly allowed colonies to come up in nearby areas that used to be lakes and marshes. Of course, these were the first parts of the city that were severely flooded when the waters rose last year – for silt had simultaneously been allowed to make the river, the remaining lakes, and the flood channel – all the catchment – much shallower than before.

The situation is no better around Chennai. Real estate sharks have encroached on the city’s biggest fresh water lake, and built high rise apartments. Not far, an educational institution has put up signboards claiming that it owns the lake, and has reclaimed a part of it.

Some of the biggest commercial complexes and business centers have been built on the lake, canal, or part of the river bed. Chennai’s builders learnt no lessons after the collapse of a 13-storey residential building, which was being built on a wetland.

Not just Srinagar and Chennai, cities across the country have woefully inadequate drainage, sewerage and other proper facilities. This applies even to towns such as Gurgaon that have some of the highest priced real estate globally.

Waves of migrants have come to both Srinagar and Chennai over the past couple of decades, pushed there by government policies and the lure of opportunities. Most of them look to buy a small plot or apartment as cheaply as they can, oblivious to the dangers of flooding. Government officials and politicians, often influenced by property developers and hoping for migrant votes, fail to regulate construction.

The state governments in both Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir failed to de-silt the rivers and other water bodies that remain. If they had, those channels might have been deep enough to carry more flood water without overflowing. Both have increased the city limits without proper plans in place.

Dismissive attitudes to the environmental dangers are not just callous. It is unconstitutional. Article48 of the Directive Principles mandates the State Authority to protect the environment. Article 51 makes it the responsibility of every citizen to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife.

Before getting excited about `smart cities,’ as some residents of both Chennai and Srinagar have recently been, the entire country needs to wake up to the dangers of greed-based and shortsighted `development.’

Post J&K floods, saffron sees sharp fall in production

Kashmir saffron sells for anything between Rs2 lakh to Rs3 lakh per kg

On a chilly November morning, a group of women criss-crosses the full-blown saffron fields to pick up the first harvest post floods. Crooning folklores, the young women line up to pluck the saffron flowers delicately with their tiny fingers.Touted as world’s costliest spice, saffron crops suffered huge losses last year due to devastating floods. The average yield dropped from 4.5 kilogram per hectare to 1.02 kilogram per hectare causing financial losses of more than Rs 300 crore to saffron farmers in the state.“Last year, the average yield was only five per cent of what we used to harvest. This year, the yield is better than 2014 but it still will be only 15 per cent of what we used to harvest until a few years ago. We have suffered huge losses last year due to the floods,” GM Pampori, president J&K Saffron Growers and Dealers Association, told dna.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Climatic changes, unseasonal rains and weather vagaries are the major reasons affecting saffron production in the valley. “Climatic changes are wreaking havoc to our crops. We have had unseasonal rains for three months continuously early this year. This affected our production,” said Pampori.Official figures reveal that the saffron production in Kashmir was 10 to 11 metric tonnes in 2012. In 2013, the production figures touched 15 tonnes. Last year, there was 75 to 80 per cent drop in production figures.“Saffron alone suffered losses worth Rs 300 crore last year. This year, the crop is very good. We are in the process of collecting the figures. We hope to have a good yield this year. Our average saffron yield per hectare is 4.5 kilograms,” Aijaz Altaf Aijaz Andrabi, director agriculture department, Kashmir told dna.Around 3,715 hectares of land is under the cultivation of saffron in Jammu and Kashmir. Pampore in the Pulwama district of south Kashmir tops the list with 3,200 hectares under saffron cultivation. It is followed by Budgam and Srinagar with 328 and 165 hectares respectively under the saffron cultivation. Kishtwar is only district in Jammu division where saffron is cultivated. Around 50 hectares of land is under the saffron cultivation in KishtwarPrecious like gold, Kashmir saffron sells for anything between Rs two lakh to Rs three lakh per kilogram in the market. However, cheaper Iranian variety and adulteration in Kashmiri saffron have dealt a major blow to the saffron farmers in Jammu and Kashmir.“Around 60,000 hectares of land is under the cultivation of saffron in Iran. They are very advanced and their production is huge. Kashmir saffron however is the best in the quality in the world,” said Andrabi.Uses of saffron It is used in multiple ways in multiple products such as medicine, beauty ingradients, colours and food.Kashmiri saffron kahwa (tea) is a delicacy which is served on special occasions signifying the importance of the guests. It is used in Wazwan (multi cuisine mutton dish) and halwa in Kashmir.Besides, saffron is used in beauty products and has a high medicinal value. Saffron has also religious significance and Hindus mostly use it to apply tika on their forehead.

No flight operations at Srinagar airport for fourth day

“There is no clearance yet from the ATC, hence all morning flights have been delayed,” he said.

For the fourth straight day on Thursday, air traffic to and fro Srinagar international airport remained affected as no flight could either land or take-off due to bad weather. “The air traffic has not resumed yet. No flight has either landed or taken-off from the airport this morning as well,” Director, Airport Authority of India here, R K Shinde said. Shinde said bad weather was hampering the air traffic and all morning flights were delayed. “The sun is playing hide and seek. The visibility is low. There is no clearance yet from the ATC, hence all morning flights have been delayed,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The director, however, said no flight had been “declared cancelled” for the day. “We will wait till afternoon to see if there is any improvement in the visibility. As of now, no flight has been declared as cancelled,” he said. The continuous disruptions have left many passengers, including tourists, stranded and caused inconvenience to many more who intended to fly out of the Valley. “My uncle is ill and we had to take him to a hospital in Delhi. But we have been returning from the airport everyday for the last four days. Even as there is an improvement in the weather, no flight is taking off from the airport. We do not understand what is happening,” Shabir Ahmad, who lives in the outskirts of the city here, said.The foggy conditions persisted for the fourth day today. The Meteorological Department here has predicted rains over the plains and snowfall over the higher reaches which could provide respite from foggy conditions.The minimum temperature recorded in the summer capital Srinagar was 5.6 degrees Celsius over a degree up from the previous night – an official of the Meteorological Department said. He said Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius and was the only place in the Valley where mercury stayed below the freezing point.

J&K: One soldier killed in gunfight after militants attack on army camp in Tangdhar

Srinagar: Militants on Wednesday attacked an Army camp in Tangdhar sector near the Line of Control (LoC) using small arms and under barrel grenade launchers. Four soldiers have been injured, according to Times Now, while CNN IBN reports that one soldier was killed in the firefight. There is speculation that the militants belong to the Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group but an official statement is yet to be made.

Ajaz Ahmed, SSP Kupwara, was quoted by ANI as saying that more than 3 militants were involved in the attack, and that they are ‘most probably fidayeens.’

“There was a stand off fire from Kalsuri Ridge (in Tangdhar sector) towards an army camp this morning,” an army official said.

Representational image. Image courtesy: PTIRepresentational image. Image courtesy: PTI

Representational image. PTI

He said there was a brief lull before the militants opened fire again, triggering off a gunbattle, which was going on till last reports came in.

The official said the militants seem to be heavily armed as they used small fire arms and UBGLs to carry out the attack.

NDTV reported that three to four terrorists threw grenades into the camp from a mountainous ridge nearby. In the process, an army oil depot caught fire.

The Hindustan Times quoted Col NN Joshi, the army’s spokesperson based in Srinagar, as saying that the incident took place between 6:30 and 7 am. Following the incident, other troops based in the area, including the BSF and the state police have heightened security.

Tangdhar sector is close to the LoC in Kupwara district where just last week, 39-year-old Colonel Santosh Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, died after being critically injured during an operation in the Haji Naka forest area of Kupwara near the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Tangdhar has been used as an infiltration route in the past. In 2014, in J&K alone, there were 70 attempts by militants to sneak into the country; while 65 terrorists succeeded, the armed forces managed to push back 136, reports The Hindustan Times.

A stand off is currently going on between army and 3-4 militants who are heavily armed.
With inputs from PTI

Four militants killed in two encounters in Kashmir

Srinagar: Four unidentified militants were killed on Monday in two separate encounters with security forces in Kupwara and Anantnag districts of Kashmir, officials said in Srinagar.

Three militants were killed in an encounter with security forces in Asghmuqam area of Anantnag district this afternoon, an army official said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The gunbattle started when militants opened fire on security force personnel who had cordoned off Siligam village to carry out a search operation, the official said.

He said the search operation was still in progress while the identity of the slain militants was being ascertained.

In a separate operation in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, which entered its 11th day on Sunday, the security forces killed one militant while efforts were on to flush out his accomplices, the official said.

The unidentified militant was killed in the encounter in the dense forests of Manigah, where Colonel Santosh Mahadik was killed last week, he said.

Security forces are continuing a massive search operation in the forest near the Line of Control (LoC) since 13 November following information about presence of a group of heavily-armed militants.

On 17 November, an encounter between the militants and the security forces left Colonel Mahadik, Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles, dead.

In another exchange of fire on Sunday, two army personnel including a Lt Colonel were injured in the district yesterday.

PTI

Live grenade defused and suspected LeT worker arrested in J&K over the past 24 hours

Srinagar: A suspected overground worker (OGW) of Lashker-e-Taiba militant outfit was arrested in Pulwama district, J&K police said on Monday.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Security forces apprehended Ashfaq Ahmad Bhat from Bargam village in Awantipora area of Pulwama district last night, a police official said.

He said Bhat was working as overground worker of LeT.

A pistol along with some ammunition were recovered from his possession.

In another incident, local residents of village Dohama in Handwara area of Kupwara district found a live hand grenade in an orchard last evening, the official said.

He said a bomb disposal squad was rushed to the spot and the grenade was destroyed on the spot without causing any damage.

PTI

Jammu and Kashmir: Four injured in grenade attack on CRPF team in Pulwama

At least four persons, including two CRPF jawans, were injured in a grenade attack on Friday by militants on security forces on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

At least four persons, including two CRPF jawans, were injured in a grenade attack on Friday by militants on security forces on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.”Some unidentified militants hurled a grenade at a CRPF party at Drangbal on the national highway in Pampore which exploded causing splinter injuries to two CRPF personnel and as many civilians,” a police officer said.The injured have been admitted to hospital.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The area has been cordoned off and a manhunt has been launched to nab the attackers, the officer said.

Army colonel from Maharashtra falls to militants’ bullets in Kashmir

Hailing from Satara in Maharashtra, Colonel Mahadik and his team was chasing a group of militants in the thick forests when they came under a barrage of firing.

Col Santosh Mahadik

Colonel Santosh Mahadik’s name was enough to send shivers down the militants in the border district of Kupwara. A highly-decorated commando, Colonel Mahadik, commanding officer of the 41 Rashtriya Riffles (RR), led several anti-militant operations in his tenure before falling to the bullets at Manigah forest area on Tuesday. Hailing from Satara in Maharashtra, Colonel Mahadik and his team was chasing a group of militants in the thick forests when they came under a barrage of firing. Leading from the front, Colonel Mahadik fought bravely against the militants before he was hit by a bullet causing him grievous wounds. He was airlifted to the army’s 92-base hospital in Srinagar where he succumbed to his wounds.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A trained commando of the elite 21 Para (Special Forces) of the Indian army, Colonel Mahadik had conducted several anti-terror operations thus breaking the backbone of the militants across the spectrum. “Colonel Mahadik made the supreme sacrifice in the highest traditions of the Indian Army. He was a true soldier and had conducted many successful counter-terrorist operations. Originally from the special forces, the officer was earlier awarded Sena Medal for exhibiting gallantry and leadership in counter terrorist operations,” said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Srinagar . In fact, the operation against the militants in the forest area of Kupwara had been going on since Friday when the troops received inputs about the presence of heavily armed ultras in the jungles. A joint operation was launched by army and the Jammu and Kashmir police to track down the ultras. In the initial gun fight two security forces personnel were injured. On Tuesday, Colonel Mahadik led a group of troopers deep into the jungles to hunt down the hiding militants. As they were tightening the noose, militants opened fire in which two security force men including CO and a cop were injured. Later Colonel Mahadik died in the hospital. Colonel Mahadik is survived by wife and two children aged eleven and five years. Lieutenant General DS Hooda, general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) Northern Command expressed deep condolences on the loss of the brave officer. “We owe a deep debt of gratitude to officers like Santosh who lead from the front and are willing to pay the ultimate price in the fight against terrorism,” Lt Gen Hooda said. Colonel Mahadik is the second top ranking army officer to die fighting militants this year. On January 27, Colonel Munindra Nath Rai, the commanding officer of 42 RR, was killed while leading an anti-terror operations in Tral area of south Kashmir. Colonel Rai died just a day after he was honoured with Yudh Seva Medal for his exemplary bravery in the war against militancy.

Colonel, soldier critically injured as encounter rages on in Kashmir’s Kupwara district

Srinagar: An Army Colonel was among two security personnel injured in an encounter near the Line of Control (LoC) in Kupwara district of Kashmir today, an official said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The Commanding Officer of 41 Rashtriya Rifles sustained serious injuries when a search party he was leading came under fire from militants in the dense forests of Haji Naka, an official said.

They said a police constable was also injured in the firing and both were evacuated to a hospital.

The party of army and police came under fire when it was conducting searches as part of an operation started on 13 November to flush out terrorists hiding in the forest area on the basis of a specific information.

An Army jawan was injured on the first day of the operation.

After the initial contact on 13 November, the militants fled deep into the forests and the security forces continued the chase them, leading to fresh contact today, an official said.

PTI

Deal with ISIS flag waiving in Kashmir seriously: Shiv Sena

“ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, has lately become active in Jammu and Kashmir as well. The raising of ISIS flags in Kashmir is a very serious issue. After the human slaughter in Paris, we need to deal with this issue even more seriously,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.

File photo: Masked men displaying ISIS and Al Qaeda flags in Srinagar

In the wake of Paris terror attacks that claimed at least 129 lives, the Shiv Sena on Monday said that it was time India dealt with periodic incidents of waiving of ISIS flags in Kashmir with an “iron hand”. The Sena also noted that talks of human rights of terrorists should be shunned as they need to be rooted out completely.”ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks, has lately become active in Jammu and Kashmir as well. The raising of ISIS flags in Kashmir is a very serious issue. After the human slaughter in Paris, we need to deal with this issue even more seriously,” the Sena said in an editorial in party mouthpiece ‘Saamana’.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The edit said that it was imperative for India to understand that Western countries’ fight against terror was limited to their own interests and “we need to fight terror in our own way.””Many countries including Pakistan have condemned the terror attacks in Paris. One can only laugh when a country like Pakistan condemns these attacks because the neighbouring country is a factory that makes terrorists.. But until these terror attacks happen on their soil, America and European nations won’t understand India’s pain.”Terrorists are not even leaving European nations now.Cracks are developing in their once impregnable security walls. This incident has claimed the largest number of lives after the Second World War. Europe needs to take lessons from this incident. Shun talks of human rights of terrorists and eliminate them from their roots,” the Sena said.

Jammu and Kashmir to get its first handicrafts museum

The Divisional Commissioner asked the tourism department to submit a concept plan within a week for converting the heritage building into the museum.

Representational Image of handicrafts

dna Research & Archives
Jammu and Kashmir would get its first handicrafts museum over one-and-a-half acres of land at the exhibition ground in the heart of summer capital Srinagar.Asgar Hassan Samoon, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, has asked the concerned officials to devise a concept plan for converting old educational structure and adjacent land available at exhibition ground Srinagar into a handicrafts museum, an official spokesman said today.He said Samoon was addressing a meeting here to discuss usage of unused land and building near the exhibition ground, who also asked officials to keep into account the ambiance while devising the plan for the museum.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Divisional Commissioner asked the tourism department to submit a concept plan within a week for converting the heritage building into the museum, the spokesman said. Samoon also asked the officials to remove unauthorized mini-bus stand and vehicle parking from the area and demarcate the entire property.

PM Modi not under pressure to talk reconciliation with Pakistan: Mufti

Jammu: Facing questions over Prime Minister’s silence on Pakistan during his Srinagar rally last week, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Friday said Narendra Modi is not under “any pressure” to talk about it even as he observed that reconciliation with the neighbour is “my dream”.

Sayeed said reconciliation with Pakistan is on the agenda of the ruling PDP-BJP alliance of Jammu and Kashmir and that he will pursue it with Modi as it is important for ushering in peace in the militancy-hit state.

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mufti Sayeed. AFPJammu and Kashmir CM Mufti Sayeed. AFP

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mufti Sayeed. AFP

“Modi is not under any pressure to talk about Pakistan,” the PDP leader said at a press conference here when asked why he termed the Prime Minister’s rally in Srinagar on November 7 as “historic” even though he did not talk about reconciliation with Pakistan.

“It (reconciliation with Pakistan) is there. I have high hope on that. (But) why should we make Prime Minister say everything like that (talk about reconciliation with Pakistan)? Why should he say that? He is not under pressure to say that,” Mufti said while replying to a volley of questions on the Prime Minister’s rally in Srinagar.

Modi, during his rally, focussed on development of Jammu and Kashmir and made no mention about Pakistan even though Mufti had wanted him to make some ice-breaking announcement like the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee did in 2003.

“I met the Prime Minister in private and impressed upon him that it will be good to talk to Pakistan the way Atal Bihari Vajpayee did. But he is PM of the country,” Mufti said.

Underlining that “there is no option except reconciliation” with Pakistan, he said, “I have been insisting on that. It is a process. It is not necessary that the PM will accept everything like this as of now. In the end, it is PM’s own choice whether to touch any subject or not; I am not a dictator who will dictate all things to him.”

Asserting that “I will not give up my effort”, the Chief Minister said, “it will be my endeavour to pursue it with the PM to have reconciliation and that is my dream.”

In response to questions, he said, “You (media) should not jump to conclusions. Everything is an evolutionary process… Reconciliation with Pakistan, it is on the agenda of the alliance.”

He said if there is friendship with Pakistan, “we will be bestowed with peace here (in the state). During the Vajpayee’s period, he got peace and everything was peaceful.”

Asked whether Modi is proving to be difficult for him as compared to Vajpayee as far as holding talks with Pakistan is concerned, Mufti said, “during my previous meetings with him, Modi has been totally focused on Jammu and Kashmir on development front. Good governance and development.”

He said, “When he (Modi) entered into alliance with me, it (reconciliation with Pakistan) is written there, that there will be friendly relations with the neighbouring country. It is not possible that Mufti will achieve everything in one go. It is important that I be able to create atmosphere of friendship between two countries.”

PTI

Four months after suicide, failed student declared class topper

Distraught after being declared failed in his favourite subject, a 17-year-old electronics engineering student had committed suicide but four months on a re-evaluation has found that he not only passed the subject but topped his class.

Distraught after being declared failed in his favourite subject, a 17-year-old electronics engineering student had committed suicide but four months on a re-evaluation has found that he not only passed the subject but topped his class.The “callous” evaluation process has left the parents of Mohammad Adnan Hilal numbed, who feel that it is not a case of suicide but “murder” as their son actually secured 48 marks in Physics and not 28 as declared earlier.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the re-evaluation, Hilal, a first semester student of electronic engineering at Government Polytechnic College in Srinagar, secured around 70% aggregate marks in the first semester of the course, making him the class topper.However, it took authorities four long months to realise Hilal’s correct score.In Jammu and Kashmir, 33 out of 100 is the minimum marks required to pass an examination.Declared failed in Physics, a subject his family and friends claim he had mastery over, Adnan committed suicide in June soon after he checked his results on Internet. He jumped into River Jhelum and his body was fished out four days later.Adnan’s father, Hilal Ahmad Gilkar says his son’s death was not a suicide but a “murder” as he was forced to take the extreme step by the callousness of some people in the system.”It is a murder and people responsible for it need to be identified and acted against as per the service rules of the government,” said Gilkar as tears rolled down his eyes.Shattered by the loss of his son, Gilkar, recalls how his son had told him that he had answered all the questions in the Physics paper with ease.”When Adnan returned in the evening on the day of his examination, he informed me that he did well in Physics paper.”He told me there was no continuation sheet at the examination center so he had to write the rest of the answers on another answer sheet. He was confident that he had done well,” Gilkar, a guest faculty at Institute of Management and Public Administration (IMPA) here, said.After the death of his son, Gilkar applied for re-evaluation of his son’s Physics answer paper and was pushed further into grief as Adnan was declared pass in the paper The Jammu and Kashmir State Board of Technical Education (JKSBOTE), while admitting it as a “mistake”, said, “Such things happen in other universities as well”.

Resolving Kashmir issue by giving jobs to youth fallacious: Hurriyat Conference

Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who has been under house arrest since Friday, said the PM’s statement was a deception that will cannot change the reality of Kashmir issue.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s contention about resolving the Kashmir issue by providing employment to the youth was “bizarre” and “fallacious”.”Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talk in Srinagar about resolving the problem of Kashmir by providing jobs and employment opportunities to the youth is bizarre and fallacious propaganda,” Mirwaiz said. Modi had said that the youth of the state needed employment and assured the Mufti Sayeed-led PDP-BJP government that the Centre was standing rock solid behind it in its endeavour to restore normalcy in the state. Mirwaiz, who has been under house arrest since Friday, said the PM’s statement was a deception that will cannot change the reality of Kashmir issue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Such deception will in no way change the reality of the Kashmir issue which Modi and his ilk know very well but want to dodge and not admit,” he said. He also condemned the killing of a youth in Srinagar yesterday allegedly in police action.Gowhar Ahmad Dar, an engineering student, was hit by a tear smoke shell allegedly fired by police to disperse a stone-pelting mob near his Zainakote residence on Saturday evening. He succumbed to injuries at a hospital.

Tension in Valley after youth is killed in security forces’ firing

As the news of injury reached the area, people came out of their homes and started protesting. Youth blocked several road junctions and pelted stones.

Tension has gripped the Kashmir valley after a youth was killed in the security forces’ firing on the mob at Mustafabad-Zainakote area in the Srinagar outskirts on Saturday. Police sources said a youth was hit on his head when security forces lobbed smoke shells, fired shots and used lathicharge to disperse a violent mob. He was grievously injured and shifted to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences where he was declared brought dead by the doctors. The incident occurred in the evening when clashes broke out between the protesters and forces. Protesters were trying to lead a march when they were intercepted by the forces. They fired smoke shells and charged the crowd with canes to chase them away. The engagement continued for hours.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As the news of injury reached the area, people came out of their homes and started protesting. Youth blocked several road junctions and pelted stones. Security forces have rushed in reinforcements to bring the situation under control.”There is tension in the area”, said a police official. Earlier Jammu and Kashmir government foiled the `Million March’ announced by the separatists to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium but imposing curbs and curfew like restrictions across the parts of the Valley. Curfew-like restrictions were imposed in the sensitive areas of old city to prevent the people from marching towards TRC grounds, which is just 300 meters away from the venue that Modi was to address the crowd. Thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers were deployed to prevent the march. Barbed wires were rolled out at important road junctions to restrict movements and prevent the separatist march. A few women separatist supporters tried to lead a march but they were detained by the police. Awami Ithaad Party (AIP) led by independent MLA from Langate Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid tried to lead a march in the civil lines area but the security forces swung into action and dispersed the mob. In a first of its kind, protestors set off 2,000 black balloons in the air, carrying black flags and slogans against the Prime Minister’s rally. “The protestors were dispersed by police by using force, leaving three party workers injured”, said a spokesman of AIP. Stone pelting and clashes were also reported from different parts of the Valley with youth engaging security forces. The battle-like engagement continued for hours between the two sides. Kashmir Valley also observed strike on Saturday against the curbs imposed on the Million March. Most of the separatists were either detained or put under house arrest.

Modi announces Rs 80,000 cr package for J&K, says Delhi treasures and his ‘dil’ are for Kashmir

Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced a Rs 80,000 crore economic package for the development of Jammu and Kashmir.

As soon as Modi made the announcement, the large gathering of people who had come to hear him broke into a joyous rapture at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium.

PM Narendra Modi in Jammu and Kashmir. Screenshot from CNN-IBN footage

PM Narendra Modi in Jammu and Kashmir. Screenshot from CNN-IBN footage

Announcing the much awaited economic package that will cover relief for 2014 flood victims, farmers, businessmen, tourism, youth employment and infrastructure in the state, Modi said: “This is not the end, but the beginning.”

“Not only Delhi’s treasures, but Delhi’s ‘Dil’ (heart) is always for the people of Kashmir”, Modi said.

Modi also said that he wanted to make Kashmir a dream destination for tourists.

He addressed a public rally during his day-long visit to Jammu and Kashmir.

He said that in the past, when people had some money, they wanted to visit Kashmir. He added that he wanted to bring back those glorious days.

“Love for Kashmir draws me here. Kashmir has suffered a lot over the years. I felt the pain of flood victims,” the prime minister said.

Stressing on the development of Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said: “We will spend Rs 34,000 crore on Jammu-Srinagar Highway. It will cut the journey time from 12 hours to three-and-a-half hours.”

“Without Kashmiriyat, India is incomplete. This is the land that gave birth to Sufism, which taught us to bring everyone together,” Modi said, adding that solution of all our problems lies in the employment of the youth.

“We must also provide employment opportunity for the youths in the valley and Ladakh region.”

PM Modi also talked about technological development and establishment of call centres in Kashmir. “Only highways won’t do. We need ‘I ways’ too,” he said.

Stressing on the strengths of Kashmir, he said “pashmina, kesar, apples, tourism” were its strengths in Srinagar. Mentioning cricket, he said, “If Sachin, Sehwag hit sixes, the wood for the bat came from Kashmir…Why should there be no cricket in the land where Parvez Rasool come from?”

He also said the central government was fully ready to work with the Jammu and Kashmir government. “Delhi govt will work together with the J&K government…For the past few years, Kashmiri youth are performing well in IITs, IIMs, IAS. And I am ready to do everything possible for them,” said the PM.

Modi also said that he did not celebrate his birthday last year because the floods in Kashmir pained him. “My mother used to give me Rs 5 or Rs 11 on my birthday, but last year she gave me Rs 5000 for the flood-affected people of Kashmir,” ANI quoted him as saying.

He added that when Diwali came last year, he decided to visit Jammu and Kashmir instead of celebrating with friends in Delhi.

(With inputs from IANS)

Mobile internet services blocked in Kashmir for PM Modi’s rally in Srinagar

Srinagar: Mobile internet services in Kashmir Valley were blocked on Saturday morning as a precautionary measure in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s rally in Srinagar.

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

PM Narendra Modi. PTI

“Mobile internet services have been temporarily discontinued in the Valley in the wake of the PM’s visit,” officials said.

They said it was a precautionary measure in view of the high profile visit.

The officials said all service providers had been directed to disconnect the mobile internet services from 10 AM till the Prime Minister leaves the Valley.

However, broadband services on BSNL were working.

Modi is scheduled to address a public rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium at Sonawar in Srinagar.

The Prime Minister, after addressing the rally, is scheduled to inaugurate 450 megawatt Baglihar Phase II power project in Ramban district on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

He is also scheduled to lay the foundation stone of four-laning of Udhampur-Ramban stretch of the National Highway. The project, once completed, will reduce the travelling time between Srinagar and Jammu – the twin capitals of the state – by nearly two hours.

PTI

Amidst elaborate security arrangements, PM Modi to visit Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday

Elaborate security arrangements have been made with additional police and paramilitary forces deployed on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Modi will address a public meeting at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium

Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Jammu and Kashmir on Friday where he would address two public rallies and also inaugurate the second phase of the Baglihar hydel project.Elaborate security arrangements have been made with additional police and paramilitary forces deployed on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway. Modi will address a public meeting at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium here. “The Prime Minister will inaugurate the 450 MW Baglihar Hydro Electric Project Stage-II, and lay the foundation stone for the 4-laning of the Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal section of National Highway 44, at a function in Chanderkote, Ramban. He will also address the gathering there,” an official statement said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The venue for the Prime Minister’s rally here – Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium – has been turned into a virtual fortress with Special Protection Group (SPG) taking over it, officials said, adding a large posse of police and paramilitary personnel have also been deployed in and around the area to secure it. Many CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the venue to keep an eye on the movement of people.As separatist groups have called for a parallel rally to that of Modi at Tourist Reception Centre ground – a stone’s throw from cricket stadium, the authorities have carried out a crackdown on them to foil their plans. Several of the top separatist leaders have been taken into preventive detention while some leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq have been placed under house arrest. A senior police officer said BSF guards, manning the International Border in the Jammu region, too have been asked to remain on high alert to foil any infiltration attempt from across the border.Arrangements for the Prime Minister’s visit were reviewed in a high level meeting in Jammu chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh. Meanwhile, Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah has alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir government has issued instructions to government employees including police personnel and daily-rated workers to attend Modi’s rally here tomorrow. “Colleagues tell me that their JK police guard has been drastically scaled down & the personnel ordered to participate in the 7th Nov rally (of the Prime Minister),” Omar tweeted.The former chief minister also claimed that similar instructions have been issued to special police officers, anganwadi workers and daily wagers as PDP workers are reluctant to attend Modi’s rally. In another tweet, he said it was shameless on part of the government to use state apparatus for Modi’s rally. “Just saw State Govt employees in an AMBULANCE tying up banners welcoming the PM on behalf of the state Health Minister. #Shameless,” he wrote.

PM Modi to visit J&K on Saturday, elaborate security arrangements made

Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday where he would address two public rallies and also inaugurate the second phase of the Baglihar hydel project.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made with additional police and paramilitary forces deployed on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.

Modi will address a public meeting at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium in Srinagar.

PM Modi. Agencies

PM Modi. Agencies

“The Prime Minister will inaugurate the 450 MW Baglihar Hydro Electric Project Stage-II, and lay the foundation stone for the 4-laning of the Udhampur-Ramban and Ramban-Banihal section of National Highway 44, at a function in Chanderkote, Ramban. He will also address the gathering there,” an official statement said.

The venue for the Prime Minister’s rally here – Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium – has been turned into a virtual fortress with Special Protection Group (SPG) taking over it, officials said, adding a large posse of police and paramilitary personnel have also been deployed in and around the area to secure it.

Many CCTV cameras have been installed in and around the venue to keep an eye on the movement of people.

As separatist groups have called for a parallel rally to that of Modi at Tourist Reception Centre ground – a stone’s throw from cricket stadium, the authorities have carried out a crackdown on them to foil their plans.

Several of the top separatist leaders have been taken into preventive detention while some leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq have been placed under house arrest.

A senior police officer said BSF guards, manning the International Border in the Jammu region, too have been asked to remain on high alert to foil any infiltration attempt from across the border.

Arrangements for the Prime Minister’s visit were reviewed in a high level meeting in Jammu chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh.

Meanwhile, Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah has alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir government has issued instructions to government employees including police personnel and daily-rated workers to attend Modi’s rally in Srinagar .

“Colleagues tell me that their JK police guard has been drastically scaled down & the personnel ordered to participate in the 7th Nov rally (of the Prime Minister),” Omar tweeted.

The former chief minister also claimed that similar instructions have been issued to special police officers, anganwadi workers and daily wagers as PDP workers are reluctant to attend Modi’s rally.

In another tweet, he said it was shameless on part of the government to use state apparatus for Modi’s rally.

“Just saw State Govt employees in an AMBULANCE tying up banners welcoming the PM on behalf of the state Health Minister. #Shameless,” he wrote.

PTI

13 CRPF personnel injured in grenade attack in Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar: At least 13 CRPF personnel were injured on Thursday in a grenade attack on their camp in the Nowpora area of the city.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

According to police, militants hurled grenades towards Hotel Ikhwan, the site of the CRPF camp, resulting in minor injuries to 13 CRPF personnel.

Preliminary investigations indicated that grenades were used in the attack, they said.

PTI

Heavy hangs the head: More than just an economic package at stake for Mufti as Modi heads to Srinagar

Could a whopping economic package make up for silence on India-Pakistan rapprochement? Would handing over key power projects for management by the state government cut ice with anti-India propagandists? Will a vast but minutely-orchestrated prime ministerial audience make up for curfew at large?

From such vexing questions hangs the fate of the beleaguered Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. This Saturday is one of the most crucial days of his tenure. His coalition partner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is to visit Srinagar that day — and those gloomy issues are mistily hanging over Kashmir.

Mufti’s friends and ostensible foes alike have compared Modi’s visit to that of another prime minister — and perhaps Mufti too sees it in that light. Atal Behari Vajpayee had visited Srinagar on 17 April 2003. It was a sudden visit, announced just two days before. Standing beside Mufti, who was chief minister then too, Vajpayee had addressed Pakistan from Srinagar.

File image of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and PM Narendra Modi. PTI

File image of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and PM Narendra Modi. PTI

Vajpayee had told Pakistan he was ready to dispatch a foreign service officer the next day if it were willing to engage in talks. It was just a few months after the two countries’ troops had been withdrawn from a year-long eyeball-to-eyeball face-off on the border following the Parliament attack on 13 December 2001.

Vajpayee’s Srinagar speech — about which he had not consulted even his principal secretary and national security advisor Brajesh Mishra, leave alone Home Minister LK Advani — kicked off one of the three most promising sets of negotiations between the two hostile neighbours during the past seven decades.

Nothing came of it, but Mufti had adroitly projected himself as the fulcrum of those talks and the confidence-building measures which accompanied them, such as the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road.

Insiders say they don’t expect Modi to make that kind of bold gesture to Pakistan on Saturday. In fact, Mufti did his best to persuade a closed meeting of party workers last Saturday that multiple power centres in Pakistan had queered the pitch for bilateral talks, which India actually wanted.

As for Kashmir, he said he had no doubt that Sheikh Abdullah had been right to back accession to India. Mufti is walking a dangerous tightrope to try and motivate his disgruntled workers with such candour amid widespread alienation.

Rather than a grand opening to Pakistan, Mufti is apparently hoping that this prime minister might open the way for talks with a range of political forces, including the Hurriyat Conference.

Mirwaiz Omar Farooq has as good as responded in advance: He told an interviewer that the Hurriyat Conference which he chairs, would be willing to engage in talks if the prime minister were to initiate talks with Pakistan too. That is the inflexible position of his rival, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Taking an alternative line would require great political adroitness.

Far more than any possibility of talks, Mufti has apparently pinned hope on a major economic initiative, including a huge monetary ‘package’. There have been several false starts on that since the PDP-BJP coalition took office nine months ago. The state’s finance minister Haseeb Drabu even announced a ‘package’ which did not materialise.

This time, Mufti’s own reputation is on the line. He has micro-managed preparations for the visit after preparatory talks with the prime minister in New Delhi. BJP general secretary and point man for the state, Ram Madhav, has also been in Srinagar to prepare the ground.

Mufti apparently hopes that, although the long-expected ‘package’ will be essentially economic rather than political, it may obliquely address one of the oft-repeated anti-India propaganda points among Kashmiris — that the state’s water resources are appropriated for the power needs of other northern states, leaving Kashmir in the dark.

He apparently hopes that the ‘package’ will include a sum to underwrite compensation to the National Thermal Power Corporation for handing over a couple of power projects to the state government.

Mufti must be hoping against hope that such a manifestly ill-advised step will yield some political dividends for him — and ease alienation. For, given the state’s abysmal performance in managing mirco-hydel projects, power distribution, and such ambitious and high-investment schemes as an Entrepreneurship Development Institute, handing over power projects is likely to be economically disastrous.

Mufti’s challenge to project an essentially economic initiative as politically sufficient has been vastly increased by the gauntlet thrown by separatist leaders led by Geelani. They have called for a ‘million march’ to protest the prime minister’s visit.

The government faces the unenviable task of imposing strict curfew on those who respond to that call even while facilitating the congregation which MLAs of both the PDP and its coalition allies are mobilising.

The chief minister is personally making a back-breaking effort to ensure that Modi’s visit passes off successfully. He sees it as a key turning point for his current tenure. The problem is that success in this case will be counted in both positive and negative terms; repression is as vital as mobilisation.

Ceasefire violation part of infiltration plan before snowfall: Army

“It (ceasefire violation) seems to be an attempt to infiltrate more terrorists before the snowfall along the LoC,” General Officer Commanding of the Army’s 15 Corps Lt Gen S K Dua told reporters in Srinagar.

Indian-army

Army on Tuesday said the ceasefire violation along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, which left two soldiers dead, was part of militants’ plan to infiltrate into the Valley before the natural passes are closed by snowfall.”It (ceasefire violation) seems to be an attempt to infiltrate more terrorists before the snowfall along the LoC,” General Officer Commanding of the Army’s 15 Corps Lt Gen S K Dua told reporters in Srinagar. He said there were intelligence inputs that around 300 militants were waiting for an opportunity to infiltrate at various launchpads on the other side of the LoC. “There is increased pressure on them to infiltrate before the winter. Sometimes they just cross the LoC, open fire and then go back,” the army officer said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the infiltration from across the LoC was “next to nil” this year so far and the anti-infiltration grid was fully prepared to keep it that way. “There has been not let off in the intent (to infiltrate) but the robust anti-infiltration grid has ensured that the attempts are foiled,” Lt Gen Dua said.Asked about the ceasefire violation in Gurez as it was not a traditional infiltration route, the army officer said, “They might have changed the tactics. The grid is coordinated and we are ready to take on the challenge.” On the killing of dreaded Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Abu Qasim last week, he said it was a major success for the security forces and would definitely dent the operational capabilities of the outfit.In response to a query, Lt Gen Dua said if the Lashkar militants tried to stage retaliatory attacks, it would lead to more elimination of militants. “We are prepared to deal with it,” he added.

Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Geelani put under house arrest ahead of Modi rally

JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Ahmad Shah and other separatist leaders were detained late Saturday night and early Sunday by police, their aides claimed.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has been put back under house arrest, as PM Narendra Modi gets set to address a rally in Srinagar on November 7, according to India Today.A few days ago, Geelani had announced plans of holding a parallel rally to Modi’s on the day. Several separatist leaders were detained in Srinagar on Sunday ahead of the rally. The moderate faction of Hurriyat, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, on Sunday extended its support to Geelani’s rally.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Ahmad Shah and other separatist leaders were detained late Saturday night and early Sunday by police, their aides claimed.Related Read: Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s parallel march to counter Narendra Modi’s rally”Malik and three other JKLF leaders were detained last evening and lodged at police station Kothibagh,” a JKLF spokesperson told PTI. However, senior police officials did not respond to the repeated calls. A police spokesman refused to comment on the alleged detentions.Shah, who is under house arrest, was moved to Rajbagh police station this morning while searches were on to detain his deputy Mohammad Abdullah Tari. Geelani, who is under house arrest at his Hyderpora residence, had called for a ‘Million Men March’ at Tourist Reception Centre ground here on the day the Prime Minister is scheduled to address a public rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium.”The Hurriyat fully endorses and supports Geelani’s proposed ‘Million Men March’ programme that runs parallel to the programme of Prime Minister on November 7 in Srinagar,” a spokesperson of Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference said.He said the meeting should send message that Kashmiris were not after “petty” economic packages and that “the Kashmir issue was not an economic issue”. “The issue of Kashmir has to be resolved in the light of its historical and human context recognising and respecting the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kashmir and honouring them,” he said.(With PTI inputs)

First foray into the Valley: Hope and scepticism in J&K ahead of PM Modi’s rally

Srinagar: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a rally in Srinagar’s Sheri-e-Kashmir Stadium on 7 November — his first after the Peoples Democratic Party and the BJP stitched an alliance in the state in March early this year. While Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mufti Mohammad Sayed has already described the upcoming rally as a “turning point in the history of Jammu and Kashmir”, people in general are sceptical of the claim.

The prime minister is scheduled to first inaugurate phase-II of the Baghlihar hydroelectric power project in Jammu, and then visit Srinagar to address a rally. “I see this visit as an opportunity for history to repeat itself,” Sayed said on Sunday, while recalling an earlier address by former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to the people during his visit in 2003, at the same venue.

This scepticism is drawn from the fact that the Central government, according to people, has failed to deliver when it comes to reconstruction and rehabilitation of the flood effected people. By far the most serious natural disaster in living memory of the state, the flood of September 2014 affected at least two million people. At least 2.61 lakh structures, including residential houses, were damaged — 21,485 of them completely in the flood.

File image of PM Narendra Modi addressing a rally. PTI

File image of PM Narendra Modi addressing a rally. PTI

Mehraj-ud-Din Bhat, a resident of Jawahar Nagar area of Srinagar, whose house was marooned in the floods, said he expected little from Modi’s visit. “The rehabilitation and reconstruction was part of the Agenda of Alliance between the PDP and the BJP, but despite that both parties have failed to deliver on ground,” Bhat told Firstpost, while emphasizing that it took him more than Rs 10 lakh just to make his house livable for his family.

“We were paid Rs 75,000 for a fully damaged house, which has a market value of Rs 1 crore. We expect little from the government now,” he added.

However, the PDP is optimistic and has mobilized its cardre and leaders to attract as many people as possible for the 7 November rally. For the party’s leadership it would be a litmus test as the Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has given a call for a ‘Million Man March’, on the same day Modi is scheduled to address the rally in Srinagar. This has prompted the state government to launch a crackdown on several separatist leaders who have been allegedly detained ahead of the propose march.

Finance minister in the BJP-PDP coalition government, Haseeb Drabu, said the fresh visit by the prime minister would give “fresh impetus” to implementation of the PDP-BJP Agenda of Alliance. People are expecting him to announce tangible confidence-building measures aimed at addressing the political and economic challenges confronting the state, he added.

“The priority has to be the young people of Jammu and Kashmir who feel alienated. Apart from that the Centre should ensure long-term economic prosperity of the people in all the regions of the State,” Drabu said recently while addressing a rally in south Kashmir. “The government has identified power, agriculture, tourism, horticulture and handicrafts as thrust areas which have not only the potential to boost the state’s economy but create huge employment avenues for the local youth,” he added.

People in the Valley are curiously waiting for what the prime minister will say at the rally as an announcement regarding the supposed economic package that has been delayed for the past eight months.

Newspapers in Kashmir reported on Sunday that the state government is likely to get just Rs 5,000 crore in flood assistance. Of the Rs 5,000 crore, Rs 2,500 crore to Rs 3,000 crore has been earmarked for the rehabilitation of people whose houses were either partially or fully damaged in the flood and for compensating losses suffered by traders and business community. The previous government than led by the National Conference had submitted a proposal of Rs 44,000 crore to New Delhi for the financing the reconstruction programme.

“There is a sense of loss and fatigue from this alliance in Kashmir valley, I suppose, people are waiting for some political initiative rather than an economic one. But that doesn’t mean there is no need for a massive economic package that would be a face saver for the Peoples Democratic Party in the Valley,” industrialist Shakeel Qalander, told Firstpost.

Sources said PDP leaders are aiming at getting 25,000 people for the PM’s rally. “Had Geelani not called for a counter rally, the target would have been at least 50,000 but since restrictions are likely to be imposed in the Valley we are aiming half the number,” a senior PDP leader told Firstpost.

PM Modi’s visit will be turning point in Jammu & Kashmir’s history: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit here will be a “turning point” in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and the people of the state have great expectations from it.

Urging India and Pakistan to shun confrontation and engage in a meaningful dialogue, Sayeed said the state is the first casualty of tension between the two countries.

PTI
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit here will be a “turning point” in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and the people of the state have great expectations from it.”People have great expectations from the visit of the Prime Minister who is a visionary and has his eyes fixed on overall development of Jammu and Kashmir. I see this as a turning point in the history of the state,” Sayeed said while recalling former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s address to the people at Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium at Sonwar in 2003.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi is scheduled to address a rally at the same venue on November 7. The Chief Minister, while addressing a public meeting here, cited several instances where the Centre extended wholehearted support in core sectors linked to connectivity, healthcare, education and rural development.He said the Prime Minister had personally intervened in speeding up work of four-lanning of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and broadening the scope of railway network in the state. “I met Modi a couple of times and realized that he genuinely wants to win the hearts and minds of people of the state,” Sayeed said.He also praised Modi for inviting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in his swearing-in ceremony last year.Urging India and Pakistan to shun confrontation and engage in a meaningful dialogue, Sayeed said the state is the first casualty of tension between the two countries.He stressed that if India has to emerge as a world power, it will have to foster and maintain friendly ties with all its neighbours, including Pakistan.

PM Modi’s visit will be turning point in J&K’s history: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed

“I met Modi a couple of times and realized that he genuinely wants to win the hearts and minds of people of the state,” Sayeed said.

Urging India and Pakistan to shun confrontation and engage in a meaningful dialogue, Sayeed said the state is the first casualty of tension between the two countries.

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit here will be a “turning point” in the history of Jammu and Kashmir and the people of the state have great expectations from it. “People have great expectations from the visit of the Prime Minister who is a visionary and has his eyes fixed on overall development of Jammu and Kashmir. I see this as a turning point in the history of the state,” Sayeed said while recalling former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s address to the people at Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium at Sonwar in 2003. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi is scheduled to address a rally at the same venue on November 7. The Chief Minister, while addressing a public meeting here, cited several instances where the Centre extended wholehearted support in core sectors linked to connectivity, healthcare, education and rural development. He said the Prime Minister had personally intervened in speeding up work of four-lanning of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway and broadening the scope of railway network in the state. “I met Modi a couple of times and realized that he genuinely wants to win the hearts and minds of people of the state,” Sayeed said.He also praised Modi for inviting his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in his swearing-in ceremony last year.Urging India and Pakistan to shun confrontation and engage in a meaningful dialogue, Sayeed said the state is the first casualty of tension between the two countries.He stressed that if India has to emerge as a world power, it will have to foster and maintain friendly ties with all its neighbours, including Pakistan.

Separatists gear up for showdown during Narendra Modi’s Jammu & Kashmir visit

An advocate and his associate have launched an online petition urging chief minister Mufti Mohommad Sayeed to allow political spaces to both Prime Minister and Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s rally on November 7.

From filing online petition to launching door-to-door campaign for optimising the social media outreach, Hurriyat hardliners led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani are pulling out all stops to make its “Million March” successful in a bid to counter Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Srinagar on November 7.An advocate and his associate have launched an online petition urging chief minister Mufti Mohommad Sayeed to allow political spaces to both Prime Minister and Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s rally on November 7.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We appeal to the conscious citizens of the world to support the petition for providing democracy a chance in Kashmir which has been politically eroded on ground in Kashmir since 1947,” reads the online petition.Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference held a meeting of its Majlis-e-Shura (Advisory Council) in which all the 24 constituents participated on Saturday. It was decided that the leaders will span across the Jammu and Kashmir to mobilise support for the proposed march.”Our leaders will go village to village and door to door to mobilise support for the March. It will be a historic day because it will prove on whose side the people are,” said Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Geelani-led Hurriyat.Hurriyat hardliners also decided to maximise its social media outreach to mobilise the masses particularly youth to join the March. Geelani urged the youth to publicize “Challo, Challo…TRC Challo” slogan in the form of wall paintings, graffiti and posters. Youth were also asked to upload these slogans on the internet and social networking sites.Geelani said that the Million March will refresh the memories of the mass gatherings of 2008. “All the Kashmiris living abroad are requested to organise small gatherings at their respective places in support of the march,” he said.Hurriyat Conference is also sending a formal letter to the deputy commissioner Srinagar seeking permission to hold the Million March at TRC grounds. The venue of the separatist rally is just 200 meters away from where Modi is scheduled to hold its rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium on Saturday.”We are confident that the authorities will grant us permission.We will take all the responsibility for peaceful and disciplined march. In case the permission is not granted Majlis-e-Shura will sit again and decide future course of action”, said Akbar.Jammu and Kashmir government on the other side said Modi’s visit will give fresh impetus to ‘Agenda of Alliance’: of PDP-BJP alliance in the state.”People in the state are expecting the Prime Minister to make tangible confidence building measures aimed at addressing the political and economic challenges confronting Jammu and Kashmir”, said Haseeb Drabu, J&K minister for finance, labour, employment and culture.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s parallel march to counter Narendra Modi’s rally

Modi will be arriving in Jammu and Kashmir on November 7 to inaugurate the second phase of Baglihar hydro power project which will be followed by a public rally in Srinagar, his first in the city after PDP-BJP formed the coalition government on March 1.

It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally versus Hurriyat Hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s `Million March’ in Srinagar on November 7.While the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led government is busy preparing for Modi’s rally at Sher-e-Kashmir cricket stadium, pro-Pakistan Hurriyat hawk Geelani has announced a parallel march to the neighbouring TRC grounds on the same day creating a tricky situation for the security establishment in Jammu and Kashmir.Modi will be arriving in Jammu and Kashmir on November 7 to inaugurate the second phase of Baglihar hydro power project which will be followed by a public rally in Srinagar, his first in the city after PDP-BJP formed the coalition government on March 1.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”More than a million people will participate in the rally and it will be a clear referendum proving the people’s support to the freedom movement. Geelani Sahab will invite all the top pro-freedom leaders to address the rally”, said Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of Geelani-led hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference.Hurriyat Conference has also decided to formally send a written communiqué to the deputy commissioner, Srinagar assuring that the march will be peaceful and not affect Modi’s rally on that day.”Hurriyat Conference will take the responsibility that the million march will be peaceful and disciplined. The event will not create any law and order problem. The million march will in no way affect the public rally of the Indian Prime Minister and the people desirous to participate in his rally will not be stopped or hindered”, Ayaz said.The spokesman noted that both the public rallies will decide that how many people are with India and how many support the freedom struggle.”Hurriyat Conference want to give a peaceful message through this march to the world as well as the Indian Prime Minister that the freedom struggle of Kashmiris is neither terrorism nor a communal movement. People of Kashmir have launched a just struggle for their birthright”, he said.Hurriyat spokesman said preparation for the million march have started from Thursday and all the Hurriyat constituents will be activated for this purpose.”Mr Modi should understand that the Kashmiris are not warmongers but a peace-loving nation. Rulers of India should fulfil the promises made with the Kashmiri people on national and international fora”, he said.Meanwhile the Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday ordered that nine departments would set up camp offices in civil secretariat, Srinagar to coordinate the arrangements for the visit of the Prime Minister. “These offices will remain operational in Srinagar between November 2 and November 7”, an official spokesman said

Massive Afghanistan earthquake kills three people in Jammu & Kashmir, India

Srinagar: Two elderly women died of cardiac arrest in Kashmir Valley apparently due to panic triggered by earthquake on Monday, which also killed a youth in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ten people, including two army soldiers, were injured in the earthquake which rattled the state on Monday afternoon. Nearly three dozen buildings and public infrastructure were also damaged due to it in Kashmir Valley.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Sixty-five year old Zoona Begum of Mohalla Mir Sahab in old town Baramulla suffered a massive heart attack as she was rushing towards a safer place when the earthquake hit around 2:40 pm, police said.

Another elderly woman died in similar circumstances in Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, a police official said.

Fatima, 80, of Ahangar Mohalla was pronounced dead by doctors as she was taken to district hospital Anantnag, the official said.

In Reasi district, a 16-year-old youth was killed while his father received serious injuries after they were hit by shooting stones triggered by earthquake.

“A 16-year-old boy identified as Mohammed Ashraf died on the spot when he was hit on head by shooting stones triggered by the earthquake in remote Bathodi village of Reasi district,” a police officer said in Jammu.

Meanwhile, two army personnel were injured when their bunker collapsed after tremors in Sopore town of Baramulla district, 55 kms from Srinagar.

The bunker collapsed inside Ganjoo house, where an army unit is camping, injuring to two soldiers, following which they were taken to the hospital, an official said.

He said six persons were reported injured in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, while another person jumped from the window of his house during the tremor and suffered fracture.

Quoting preliminary information, the official said over two dozen residential houses and six police buildings suffered damages in different parts of Kashmir Valley.

“We are still collecting the details and the figures of the damage to the public and private infrastructure might go up,” he said.

He said Jehangir chowk flyover suffered minor damage as a gap on a joint widened slightly.

A team of engineers visited the flyover and after inspection allowed the traffic to move on the road, the official said.

A vehicle was damaged at Rafiabad in Baramulla district when a tree got uprooted and fell on it. However, there was no immediate report of any casualty in the incident, the officials said.

A massive earthquake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale on Monday jolted north India, with panic-stricken people rushing out of houses and buildings that shook during the temblor lasting almost a minute.

In Reasi, the youth and his father had gone to graze cattle when the incident took place.

“Both of them had gone to graze their cattle in the forest when they were hit by the shooting stones which were triggered by the strong earthquake,” the police officer said.

In Ramban district, one person was injured when a shooting stone hit his vehicle during the earthquake.

“Mohammad Ramzan was injured when his vehicle was hit by a shooting stone in Kawna area of Ramban district during the earthquake,” a police officer said.

He said that five houses were also damaged in Khari town of Ramban district due to the earthquake.

PTI

Massive Afghanistan earthquake kills three people in J&K, India

Srinagar: Two elderly women died of cardiac arrest in Kashmir Valley apparently due to panic triggered by earthquake on Monday, which also killed a youth in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ten people, including two army soldiers, were injured in the earthquake which rattled the state on Monday afternoon. Nearly three dozen buildings and public infrastructure were also damaged due to it in Kashmir Valley.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Sixty-five year old Zoona Begum of Mohalla Mir Sahab in old town Baramulla suffered a massive heart attack as she was rushing towards a safer place when the earthquake hit around 2:40 pm, police said.

Another elderly woman died in similar circumstances in Bijbehara area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, a police official said.

Fatima, 80, of Ahangar Mohalla was pronounced dead by doctors as she was taken to district hospital Anantnag, the official said.

In Reasi district, a 16-year-old youth was killed while his father received serious injuries after they were hit by shooting stones triggered by earthquake.

“A 16-year-old boy identified as Mohammed Ashraf died on the spot when he was hit on head by shooting stones triggered by the earthquake in remote Bathodi village of Reasi district,” a police officer said in Jammu.

Meanwhile, two army personnel were injured when their bunker collapsed after tremors in Sopore town of Baramulla district, 55 kms from Srinagar.

The bunker collapsed inside Ganjoo house, where an army unit is camping, injuring to two soldiers, following which they were taken to the hospital, an official said.

He said six persons were reported injured in Pulwama district of south Kashmir, while another person jumped from the window of his house during the tremor and suffered fracture.

Quoting preliminary information, the official said over two dozen residential houses and six police buildings suffered damages in different parts of Kashmir Valley.

“We are still collecting the details and the figures of the damage to the public and private infrastructure might go up,” he said.

He said Jehangir chowk flyover suffered minor damage as a gap on a joint widened slightly.

A team of engineers visited the flyover and after inspection allowed the traffic to move on the road, the official said.

A vehicle was damaged at Rafiabad in Baramulla district when a tree got uprooted and fell on it. However, there was no immediate report of any casualty in the incident, the officials said.

A massive earthquake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale on Monday jolted north India, with panic-stricken people rushing out of houses and buildings that shook during the temblor lasting almost a minute.

In Reasi, the youth and his father had gone to graze cattle when the incident took place.

“Both of them had gone to graze their cattle in the forest when they were hit by the shooting stones which were triggered by the strong earthquake,” the police officer said.

In Ramban district, one person was injured when a shooting stone hit his vehicle during the earthquake.

“Mohammad Ramzan was injured when his vehicle was hit by a shooting stone in Kawna area of Ramban district during the earthquake,” a police officer said.

He said that five houses were also damaged in Khari town of Ramban district due to the earthquake.

PTI

Massive quake jolts north India, 2 armymen injured in Kashmir

“I have asked for an urgent assessment and we stand ready for assistance where required, including Afghanistan & Pakistan,” he said.

In Jammu and Kashmir, two army personnel were injured when their bunker collapsed following tremors in Sopore, 55 kms from here, in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

A massive earthquake measuring 7.5 on the Richter Scale today rattled north India, leaving two Army personnel injured in Kashmir’s Sopore district, and causing widespread panic. The earthquake epicentred in the Hindukush mountain range in Afghanistan struck at around 2.40 PM, sending ripples across Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR), Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan. Soon after, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he has asked for an urgent assessment of the situation in the wake of the quake and offered assistance to Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Heard about strong earthquake in Afghanistan-Pakistan region whose tremors have been felt in parts of India. I pray for everyone’s safety,” the PM said on Twitter.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I have asked for an urgent assessment and we stand ready for assistance where required, including Afghanistan & Pakistan,” he said.In Jammu and Kashmir, two army personnel were injured when their bunker collapsed following tremors in Sopore, 55 kms from here, in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district. The bunker collapsed inside Ganjoo house, where an army unit is camping, resulting in injuries to two soldiers, following which they were taken to the hospital, officials said. The flyover at Jehangir Chowk in the heart of Srinagar also developed a crack, forcing the authorities to suspend traffic over it, the officials said.In the national capital, people frantically rushed out of their houses and offices as the ground shook. Trains across the Delhi Metro corridor came to a screeching halt as soon as tremors struck the national capital and services were resumed after 15 minutes, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. Even after the services were resumed, trains ran at a very slow pace and it took long for normal operations to be restored as a comprehensive safety check was undertaken.According to National Center for Seismology, a unit of Ministry of Earth Science, the epicentre of the earthquake was the Hindukush mountain range, known to be a high seismic zone. The earthquake occurred at the depth of 190 kms. The quake triggered widespread panic in many northern states.

Abdul Rashid’s beef party provoked people to kill trucker: PDP

The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir gave a new spin to the murder of trucker Zahid Ahmad Bhat by claiming that the beef party organised by independent MLA from Langate, Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid, had provoked the people in the Jammu division.

Abdul Rashid had hosted a beef party in Srinagar a couple of weeks ago.

PTI
The ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Jammu and Kashmir gave a new spin to the murder of trucker Zahid Ahmad Bhat by claiming that the beef party organised by independent MLA from Langate, Sheikh Abdul Rashid aka Engineer Rashid, had provoked the people in the Jammu division.”It is a fact that the beef party provoked people in the Jammu region, and hooligans in Udhampur reacted by attacking Kashmiri drivers… And in this provocation Zahid unfortunately lost his life. Islam says we should not provoke but respect other communities,” said Peerzada Mansoor Ahmad, senior PDP leader and political secretary to party president Mehbooba Mufti.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Engineer Rashid had organised a beef party in MLA hostel Srinagar on October 7 sparking an angry reaction from the BJP lawmakers who thrashed him in full public view inside the Legislative Assembly. On Monday, Hindu Sena activists smeared black ink on Rashid’s face at the Press Club of India in New Delhi. Miscreants attacked a Kashmir-bound truck with a petrol bomb near Udhampur on the night of October 9 and 10. Two truckers, Zahid Ahmad Bhat and Showkat Ahmad Dar, received 70 per cent and 40 per cent burns respectively in the incident. While Bhat succumbed to his burns on Sunday, Showkat is undergoing treatment in the Safdar Jung hospital.”Why did Engineer Rashid organise beef party in MLA hostel and used the utensils in which food is served to our non-Muslim brothers? Why did he not organise the party in his home? What was the motive behind it?” asked Mansoor.The statement has sparked off an angry reaction from main opposition National Conference and Engineer Rashid. “They are justifying the murder of Zahid and giving cover to the murderers. PDP is trying to hide their failures and they are acting like proxies of BJP,” said Engineer Rashid, who arrived in Srinagar from Delhi on Wednesday.Nasir Aslam Wani, provincial president of National Conference, said PDP is trying to hide behind these alibis because the law and order situation has gone for a toss in the state. “Murder is not justifiable by any alibi. They (PDP) are trying to blame others. They need to set their house in order,” Wani said.PDP’s spin comes at a time when south Kashmir is on the boil. Stone pelting, curfew-like situations and protests have become order of the day in south Kashmir townships. Strict restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar on Thursday even as Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani was detained by police when he tried to march to Anantnag.

To maintain law and order, restrictions imposed in Srinagar over Muharram procession

Srinagar: Restrictions were imposed in parts of Srinagar city while a curfew was imposed in Anantnag and Bijbehara towns in Jammu and Kashmir to contain a Shia Muharram procession, authorities said.

An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard in an empty street as restrictions are put into place ahead of a planned Muharram procession in Srinagar on Thursday. AFP

An Indian paramilitary soldier stands guard in an empty street as restrictions are put into place ahead of a planned Muharram procession in Srinagar on Thursday. AFP

The restrictions were imposed in Abi Guzar and Lal Chowk areas here fearing escalation of tension following Wednesday’s clashes.

Naseer Ahmad Dar, 25, was critically injured during clashes between a stone pelting mob and the security forces in Bijbehara town.

“In order to maintain law and order in the city, we have decided not to allow the Muharram procession today (Thursday),” a police officer told IANS.

Since the separatist violence started here in early 1900s, authorities have been disallowing the 8th day Muharram procession in Srinagar city.

Senior separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq have been placed under house arrest here, while Yasin Malik was taken into preventive custody on Wednesday.

Malik had gone to find out the welfare of Dar, who is battling for life after being hit by a tear smoke shell on his forehead.

“He has been shifted to critical care unit of the hospital after surgery. His condition is continuously being monitored. He is still not out of danger,” an attending doctor told IANS on Thursday.

IANS

Muslims being targetted, says Azam Khan

Khan said, “Only one thing is left that we should write Muslim on the map of India and smear black ink on it.” He said if eating beef was a sin then the punishment given to Rashid, should also be meted out to Justice (retd) Markandey Katju and author Shobha De.

In the backdrop of lynching and defacing of Muslims in the name of consuming beef, senior Uttar Pradesh minister and Samajwadi Party leader Mohd Azam Khan on Tuesday said Muslims were being targetted.”Muslims are being targetted in the name of beef. Where do we go?” he asked while replying to a query by reporters about ink attack on Independent MLA from Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdul Rashid by a right wing outfit in Delhi yesterday.Khan said, “Only one thing is left that we should write Muslim on the map of India and smear black ink on it.” He said if eating beef was a sin then the punishment given to Rashid, should also be meted out to Justice (retd) Markandey Katju and author Shobha De.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Khan said in that case half of the Indian population should be punished.”Muslim community is a weak community which is being punished,” he rued.Yesterday, Rashid was the target of fringe Hindu outfit Hindu Sena which threw ink and mobil oil on him at the Press Club in Delhi protesting against the beef party he held in Srinagar earlier this month.

BJP ministers battle over police postings while beef theatrics polarise Jammu and Kashmir

By David Devadas

Rifts became evident within the Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday, when Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed left a cabinet meeting in obvious displeasure. Ironically, the rift was not over the beef ban controversy which has hogged headlines over the past month. Apparently, it was not even a rift between the major coalition partners, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The issue was far more banal: Some BJP ministers could not agree over some of the proposed police transfers, and argued forcefully during the meeting. The cabinet did order some transfers, but the orders were changed thrice. Obviously, some BJP ministers’ main concern is to exercise power in areas they consider their turf. The state’s police force is extraordinarily powerful, and politicians use and misuse the force to exercise power — often extra-legal power.

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. AP

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. AP

While party satraps tighten their control over the levers of power, they are insidiously polarising the state on communal lines. To-eat-or-not-to-eat-beef grandstanding is the populist scrap they have thrown to gullible voters.

On that sordid front too, there was no dearth of high drama on Monday. Troublemakers purporting to represent Hindus splashed dark ink on Independent MLA Rashid Ahmed at the Press Club of India — copying what Shiv Sena protestors had done last week in Mumbai to Sudheendra Kulkarni, who was once advisor to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

Not long after the ink attack, Rashid’s supporters demonstrated at Srinagar’s press enclave. They carried professionally painted banners, which they had apparently obtained during a city shutdown. The target of the banners: ‘Modi’s form of democracy’ and ‘Modi’s Taliban’.

Anger was already intense in Kashmir over the death of 19-year old Zahid Rasool Bhat, who succumbed to burns on Sunday at Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. He had suffered those burns when Hindu cow protection activists hurled a petrol bomb at a truck in which he was sleeping on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. That attack was a Hindutva response to a ‘beef party’ the same Rashid had hosted in Srinagar.

While Zahid’s body was buried on Monday morning, angry young Kashmiris pelted stones in inner city areas, in Zahid’s village Botengo and (uncharacteristically) at Narbal, a Shia stronghold. The government closed the highway, Kashmir’s lifeline. The long-awaited first convocation of the nine-year old Islamic University of Science and Technology, scheduled for Tuesday, was also postponed. Some students had apparently planned to demonstrate, and had written to the Registrar protesting against accepting degrees from Union Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani. The chief minister is the Chancellor.

Some observers now fear a repeat of 2008, when protestors demonstrated with stones in the Kashmir Valley following the transfer of land to the Sri Amarnath Shrine Board, and locked down the Jammu division with virulently anti-Muslim-anti-Kashmir demonstrations following the subsequent cancellation of that order. The closure of the Srinagar-Jammu highway by some RSS activists that year had caused fresh anti-India furore in Kashmir; the government had been at the end of its tether to restore calm. Kashmiri trucks, and a young truck driver, had been burnt then too.
Those ping-pong agitations had generated mutual hate in the state’s two main regions. Narratives of discrimination combined with communal hate to poison minds and hearts. The BJP was the main beneficiary. It could expect a landslide if the lethal beef dramatics were to pave the way to a separate Jammu state.

Although speculation about animosity has been relentless ever since this coalition was formed in early February, well informed observers believed there was a tacit understanding between Mufti and Prime Minister Modi — in place since last summer. If this version is to be believed, the publicly projected negotiations between Haseeb Drabu of the PDP and Ram Madhav of the BJP after the assembly elections were to some extent window dressing.

However, trust seems to be fraying. According to insiders, the prime minister was unresponsive when the chief minister met him in Delhi last week. During that visit to the capital, Mufti had visited Zahid and the other two victims of the Hindutva activists’ fire-bomb attack in hospital. The PDP made another powerful show of solidarity with the victims on Sunday: party president Mehbooba Mufti, Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu and Law Minister Basharat Bukhari were at Srinagar airport to receive Zahid’s body, brought there on a state plane. Nine persons accused of Zahid’s murder were arrested and charged with murder, and also under the state’s draconian preventive detention law, the Public Safety Act (PSA).

However, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh’s response to a television question was unsteady and guarded. Stumbling over what word to use, he called Zahid’s murder an `incident.’

The cabinet’s unanimous condolence resolution evidently papered over divergences in the real feelings of the main coalition partners. If the two parties’ differences continue to widen, it could lead to a division of the state. If that is indeed what the BJP is working towards, it is a tragically flawed adoption of the Two-Nation Theory on which Pakistan was founded.

David Devadas, a political and international affairs expert, is the author of `In Search of a Future, the Story of Kashmir

Two arrested for ink attack on Jammu and Kashmir MLA Engineer Rashid

New Delhi: Two persons of a right wing Hindu outfit were arrested on Monday for smearing Jammu and Kashmir MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid’s face with paint, ink and mobil oil protesting against his hosting a beef party in Srinagar earlier this month.

Rashid had called the presser at Press Club in Delhi to brief media on the attack on two truck drivers by a mob at Udhampur in Jammu region, on 9 October. One of the victims, 19-year-old Zahid, died at Safdarjung Hospital on Monday morning.

Engineer Rashid. PTIEngineer Rashid. PTI

Engineer Rashid. PTI

As he finished the press conference, Rashid, who is also known as ‘Engineer Rashid’, was held at the gate of the Press Club by some TV journalists for one-to-one interviews when some activists shouting slogans “gow mata ka apman, nahi sahega Hindustan (India will not tolerate any disrespect to cow)” pounced on him and painted him with black colour, mobil oil and blue ink.

Some TV journalists as well as policemen received colours on their faces as well as clothes while trying to save the MLA from the mob.

Deepak Sharma (30) and Devendra Upadhyay (33) were detained immediately from the spot, by the police and whisked away to Parliament Street Police station.

They were later booked under sections 341 and 355 of IPC and arrested, DCP, New Delhi, Jatin Narwal said, adding that the two were members of Hindu Sena.

Rashid had to take refuge inside the Press Club till additional forces came in and was later taken out by police personnel.

“They are mentally sick. I want the whole world to see this how these people are trying to muzzle the voice of Kashmiris,” Rashid, who was earlier beaten by BJP MLAs in the state Assembly for hosting the beef party, said after the attack.

The incident drew strong condemnation from the state.

PTI

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.)

Ink, Mobil Oil thrown at J&K independent MLA Abdul Rashid for hosting beef party, 2 detained

Two weeks ago, Abdul Rashid was roughed up by BJP MLAs at Jammu and Kashmir assembly for hosting the beef party.

File Photo Courtesy: www.rajyasabha.tv

Jammu and Kashmir Independent MLA Abdul Rashid was attacked by Ink and mobil oil on Monday for hosting a beef party in Srinagar. Two people detained in the case and have been taken to Tughlak Road Police Station.Vishnu Gupta-led Hindu Sena has claimed the responsibility for the ink attack on Rashid. Vishnu Gupta was also the man behind ink attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in January 2014. Speaking to ANI, Rashid said, “What happened to Sudheendra Kulkarni has happened to me.” Two weeks ago, Abdul Rashid was roughed up by BJP MLAs at Jammu and Kashmir assembly for hosting the beef party. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Popularly known as ‘Engineer Rashid’, he was holding a press conference at Press Club in New Delhi along with relatives of the two truck drivers who were burnt by a mob at Udhampur in Jammu region on October nine. One of the victims–19-year-old Zahid– died at Safdurjung hospital on Sunday morning.As he finished his press conference, he was held at the gate of the Press Club by some TV journalists for a one-to-one interview when some activists shouting slogans “gow mata ka apman, nahi sahega Hindustan (India will not tolerate any disrespect to cow)” pounced on him and painted him with black colour, mobil oil and blue ink.Some of the TV journalists as well as policemen also received colours on their faces as well as clothes while trying to save the MLA from the mob. The incident came after he had made comments at the press conference about the beef party organised by him inside the MLA hostel in Srinagar.”I do not eat beef, mutton, or chicken but that was a form of protest to tell the authorities that do not interfere in anyone’s religion,” Rashid had explained to reporters during the press conference when he was asked about him violating the sentiments of the people.The conference was called by him after the death of Zahid along with the relatives of the two truck drivers to demand that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should apologise for the Udhampur incident.”If the UP government can be held responsible for Dadri incident, then BJP is equally responsible for the Udhampur incident along with its ally PDP,” he said.The relatives of the two — Zahid and Showkat — who were sleeping in the truck when it was attacked by a mob with petrol bombs alleged that Mufti Sayeed Government was “threatening, abusing and warning” their family members from speaking to the media.”Mufti Sayeed will have to pay for this. Is this democracy that India boasts about. Its worst,” Mohammed Ashraf, kin of Zahid, said after his face was also blackened. Rashid hosted a beef party in Srinagar on October 7 in defiance of the High Court order directing implementation of provisions to ban beef and said that no courts or legislature can prevent the people from eating what they want. The legislator from Langate hosted the party in the lawns of MLA hostel, with the guests being served beef kebabs, ‘ristas’ (meat balls) and beef patties.Rashid claimed that he did not want to offend anyone but wanted to send a message that “no courts or legislature can prevent the people from eating what they want”.The beef row erupted after a division bench of High Court in Jammu directed the state to strictly implement the ban in the state as per the law. The order evoked strong resentment from various quarters with many separatist and religious organisations terming it as “interference in religious affairs” and sought revocation of the law, besides pressing for implementation of ban on liquor in the state. The issue is now before the Supreme Court.

J&K: Udhampur trucker set ablaze over ‘cow killing’ dies; third victim in three weeks

Deceased body flown to Kashmir on Sunday evening for last rites.

Anantnag: Family members of 24-years-old Zahid crying after the Kashmiri truck conductor who was injured in petrol bomb attack in Udhampur district dies in Delhis Safdarjung Hospital, at his residence in Batango in Anantnag District of South Kashmir on Sunday.

PTI
Strife-torn Kashmir is on the edge after a trucker, who was set ablaze by a mob over the rumours of cow killing in Udhampur, succumbed to injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital on Sunday.Zahid Ahmad Bhat had received 70 per cent burns after a petrol bomb was hurled on the Kashmir-bound truck near Shiv Nagar on the Srinagar-Jammu highway on the intervening night of October 9 and 10. Bhat’s associate Showkat Ahmad Dar, who had received 40 per cent burns, is currently under treatment in the Safdarjung Hospital.The attack had come just days after carcasses of the cows were found in Udhampur district. The district administration and the cow owner later ruled out any foul play and concluded that the bovines had died a natural death.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Zahid’s death is the third reported murder in the last three weeks over beef-related rumours, after Dadri and Saharanpur incidents.Violent protests rocked several areas of south Kashmir after the death of Zahid reached his ancestral village Batingo in Anantnag district. Hundreds of youth took to streets and blocked the Srinagar-Jammu national highway.Protestors also hurled stones on the security forces prompting them to lob smoke shells and resort to lathi-charge.“Another needless death in the name of beef ban for which the BJP and its affiliates including allies are directly responsible. The honourable PM passed the buck on to Akhilesh Yadav…for Dadri. Who will he blame for Zahid death now?” tweeted Omar Abdullah, former J&K chief minister.“The so-called rulers are directly responsible for this murder. In their lust for power they have handed over J&K to fanatics,” said Mohommad Yasin Malik, chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

Omar Abdullah hits out at PM Modi, Mufti Sayeed over death of Kashmiri trucker

Two persons from Kashmir were critically injured when miscreants attacked their truck with petrol bomb in Udhampur on October 9. They were hospitalised in Jammu before being shifted to Safdarjung hospital in Delhi, where one of them — Zahid — succumbed to injuries this morning.

Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah on Sunday blamed BJP and its allies for the death of a Kashmiri trucker, who was injured in a petrol bomb attack at Udhampur district earlier this month.Omar asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a series of tweets, as to who would be blamed for the death of Zahid Ahmed.”The Hon PM passed the buck on to @yadavakhilesh and the UP Govt for #Dadri. Who will he blame for #Zahid’s death now???”Another needless death in the name of #BeefBan for which the BJP and its affiliates including allies are directly responsible,” he tweeted.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two persons from Kashmir were critically injured when miscreants attacked their truck with petrol bomb in Udhampur on October 9. They were hospitalised in Jammu before being shifted to Safdarjung hospital in Delhi, where one of them — Zahid — succumbed to injuries this morning.”Zahid, the trucker petrol bombed in Udhampur in the name of beef protest, has died in Delhi earlier this morning. May Allah grant him Jannah (heaven),” Omar said.”I met him yesterday & though he was sitting up & communicating doctors were non-committal about his chances.Prayers with #Zahid’s family,” he added.The NC leader also hit out at the Mufti Sayeed government saying, “And to think that all the state Govt could do was to throw 10,000 rupees at #Zahid & wash it’s hands off the whole thing #BeefMurder.”Zahid, a resident of Anantnag in South Kashmir, was conductor of the truck that was en route to Kashmir when a mob attacked it with petrol bombs on October 9. The driver of the truck Showkat Ahmed is currently being treated at AIIMS in Delhi.The entire incident has been recorded on CCTV and two attackers were arrested immediately by the policemen deployed on patrolling duty.Later two more persons were arrested and a manhunt was launched for three others.The arrested include Harish Katoch Bal Bahadur, Sandoor Singh and Suneet Singh. All are residents of Udhampur in Jammu region.The truck was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu and was stationary near Shiv Nagar area as traffic on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was stopped in view of the strike calledby various Hindu outfits following recovery of three carcasses in the district.

Jammu and Kashmir beef ban: Ball in govt’s court as HC sets aside earlier order

The state government approached the Supreme Court against the two orders of the High Court.

SC has asked the court to resolve the beef ban issue as division benches — one in Srinagar and another in Jammu — had differed over the matter.

A full bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court today set aside an earlier order of the court directing strict enforcement of a legal bar on bovine slaughter and beef sale, saying it was for the state government and the legislature to consider the issue. The bench comprising Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar, Ali Muhammad Magrey and Tashi Rabstan, which virtually restored status quo ante, had been asked by the Supreme Court on October 5 to resolve the beef ban issue as division benches of the HC — one in Srinagar and another in Jammu — had differed over the matter, after which the state government had moved the apex court. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The court also disposed of the petition, challenging the September 9 order of the Jammu bench asking the state police to “strictly enforce” the existing laws (sections 298 A to D of the J&K Ranbir Penal Code) regulating ban on bovine slaughter and beef sale in the state. A detailed order is likely to be issued later in the day. The bench was constituted after the Supreme Court kept in abeyance for two months the order of a division bench of the state High Court passed on September 9, directing the police authorities to enforce the more than century-old beef ban in the state. However, a week later, another division bench of the court here, while admitting a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of the penal sections regulating ban on bovine slaughter and beef sale, had issued notices to the state government directing it to file a response within one week.The state government approached the Supreme Court against the two orders of the High Court.

7-year-old in Kashmir recuperates from scars of violence

The doctors are clueless about how much time it will take for seven-year old Amir Ahangar to recover.

Team iamin
Convalescent stage will not be easy for seven-year old Amir Ahangar to pass whose swollen face remains dotted with burn injuries. Unable to speak, he has been lying on a city hospital bed with eyes shut for two days now, waiting for the pain to subside.It was on Sunday that he was hit by a flash-bang grenade as soon as he stepped outside his home to buy milk. The ‘non-lethal’ shell was meant to quell protests that had rocked his locality in Old city area of Srinagar. The young lad was caught unaware and he dropped to the ground with his milk utensil and bag lying next to him. Amir was soon rushed to the hospital where he is currently admitted in the emergency surgical ward. The doctors are clueless about how much time it will take him to recover.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Helpless family prays for recovery “For us, protests, demonstrations and police brutalities are a part of everyday lives. But, our younger generation is facing a bigger threat,” a relative of Amir says.Amir’s mother, who seems visibly shocked, confides that it would be hard to put in words what she is going through. “He is my life. I can’t just believe what he is going through,” she says as she stares continuously at her son’s face.The family lives in a rented apartment in Malaratta area of Old City close to Nowhatta vicinity, which is a hub of ant-state protests. However, the locals claim that a majority of protesters come from other localities for stone-pelting in the area. “We have no time for protests and demonstrations. We live hand to mouth,” Bilal Ahmed, Amir’s father pleads.The protests where Amir suffered serious injuries were called against beef-ban and subsequent attack on Kashmir bound truck in Udhampur. Amir’s father, who is an auto-driver, had gone to work. His mother and two sisters were waiting back home for milk. Irrespective of the protests, Amir went ahead and faced the brunt.“He studies in third standard at Islamia School, and these days he was preparing for final exams. But now he met this misfortune which will hamper his studies,” his sister, a student of 8th class, says.Is disproportionate use of force justified?Despite drawing flak from all quarters, the state police have failed to quell the protests in the valley without using disproportionate use of force in which many youth have been killed and hundreds have got injured. Although police claims that only highly trained policemen are on duty to quell the protests, dozens of youth, mostly teenagers, are injured every week due to incidents of stone-pelting and especially due to police’s counter measures which include firing of pellets, tear gas canisters, and flash-bang grenadesA survey by a team of doctors in a Government Medical College in Srinagar in the year 2010 showed that at least 60 civilians lost their eye sight due to the use of pellets, slingshots and tear gas canisters.While his family prays for Amir’s recovery, Old city and its people especially youth seem far too away from the path of recuperation from the scars of violence.

Beef ban: Supreme Court refuses to hear plea for hearing in Jammu bench

As the bench expressed its view, the petitioner Parimoksh Seth sought permission to withdraw his fresh plea and sought a liberty to move the apex court again in case he felt aggrieved by any subsequent order of high court.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a plea seeking a direction that a three-judge bench should hear the petitions on enforcement of a prohibition on slaughter of cow and beef sale in the state in Jammu instead of Srinagar bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court.”Yesterday night, I had a talk with the learned Chief Justice and he is not expecting any problem whatsoever,” a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Arun Mishra said. The observation of the bench came when the counsel for the petitioner, who had filed the PIL before the Jammu bench of the high court, said that there could be a law and order problem if matters are heard and decided at Srinagar bench.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As the bench expressed its view, the petitioner Parimoksh Seth sought permission to withdraw his fresh plea and sought a liberty to move the apex court again in case he felt aggrieved by any subsequent order of high court. The plea was allowed. Earlier, the apex court had suspended for two months a controversial court order for enforcing a legal bar on the sale of beef in Jammu and Kashmir while asking the Chief Justice of J-K High Court to set up a three-judge bench to decide on two conflicting orders on the issue.The apex court had kept in abeyance the September 8 order of the Jammu bench of the High Court which had ordered enforcement of bar on sale of beef in the state in pursuance of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) provisions.The bench had also referred to the order passed by another division bench of high court at Srinagar which issued a notice on a PIL demanding scrapping of the RPC provision.The apex court had said, “Since there are conflicting expressions given by two division benches of the high court, we request the learned Chief Justice to constitute a bench of three learned judges to take a decision on writ petitions.” The apex court had further said the HC Chief Justice willbe at liberty to decide the place where the larger bench will hear and decide together the two writ petitions. The Supreme Court’s decision had come on the plea of the state government which had said that the inconsistent views of the two benches of the high court were being “misused” to disturb peace and communal harmony in the state.While the Jammu bench of the High Court had ordered enforcement of the bar on the sale of beef in the state under the RPC, the Srinagar bench agreed to hear a separate plea seeking scrapping of the provision that bars slaughter of bovine animals.In its order, the Jammu bench had said, “The Director General of Police is directed to ensure that appropriate directions are issued to all the SSPs/SPs, SHOs of various police districts so that there is no sale of beef anywhere in the State of J&K and strict action is taken in accordance with the law against those who indulge in it.” On the other hand, the Srinagar bench, on September 16, issued notice on a plea that had sought striking down of the RPC provision banning slaughter of bovine animals.The Srinagar bench had also said that the pendency of the plea before it will not operate “as a bar” if the state wants to do away with the provision

Tension grips Kashmir after two truckers set ablaze

The attack comes a day after Udhampur and adjacent areas observed a shutdown after the carcasses of the cows were found in the district. However district administration ruled out any foul play and concluded that the bovines had died a natural death.

Tension gripped Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday when some miscreants attacked truckers with petrol bombs causing serious burn injuries to two Kashmiri truckers near Shiv Nagar in the Udhampur district on the Srinagar-Jammu highway. The attack comes a day after Udhampur and adjacent areas observed a shutdown after the carcasses of the cows were found in the district. However district administration ruled out any foul play and concluded that the bovines had died a natural death.Minister of horticulture Abdul Rehman Veeri told the Legislative Assembly that on Friday night a group of miscreants assembled near hotel Dolphin in Shiv Nagar area of the district and hurled a bottle containing some combustible material on a truck which was on way from Jammu to Srinagar.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Police parties, which were patrolling in the area, immediately swung into action and rescued the persons Showkat Ahmed and Zahid Ahmad. Both persons got burn injuries in the attack and the driver Rameez Ahmad Bhat escaped unhurt besides saving the truck from any damage,” he said.Police have registered a case under different sections of law including of attempt to murder under section 307 RPC and 3/5 of explosives substances act against the miscreants who set ablaze the truckers. Five miscreants have been arrested and hunt is on to nab three others who are on the run.District development commissioner Udhampur, Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary said entire incident was captured on the CCTV and one of attackers was arrested immediately by the policemen deployed on patrolling duty.”After getting leads four more persons involved in the incident were arrested. The arrested have been identified as Harish, Bal Bahadur, Sandoor Singh and Suneet Singh, all residents of Udhampur. Hunt has been launched for five other accused”, said ChaudharyRameez Ahmad Bhat, the eyewitness who managed to escape unhurt told reporters that miscreants first lobbed patrol bombs and then sprinkled petrol on Showkat and Zahid who were trying to flee. “Both suffered severe burn injuries. It and were immediately rushed to Udhampur hospital but were later taken to GMC Jammu”, he said.The attack has snowballed into a major issue with opposition and Kashmir Inc coming down heavily on the government for not doing enough to tackle the elements who are bent upon to create communal tension in the state.While main opposition National Conference members staged a walk out from the Legislative Assembly, four Kashmiri trade bodies –Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industry ( (KCCI), Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), Federation of Chambers of Industries (FCIK) and Kashmir Traders & Manufacturer Federation (KTMF) – held an joint meetingand asked the state administration to curb such incidents with iron hand.”We urge economic, social and political representatives of Jammu region to come forward and honestly combat such disruptive elements or else there can be worse ramifications for everybody. We also appeal to general public of the state to fight the likelihood of economic blockade which such disruptive elements are planning to resort to,” he said.

Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif invites hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Geelani to Pakistan

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has invited hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to visit his country, his party said in Srinagar on Saturday.

Nawaz Sharif and Syed Geelani

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has invited hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani to visit his country, his party said in Srinagar on Saturday.”Geelani was handed the invitation letter from Sharif by Pakistan High Commissioner in India Abdul Basit over a dinner at the latter’s residence at Tilak Marg in Delhi last night,” a spokesman of the Geelani-led Hurriyat said in Srinagar.The spokesman said Sharif termed the Kashmir issue as the unfinished agenda of the creation of Pakistan and contended that friendly relations between New Delhi and Islamabad without resolving Kashmir would be nothing but “self deceit”.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In the letter, Sharif has said Kashmir is not a border dispute but concerns ‘right to self-determination’ of two crore people. He also said Pakistan has made it clear to India that there can be no progress on bilateral ties while ignoring Kashmir issue,” the spokesman claimed.Sharif also said that the National Security Advisor level talks between the two countries could not take place as “India was not ready to talk Kashmir issue”.”We want good relations with all our neighbours including India but New Delhi’s unrealistic approach has been a big impediment,” the spokesman quoted the Pakistan Prime Minister having said in the letter.The spokesman said Geelani has in principle accepted the invitation to visit Pakistan. He, however, did not give specific date of travel.

Jammu and Kashmir HC forms three-judge bench on beef ban issue

Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday constituted a three-judge bench that will hear on October 16 a petition against beef ban in the state which has been divided along religious lines over the issue.

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Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday constituted a three-judge bench that will hear on October 16 a petition against beef ban in the state which has been divided along religious lines over the issue.The Supreme Court had on October 5 asked the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court to constitute a three-judge bench to resolve the beef ban issue after Division Benches of the HC — one in Srinagar and another in Jammu — were divided over the matter. The three-judge bench comprises Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and Justice Tashi Rabstan.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The bench has been constituted after the Supreme Court kept in abeyance for two months the September 9 order of a Division Bench of the state High Court directing the police authorities to enforce the more than century-old beef ban in the state.In its order, the High Court’s Division Bench at Jammu had on September 9 asked the state police chief to “strictly enforce” the existing laws (sections 298 A to D of the J&K Ranbir Penal Code) regulating ban on bovine slaughter and beef sale in the state.However, a week later, another Division Bench of the HC in Srinagar had admitted a writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of the penal sections regulating ban on bovine slaughter and beef sale and issued notices to the state government directing it to file a response within one week.With the Division Benches of Srinagar and Jammu being divided over the issue, the state government had approached the Supreme Court.

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