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Kashmir: Separatists call for strike against ID cards for West Pakistan Refugees

Srinagar: Normal life was affected in Kashmir Valley on Friday due to a strike called by separatists against the issuance of identity certificates to West Pakistan Refugees (WPRs).

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments in Srinagar — the summer capital of the state — were shut, while public transport was minimal, officials said.

They said there were very few street vendors visible in the city today due to the strike.

Reports of shutdown were also received from most of the other district headquarters of the Valley, the officials said.

Security forces were deployed in strength at sensitive places where barricades were also erected.

The separatists have also been calling for shutdown on Friday and Saturday every week after scaling down their agitation which followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahdeen militant Burhan Wani.

The more than five-month unrest in the Valley had left 86 people dead and thousands others, including 5,000 security personnel, injured.

The separatist groups — both factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF — on Thursday appealed the people to observe a complete shutdown on Friday and Saturday over WPR issue.

They alleged that the decision on issuance of identity certificates to WPR was aimed at changing the demography of Jammu and Kashmir.

First Published On : Dec 30, 2016 12:56 IST

Making up for lost time? J&K Govt to update database of those affected by violence in last 30 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir government will be updating data base of those affected by violence over last three decades to ensure their rehabilitation, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said today, asserting her dispensation’s “moral responsibility” to reach out to every victim of violence, irrespective of its source.Mehbooba stated this here, days after her government cleared ex-gratia for kin of 17 people, including brother of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, killed in militancy- related incidents.”We heve asked for updating the data base of people affected by the violence of past almost three decades in the state so that some concrete steps for their complete integration into the social set-up are facilitated,” she said.She pitched for proper rehabilitation, social integration of violence victims in J&K and said special programmes should be thought of for the rehabilitation and integration of these poor victims into the social mainstream of the state.Chairing the 7th Governing Council meeting of J&K Rehabilitation Council here, the Chief Minister said concrete interventions are needed for the proper and complete rehabilitation of women and children, particularly in education, health and psychological spheres. Mehbooba said the government has the moral responsibility of reaching out to every single victim of violence in the state, no matter the source of it.She asked the officers to factor in the needs and requirements of these victims while framing policies and schemes for the general public. The meeting decided to further finetune the number of widows, orphans and parents of killed persons in the state so that an actual and updated number of such victims is available for their rehabilitation.It also decided that the Action plan for the Council would henceforth be finalised in March every year so that the assistance could be disbursed from April onwards.The meeting also decided to enhance the one-time marriage assistance to young widows and grown-up daughters to Rs 40,000 per case. The meeting also asked the Council to pursue the various funding patterns available in the central government for the benefit of victims of violence in the State.

Kashmir Reader: Newspaper printing again after ban lifted

The Kashmir Reader resumes publication after a government ban of nearly three months.

Govt action to be based on probe report on death of Burhan’s brother: Nirmal Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh on Saturday said the government action on the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani’s brother will proceed “as per the outcome” of the probe into his death and an FIR has been registered in this connection.His comments came amid protests by several organisations over the PDP-BJP coalition government’s decision to compensate the family of Khalid Wani, who was killed in an “encounter” with the Army in Pulwama district on April 13 last year. Singh said an FIR has been lodged and “whatever be the outcome of the probe, government will act accordingly”. “There is a law of the land applicable to it. Whatever be the outcome of the investigation, action would be taken as per that,” Singh told reporters at a function here.”If it is proved that he was a terrorist as the FIR has been lodged, action would be taken as per that,” he said replying to a question on giving compensation to Khalid’s family. Khalid’s brother Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by security forces on July 8, and his death had led to months-long protest in the Valley in which 86 people died. Asked about the impact of Union government’s move to demonetize old high-value currency notes on unrest in Kashmir, Singh said the exercise has “badly-hit” terrorism and ‘hawala’ transactions, which is believed to support the militancy.”That is why the terrorists are engineering cases of looting of money from the banks because they are facing dearth of money,” he said, adding that the government was making “full security” arrangement to ensure such incidents do not recur. “There is a dip in smuggling of weapons from Pakistan. They are frustrated by the demonetization,” he said. He asked Hurriyat leaders and other separatists to think “positively” so that normalcy returns and added that shutdown by separatists is “causing loss to everyone,” he said.

J&K: After two days of normalcy, separatists call strike again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After two days of normalcy, life was again affected in Kashmir Valley on Friday due to a strike called by separatists as part of their agitation programme to protest the killing of civilians during the unrest and in support of their other demands. Most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments in Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, were shut, while public transport was minimal, officials said.The effect of the strike was accentuated by a public holiday in Kashmir on Friday, they said. Reports of shutdown were also received from most of the other district headquarters of the Valley, the officials said.On Wednesday, the separatist groups — both factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF — had scaled down their strike call from five days a week to two days. They have extended the protest programme till the end of this month and have asked people to observe shutdown on Fridays and Saturdays.The separatists have been spearheading the agitation since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir on July 8. The more than five-month unrest in the Valley has left 86 people dead and thousands others, including 5,000 security personnel, injured.

Women footballers score a goal against orthodoxy, tension in Jammu & Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Undeterred by the dipping temperatures or indeed the taboos imposed on them by a conservative society, women footballers in Kashmir Valley are bending it just like Beckham did. The women, some dressed in body suits with hijabs covering their heads, are also bending societal rules as they play the game to cheering crowds at the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)-sponsored football tournament.Pushing tensions and unrest into the background, the footballers have broken new ground every day of the 11-day tournament for young boys and girls that entered the finals Wednesday. Braving the bone-chilling cold, nearly 40 teams, including10 women teams, participated in the event here. Each team, comprising 16 players, played league matches before four teams, two each of boys and girls, made it to the finals.What added zing to the tournament, described as a runaway success by the organisers, were the hijab-wearing players who stole the show. Rewriting global uniform rules, these Kashmiri girls, some of whom have been training with the boys, say the head scarf is part of their dress code.Insha Rasheed, a BA student of the Government Women College in MA Road, has been wearing the hijab since her school days. “I have been playing football for the last one-and-a half years. But I have never shunned the hijab. It is part of my dress code. It is giving me a lot of confidence,” Insha, a defender in her team, told DNA.Afshan Ashiq, who plays as a goalie for Team Women College, also covers her head but, determined to succeed in the world of soccer, trains with the boys. Despite the unrest in the Valley, she would make it a point to be present for practice at Bakshi Stadium.”I am a goalie and sometimes play as a striker. I have been playing football for three years now and have been wearing a hijab all through. I train with the Real Kashmir Club and want to be a world class soccer player,” she said.The mood in the stadium has been electric as crowds leave behind the stresses of the last few months to throng the stadium. When the girls enter the ground, there are loud cheers. For every move, there’s a clap and for every goal, a cheer.Just yards away from the ground, the boys practice hard to win the title.”We stopped practising football for one month during the peak time of hartal and agitation. Sportsmen have a different mentality. Politics and sports are two different things,” said Kamran Shafi Wani, defender of the finalist International Football Club, Nowgam.They have often faced objections from stone-pelting mobs. “We were stopped by stone-pelters many times when we were going for practice. We could not train for months. Our families too were afraid of us going to play fields,” said another footballer, who preferred not to be named.Rajesh Yadav, CRPF Spokesman at Srinagar, said that they had planned the tournament in July but had to defer it till December after trouble broke out following the killing of Burhan Wani.”We are very satisfied with the success of the tournament. Particularly because, the girls have come forward to participate in the tournament. This is very encouraging,” he said.

We have to differentiate between militants and their families: Mehbooba Mufti to security forces

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday asked security forces to restrain themselves from using pellet guns and differentiate between stone-pelters/militants and their families, while noting that force was used to deal with law and order in the Valley during the recent unrest.”When we have to deal with such situation, we have to use force sometimes and I have no hesitation in saying this. We should all speak truth. We had to use force because we had to protect the lives and properties of all the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said. The chief minister was speaking at the passing-out parade of Jammu and Kashmir Police at Commando Training Centre here in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.Mehbooba said if force was not used, losses would have been more.
ALSO READ J&K govt to pay Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to Burhan Wani’s kin for his brother’s death”If we had not done so, there could have been more killings, more losses. But now, our endeavour should be to see towards those people who were confined to their homes because of the situation, strikes and curfew and what they have gone through in these six months,” she said. The chief minister said now that the situation has improved and the time has come to “change our ways”. “But now I think that when the situation has improved, the time has come to heal the wounds of the people. Now, we have to change our ways. We have to differentiate between the situation as of today and what was four months back. We will have to give special focus to the youth,” she said.She said security forces have to differentiate between offenders like militants and stone-pelters and their families. “We cannot weigh every youth by the same scale, we cannot see every youth with suspicious eyes, then the situation will not improve. We have to differentiate between militants and their families. We have to differentiate militants from their parents, siblings and children and we cannot weigh them by the same scale.”If any youth is a habitual stone-pelter, we will have to differentiate between him and his family. You have to differentiate between an elder person involved in such activities and a student and see how to tackle them,” she said.Mehbooba asked the security forces to exercise restrain while dealing with law and order situations.”I hope that you will not deject me because I want J-K to prosper again, where guns or pellet guns are not used. I hope that police and security forces try to not use pellet guns. If there is an attack on your camp or police station, then I understand, but if someone throws stones at you, you should try to restrain yourselves till we find an alternative to pellet guns and ban them completely,” she said.As many as 86 people, including two policemen, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley that began on July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces. Around 5000 security forces personnel have also been injured in the clashes. The chief minister said reconciliation was the only way forward in Jammu and Kashmir. “I am of the belief that there is no way forward in J-K other than reconciliation. PSA and AFSPA are temporary and I want you to help me, our government, in creating such an atmosphere in J-K where a time will come when PSA is used only against criminals, drug addicts and smugglers and not against 40-year-old or 80-year-old or 19-year-old or students. “No one from outside can help us in doing that. We have to help ourselves and in that, the role of police is very important,” she said.”We had army and security forces here before as well, but when militancy erupted here, AFSPA had to be imposed. Now, we all have to try together to create such an atmosphere where such laws like AFSPA, PSA or other hard measures are gradually revoked. I or my ministers cannot do this alone, after the role of people of J-K, your role is very important for that,” she said. Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his decisions like paying a visit to Lahore and demonetization, Mehbooba said no other prime minister would have taken such decisions.”I am hopeful that you will help me in creating such an atmosphere in J-K where there is reconciliation and dialogue. I want to make it clear that the current PM has guts to visit Lahore and he did it despite criticism but unfortunately Pathankot (attack) happened. “It is this PM who took such a huge decision of demonetization, knowing that people will face hardships and will be angry for some time. I do not think any other PM would have taken such decisions,” she said.The chief minister said once peace is established in the state, it can act as a bridge of peace between India and Pakistan. “If you all help us in creating peace in J-K, then I assure you – the people of J-K – that the way our PM went to Lahore by keeping everything else on the side and offered a hand of friendship, and when there was unrest, he sent a (all-party) delegation from Delhi to listen to people, understand and talk, so if we can create a better situation, then we can create conditions for dialogue with everyone not only in J-K, but we can act as a bridge of peace between India and Pakistan (as well),” she said.

Demonetisation in Kashmir: Why the state experienced no mayhem at banks, ATMs

If there is one place in the country where demonetisation had little to no effect, it is in Kashmir. Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes ceased to be legal tender in the wake of the announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi — as part of an effort ‘to weed out black money from the economy’. And while the rest of country is grappling with the cash crunch with serpentine queues outside ATMs, such mayhem has not been witnessed in Kashmir.

Experts say that although the ongoing unrest is partially responsible for this phenomenon, there are other factors that have contributed to demonetisation having a limited effect in the state. When the armed insurgency erupted in the Valley in the early 1990s, there were widespread allegations of money being looted by forces as well as militants from the homes of people, said noted businessman and economist, Shakeel Qalender.

“Rather then keeping money in their homes during the turmoil, it became a habit for people to deposit it in banks,” Qalender said.

Although in the three initial days of demonetisation, a mild rush was witnessed in banks across the Valley and in Jammu, the Jammu and Kashmir Bank was quick to issue a notification, asking officials to deal in available cash for the time being, something to which they happily agreed.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“All employees are being credited salaries online and new schemes like NREGA and others also credit money into people’s accounts. Contractors get their money deposited into their accounts through online mechanisms. Most people in Jammu and Kashmir have banks accounts,” Qalender said.

Jammu and Kashmir has a working force of an estimated 42.5 lakh (out of the total population of 1.34 crore); a third of this is associated with agrarian activities while the rest is in the public and private sector. The state has around 2,000 bank branches which means one bank branch for every 6,500 people. In the first few days after the demonetisation announcement, one branch was dealing with at least 2,000 customers, besides having post offices and other financial institutions. Nearly 1,200 branches are operated by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank and the rest by other public and private sector banks. A majority of the state’s banking business — at least 65 percent — is conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir Bank while another 10 to 20 percent is with other public sector banks.

Outside the state, many people, including Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, had said that because of demonetisation, stone-throwing incidents in Kashmir had reduced. Government figures and the measures taken to control the protests suggest otherwise. “But,” said Irshad Ahmad, a PhD student of economics at Kashmir University, “The number of stone-pelting incidents came down drastically in September, not due to demonetisation, but following a general pattern of weariness and the crackdown on protesters.”

In fact, the data released by the government shows that there was a general declining trend in the incidents of stone-pelting in Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. In July, when Burhan was killed, the Valley witnessed 820 incidents of stone-pelting incidents which came down to 747 in August.

In September, the incidents further reduced to 535. From September to October, the number of stone pelting incidents decreased from 535 to 157, witnessing a 41.53 percent fall. Today, there has been an overall decrease of 87 percent in such incidents since July.

Former member of the board of directors, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, and noted economist, Professor Nisar Ali said the state’s economic activity in terms of routine transactions had been put on hold for several months due to the ongoing unrest. He said consumers had deferred their expenditure because shops were not open and choices were not available.

“Black money has already been converted into assets here. First, it is the land that is why land prices in Kashmir are higher than in Mumbai. Most of the black money got into the hands of the land mafia. The second is the real estate and the third is gold. So the liquidity with a black money-holder wasn’t enough to generate panic,” Ali said.

The ongoing conflict in the Valley is the reason that people with black money were able to evade the law for decades. Although in recent years, tax collection has significantly increased in the state, during earlier years, a majority avoided paying taxes.

During the 2015-16 Financial Year, the Commercial Taxes Department’s collections alone stood at Rs 5,515.96 crore. Ali, however, is not impressed. “How may times have I-T people carried out raids here? Not a single instance in the past two decades. The function of such organisations is literally zero here”.

“Now the money, which you keep at your home as a safety cushion, has been spent because of the five months of unrest. The money ended and it circulated from retailers to wholesalers and distributors. It went into the banks much before demonetisation forcibly brought it there,” Ali said.

First Published On : Dec 8, 2016 08:54 IST

Kashmir: Normal life partially hit as separatists placed under house arrest

Srinagar: Normal life was partially affected in Kashmir on Monday due to a strike called by separatists even as authorities placed Hurriyat Conference leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq under house arrest to foil their plans of holding a march to Lal Chowk city centre.

“Geelani and the Mirwaiz have been placed under house arrest as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order,” a police official said.

File image of Syed Ali Shah Geelani. AFPFile image of Syed Ali Shah Geelani. AFP

File image of Syed Ali Shah Geelani. AFP

The separatist groups had called for a march to Lal Chowk on Monday to protest civilian deaths during the unrest in the Valley that began on 9 July, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces.

The authorities have sealed off Clock Tower and surrounding areas in Lal Chowk to prevent the separatists from assembling there.

Shops and other business establishments remained closed due to the strike call but transport — both public and private — was plying in many parts of the city.

Schools and government offices are closed on Monday due to public holiday to mark the 111th birth anniversary of former chief minister and founder of opposition National Conference Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.

Reports of shutdown were received from other districts and towns of the Valley but the situation so far is peaceful, the official said.

The unrest in the Valley has left 86 people dead and thousands others, including 5,000 security personnel, injured.

Meanwhile, JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik was taken into preventive custody along with several supporters from Sarai Bala area of the city as they were trying to march towards Lal Chowk.

First Published On : Dec 5, 2016 19:10 IST

Former J&K CM Omar Abdullah slams ‘pellet effect’ at fashion event

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Sunday, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah hit out at GQ India for posting a tweet which showed a ‘pellet effect’ as part of its ‘Kashmiriyat’ collection in a fashion show. Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter: “Are any part of the proceeds of the show or the “Kashmiriyat” collection going to help rehabilitate any of the victims of the pellets? These pellets have blinded scores, to have the injuries recreated for a fashion show is inexplicable even if collection called Kashmiriyat. And quietly deleting the tweet doesn’t make it any better @gqindia. Here’s a screen grab in case people wonder what my tweets are about.”The GQ India Twitter handle had posted: “”#Backstagepass @sonicsarwate creates a bullet pellet effect for Shantanu and Nikhil’s Kashmiriyat collection.” The collection was titled Kashmiriyat 1990 by fashion designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil which is reportedly inspired by ‘tribesmen of the valley’. The fashion show had a theme with a live performance to Kashmiri music and Sushant Singh Rajput walked the ramp for the duo.More than 90 people have been killed and around 13,000 people injured in four-month unrest that started after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 7. It’s believed that over 1,100 people have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to counter violent mobs across Kashmir.

Kashmir unrest: We need to listen to people like Omar Abdullah, says RJD

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has agreed with former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah view that Pakistan can’t be blamed for the unrest in the Kashmir Valley, saying that people like him need to be listened to with bit more understanding.”I think we need to listen to people like Omar Abdullah with little bit of understanding, setting aside some of the phrases which have been used by him. What is the essence of his statement; that we should not stop the conversation process in the valley and should continue engaging. And that was the mandate of the all party delegation,” RJD leader Manoj Jha.Jha asserted that no major political party has ever deferred from the position of the security establishment and alleged that the Centre and the state government of blocking the dialogue process with the people of the Kashmir Valley.”If you don?t talk to the people in the valley, then how will you resolve this issue? Pakistan is a kind of menace we have been fighting and, I think, governments prior to the present regime have fought much more vehemently without making much noise,” Jha said.Abdullah on Saturday had criticised the Centre for failing to take concrete measures to curb the unrest in Kashmir post the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani and said that it would be a “grave mistake” to always blame Pakistan and turning a blind eye to internal issues.”Simply blaming Pakistan for the present situation, then, it would mean that we don’t have to do anything to prevent the unrest, which I think would be a grave mistake. We need to have talks internally, we need to solve this political crisis and until we are conscious of this reality, I don’t think we can take any concrete action,” Omar told reporters here.Omar’s remarks came days after he reprimanded incumbent Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for the prolonged unrest in Kashmir and asked the latter to take responsibility for the same.

Kashmir police turn counsellors, advice youth against stone pelting

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an effort to curb incidents of stone pelting, police in Jammu and Kashmir’s Baramulla district are conducting counselling sessions with the pelters to guide them on ways to lead better lives.More than 200 stone pelters participated in these counselling sessions recently and were asked to refrain from indulging in protests and to stay away from pelting.”We have tried to explain to the students to concentrate on their studies and their careers rather than indulging in stone pelting incidents,” Mir Imtiaz, Senior Superintendent of Police, told ANI.The pelters were asked to get into constructive work that would be beneficial to society.Stone pelting, known locally as ‘Kanie Jung’, has become a tool of resistance in the hands of young boys who take to the streets to express their anger at the Indian state.The need to rehabilitate stone pelters can be attributed to the spate of stone pelting incident that took place post the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani, who was gunned down in southern Kashmir on July 8 by the security forces.Reportedly, Kashmir has so far witnessed more than 2,347 incidents of stones pelting at security forces, across all ten districts.

After video surfaces, forces launch hunt to nab Hizbul Mujahideen commander

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Soon after two new videos of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Zakir Rashid went viral, security forces launched a manhunt to nab him and tracked one of his hideouts in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district where the clip was believed to have been shot.Security forces are “inching closer to him through our informer network,” police officials said about Zakir, who has purportedly claimed in the two-minute video that his outfit had got hold of the database of all “informers” working with the agencies.Launching a manhunt, security forces conducted an “intelligence-based operation” in Batipora Dadsara village of Tral in the district and “busted” the “studio hideout” where the video was believed to have been filmed, they said. Some clothes and other material used by Zakir alias Moosa and other militants in different videos and photographs were recovered from the house which was raided by the security forces, the officials said. “We identified the room and other things that appear in HM commander’s videos and photos. He may have been using one of the rooms of the said house as a studio, where he used to record his videos,” the officials said.The house owner is absconding and a case has been registered, they said, adding investigation has been taken up and “strict action will be taken against all over-ground workers and harbourers of militants in the future as well.” In the video which is in circulation on social media in Kashmir, a man, who cannot be seen but has a voice-over, claims to be Zakir and is heard saying that the militant outfit has gained access to ‘database’ of “informers” of security forces. However, the claim was disputed by the police.Another video was also doing the rounds on social media, showing Zakir holding a rifle and donning army fatigue. In the video, he is seen issuing threats to policemen while speaking in Urdu. Zakir had taken over the militant outfit in the Valley after his predecessor Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces in July this year.

LeT is ‘Pakistan’s best NGO’, Burhan Wani a ‘martyr’: Pervez Musharraf

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A few days before he was killed, Kashmiri terrorist Burhan Wani had reportedly spoken to LeT chief Hafiz Saeed, seeking his blessings and offered to put up a united front against India, according to an audio conversation accessed by CNN-News 18. Hafiz reportedly told Wani: “You people are living in very difficult conditions. But you don’t have to worry. Whatever you need just tell us we are ready for every help. Will be ready for anything. You just have to tell us.”Reacting to the audio conversation, former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf claimed that LeT was the ‘best NGO in Pakistan’ and Wani was a martyr. He told News 18: “There is nothing to be surprised that the two are in touch with each other. Hafiz Saeed is an educated man, an engineer. LeT is the best NGO of Pakistan as they did a lot of work during floods.” Musharraf claimed that India had ‘forced’ Burhan Wani to take up arms, and claimed Hafiz Saeed wasn’t a terrorist. He added that if he was President, he would’ve fought Saeed’s case at the United Nations.The former Pak president also claimed that PM Modi was a ‘warmonger’. He told the channel: “PM Modi is a warmonger. The PM can visit Lahore and kiss PM Nawaz as many times as he wants.” As many as 86 people, including two cops, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley. Around 5000 security forces personnel have also been injured in the clashes. J&K police organise counselling session in North KashmirThe Jammu and Kashmir Police organised a counselling session in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district for the youth involved in violent activities, including stone-pelting on security forces, with an aim to find means to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future.A counselling session was organised today in Dak Bungalow Baramulla for the youth from the town and adjoining areas who have been involved in violent activities for the past some months, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Baramulla, Imtiyaz Hussain Mir said. “The session was aimed to build an understanding to find ways and means to prevent recurrence of violent incidents in the future which does no good to anybody but creates chaos and anarchy only,” he said.Mir said many parents and other prominent people of the area also joined the session. The officer said the youth were given a patient hearing and their point of view was heard. “Most of the boys were of the opinion that getting involved in stone pelting was a bad decision on their part and it inflicts irreplaceable damage to the social fabric and increases sufferings of the people,” he said. Mir urged the youth to concentrate on their careers and work hard to make up the loss they suffered in their education for the past over four months. “The youth were advised not to fall prey to propaganda of the people with vested interests who exploit them for their personal gains. Instead, they should channelise their energy in constructive and positive pursuits to contribute in larger social good,” he said. Prominent citizens of the town, who spoke on the occasion, appreciated the initiative by the police and were of the opinion that “exploitation” of youth needs to be stopped, Mir claimed. The SSP said they also suggested to organise such sessions in the future so that “stone pelting is brought to a permanent halt” to save the lives and careers of youth and mitigate the sufferings of the common people.With inputs from PTI

J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti meets PM Modi, seeks Confidence Building Measures

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi here and pressed for initiation of confidence-building measures (CBMs) to reach out to the people of the state.During the meeting in Parliament House complex, she briefed the Prime Minister on the latest situation in Kashmir Valley which has been witnessing unrest since July, sources said.Mehbooba, who is heading a PDP-BJP coalition government, underlined the need for reaching out to the people of the state and in this regard pressed for initiation of state-specific CBMs, they said.The Prime Minister was supportive of her views, they added.Later speaking to reporters, the Chief Minister said the situation in Kashmir is improving.Kashmir has been witnessing unrest since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8. Separatists are continuing with their strike, which has been further extended till December 1.While replying to questions of reporters, Mehbooba said she supports demonetization decision as it will benefit the country.

Kashmir ‘freedom anthem’ released to controversy

A controversial “freedom anthem” for Kashmir is released in Pakistan, causing controversy.

Kashmir unrest: Shutdown resumes in Valley after two days of relaxation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After two days of relaxation by the Hurriyat Conference, the prolonged shutdown picked up where it left off in Kashmir Valley on Monday as schools, colleges and business establishments followed the protocol and streets resumed their deserted look. The police and CRPF have been deployed across all the district headquarters and in Srinagar city to foil the separatists protest call.The two-day respite from the shutdown by separatists came after private passenger vehicles plied on some routes in Srinagar after being severely hit by the four-month long strike. This was the first time that separatists announced full-day relaxation during the ongoing unrest which began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.The separatists had called on the people to use public transport to make up for the losses incurred during the last few months. “There will be full day relaxation on November 19 and 20. People are requested to exclusively use public transport on these days for the support of transport community,” said a statement.The Valley burst into life following the relaxation, as shops, commercial establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions opened in Srinagar and in other major towns and villages. Authorities had also removed deployments of security forces from all the areas of the Valley including in Srinagar’s downtown.The people in large numbers thronged the markets and there were traffic jams on all major city roads throughout the day.

Life comes back to normal in Kashmir after 133 days of unrest

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>For the first time in the last four and half months of unrest, Kashmir came alive with the usual hustle and bustle on Saturday.Markets reopened in the valley for full day for the first time since Hizbul Mujhadeen poster boy Burhan Wani was killed on July 8. Traffic snarls were back and streets were filled with the shoppers. Few schools reopened and government departments were buzzing with activities.This follows the two full day relaxation in the shutdowns from Saturday announced by the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) — a conglomerate of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik spearheading the unrest.The 133 days of unrest, however, has inflicted heavy human and economic losses to the Kashmir valley. More than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 people injured in the unrest. Over 1,100 people, mostly teenagers, have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to quell the violent mobs across Kashmir.Figures released by Kashmir Inc reveal that the valley has suffered more than Rs 16,000 crore financial losses due to the curfews and shutdowns since the unrest began after the killing Burhan Wani on July 8.”Our estimates show we have incurred losses of Rs 16,000 crore so far. It happened with us in 2008, 2010, and now in 2016 again. We are living in a conflict and therefore permanent solution of Kashmir issue is necessary. We have lost over 100 boys and many others have lost eyes to pellets,” Mohammad Yasin Khan, chairman Kashmir Economic Alliance, an apex body of trade, transport, tourism, and allied sectors, told DNA.Tourism sector has taken a big hit in the four and half months of unrest. Official figures reveal that the tourism sector suffered a loss of Rs 3,000 crore. Official data reveal that around three lakh tourists had visited Kashmir between July 2015 and September 2015. The footfalls of tourist, however, was reduced to trickle in the corresponding period of the current year because of this.”We need continuity. This change has to be there for all days of week. That will give confidence to our clients outside so that they can think of coming to Kashmir. We have to make efforts ahead of the season,” said GM Dag, chairman Kashmir Hotel and Restaurants Owners Federation.For shoppers, it was a delight to walk the fashionable markets in Lal Chowk again. “I could not believe my eyes that markets are open. I finally bought a shawl for winter,” said Aisha Khan, a school teacher.

After four months of unrest, people in Kashmir resume normal life

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The city along with rest of Kashmir was buzzing with activity on Saturday with offices, shops and other business establishments opening in the Valley which saw return of normalcy after 133 days of shutdown as separatists suspended their stir for the weekend. The situation has been by and large peaceful over the last few weeks in the Valley, which had been hit by clashes between violent protesters and security forces following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8. The unrest had left 86 people dead and many others, including 5,000 security personnel, injured.Shops, offices, business establishments and fuel stations opened this morning for a full day for the first time since the unrest began. While some had started opening earlier defying the separatists, others did business few hours on some days of the week whenever relaxation in the strike was announced.There was massive traffic on the roads in Srinagar the summer capital- as public transport resumed fully and people came out to carry out their day to day activities. The authorities had increased the presence of traffic personnel on the roads to manage the traffic. Similar reports of people resuming their normal life were received from most of the other district headquarters of the Valley.With the start of Board exams for classes 10 and 12 this week, life in the Valley had been gradually returning to normalcy. The authorities last night restored mobile internet services on postpaid numbers due to improvement in situation. However, such facility on prepaid numbers continued to remain snapped and there is no word yet on their restoration.The separatists have been issuing weekly protest programmes. They had for the first time announced a two-day relaxation in the strike beginning today.

Brain behind ‘azadi’ protests arrested after four months

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Police achieved a major success on Friday when they arrested the most-wanted separatist leader who was the brain behind massive ‘pro-azadi (freedom) and anti-India’ protests in south Kashmir in the last four months.Mir Hafizullah, the district president of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat led by 87-year-old hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, had gone underground to lead the protests after the unrest began following the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.Police said Mir had organised scores of pro-freedom and anti-India rallies in Anantnag which had allegedly triggered stone pelting in South Kashmir. Mir was evading arrest for the last four months and organising and leading protests from underground.”Mir was one of the main instigators operating in Kokarnag and Achabal. He was leading the protests. Further investigation is on,” said Nitish Kumar, deputy inspector general, South Kashmir Range.

Internet on postpaid mobiles restored in Kashmir after 4 months

Fri, 18 Nov 2016-11:59pm , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mobile Internet services on postpaid connections were restored tonight in Kashmir four months after these services were snapped due to the unrest in the Valley.Mobile Internet services, which were snapped on July 15, have been restored on postpaid connections, an official said here. The official said the decision to restore mobile Internet services was taken following considerable improvement in security situation in the Valley. Mobile Internet services were snapped following violent protests across Kashmir following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8.

Kashmir unrest: Train services partially resume in Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After remaining suspended for over four months due to ongoing unrest in the Valley, the rail service connecting north and south parts of Kashmir resumed partially on Thursday, officials said. The full operations are expected to start within the next 10 days, they said.The rail service resumed from Budgam to Srinagar Railway stations after completion of necessary restoration work on damaged infrastructure and tracks, the officials said. They said the service was resumed along the 11.5 km axis after a trial run on Wednesday. “Two trains were scheduled to run on the route today, one in the morning and another in the evening,” they said, adding the passenger turnout was very low but is expected to pick up in the coming days.The Railway authorities are working on a plan to resume normal operations along the 120-km track between Banihal in south and Baramulla in north Kashmir within next 10 days, the officials said, adding restoration work on the damaged infrastructure and tracks are in full swing and expected to be completed shortly.
ALSO READ Kashmir unrest: Curfew lifted across the valleyNorthern railways suspended the service as a precautionary measure on July 9 following widespread protests over the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir a day earlier. The unrest has left 86 persons dead and thousands others injured.The railways suffered heavy losses due to the damages and disruption in its services. “The signal boxes, junction boxes, wiring and other infrastructure have been badly damaged during the unrest,” the officials said.

Class 10 board exams in Kashmir Valley begins from today

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The annual Class 10 and 12 board examinations in the Kashmir Valley will kick-off from Monday.As per reports, all arrangements have been put in place for the smooth conduct of the examinations for Classes 10 and 12, which are scheduled to start on November 14 and 15, respectively.Officials allayed fears of any trouble or inconvenience to the students appearing for the annual examinations.As per reports, around 480 examination centers have been set up for about 48,000 Class 12 candidates, whereas nearly 550 examination centers have been established for Class 10 candidates.State Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said he is hopeful that the examinations would be conducted in a peaceful atmosphere.A restive situation in the Kashmir Valley prevails since the killing of Jaish-e-Mohammed militant Burhan Wani on July 8.

Amid border tension, RSS chief to visit Jammu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid escalating border tension and Kashmir unrest, the RSS is gearing up to welcome its chief Mohan Bhagwat in the winter capital of Jammu after three years.Bhagwat is scheduled to address a huge workers rally and women convention during his two days stay in Jammu starting from November 13. Conservative estimates reveal that around 10,000 RSS supporters and activists including some ministers of the BJP would be participating in the rally on the first day.On the second day he will be addressing women volunteers besides holding close door meetings with local leaders of RSS. This will be his first visit to Jammu and Kashmir in three years. Bhagwat had last visited strife torn Jammu and Kashmir in 2013.The visit assumes significance given the fact that the Kashmir valley is witnessing unrest and shutdowns for the last four months. More than 90 people have died and over 13000 injured in the security forces action against the violent mobs since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 8.Bhagwat is visiting the Jammu and Kashmir in the backdrop of surgical strikes and the tensions on the borders. The death toll of soldiers in Pakistani firing and shelling on LoC and International Border has now touched 13 since Indian army carried out surgical strikes on the terror launch pads in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) on September 29. Around 12 civilians have also been killed and around 50 others injured in Pakistani firing and shelling on the civilian areas since surgical strikes.Massive preparations are underway to welcome Bhagwat in the winter capital of Jammu. Volunteers are working overtime to give final touches to the programme of the RSS chief in Jammu. Security has been beefed up in Jammu in the wake of the RSS programme. “All arrangements have been finalized for the programme of RSS chief”, said a local RSS leader.

Kashmir unrest: Separatists in huddle over ‘future strategy’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the unrest in the Valley entering its 123rd day on Tuesday, the separatists held a meeting here with traders and other organisations to chalk out the future course of action. Hurriyat faction chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasin Malik and Hurriyat faction head Syed Ali Geelani were present in the meeting in which all the forums including educationists, transporters, civil society members, religious, social and political organizations, bar association were called.According to reports, various issues regarding the ongoing uprising and other issues like education and conduct of examination came up during talks.The meeting comes after the government allowed the trio to meet on Sunday for the first time in the past four months since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8th, which threw the entire Valley into turmoil. On November 2nd, authorities did not allow a similar meeting of separatists, by barring their entry into the residence of Geelani.

J&K situation extremely fragile; around 300 militants still active: DGP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing the situation in Jammu and Kashmir as “extremely fragile”, state DGP K Rajendra has said around 300 militants are active in the state and that continuing infiltration along the Line of Control (LoC) is a cause of worry.. “The continuing infiltration along the border is a cause of worry which can change the whole game,” the Director General of Police (DGP) told a meeting of top civil and police officials of the state, chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, here yesterday.Referring to the situation in Kashmir where the unrest triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July completed four months, Rajendra said even though the intensity and spread of the situation has come down, it continued to be “extremely fragile”. “While the intensity and spread of situation has come down, the situation is extremely fragile. At present, 250-300 militants are active. Given the present situation, we need to have a road map for next two-three months,” he said.The DGP said at least 70 buildings have been set ablaze by miscreants during the ongoing unrest in the Valley. “53 of these 70 buildings have been damaged totally,” the police chief said. He said the restoration of normalcy will remain the top priority for the forces in coming days. “While a semblance of normalcy has been restored, there is no scope for complacency. Police will continue its drive against miscreants,” he said.At the meeting, Deputy Commissioners and SSPs of Kashmir division made detailed presentations on the ongoing development works, some of which have been affected due to the situation. They also provided figures on the number of cases filed over the last four months and the arrests made in those cases.

J&K: Another school set on fire in Bandipora district, flames doused

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another school was set on fire in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday. The flames have been doused, reports ANI.As many as 31 schools and 110 government buildings have been damaged in Kashmir Valley since the current unrest began four months ago.Among the schools, which were set ablaze by unknown persons, 25 were government-run, two private and four were run by trusts or other social organisations, official sources told PTI.Out of the 110 government buildings, 65 were either completely gutted or partially burnt down and 55 were damaged through “other means”.Over the past few months, miscreants burnt down schools across the Valley which is in the grip of unrest following the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8.Amid outrage over the issue, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court took suo motu cognisance of this development and asked the state government to take steps to prevent such incidents and “unmask” to culprits.The Centre had also earlier this week asked the Mehbooba Mufti government to check such attempts and make efforts for reopening the schools which have been closed since July 9.With ANI/PTI inputs.

Human rights only for terrorists, jawans’ lives don’t matter, asks Union Minister Harsh Vardhan

Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science and Technology, tweeted. “For Afzal, Yakub, Ishrat, Burhan, Batla (House encounter) they’ll cry foul and chatter. Human Rights are for terrorists only, lives of soldiers don’t matter,” <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid controversy over “encounter” killing of eight alleged SIMI terrorists by Madhya Pradesh Police, Union Minister Harsh Vardhan on Tuesday took a dig at opposition parties and a section of intelligentsia saying “human rights are only for terrorists” while the lives of soldiers don’t matter.”For Afzal, Yakub, Ishrat, Burhan, Batla (House encounter) they’ll cry foul and chatter. Human Rights are for terrorists only, lives of soldiers don’t matter,” Harsh Vardhan, Minister for Science and Technology, tweeted.He was apparently referring to a certain section of media and intelligentsia.Following the “encounter” killing of alleged SIMI terrorists yesterday, several political parties demanded a probe into the matter.Vardhan also posted a collage comprising media reports on the executions of Parliament attacks convict Afzal Guru, 1993 Mumbai blasts convict Yakub Memom, and killings of Ishrat Jahan and Burhan Wani.

Normal life affected in Kashmir for 115th consecutive day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Normal life remained affected in Kashmir for the 115th consecutive day on Monday due to the separatist-sponsored strike over the recent civilian killings and in support of their demand for right to ‘self determination’.Although some shops were open in few areas in the civil lines and in the outskirts of summer capital in Srinagar, most of them were shut in the rest of the city as well in other parts of Kashmir.There was some movement of private cars and auto-rickshaws in the city and other district headquarters of the Valley, but it was comparatively less as the separatists have not announced any relaxation in the strike later in the day on Monday.
ALSO READ Normal life affected in Kashmir valley for 114th dayMany street vendors, though, had set up their stalls along the TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis through the Lal Chowk city centre.Even as there were no curbs on the movement of people anywhere in Kashmir, the officials said restrictions on the assembly of people under Section 144 CrPC were in place throughout the Valley.Security forces have been deployed in strength at vulnerable spots and along the main roads as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order as well as to instil a sense of security among the people to carry out their day to day activities without fear.The unrest, which began in the aftermath of killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8 and is about to complete four months, has badly affected, business, tourism and education in Kashmir. While shops, petrol pumps and business establishments remain shut during the day and open only in the evening during the relaxation period announced by the separatists on few days of the week, educational institutions have been completely closed since the unrest began.The separatists, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation in support of their demand for right to self determination, have been issuing weekly protest calendars since Wani’s killing. They announce a 14-hour relaxation from 5 pm on some days of the week for people to buy essentials.As many as 85 people, including two cops, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley. Around 5000 security forces personnel have also been injured in the clashes.Thousands of youth, including some top separatist leaders, have been arrested by police over the past three months in an attempt to break the impasse. Over 300 people have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

India slams Organization of Islamic Cooperation for raking up Kashmir issue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a sharp reaction, India on Wednesday slammed the OIC, an influential grouping of Muslim countries, for making “misleading references” to the Kashmir issue during its conclave, saying the bloc has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal matters.A meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Tashkent, in a resolution, severely criticised India for ongoing violence in Kashmir Valley and said it was deeply concerned at the “alarming” increase in the “indiscriminate use” of force.”We note with extreme regret that the OIC has again chosen to comment on India’s internal affairs during the 43rd Session of the Council of Foreign Ministers held in Uzbekistan on October 18-19,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said. He said certain resolutions adopted at the conclusion of the session contain “factually incorrect and misleading references” to matters internal to India, including Jammu and Kashmir which is an integral part of India.”We outrightly reject all such references,” he said, adding OIC has no locus standi to comment on India’s internal affairs.”We further advise the OIC to refrain from making such references in future,” he said.In the resolution, the OIC said it condemned use of force to quell protests in the aftermath of killing of Burhan Wani and called upon the international community to “break its deadly silence” over situation in Kashmir.

Kashmir: Three schools set on fire, police suspect handiwork of miscreants

Srinagar: Three school buildings were set ablaze by unknown persons in Kashmir over the past 24 hours, setting alarm bells ringing among authorities who have decided to step up security around educational institutions.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

A Government school was set ablaze by unknown persons in the wee hours of Tuesday in Noorbagh area of the city but the blaze was put out by fire tenders, a police official said.

He said the school building suffered damage in the fire and the firefighting operation.

In another incident, miscreants tried to burn down Government Higher Secondary School at Aishmuqam in Anantnag district, the official said.

The school building was saved by the timely intervention of fire brigade personnel, he said adding one window panel was damaged due to the fire.

Last night, fire broke out in a building of Government Middle School in Sadrukote Bala of Bandipora district.

Fire tenders were rushed in and the blaze was put out, the official said, adding the incident is suspected to be handiwork of miscreants.

The official said in view of these incidents, the security patrol around school buildings have been increased to ensure that such incidents are not repeated.

State government has announced that annual board examinations will be held next month even though the schools have remained closed since July following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces.

Protests have been held against the government decision to hold examinations.

Pakistan envoy Abdul Basit slams India for trying to isolate it on terror

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid simmering tension in Indo-Pak ties, Pakistan on Monday slammed India for trying to isolate it on terrorism, saying the country has been the worst victim of the menace even as it called for sustained diplomacy to forge an “effective cooperative paradigm” to improve relations.Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit said the issue of Jammu and Kashmir was the “root cause” of all problems between the two countries and that Pakistan does not need “misplaced jingoism and hypernationalism” to pursue its foreign policy objectives.”How on earth is it possible to isolate a country on terrorism when that country itself is the worst victim of terrorism,” he said. He was speaking at the Indian Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. It is only through sustained diplomacy that Pakistan and India can address their issues and forge an effective cooperative paradigm to their mutual benefit, he said.Talking about his country’s ties with India, he said Kashmir issue “has made us mutually antagonistic. Let its just resolution unite us in peace and prosperity.””Pakistan is a proud country of 200 million people. It does not need misplaced jingoism and hypernationalism to pursue its foreign policy objectives,” he said.”To claim that those who attended Burhan Wani’s funeral were instigated by Pakistan is wrong. We need to move from symbolism to substance and from conflict management to conflict resolution. I think the two countries need to agree to formalise the 2003 ceasefire agreement. When Uri attack was underway, Pakistan was being blamed, this when we did not even know what was happening” said Basit. Commenting on the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil row, Basit said, “I am glad that Karan Johar’s flick is out of ‘mushkil’.”

Situation in Kashmir peaceful, but separatist-sponsored strike continue

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Defying the separatist-sponsored strike, more and more street vendors put up stalls at the weekly flea market around the commercial hub of Lal Chowk in the summer capital which witnessed increased movement of traffic.”More vendors have put up their stalls at the weekly flea market, also known as Sunday market. The market witnessed normal activity,” a police official said. He said there was increased movement of private cars and auto-rickshaws in the city, especially in the civil lines areas, including Lal Chowk, and the outskirts of the city. More shopkeepers were now opening their business establishments and there was improvement in movement of people and transport with each passing day, the official said, adding that many hand cart vendors were also selling goods like fruits, vegetables, fresh juice, tea and snacks at many places along the TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis in the city.However, normal life continued to remain affected for the 107th straight day today in the rest of the Valley due to separatist-sponsored strike following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8. While there were no curbs on the movement of people anywhere in Kashmir, the official said restrictions on assembly of four or more people were in place throughout the Valley for maintaining law and order.He said security forces have been deployed in strength at vulnerable spots and along the main roads as a precautionary measure. Shops, business establishments and fuel stations remained shut, but are expected to open this evening as separatists have given a 14-hour relaxation in the shutdown from 5 pm. The separatists, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation in support of their demand for right to self determination, have been issuing weekly protest calendars since Wani was killed. The ongoing unrest in Kashmir has affected education as schools, colleges and other educational institutions continue to remain shut in the Valley. The government has notified holding of board examinations as per the schedule next month, but the move has drawn sharp criticism from students and parents who accused it of being insensitive to lack of academic activity due to the shutdown. As many as 85 people, including two cops, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley. Thousands of youth, including some top separatist leaders, have been arrested by police over the past three months in an attempt to break the impasse. Over 300 persons have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

Video of Hizbul militants carrying weapons, greeting and hugging each other surfaces on social media

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A new video of Hizbul Mujahideen has surfaced on social media, showing a group of armed militants greeting and hugging each other, in a reminder of the campaign undertaken by its erstwhile commander Burhan Wani before he was killed in an encounter three months back.In the four-and-a-half minute video, 12 militants are seen in an orchard, carrying weapons, including INSAS rifles apparently snatched from police forces.They are seen greeting and hugging each other as well as laughing in an attempt to lure youth to join militancy.Wani had actively used social media to attract the youth to militancy. He made many such propaganda videos before he was killed in the encounter with security forces on July 8.In another video which also surfaced recently, the new Hizb commander Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Musa is seen asking youth to join militancy by snatching rifles from security forces.During the recent months, there have been a number of incidents in which weapons were snatched or looted from police and security personnel. At least 67 rifles have so far been snatched. These include INSAS and Carbine rifles, which are exclusively used by the police and security forces.

Jammu Kashmir govt sacks over dozen employees on charges of inciting unrest

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has issued orders to dismiss over a dozen of its employees for their alleged involvement in the ongoing unrest, a top official said on Thursday.

A massive bout of protests broke out in Kashmiri following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. PTIA massive bout of protests broke out in Kashmiri following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. PTI

A massive bout of protests broke out in Kashmiri following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. PTI

“Reports on their anti-national activities prepared by the state police were forwarded to the Chief Secretary, who then directed respective heads of departments to issue orders terminating their services,” the officer said.

The dismissed employees include an assistant registrar of Kashmir University, besides others from education, revenue, public health, engineering and food supplies.

“The state government invoked Article 126 of the state constitution to carry out the action,” he added.

Authorities said some of the dismissed employees were already booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), while others have evaded arrest.

At least 91 people have been killed and over 12,000 injured in the last 104 days of the ongoing unrest since 9 July, a day after the killing of top militant Burhan Wani.

100 days after Burhan Wani encounter, semblance of normalcy in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Normal life remained affected in Kashmir on Monday but there were more signs of fatigue over the prolonged shutdown in the Valley as more vehicles plied on roads and shops in interior areas opened in defiance of the separatist call for strike. While shops and business establishments including petrol pumps remained closed in commercial hub of Lal Chowk and adjoining areas, many such outlets were open in civil line areas of Sanat Nagar, Jawahar Nagar, Rajbagh and Bishembar Nagar, a police official said. Large number of roadside vendors set up their stalls on the TRC crossing-Batamaloo axis passing through Lal Chowk while good number of private vehicles were plying on the roads, leading to traffic jams at some places including Rambagh, Gogjibagh and Jawahar Nagar, the official said. The shutdown, however, has affected the education as schools, colleges and other educational institutions continued to remain shut in the Valley. The government has decided to hold board examinations as per schedule next month, drawing criticism from students and parents who accused it of being insensitive to lack of academic activity due to shutdown. The ongoing unrest in Kashmir, triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in July, yesterday completed 100 days. Kashmir continued to be curfew-free but security forces were deployed in strength at various spots prone to protests and street violence, the official said. “Security forces have been deployed in sensitive areas to maintain law and order as also to instill a sense of security among the people so that they can carry out their day-to-day activities without fear,” he added.

Once Pampore’s pride, now just mangled remains

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Three years ago, when the newly constructed Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) complex was unveiled, the imposing structure quickly became the landmark in Kashmir, earning the moniker “pride of Pampore”.Two militant attacks later, not only is the EDI left with pockmarked walls and dented infrastructure, but the militancy-infested Valley’s entrepreneurial spirit has also been seriously punctured.Since February, the EDI complex has come under two separate attacks, with the gun battles between militants and security forces lasting over 100 hours. The first one took place at the main building, where classes on business and skill development activities were held. This week’s attack was on the hostel building, whose glass facade is now shattered. The green roof has blown up, debris is strewn all around, computers and furniture have been dismantled and patches of black soot cover the building from all sides.What was once a symbol of development and progress in the Valley, today stands as a haunting reminder of Kashmir’s reality. EDI founder-director Dr Mohammad Parray said, “It’s (EDI) devastated completely. There is nothing left inside. Everything is damaged. It’s very painful to see.”Kashmiris are accustomed to this pain. In the 90s, militants fervently attacked popular places, shutting down restaurants, cinema halls and hotels. Since the beginning of militancy, there has hardly been any construction of public infrastructure. Craft Development Institute, Carpet Development Institute and Institute of Hotel Management have come up in the last decade. But the sheer size and standard of EDI made it the showpiece structure, and every visiting delegation, including foreign nationals, paid a visit.The attacks have left the complex severely mangled.Strategic locationLocated along the National Highway (NH) with Jhelum river running on one side and spread over an area of 1 lakh sq feet, the EDI building is in close proximity to the Army’s 15 corps headquarter in Badami Bagh, five km away in Srinagar. The hostel building can accommodate 200 people in its 60 rooms, each having an attached bathroom and service facilities, including kitchen. Both times, militants took cover in the sprawling seven-storey structure, firing and lobbing grenades at the security forces outside intermittently, playing the cat and mouse game for days.General Officer Commanding (GOC), Victor Force, Major General Ashok Narula, said one of the reasons the recent operation took a long time was that each room had to be cleared to flush the militants out. The building provided room for militants to manoeuvre, making the complex an attractive target. A former EDI officer said every other building in Kashmir is small in size and height, and the Army can check them in a matter of hours. “By taking shelter here, militants could engage forces for a long time,” he said.Attractive targetThe fact that EDI is a state government project also makes it a symbolic target. Constructed in 2013 at an estimated cost of Rs16 crore, it was considered to have the best infrastructure in the Valley. “The EDI showed that despite turbulence, militancy, and unrest, if civilians had aspirations and vigour, they could achieve their dreams,” said a former employee.Since its inception in 2004, over 27,000 individuals have been trained in various schemes at EDI, enabling them to be entrepreneurs. Private industries, business houses and multinational corporations have stayed away from investment in the Valley due to militancy. The EDI nurtured this aspiration among locals, making them self-employed businessmen and women. It was a small effort in making the Valley economically self-reliant.The ongoing curfew and unrest after the Burhan Wani encounter has already slowed the pace of EDI activities. “We may recover infrastructure-wise, but the damage these attacks have made to the cause of entrepreneurship is huge,” Dr Parray said.

India, Pakistan must have talks on Kashmir to end terrorism: Farooq Abdullah

India, Pakistan must have talks on Kashmir to end terrorism: Farooq Abdullah

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Srinagar: India and Pakistan must talk and solve the Kashmir issue to end terrorism in the region, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said, speaking for the first time since the ongoing unrest erupted in the Kashmir Valley.

“Both countries must sit and have talks on Kashmir. That is the only solution to end terrorism, otherwise it will keep on escalating,” Abdullah told reporters after a meeting of opposition parties here.

“All of us are looking for the way forward and not looking back at what happened,” he said, adding he was “always in favour of peace”.

The National Conference President said he was concerned about the turmoil in the Kashmir Valley that has left over 90 people dead and thousands injured since the 8 July killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

The meeting of opposition parties discussed the Kashmir situation and the way the state and central governments were dealing with it.

Abdullah said the situation demanded that “a solution needs to be found” to the vexed Kashmir issue.

With inputs from IANS

J-K: Curfew in parts of Kashmir ahead of Friday prayers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Curfew continued in interior parts of Srinagar on Friday and some other areas as a precautionary measure in view of violence witnessed after Friday prayers last week.Normal life remained affected in Kashmir Valley for the 98th day due to the ongoing unrest which erupted after killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July. “Curfew remains in force in five police station areas of downtown (interior city) Srinagar, Batamaloo police station and Sopore town in Baramulla district,” a police official said here. He said the curbs on the movement of people in these areas have been imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order in view of violence witnessed after Friday prayers last week in which a minor boy had died due to pellet injuries. The official said while there were no curbs on the movement of people anywhere else in Kashmir, restrictions on the assembly of people under Section 144 CrPc were in force throughout the Valley.He said security forces have been deployed in sensitive areas to maintain law and order as also to instill a sense of security among the people so that they can carry out their day to day activities without fear. Movement of private transport and auto-rickshaws was thin in the civil lines areas of the city including around the commercial hub of Lal Chowk where signs of normalcy where seen after the separatists had announced evening relaxation in the strike. The unrest, which has claimed 84 lives and left thousands of others injured in clashes between protestors and security forces, is in its fourth month as shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions remained closed. Over 300 persons have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

Jammu and Kashmir: Curfew in parts of Srinagar, normal life affected for 96th day

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Curfew remained in force in parts of Srinagar on Wednesday as a precautionary measure in view of the tenth day of Muharram, even as normal life remained affected in the Valley for the 96th day due to the ongoing unrest.Curfew has been imposed in the five police station areas of downtown Srinagar, a police official said here. He said the curbs on the movement of people in the police station areas of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal and Maharaj Gunj have been imposed to maintain law and order in view of the tenth day of Muharram. The official also said that curfew-like restrictions have been imposed in four police station areas of Soura, Lal Bazar, Zadibal and Nigeen.The traditional Muharram procession used to pass through these areas, but has been banned since eruption of militancy in 1990 as authorities maintain that the religious gathering has been used for propagating separatist politics. Meanwhile, normal life remained affected for the 96th consecutive day in the rest of the Valley following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8. The unrest, which has claimed 84 lives including that of two cops and left thousands of others injured in clashes between protestors and security forces, is in its fourth month as shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions remained closed, while public transport continued to be off the roads. The shops and other business establishments open during the periodic relaxation announced by the separatists on some days of the week.

Curfew enforced in some parts of Srinagar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Authorities clamped curfew on Monday in 11 police station areas of Srinagar as a precautionary measure in view of the eighth day of Muhurram. A police official said the police station areas in which the curbs on the movement of people have been imposed are Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal, Maharaj Gunj, Maisuma, Ram Munshi Bagh, Kralkhud, Shaheed Gunj, Karan Nagar and Batamaloo. The official said the curbs were imposed as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order. The traditional Muharram procession used to pass through these areas, but have been banned since eruption of militancy in 1990 as authorities maintain that the religious gathering has been used for propagating separatist politics. Meanwhile, normal life remained affected for the 94th consecutive day in the rest of the Valley following killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8. The unrest, which has claimed 84 lives including that of two cops and left thousands of others injured in clashes between protestors and security forces, is in its fourth month as shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions remained closed, while public transport continued to be off the roads.

Kashmir unrest: Three months after Burhan Wani’s death, protests in Valley far from over

In the three months since militant commander Burhan Wani was killed on 8 July, the youth uprising in Kashmir has been temporarily suppressed, but it would be a great mistake to consider it over. Indeed, the youth uprising is now only one dimension of the developing situation in and around Kashmir. India-Pakistan tension has flared, particularly over the past three weeks, and the Kashmir issue is back in the global spotlight.

Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. CNN-News18Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. CNN-News18

Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. CNN-News18

This is not just escalation. The fact is that the uprising was not taken seriously enough at the outset. It should be clear at least now that it was (and is) no more than the tip of an iceberg fit for the Titanic.

The government thought the agitation would die down if the forces showed sufficient restraint, and the home minister did enough sweet-talking. But it was already clear in July that the home ministry had failed miserably, and that the defence ministry ought to be gearing up. Sadly, it took several weeks for that to sink in with the powers that be.

Even eight weeks after Burhan was killed, the plethora of agencies that are meant to advise the government on such matters evidently thought that the agitation would be diffused if a parliamentary delegation were to hold talks with Hurriyat Conference ‘leaders.’ Those unintelligent ‘intelligence’ walas yet to figured out that this was not a repeat of 2010. One hopes those `intelligence’ clowns have figured at least that much by now.

Even when talks might have diffused matters – long before Burhan was killed – talking to the Hurriyat was already pointless: not just boys Burhan’s age (22 when he died) but teenagers and boys in their pre-teens were, and remain, at the forefront. They have been increasingly taken the lead more decisively since 2008 – more decisively since Burhan became their icon last year.

Young Rafqat Sonwaire, a political and social activist of the rural Sumbal area north of Srinagar, makes a pertinent point about the country’s political leadership: “They keep trying to talk to the secessionist leaders. They should go out into the field and talk to the youth.”

Fanning the flames

Of course, it is true that that very real youth anger has been smartly channeled, coordinated and sponsored – but not necessarily by Hurriyat activists. Activists of just about every political party other than Sajad Lone’s People’s Conference fanned the flames in various places, at least for the first couple of months. And activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami have been very active – although, as with Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (which declared itself Jamaat’s askari baazu or sword-arm) in the 1990s, the Jamaat’s Amir and Shoura council may not formally be behind it.

Three months into the mayhem that Burhan’s killing sparked, one hopes the powers that be have begun to comprehend that the unrest is not over. In fact, it may get far worse. Rafqat Sonwaire pointed out that, while returning home from Srinagar on Thursday evening, he found that mobs of boys had stoned cars on his route, although stone-pelting had been much reduced over the past few days.

One more youth died of pellet injuries in Srinagar on Friday, leading to more protest.

A harvest dip

No doubt one major reason for the temporary dip in ‘stone-pelting’ is the arrest and detention of thousands of boys across Kashmir over the past few weeks. But, another important reason is that all the very many rural families that own small or big orchards are busy harvesting apples and the saffron crop (around Pampore). This year’s walnut and almond crops have already been picked.

It is only when all the crops are in by the middle of this month will we know how much impact the arrests and detentions have actually had. According to the grapevine, the fruit industry got the separatist leadership to allow them to get their crops down and send to markets across the country by 12 October.

If that grapevine is credible, the ‘calendar’ through which the separatists dictate the nature and venues of protests will become much tougher after Wednesday.

Gas bags of hope

The hope-filled ‘analyses’ of the powers-that-be that things will simmer down once the state government moves to Jammu, and the cold sets in, could prove as ill-founded as their earlier series of hope spurred ‘analyses’ – that things would die down by the end of July, or by around Independence Day, or by around Eid-ul-Zuha (13 September in Kashmir), or once the UNGA session ended, … They have had several hope attacks in these three months!

In fact, oblivious to all that hope, the focus has expanded to the international arena, much more so since the lethal attack on an army brigade at Uri on 18 September.

The fact that security camps and police stations were attacked right across the Valley on 9 July, within hours after Burhan was killed, should have indicated that there was a pattern, and a certain level of coordination, behind the apparent mayhem. Further evidence has piled up since infiltration of trained militants from across the Line of Control has increased, grenades and guns have occasionally been used, and weapons are still being snatched from security personnel – as they have been over the past few years by new local recruits to the militant ranks.

Three months after Burhan was killed, the portents are not good. Not good at all.

Nawaz Sharif’s comments on Burhan Wani shows Pakistan’s attachment to terrorism: India

Nawaz Sharif’s comments on Burhan Wani shows Pakistan’s attachment to terrorism: India

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New Delhi: India on Wednesday said Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s comments describing Hizbul terrorist Burhan Wani, whose encounter killing by security forces triggered the current unrest in the Valley, as “son of the Kashmiri soil” shows that country’s attachment to terrorism.

File image of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

File image of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Reuters

“The speech by Sharif at the joint session of Parliament shows Pakistan’s continued attachment to terrorism,” senior government sources said. Their remarks came after Sharif, while addressing a joint session of Parliament convened to discuss the security situation in the wake of increasing Indo-Pak tensions, accused India of running away from dialogue and instead creating a war-like environment by blaming Pakistan for the Uri terror attack in which 19 Indian soldiers were killed last month.

Sharif expressed support for Kashmiris and said the issue should be resolved according to the wishes of people of Kashmir and the UN resolutions. “The Kashmiri youth have taken it upon themselves to carry on the movement of freedom against Indian aggression and atrocities…The death of Burhan Wani, son of the Kashmiri soil, had reminded India to give Kashmiris their right to self-determination,” Sharif said.

J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti calls on PM Modi, discusses situation in the Valley

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed the situation in the state in wake of mounting tensions between India and Pakistan and repeated ceasefire violations by the latter along the LoC and International Border.

The meeting lasted for nearly an hour during which the Chief Minister apprised the Prime Minister of the law and order situation gripped by unrest after the killing of Burhan Wani, a Hizbul Mujahideen commander, on 8 July, official sources said.

The Chief Minister also discussed with the Prime Minister the ongoing developmental projects in the state and thanked him for continued support for the uplift of the people of the troubled state, the sources said.

Mehbooba met the Prime Minister for the first time after Indian army carried out surgical strikes across the LoC and destroyed seven terrorist launch pads in PoK.

Mehbooba, who is in the national capital since Tuesday, also informed him about the steps taken by her government for evacuating people from the border villages to safer places in view of the escalation of tension between the two countries.

Pakistan has been repeatedly violating the ceasefire, using mortars and small arms, resulting in injuries to five civilians and some defence personnel.

Kashmir situation gradually improves as shutdown enters 89th day

Srinagar: Defying the diktats of the separatists, people in many parts of the city came out on Wednesday to resume their day-to-day activities even as the separatist-sponsored strike that has affected normal life in the Valley for the 89th consecutive day remained in force.

The unrest, which started a day after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir on July 8, is showing signs of fatigue in the civil lines areas of the city as more people were coming out to resume their normal life.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

As the authorities lifted curfew across the Valley a few days ago, there has been a significant increase in the movement of private and public transport, except buses, in uptown Srinagar including in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk, officials said.

The situation in Kashmir is improving with each passing day.

Normal movement of people and vehicular traffic was observed in parts of Srinagar on Monday, the officials said. Many street vendors and hand cart vendors have set up their stalls along the TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis in the city, selling goods like fruits, vegetables, fresh juice, tea and snacks at many places and continue with their business activities throughout the day, they said.

The officials said some shopkeepers also opened their shops in the civil lines areas of the summer capital and at few areas in the outskirts of the city. They said while there were no restrictions on the movement of people anywhere in the Valley, security forces have been deployed at some places, including market places, to instill a sense of security among the people so that they can carry out their day-to-day activities without fear.

Meanwhile, in some parts of Kashmir, including in downtown city and district headquarters and towns, normal life remained affected for the 89th straight day due to the shutdown call of the separatists, who have been spearheading the ongoing unrest in the Valley.

Most of the shops and business establishments in these areas were shut. While students across the Valley were not attending the schools due to the strike, the government educational institutions at most places were open and teachers were attending their duties, the officials said.

The attendance in other government offices and banks has also considerably improved, they said.

83 persons, including two cops, have been killed and thousands others injured in clashes between protesters and security forces since the unrest began.

Women are safest in Kashmir: Mehbooba hits back at Kapil Mishra’s ‘Burhan Wani’ taunt at tourism event

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The was a furore at the launch function of Bharat International Travel Bazaar (BITB) held at Pragati Maidan in Delhi which was attended by Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Tourism Minister Kapil Mishra and Delhi Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, among others. During his speech at the event Mishra attacked Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and it’s leadership by saying that the state doesn’t accept Burhan Wani as a terrorist and expects tourism to increase. “It can’t be that you don’t accept Burhan Wani as a terrorist and then expect tourism to increase. Terrorism and tourism can’t go together. Mahesh Sharma said Kashmir is our pride, but terrorists are treated as tourists there,” he said.”We can fight Pakistan, but how do we fight with people who give shelter to terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added. The AAP minister underlined that it is “painful” to see that “terrorists are being treated as tourists in Kashmir.” However, Mufti hit back at the AAP leader by saying that J&K can offer safety, which Delhi cannot. “When you take any place in the world, including Delhi, women are safest in Kashmir. There is no fear of getting raped in a car,” she said.She appealed to tourists to trust her by saying, “Biggest confidence building measure is if you visit our state, it shows that you trust us.” Asking people to invest in Kashmir’s peace, she said, “Haalat to aapne isse bhi kharaab dekhe hai; lekin aaiye aur Kashmir ki shaanti mei invest kijiye.” “We need you,” she declared, “I don’t know if you need Kashmir or not, but Kashmir needs you,” as she invited investors to Kashmir.However, she broke down earlier during the event when she heard her father and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s voice in a video clip on Kashmir tourism. Mufti in the month of July had said that she would have given Burhan Wani “a chance had she known he was trapped in the encounter.” Burhan Wani was killed by the security forces on July 8 following which there was a huge unrest in the state. With agency inputs

Forces giving befitting reply to terror attacks: HM Rajnath Singh

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hours after militants attacked two adjoining camps of Army and paramilitary in Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said security forces were giving a “befitting reply” to such attempts by Pakistan-based terrorist groups.”Our security forces are giving a befitting reply,” he told reporters here when asked about the attacks on security forces by militants in the state.Singh’s comments came hours after a BSF and adjoining army camps in Baramulla were attacked by heavily armed militants last night.The first major attack on security forces by terrorists came four days after the Indian Army launched surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.Last night’s attack in Baramulla took place exactly a fortnight after terrorists struck at the army brigade headquarters at Uri, 102 kms from here, killing 19 soldiers.The Home Minister is on a two-day visit to Leh and Kargil to interact with a cross-section of people and take their suggestions on resolution of Kashmir issue.Asked about his trip to Ladakh, Singh said he has come to understand the problems of the region by interacting with a cross section of people.”Whatever problems the people face here, we will try to resolve them,” he said.This is the fourth visit of the Home Minister to Jammu and Kashmir ever since the unrest began in the state following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8.Singh had led an all-party delegation to Srinagar and Jammu on September 4-5.The leaders of various political leaders met over 400 people who came in 50 different delegations representing various sections of society in Srinagar and Jammu.Earlier, the Home Minister had visited Srinagar on August 24-25 and July 23-24.

India, Pakistan NSAs talk to diffuse tensions between two countries along LoC: Sartaj Aziz

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an attempt to diffuse the escalated tensions between two nations along the Line of Control (LoC) after India’s surgical strike, National Security Advisors (NSA) of India and Pakistan have reportedly had talks, even though Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif warned that Islamabad was also capable of executing surgical strikes.According to The News International, Adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said that Pakistan’s Nasser Janjua and India’s Ajit Doval spoke to diffuse tensions between the two countries. “Both officials stressed on the need to establish contact to reduce tensions along the Line of Control,” Aziz told the portal.However, Aziz also claimed that India was escalating tensions with Pakistan at the Line of Control to deflect the attention of the world from Kashmir. Aziz said that Pakistan wanted to bring down tensions at the Line of Control so that the focus could be on the issue of occupied Kashmir.Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called a special Cabinet meeting last week to discuss the latest tension with India and the situation on the LoC, a day after Indian Army conducted surgical strikes on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.In a first, India carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launch pads across the LoC on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, with the Army saying it inflicted “significant casualties” on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned Uri attack would not go unpunished.India and Pakistan are witnessing growing bitterness after Pakistan and its Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made provocative statements on the Kashmir situation in the wake of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani’s killing on July 8.Recently, raking up Kashmir at the UN, Sharif had glorified slain Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani as a “young leader” even as he expressed readiness for a “serious and sustained ‘dialogue’ with India for peaceful resolution of all outstanding disputes, especially Jammu and Kashmir.

Rajnath Singh to visit Leh, Kargil on October 3-4

Sun, 2 Oct 2016-07:30pm , New Delhi , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As part of the Centre’s outreach to Jammu and Kashmir, Home Minister Rajnath Singh will undertake a two-day visit to Ladakh region beginning on Sunday during which he will interact with a cross-section of people.Singh will hold meetings with delegations of political parties, civil society groups and individuals in Leh tomorrow and in Kargil on October 4 and take their suggestions on resolution of Kashmir issue.This will be the fourth visit of the Home Minister to Jammu and Kashmir ever since the unrest began in the state following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8.Singh had led an all-party delegation to Srinagar and Jammu on September 4-5. The leaders of various political leaders met over 400 people who came in 50 different delegations representing various sections of society in Srinagar and Jammu. Earlier, the Home Minister had visited Srinagar on August 24-25 and July 23-24.

From Sari-Shawl Diplomacy to Surgical Strikes: The evolution of Modi’s Pakistan policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>One of the most pivotal moments in literature is when Arjun found his inner peacenik and told Krishna that he couldn’t wage war against his brethren. What followed was the Gita, the world’s first and most effective powerpoint presentation as Lord Krishna explained the real nature of the universe to Arjun. When asked which was better, action or ‘renunciation’, Krishna explained that the latter was always better.Arjun’s conundrum, the question between action and inaction, might as well have been Modi’s dilemma since he came to power. Should he act against Pakistan — our version of the Kauravas — or does he give peace a chance? In the end, he learned that action was his dharma, but to reach that phase took time, as he realised the hard way that Pakistani establishment were not doves. Here’s how PM Modi’s Pak policy has evolved over the last two years:First Phase of Modi’s Pak Policy: Sari-Shawl DiplomacyModi and Sharif in Lahore in December 2015 (PTI) After coming to power, in a gesture of goodwill, PM Modi invited Sharif and other SAARC leaders to his swearing-in ceremony. Modi wrote to Mian Sahib that he ‘looked forward to working with him in an atmosphere free from confrontation and violence in order to chart a new course in our bilateral relations’. He also thanked him for the lovely saree he had sent for his mother!This was in June 2014, and that happy phase lasted for a while where the PM seemed to believe that his huge mandate gave him the chance to try out things which his predecessor wouldn’t have dared. In an attempt to thaw relations, Modi met Sharif on the sidelines of the SCO summit in Ufa, Russia in July 2015. India and Pakistan released a joint statement in which they promised to cooperate to tackle terrorism in the region, planned a meeting between the country’s NSAs and both sides promised to help each other with the 26/11 case. The duo also had a ‘courtesy meeting’ in Paris during the Climate Change Summit. The two NSAs – Gen (Retd.) Nasir Khan Janjua and Ajit Doval – had a hush-hush meeting in Bangkok on December 7. The high point of this in-love phase was on December 25, 2015, when Modi made an impromptu stop in Pakistan to meet Nawaz Sharif and greet him on his birthday. The move came completely out of the blue and flummoxed his critics and political watchers.Second Phase of Modi’s Indo-Pak Policy: Trust thy neighbourPM Modi visits the Pathankot terror attack (File Photo) When the Pathankot attack took place on January 2, 2016, as a confident building measure, India invited a special-investigation team from Pakistan to collect data, a move that signed a departure from past refusal to give Pakistani investigators access after terrorist events like 26/11. The move was severely criticised all around and many felt that the Modi government had allowed culprits onto our crime scene. And they were right. Pakistan washed its hands off the attack, claiming that there was no proof that JEM or any Pakistani-supported group was involved, a move that left the government red-faced.Third Phase of Modi’s Pak Policy: SAARC attack Syed Salahuddin and Rajnath Singh (File Photo)Things really started going distinctly downhill after the death of militant leader Burhan Wani (July 8, 2016) in Kashmir as Sharif hailed him as a ‘martyr’. Many believed that Sharif’s volte-face was thanks to nudges from the Pakistan army who had him under pressure after revelations in the Panama papers.At this moment, the sniping remained at a vocal level and India and Pakistan kept hitting back with comments. HM Rajnath Singh, who earned the moniker Ninda Mama (for saying ‘kadi ninda’ after every terrorist attack), even went down for a SAARC conference in Islamabad where he was met by protests from known terrorists like Syed Salahuddin and Hafiz Saeed leading the protests against him. To his credit ,Rajnath did voice a strong rebuke to Pakistan on its own soil.Fourth Phase of Modi’s Pak Policy: Balochistan, Terror Card and Global Isolation Burhan Wani (File Photo)By now, Modi seemed to have heard enough. He launched a counterattack by using the Balochistan argument— one that had left Manmohan Singh red-faced in Sharm-El-Shaikh, Egypt, when he co-signed a statement with his Pakistani counterpart Geelani in July 2009, for practically owning up to India fomenting trouble in Balochistan, leading to sharp attacks from the BJP in Parliament. But PM Modi is from a different era and he used the same Balochistan card to show Pakistan’s hypocrisy when it came to Kashmir. During his address to the nation on Independence Day, PM Modi set the ball rolling when he said: “Pakistan forgets that it bombs its own citizens using fighter planes. The time has come when Pakistan shall have to answer to the world for the atrocities committed by it against people in Baluchistan and PoK. We are fully committed to the fundamental rights of the people. Our anti-terror laws are more humane than those of any other democracy in the world. Our governments and our security forces have shown restraint in dealing with these incidents.”That restraint broke after Uri (September 18, 2016), a terrorist attack unlike any in recent memory where 19 jawans were burnt to death in their sleep. With the exception of a few liberal voices who think they speak for the rest of us, the nation wanted Uri avenged. In three speeches, India laid down the smack down on Pakistan on a global level to expose its duplicity on home-based terror outfits, its hypocritical stand on Kashmir and its hand in terror across the globe. Chronologically, the first one was Eenam Gambhir’s reply at UNGA to Sharif’s embarrassing eulogy to Burhan Wani, where Gambhir bestowed upon Pakistan the term ‘Ivy League of terrorism’. This was followed by PM Modi’s speech at the BJP National Meet at Kozhikode where he claimed that Sharif’s speeches were written by terrorists and asked Pakistanis why India exported software while Pakistan was known globally for terror. He also went out of his way to pin the link of global terrorism and its Pakistani origin and played up the Obama Bin Laden connection again. The final speech came from EAM Sushma Swaraj at UNGA who pointed out India’s repeated attempts to improve relations.Delivered in crisp Hindi, she said, “We have in fact attempted a paradigm of friendship in the last two years which is without precedent. We conveyed Eid greetings to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, wished success to his cricket team, extended good wishes for his health and well-being. Did all this come with pre-conditions attached? And what did we get in return? Pathankot, Bahadur Ali, and Uri. Bahadur Ali is a terrorist in our custody, whose confession is a living proof of Pakistan’s complicity in cross-border terror. But when confronted with such evidence, Pakistan remains in denial.”Fifth Phase of Modi’s Pak Policy: Surgical Strike DGMO Ranbir Singh and Vikas Swarup (PTI)And finally came the ‘action’ bit of Modi’s policy, when Arjuna’s proverbial chariot – stuck between the two armies – finally moved forward. A clandestine pre-emptive surgical strike saw the Indian Army take out 7 terror launch pads inflicting ‘significant damages’. While the reaction was celebrated by most Indians who never thought the government would allow the army to act, it left Pakistani establishment shell-shocked. The reactions from the Pak establishment moved from denial to promises of retribution back to denial. Sharif said that Pakistan also knew about ‘surgical strikes’, something echoed by 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed, while Army Chief Raheel Sharif said ‘India’s misadventure wouldn’t go unanswered’.On another note, as Pakistan huffed and puffed, Modi proved that his numerous foreign jaunts weren’t just to regale stadiums of jam-packed NRIs and hear them shout his name. Powers from across the world either backed India’s surgical strike or gave vague statements asking both nations not to escalate tensions. Russia hit out strongly at Pakistan, asking them to stop letting terrorists use their land while the US admonished Pakistan for throwing the N-word around flippantly. India’s decision to pull out of SAARC 2016 at Islamabad also saw other nations follow suit which left the Pakistan establishment looking more red-faced. This seemed to be part of the grander strategy India talked about to globally isolate Pakistan.In his rhetoric, a pre-2014 Modi had promised to be strong and he finally walked the talk in 2016. While there are rumours about earlier governments also carrying out surgical strikes, this stands out because of the sheer scale of the operation and the government publicly owning it. If anyone is surprised by India’s sharp hawkish turn, one ought to know that it has been a long time coming. Time and again, like Modi in his two years, India has tried to turn the other cheek and extend an arm to Pakistan only to find itself hit. The Simla Agreement in 1972 to counter the escalation post the 1971 war petered out, as did the 2004 statement post SAARC to decrease troops. It’s time for us all to accept that we were living in fools’ paradise if we thought that we could be friends as long as Pakistan continued to foment mischief, not on a global level as it allows terrorists to act with impunity from its own soil. To expand upon Hillary Clinton’s metaphor, you simply can’t be friends with people who grow snakes in their backyard. In fact, DGMO Ranbir Singh promised in his post-Uri press conference: “I assure you that Indian army is prepared for any evil design by the adversary, and will give a befitting response. All intelligence agencies and security forces are working in close synergy and necessary action is being taken against various inputs received.” Now it’s pretty clear to everyone out there including the Pakistan army, ISI, terrorists and others that times have changed. The old days of restraint are gone, India is not going to sit around and watch idly. Hell, India will hit you even before you get in range because the days of ‘strategic restraint’ are over.

Kashmir unrest: Youth succumbs to injuries, toll rises to 83

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Another youth, who was injured during clashes between protestors and security forces last month, today succumbed at a hospital, taking the death toll in the ongoing unrest in Kashmir Valley to 83.Muzaffar Ahmad Pandith was injured when he was hit by pellets during clashes between protestors and security forces at Chek-e-Kawoosa in Narbal area of Budgam district in second week of September, a police official said.The youth was discharged from SMHS hospital after few days of treatment but was admitted to SKIMS hospital at Bemina some days ago due to severe infection.Pandith was referred to SKIMS Hospital at Soura hospital where he died this morning, the official added. With this, the death toll in the ongoing unrest in Kashmir, which broke out a day after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, has risen to 83.Meanwhile, curfew was today lifted from Srinagar as the situation improved in the city, but normal life remained suspended in the Valley due to the separatist-sponsored strike for the 85th consecutive day. Curfew has been lifted from the areas of Srinagar where the curbs were in force yesterday and there is no curfew anywhere in Kashmir today, a police official said.

Govt preparing forces in Kashmir for ‘harsh winter’ ahead

The Home Ministry has supplied agencies to provide winter boots, socks, jackets, snow gloves and other warm clothing to the Army. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apprehending protracted unrest in Kashmir Valley, the Centre has started preparation for providing winter logistics to central paramilitary forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir.The Home Ministry has already approached the Army and supplying agencies to provide winter boots, socks, jackets, snow gloves and other warm clothing which would be required by around 70,000 paramilitary forces deployed in the state.A top Home Ministry official is personally monitoring the procurement process and trying to ensure that all required items are delivered before the onset of the “harsh winter” ahead.”We are really worried about the boys on the ground. We have to get all winter logistics well before the time as Kashmir is expected to have a harsh winter,” a senior official said.Unrest in Kashmir continues ever since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 leading to deployment of paramilitary forces across the Kashmir Valley. “We have to be prepared in case the turmoil continues for a longer period, especially during winter,” the official said.

Kashmir unrest: Mass arrests of youth will cost India as much as ignoring their rage did last year

A country that ignores the rage of a very important section of its youth should expect an insurrection. A country whose security managers are oblivious to a dangerous external threat is in for a battering. A country whose rulers mess up on social, political and military fronts all at once condemns itself to a bleak future.

Such a future looms before India. The most tragic aspect of this situation is that at least the youth rage in Kashmir could have been handled before it became a full-blown uprising. When it did, it was not handled. The harsh suppression now underway will build up tinder for more trouble.

Over the past two years, our rulers ignored the rage among Kashmiri youth, as it built to fever pitch. Indeed, the state apparatus presided over the coalescence of that rage like an emperor fiddling while his citadel burnt. Since it happened at a time when an extremely serious external threat was building, one might even compare it with Muhammad Shah carousing while a Nadir Shah approached.

It was obvious over the past year that youth rage had coalesced visibly, particularly in south Kashmir. Some of the proximate causes: no flood rescue or relief, beef vigilantism, perceived threats to identity, the perception of a national anti-Muslim bias, and disgust at the PDP’s coalition with, and perceived humiliation by, the BJP.

The PDP, which won a number of assembly seats in 2014, is based largely in south Kashmir. But even after youth rage began to visibly boil in Pulwama, Kulgam and other parts of south Kashmir last autumn, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to snub former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed at a public meeting in Srinagar — and then starve the state of promised funds.

So oblivious did the state apparatus remain even by this summer that it had no idea that rage would explode forcefully over the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani. Either the powers-that-be were taken totally by surprise, or some of them calculated that letting it explode would help them consolidate an anti-Muslim ‘nationalist’ vote elsewhere in the country. If indeed that sort of cynical calculation was at play, it is unforgivable.

Kashmiri youths protest against the killing of civilians, at Barzulla in Srinagar last week. PTI

Kashmiri youths protest against the killing of civilians, at Barzulla in Srinagar last week. PTI

The state apparatus gave the explosion of youth rage space for several weeks after Burhan’s death. Leave alone the police, even army convoys turned away from stone-pelting mobs in some places. That was a sensible tactic for the first few days, especially in light of the unpreparedness and miscalculations that resulted in a huge toll of deaths and eye injuries in the very first couple of days after Burhan’s death. But thereafter, restraint became increasingly costly.

For, three trends unfolded simultaneously: one, agents provocateurs took increasing control of teenaged mobs. Some of them were from political parties and organisations. Many of them disbursed money. Two, narratives about what was happening became polarised, uni-dimensional and provocative. Three, more and more common people became restive, eager for ‘normalcy.’

For two months, the state apparatus failed to handle the first two, or build upon the third. Political workers were largely invisible, particularly in the crucial first month. Over the past couple of weeks, the state apparatus has swung to the other extreme, opting for ham-fisted suppression.

Thousands of boys have been picked up. The state’s draconian Public Safety Act has been liberally applied. Adolescents have been locked up and brutalised. There is talk of desperate parents paying large sums to get them released. This may well succeed in imposing surface calm. But in terms of easing youth rage, it is even worse than ignoring it cynically over the past year and more. It will initiate a fresh cycle of fury, alienation and revolt.

In fact, the youth rage before which the state has been so helpless for two months has been building since the state employed exactly the same sort of repressive tactics in the wake of the stone-pelting uprising of 2010. Then, the issues were specific: the killing of innocents by counterinsurgency forces. The names of Wamiq Farooq, Tufail Mattoo and Machil reverberated through that summer and beyond.

The suppression that followed over the next year shaped a new wave of local militants — boys like Burhan Wani, who went underground aged 15 in October 2010 after he was brutalised by policemen of the Special Task Force.

The country’s top security managers refused to take this new militancy, and the youth rage that fed it, seriously until last year, when public anger over militant attacks against security forces became politically costly. Then, they ordered the armed forces to kill militants.

That they allowed the rage to build until then makes one wonder whether they glimpsed political benefit in framing developments in Kashmir as Muslims at war with India.

Either way, the state has damaged the nation both in the lead-up to Burhan’s killing as well as in the weeks since. One has a sinking feeling about just how high a price the country will yet pay for its rulers’ mistakes.

Stone pelters in Kashmir target civilians; woman dead, 2 injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A woman was left dead and two persons were injured on Tuesday as stone pelters targeted vehicles which ventured out defying the diktat of separatists.Two sisters, Fozia (20) and Nadia (18), were hit by an SUV (sports utility vehicle) that was reversing after it came under stone pelting near Rogan Gali at Parimpora area here, a police spokesperson said. “The two were critically injured in the incident. Both were shifted to hospital where the elder sister succumbed to injuries,” he said.The stone pelters apparently targeted the SUV as they thought it was an official vehicle. The spokesperson said a case has been registered and investigation initiated into the incident. Meanwhile, one person was injured when stone pelters attacked him as he was riding a scooty near Aalie Masjid in Safa Kadal area.”Furqan Hamid suffered an injury in his head and has been shifted to SKIMS Soura for treatment. His condition is stable,” the spokesperson added.Kashmir has been hit by unrest since the killing of Hizbul militant Burhan Wani, with separatists calling for bandh and asking people to stay indoors except for few hours of relaxation in the evening.

Kashmir Valley remains curfew-free

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Signs of normalcy on Tuesday started showing up in parts of Kashmir Valley, which remained by and large peaceful after days of unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter on July 8.No area in Kashmir is under curfew today, but restrictions on the assembly of people are in place in many parts of the Valley as a precautionary measure, a police official said here. He said there has been a considerable improvement in the overall situation in the Valley. There was no untoward incident yesterday and the situation remained by and large peaceful during the day, the official said.However, normal life continued to remain affected in Kashmir for the 81st straight day today due to the separatist call for shut down. Shops, petrol pumps and other business establishments remained closed, while public transport remained off the roads.There was, however, an increase in the movement of cars and auto-rickshaws in and around the city centre in the summer capital Srinagar, with some areas witnessing heavy rush of people. Schools, colleges and other educational institutions also remained closed across the Valley.The separatist groups are spearheading the ongoing unrest in Kashmir and have been announcing weekly protest programmes with periodic relaxation on some days. As many as 82 persons, including two cops, have been killed and thousands of others injured in the ongoing unrest.

Markets finally open after 79 days as curfew lifted from all parts of Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Markets across Kashmir opened on Sunday and there was heavy rush of customers thronging shops as curfew was lifted from all parts of Kashmir.Shops and business establishments which had remained closed for 79-days due to separatist call for shut down opened today after 2 pm. There was heavy rush of customers thronging shops as markets opened. Traffic jams were witnessed in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk here and in adjoining areas of the city while other district towns also witnessed movement of large number of vehicles. The separatist groups have announced a 16-hour relaxation in the shutdown till 6 AM tomorrow.A police spokesman said the situation across the valley remained normal and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the valley. “The entire Kashmir Valley is curfew-free today but restrictions are in place in many parts as a precautionary measure,” the official said. However, miscreants attempted to create disturbances in Anantnag and Sopore, he said. At Sopore chowk and KP road in Anantnag, miscreants in their attempt to create disturbances pelted stones on shopkeepers when they were opening their shops today, the spokesman said.Police and security force deployments immediately reached the spots and chased away miscreants and normalised the situation, he said. Police, during past 24 hours, arrested 39 more miscreants who were wanted in the offences of harassing shopkeepers, creating disruptions in traffic movement by stone pelting and by placing obstructions on roads and lanes, he added. He said the curfew was lifted following improvement in the situation yesterday.As many as 82 people including two cops have been killed and thousands of others have been injured in the ongoing unrest that started after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces on July 8.

Kashmir unrest: Curfew lifted from all parts with restrictions on assembly

Kashmir unrest: Curfew lifted from all parts with restrictions on assembly

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Srinagar: Curfew was lifted from all parts of Kashmir on Sunday but restrictions on assembly of people remained in force in most areas as a precautionary measure.

“The entire Kashmir Valley is curfew-free today but restrictions are in place in many parts as a precautionary measure,” a police official said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

He said the curfew was lifted following improvement in the situation on Saturday.

There were no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere in the Valley on Sunday.

Shops and other business establishments remained closed due to separatist call for shut down for the 79th straight day while public transport remained off the roads.

However, markets are expected to open at 2 pm as the separatist groups have announced a 16-hour relaxation in the shutdown till 6 am on Monday.

As many as 82 persons including two cops have been killed and thousands of others have been injured in the ongoing unrest that started after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces on 8 July.

Pakistan carrying out war crimes using terror as state policy: India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In its sharpest attack on Pakistan, India on Thursday called it a “terrorist state” which carries out “war crimes” by using terrorism as an “instrument of state policy”, after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif glorified Hizbul commander Burhan Wani at the United Nations. India also strongly rejected Sharif’s call for “a serious and sustained” bilateral dialogue “without any conditions”, saying that Pakistan, which “seems to be run by a war machine rather than a government”, wants talks with a “gun in its hand”.Strongly reacting to Sharif’s remarks at the UN General Assembly session, Minister of State for External Affairs M J Akbar described them as full of “threat, bluster and complete disregard of facts” as he said glorification of Wani by him at the world forum is an act of “self-incrimination” by Pakistan. He said it is “shocking” that a leader of a nation can “glorify a self-declared self-advertised terrorist” at a forum such as the United Nations General Assembly.”We heard the glorification of a terrorist. Burhan Wani was a self-declared commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, this organisation is widely acknowledged internationally as a terrorist group,” Akbar said at a briefing to Indian reporters here responding to Sharif’s General Debate address at the UN.”This is self-incrimination by the Pakistan Prime Minister. We just heard a speech full of threat, bluster and what can only be described as rising immaturity and complete disregard of facts,” he said.In his nearly 20-minute speech, almost half of which was focussed on Kashmir, Sharif had hailed Wani – who was killed on July 8 by the Indian forces resulting in tensions in the Valley – as a “young leader” and the “symbol” of the Kashmiris’ freedom movement.Exercising India’s Right of Reply to Sharif’s “long tirade” about the situation in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, First Secretary in the Permanent Mission of India to the UN Eenam Gambhir made a strong rebuttal.”The worst violation of human rights is terrorism. When practiced as an instrument of state policy it is a war crime,” she said.”What my country and our other neighbours are facing today is Pakistan’s long-standing policy of sponsoring terrorism, the consequences of which have spread well beyond our region,” she added.Gambhir said India sees in Pakistan “a terrorist state” which channelises billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against it neighbours.In a reference to JeM chief Masood Azhar and Mumbai terror attack mastermind Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, she said terrorist entities and their leaders, including many designated by the UN, continue to roam the streets of Pakistan freely and operate with State’s support. “With the approval of authorities, many terrorist organisations raise funds openly in flagrant violation of Pakistan’s international obligations,” Gambhir said.”Even today we have heard support by the Prime Minister of Pakistan for a self-acknowledged commander of a known terrorist organisation,” she said. She said while Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation record is marked by “deception and deceit,” it talks about restraint, renunciation and peace.”Similar false promises it has made to us – the international community on terrorism. Perhaps renunciation of lies and self-restraint on threats could be a good place for Pakistan to start,” Gambhir said.Akbar said: “Pakistan at this moment seems to be run by a war machine rather than a government. Pakistan wants dialogue while holding a terrorist gun in its hand. Talks and guns don’t go together. Our position on a dialogue has been consistent. We have always been ready for a dialogue but we will not succumb to the blackmail tactics of the government in Islamabad that seems eager to use terrorists and terrorism as policy.”Sharif had said that Islamabad is open to discuss “all measures of restraint and responsibility” with India, in “any forum or format and without any conditions” but blamed India for posing “unacceptable preconditions” to engage in a dialogue.Gambhir said Pakistan was a “democracy deficit” country and “practises terrorism on its own people”. “It extends support to extremist groups, it suppresses minorities and women and denies basic human rights including through draconian laws,” she added.Gambhir voiced India’s firm resolve to protect all its citizens from all acts of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir and said “we cannot and will not allow terrorism to prevail”. She reminded the UN that the trail of the most “horrifying” and “dastardly terror attack” of 9/11 led all the way to Abbottabad in Pakistan, where Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden had been hiding for years and was killed by US forces. She also noted that the land of Taxila, one of the greatest learning centres of ancient times, “is now host to the Ivy League of terrorism” and attracts aspirants and apprentices from all over the world.”The effect of its toxic curriculum are felt across the globe,” she said, adding that it is ironical that a country which has established itself as the global epicentre of terrorism, is preaching human rights and talks about the ostensible support for self-determination. She also told the UN General Assembly that shortly before Pakistan gave its “hypocritical sermons” in the world body, its envoy in New Delhi was summoned in the context of the most recent of the terror attacks in Uri that claimed 18 Indian lives.”That terrorist attack is part of a trail of continuous flow of terrorists trained and armed by our neighbour and tasked to carry out terrorist attacks in my country,” she said.

India, Pakistan and Kashmir: All that was said at the UN General Assembly session

In the wake of the Uri attack, India has vowed to isolate Pakistan internationally in forums such as UN as a strategic response. Whereas, Pakistan’s efforts of internationalising the Kashmir dispute seems to have has gained no support, amid fears of isolation. Pakistani Prime minister Nawaz Sharif met with the leaders of the US, the UK, Japan and Turkey and sought their intervention.

At the UN General Assembly 71st session, rejecting Pakistan’s repeated pleas to the UN to resolve the Kashmir dispute, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Pakistan and India should address their outstanding issues, including Kashmir, through “dialogue”.

PM Nawaz Sharif expressed a readiness for serious and sustained dialogue with India over Kashmir, emphasising that without the resolution of Kashmir dispute, peace cannot be achieved. He said in his speech to the UNGA on Wednesday, “talks are no favor to Pakistan. Talks are in the interest of both countries”, reports Indian Express.

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif speaks during a high-level meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York. ReutersPrime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif speaks during a high-level meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York. Reuters

Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif speaks during a high-level meeting at the United Nations General Assembly in Manhattan, New York. Reuters

He said that Pakistan too has been a victim of terrorism and made a plea for encouraging tolerance. He listed action taken by the Pakistani government to combat terrorism such as the National Action Plan and the Zarb-e-Azb anti-terrorism campaign.

To combat terrorism, Sharif said that the international community has to work together and look at the root cause: human rights violation, something that has been rampant in Kashmir. Touting that there has been a growing peaceful protest in Kashmir which has been suppressed brutally by India and that the right to self-determination is largely denied to the people of Kashmir, he urged a UN fact-finding mission to Kashmir to take stock of extrajudicial killings and demilitarization of Kashmir. He handed over a dossier to the Secretary General containing evidence of alleged human rights violations by Indian forces in Kashmir and stated that the shooting of Burhan Wani, a Kashmiri protest leader is one such human rights violation.

Strongly reacting to Pakistan Prime Minister’s remarks at the UN, India described them as non-factual and full of “threat bluster” and said glorification of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani by him at the world forum is an act of “self-incrimination” by Pakistan. Minister of State for External Affairs MJ Akbar rejected Sharif’s offer to enter into talks for a peaceful resolution, saying, “talks and guns don’t go together”.

Further, on Sharif’s terming of India’s claim over Kashmir as ‘occupation by India’, Akbar said that “the only occupation in Jammu and Kashmir, which is a part of India, is the occupation of a part of Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan occupation army”.

India exercised her Right to Reply with the First Secretary at the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, with Eenam Gambhir saying that the worst violation of human rights is terrorism, practiced as an instrument of state policy in Pakistan, stating this to be a war crime. Pakistan was described as hypocritical.

Gambhir quoted examples of recent terrorism in the US tracing back to Pakistan and said, “(Pakistan’s) nuclear proliferation record is marked by deception and deceit”. She said that instead of vacillating between threats and lies, Pakistan should take corrective steps before sermonising upon human rights violations, “talking about restraint, renunciation and peace”.

According to Anirudh Bhattacharyya of Firstpost, the main theme of India’s response is encapsulated in Gambhir’s pronouncement, “What we see in Pakistan, Mr President, is a terrorist state, which channelises billions of dollars, much of it diverted from international aid, to training, financing and supporting terrorist groups as militant proxies against its neighbours”.

Afghanistan backed India, according to India Today, second vice president Sarwar Danish said “world knows where Taliban leaders live”, adding, “Pakistan doesn’t act against terrorists.” And China has called upon India and Pakistan to exercise “restraint” and re-engage in dialogue according to the Hindu.

Secretary General Ban’s office has repeatedly said that the UN Chief’s good offices are available on helping resolve the Kashmir dispute only if both India and Pakistan request for it, a clear message that the Kashmir issue is a bilateral one between the two nations and should be solved by them only.

Baloch activist advocate Mohammad Anwar said that Sharif should have talked about Balochistan instead of Kashmir, “where houses are being looted and razed, the people are being kidnapped and murdered”, reports ANI.

Following Sharif’s speech, Balochis and Indians held protests against Pakistan on Wednesday across the street from the UN office in New York city. Anti-Pakistan NGO, American Friends of Balochistan protested over the repression in the Pakistani province and pleaded for UN intervention to protect the Balochis. About 40 people participated in the demonstration held behind steel barricades in the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza. Later some of them joined a protest by the Indian American Community, where slogans were shouted and placards raised in support of the Balochistan people.

With inputs from agencies

Kashmir unrest: ‘Mahashay, marwa na dena’; how things came to pass in J&K

New Delhi: Last Sunday, after an army camp came under attack in Uri, Kashmir valley witnessed a day of calm after seventy days. There was no stone-pelting as protesters chose to stay indoors. The main hospital in Srinagar, which has treated fifteen injured protesters on an average since the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on 8 July, received none. Unprecedented traffic hit Srinagar’s main city square and the police had to deploy its men after long to manage it. After two days, the protesters have returned.

There is a lesson to be learned here: the Indian state needs to send a clear message that it has zero tolerance for assault on its security forces. While buzzwords like Insaniyat (humaneness) and Mamata (love) should be practised in letter and spirit, it cannot (and should not) mean that a mob can start attacking security personnel just because they have done their job and killed a terrorist.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

But how did things become so grim in Kashmir this time? While we must study the Uri attack, it is imperative that it should not wean attention from the situation in Kashmir. It has been seventy-five days since the latest turmoil began. The media is not saying it, but from one end of Kashmir to another, Pakistani flags are all out. Analysts sympathetic to the current establishment will dismiss this occurrence, saying the flags have always been there. But this time, it is different. Remember, in March 2015, on Pakistan Day, Asiya Andrabi, the head of the radical Islamist group, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, hoisted a Pakistani flag in a closed room somewhere in downtown Srinagar and the ceremony was over in a few minutes. And now, the Pakistani flags are a part of every small and big protest.

The fact is that the civil and police administration in Kashmir valley is paralysed. A majority of policemen are afraid of going to duty and many of them have not gone back to their homes in weeks for fear of retribution. Sources say that many of them, including senior police officers, have got civilian identity cards made in case they find themselves confronted by a violent mob.

Hospitals are refusing to admit injured police personnel. A sub-inspector of police, who suffered a heart attack, was refused treatment at Kashmir’s premier hospital in Soura. He died while being shifted to another hospital. The MLA from Pulwama and a senior leader of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mohammed Khalil Bandh, who was injured as his driver tried to pull away the car from a mob, could not be admitted at the district hospital and had to be taken to the army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar.

Senior officials of the administration avoid travelling for work. Even in cases of normal crime, the police are scared to go to the spot and instead prefer to gather details over the phone and then register a First Information Report. A journalist friend says that a file involving a simple government sanction that his friend requires has been stuck at the Secretariat for more than two months.

The trouble has spread to hitherto peaceful areas this time. In Budgam, for example, there has hardly been any militancy for more than twenty years. But now, the district is witnessing pitched battles between protesters and security personnel.

This time, an organisation called Ittehad-e-Millat has come into being; it constitutes of elements from radical organisations like the Jamaat-e-Islami and Jamiat-e-ahle Hadith. Its leaders have been addressing big rallies, especially in south Kashmir, asking people to take oath of shunning mainstream political parties. Several prominent people in Baramulla have been asked to apologise for their association with political parties. Police sources reveal that from next month onwards, plans are afoot to begin collecting taxes from people as terrorist organisations often do in their strongholds. “What will I do?” says a friend, who hails from Budgam, “suppose I am in Jammu and these guys come to my house and tell my family members: tomorrow, he will have to address a public rally and ask for azadi from India. And my family says: Well, he is in Jammu. And they will say: if he wants to live here, ask him to return immediately and do as we say. Then what choice will I have except to return immediately and do their bidding?”

Since the houses and properties of politicians have been targeted, the journalist friend said, they had been wondering how the house of a PDP leader in south Kashmir remained unscathed. “We made queries locally and realised that to save his family from the wrath of violent mobs, the politician’s brother has also been indulging in stone-pelting. And, of course, the politician has not even set foot in his house since the first day of the trouble,” he said.

How did it begin? Even when the accused in the Parliament attack, Afzal Guru, was hanged in Tihar jail in 2013, there was minimal protest in Kashmir valley. The problem, police sources reveal, began after the late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed became the chief minister in the PDP’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. Soon after he took over, Mufti decided to release the radical Islamist, Masarat Alam, who had been arrested for his role in the 2010 turmoil in Kashmir. Sayeed also had plans to release the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist and the husband of Asiya Andrabi, Qasim Faktoo.

This is what happened after Alam was released: every year, the radical separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chooses to spend Kashmir’s harsh winter months in Delhi. He returns around April, an event largely ignored by the Kashmiris. But on 16 April, 2015, after his release, Alam organised a big reception to welcome his mentor. As Geelani was accorded a hero’s welcome, he addressed a public rally, his first in almost two-and-a-half years. As the rally passed the Director General of Police’s office, the crowd shouted: “Pakistan se kya paigaam, Kashmir banega Pakistan (What is the message from Pakistan? Kashmir will become Pakistan!)” and “Jeevay, jeevay Pakistan (Long live Pakistan!).”

Upon Mufti’s instructions, no attempts were made to stop the procession. “It bolstered youngsters who had grudgingly reconciled to the fact that azadi is a mirage,” said a senior police officer. It is also roughly around this time that the legend of Burhan Wani was created. “Till then, nobody had even heard of Wani,” said the police officer, “and suddenly journalists land from Delhi and picture him as the new poster boy of militancy.”

As Wani made effective use of social media to influence the youth, the final straw came in February this year when a group of Kashmiri youth shouted slogans for India’s destruction at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. “The intelligence agencies have identified all of them. But none of them has been touched. Instead, a scapegoat was made out of Kanhaiya Kumar,” said the police officer.

As a result, the entire separatist machinery got together in what they saw as a big opportunity, permanently damaging what had been achieved in Kashmir in the last many years. The separatists became so confident that they refused to budge while mainstream politicians begged for an inch.

As protests ceased to ebb, Narendra Modi’s ministers made one infantile remark after another. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that normalcy would be restored in seven days. How he came to such conclusion remains mysterious. The Union Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, said that the reason India is giving security to separatist leaders in Kashmir is because they face threat from Pakistan, which might attack them to blame India. If the separatist leaders were acting in accordance with Pakistan, why would Pakistan kill them? And if India offered them security because the separatists are ‘assets’, why are then they damaging India’s cause so much in Kashmir? The fact remains that Kashmir has become like the elephant and those who ‘handle’ Kashmir for the BJP the proverbial blind men.

In a remarkable 2011 piece, the Pakistani writer, Mohammed Hanif, wrote about the night when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s elected government was about to be toppled by the then army chief, General Zia ul Haq. Hanif describes how Zia took aside a senior army officer who was his right-hand man and whispered to him: “Murshid, marwa na dena.” (Guide, don’t get us killed). Someone ought to go to the BJP’s main handler of Kashmir and tell him: “Mahashay, marwa na dena” (Sir, don’t get us killed).

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