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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.

As Kashmir violence threatens to start anew, new state DGP SP Vaid has his task cut out

Jammu: With local miltancy gaining ground in the Kashmir Valley, SP Vaid, a highly decorated police officer who helped tackle the recent unrest in the region, was appointed the new director general of police of Jammu and Kashmir.

He will take over from K Rajendra Kumar, whose extended tenure comes to an end on 31 December.

Stone pelting in Kashmir Valley. ReutersStone pelting in Kashmir Valley. Reuters

The Kashmir Valley witnessed violent clashes . Reuters

The task for 57-year-old Vaid, who is the current special director general (law and order), is cut out as the local youths are again taking up arms, especially after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, whose killing by the security forces triggered the latest round of turmoil in Kashmir.

A 1986 batch IPS officer, Vaid will hold office till October 2019. “My focus will be to keep the flag of the police force flying high in the state,” he told PTI after his appointment.

He said that while the police will be tough against the perpetrators of violence and terrorists, “I will ensure that no common man is harassed. My idea is to make the police more and more people friendly,” he said.

Vaid is the second officer from Jammu to have risen to the post of director general of police, after MM Khajuria, who held the postion in 1985. However, he is the first regular IPS recruit to become the DGP from Jammu, as Khajuria had been absorbed in the IPS from the state cadre.

The state, according to intelligence reports, has more than 200 local and foreign militants with infiltration and local recruitment crossing all pervious records. The prolonged unrest following Wani’s killing also had a bearing on anti-militancy operations.

In the aftermath of Wani’s killing, law and order situation had spiralled out of control and the state government, while taking a serious note of it, shifted him from the position of DG (prisons) and made him Special DG (law and order). After taking over the charge, he camped in Kashmir and initiated various measures to make optimum use of the force so as to check rising casualties of both civilians and security forces through police-public interaction programmes in almost all districts of the Valley.

Vaid was seriously injured when militants ambushed his vehicle in March 1999 near Sopore crossing on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway. He was the then range DIG of Baramulla-Kupwara in North Kashmir.

During his career, Vaid has received several medals including President’s Police Medal for distinguished service, Indian Police Medal for gallantry, Police Medal for meritorious service, Indian Army Chief’s citation and Antrik Suraksha Seva Padak by the Home Ministry.

Rajendra, a 1984 batch IPS officer, was granted an extension for three months in September this year.

First Published On : Dec 28, 2016 21:53 IST

After three month ban, Kashmir newspaper back on the stands

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Local English daily Kashmir Reader hit the stands on Wednesday after it was banned by the Jammu and Kashmir government for nearly three months on the charges that its publication was a threat to peace in the valley.The newspaper started its publication and distribution for the first time after it was banned through an order passed by District Magistrate, Srinagar on October 2.The District Magistrate’s order had alleged that the publication of Kashmir Reader posed a threat to peace in the valley which had been going through a period of turmoil since July following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.The revocation of the ban on the newspaper is seen as the first success for the newly-formed Kashmir Editors’ Guild, a body of all major dailies and weeklies published from the Valley.

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.

Five days of peace every week in Kashmir Valley, as Hurriyat parties issue fresh calendar

The unified Hurriyat conference has sent out a fresh calendar to the people of Kashmir, asking them to strike only on Fridays and Saturdays, meaning the Valley would witness five days of peace every week now, coming as a relief to the strife-torn region, which has been facing unrest since July.

The move comes after pressure was mounting on the Hurriyat to relax the existing calendar which had brought normal life to a grinding halt. “The leadership feels that a sustainable long-term strategy based on proactive initiatives, programmes and sustainable modes of protest is the way forward. We want maximum public participation and implementation, and minimum costs for the people,” a statement issued by the joint Hurriyat leadership said.

A protester throws a stone towards Indian policemen in Kashmir. APA protester throws a stone towards Indian policemen in Kashmir. AP

A protester throws a stone towards Indian policemen in Kashmir. AP

In the statement, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said, “People’s uprisings of the last six months have taken our freedom struggle forward, and have opened out the possibilities and the scope of our struggle. We have moved closer to our goal.”

The new calendar was issued by the separatist leadership only called for two days of strikes, while giving people time to relax or to conduct their other businesses.

Citizens in the Valley have welcomed the move, saying the calendar should have been relaxed two months ago, to ease the economic blockade that rendered thousands of people jobless. The Valley has been simmering ever since the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on 8 July in an encounter. A sense of weariness has since crept in, as weeks have gone by without any let up in curfew or shutdown.

The Valley has been witnessing a complete shutdown since 9 July, one a day after security forces killed Burhan Wani, the local commander for south Kashmir, triggering clashes between security forces and protesters. Over 100 people have been killed and thousands have been injured in these clashes since.

Even Mehbooba Mufti, the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, acknowledged that unwarranted force was used on protesters during the last five months. “During the past five months, excessive force was used and I don’t deny that, but normalcy has started prevailing. I hope police will cooperate and change their behavior while dealing with people,” Mufti had said, speaking at the passing-out parade of Jammu and Kashmir Police at Commando Training Centre in Lethpora in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 22:35 IST

Jammu and Kashmir: Top LeT commander Abu Bakr killed in encounter by security forces

Srinagar: A militant was killed on Wednesday in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district while another ultra was trapped in a cordon in Sopore area of north Kashmir, police said here.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Militants opened fire on a patrol party of army at Beewra in Srigufwara area of Anantnag district this morning, a police official said. He said the army personnel retaliated, triggering a gunbattle.

ANI reported that top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Bakr has been killed in Sopore district in Jammu and Kashmir by security forces.

One militant, identified as Basit Ahmad Dar, was killed in the encounter. Dar had recently joined Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit.

In another counter-insurgency operation, a militant –believed to be a foreigner — was trapped in a house in Bomai area of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, the official said.

He said further details of the incident were awaited.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 15:17 IST

Burhan Wani ex-gratia: Ashoke Pandit slams J-K govt, seeks PM Modi’s intervention

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Upping the ante on the Mehbooba Mufti government for announcing an ex-gratia payment to Burhan Wani’s brother Khalid Wani, social activist Ashoke Pandit on Wednesday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention into the matter.”I as a citizen of this country make an appeal to our Prime Minister that he should intervene in this matter and see to it that this mistake is rectified, because the signal which we are giving to the neighbouring country is to send your terrorist and we will take care of them?,” he said here adding that the decision is dangerous step.The Mehbooba Mufti government had earlier on Tuesday sanctioned ex-gratia compensation to slain terrorist Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani’s father in the case of killing of his other son, Khalid Wani.”Compensation to a family of a terrorist, who has killed people and raped women and who has been busy with anti-national activities, nothing can be sad and dark than this. I am amazed and shocked that what the family of a security forces must be feeling. Probably we have made a mistake by not picking up the guns. If terrorist is being given compensation then I think things are going on very wrong track,” he said.Questioning the motive behind state government’s decision, he further said, “We should not be shocked the way things are going. Tomorrow the next compensation will be given to Hafiz Saeed, Yakub Memon family. This hypocrisy and entire mindset of state government is absolutely questionable.”According to a notification issued on Monday by the deputy commissioner of Pulwama, ex-gratia relief under rules were cleared by the district-level screening-cum-consultative committee (DLSCC) in favour of next of kin of those persons who died in militancy-related incidents.As per report, the ex-gratia relief entitles a victim’s family to a payment of Rs four lakh or employment for a member of the family.Burhan had left home at the age of 15 in October 2010 to join the Hizbul Mujahideen, while his brother Khalid lived in Tral in Pulwama with his family.Twenty five-year-old Khalid was pursuing a Masters in political science from IGNOU, reportedly told his mother on the afternoon of April 13, 2015 that he was going for a picnic. However, his body was found in the nearby jungle hours later.

Anantnag in Jammu and Kashmir: Militant killed in encounter with security forces

Srinagar: A militant was killed on Wednesday in an encounter with security forces in Anantnag district while another ultra was trapped in a cordon in Sopore area of north Kashmir, police said here.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Militants opened fire on a patrol party of army at Beewra in Srigufwara area of Anantnag district this morning, a police official said.

He said the army personnel retaliated, triggering a gunbattle.

One militant, identified as Basit Ahmad Dar, was killed in the encounter.

Dar had recently joined Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit.

In another counter-insurgency operation, a militant –believed to be a foreigner — was trapped in a house in Bomai area of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, the official said.

He said further details of the incident were awaited.

First Published On : Dec 14, 2016 12:35 IST

J&K govt to pay Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia to Burhan Wani’s kin for his brother’s death

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir government has cleared ex-gratia to next of kin of 17 persons, including Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s brother, killed in militancy-related incidents in the Valley, while giving one week’s time for filing of any objection before formal orders are issued. Burhan Wani’s killing by security forces in an encounter in south Kashmir’s Kokernag area on July 8 this year triggered unrest in the Valley which has left as many as 86 people dead.According to a notification issued by Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, ex-gratia relief under rules has been cleared by the District Level Screening-cum-Consultative Committee (DLSCC) in favour of next of kin of those persons who died in militancy-related incidents.Among the 17 names in the list of persons killed in militancy-related incidents is Wani’s brother, Khalid Muzaffar Wani, who died in firing by security forces in Buchoo forest area of Tral on April 13 last year.The DLSCC meeting took place under the chairmanship of the Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, Muneer-ul-Islam, on November 24. The deputy commissioner has sought objections, if any, to the notice within seven days before the formal orders are issued.Under the rules, an ex-gratia of Rs four lakh is sanctioned in such cases. Army had said that Khalid was an over-ground worker of Hizbul Mujahideen and was killed in an encounter. However, locals claimed that he had no links with militancy. Khalid (25) was pursuing Masters Degree in Political Science from the Indira Gandhi National Open University.Also on the list is Shabir Ahmad Mangoo, a contractual lecturer who died when he was allegedly beaten up by the army personnel at Khrew in Pulwama on August 17 this year.Locals had claimed that army conducted house to house searches for the youths, who were leading violent protests in the area, which was resisted by the residents of Khrew.In the ensuing clash, 30-year-old Mangoo died. Army had ordered an inquiry into the incident, saying such incidents would not be tolerated. “These raids were not sanctioned in the first place. It is unjustified. Nobody can support it and it will not be tolerated,” the then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda had 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

J&K: Separatists placed under house arrest, life partially affected

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>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.The separatist groups had called for a march to Lal Chowk today to protest civilian deaths during the 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.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 today 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.

Cops bust Hizbul leader’s video-production facility

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The war on terror notched a major win on Friday when security forces busted a studio-cum-communication centre of Hizbul Mujahideen commander and Burhan Wani’s successor Zakir Rashid Bhat in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district.The studio was busted a day after Zakir released a video threatening to target the families of the cops in case the family members of militants are harassed by the security forces in the valley.Sporting a short trimmed beard, Zakir, an engineering drop out, is seen in the video wearing a t-shirt with olive green camouflage waste-coat and trouser in a room covered with curtains. Holding a rifle in his lap, Zakir is seen armed to the teeth with four automatic rifles resting on both sides and a machine gun in front of him.Police said a joint team of cops and 42 Rashtriya Rifles raided the house of Mudasir Ahmed Gunoo at Batipora Dadsara village. They found material and articles used by Zakir for shooting videos.“During preliminary investigation it was also established that Zakir used to record videos in one of the room of the house. Some clothes and other material used by Zakir in different videos and photographs were also recovered,” said a police spokesman.Police sources said the house was converted into a hideout-cum-studio by Zakir. They also said Zakir used different settings for different videos, that he published on social media platforms, to create an impression that they are operating at will.Sources said he had also created a wardrobe of fancy battle fatigues and camouflages which were donned by him for shooting videos.Since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani, Zakir has released three videos in the valley akin to his former boss Burhan Wani who was known for using social media to reach out to the people.

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 faces tough winter ahead as rising infiltrations test security grid

The sensational killing of the two policemen by suspected militants in Kulgam district on Friday afternoon is a troubling sign of changing times in Kashmir Valley. Catalysed by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, the situation in the Valley is deteriorating fast with the number of militants almost doubling since the last year.

According to the police, the attack took place on Friday afternoon in the main market of Kulgam where two to three suspected militants, who were travelling in a private car, fired indiscriminately at a police checkpoint, sparking panic in the area as pedestrians ran for cover.

People gather around the body of Rayees Ahmad Dar, a suspected militant who according to local media was killed in an encounter with the armed forces in Pulwama district a few days back, at his funeral in Kakapora village, south of Kashmir. Reuters

People gather around the body of Rayees Ahmad Dar, a suspected militant who according to local media was killed in an encounter with the armed forces in Pulwama district a few days back, at his funeral in Kakapora village, south of Kashmir. Reuters

“Three policemen were injured. Head constable Tanvir Ahmad and constable Jalal-ud-din, residents of Kulgam, achieved martyrdom while another injured constable Shamis-ud-Din was shifted to Srinagar Hospital for treatment,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.

Later, the car, a Hyundai Santro, was found abandoned near Laroo village, a kilometre away from the site of the attack in Kulgam district which has witnessed some of the worst incidents of violence in the last five months of the civilian uprising.

Officials said the security agencies are trying to trace the owner of the car with JK-18 registration plate. Meanwhile, a wreath laying ceremony was held for the slain at the District Police Lines in Kulgam which was led by DIG North Kashmir, Nitesh Kumar.

Following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, Kashmir has been reeling under curfew and separatist-sponsored shutdowns with the authorities launching one of the severest crackdowns on civilians, jailing more than 9,000 people, including minors, who are accused of participating in freedom protests.

Although the crackdown has managed to restore some semblance of normalcy on the streets, it has, in absence of any political outreach, only perpetuated anger and alienation in the civilian population who are now openly coming out in support of militants in what is being described as the ‘war on occupational forces’.

To make matters worse, since the 8 July encounter in which Burhan was killed along with his two associates, a senior police officer said there has been a spurt in the disappearance of local youths, many of whom are believed to have joined militant groups.

According to official data, at least 60 rifles were snatched from police personnel in the last four months of unrest, a troubling sign that the Valley might soon slip into the whirlpool of violence which can bring down the facade of normalcy put up by the PDP-BJP coalition government

“Situation is very bad,” a senior police officer, who spoke to Firstpost on the condition of anonymity, “Call it our good luck, these boys don’t have open access to weapons like it was in the early nineties, which is keeping the situation from going out of control”.

The police officer said about 50-60 youths, mostly from south Kashmir districts of Kulgam, Pulwama, Anantnag and Shopian, have been reported missing in the last more than four months of unrest. In many cases, the missing youths have told their families not to search them anymore.

“We have managed to speak with the parents of some of them. As per our records, around 30 of them have joined militant groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba and Hizbul Mujahideen while the rest are in the process of joining. To avoid further deterioration of law and order, we are trying to get them to surrender,” the police officer said.

Coupled with the dangerously rising levels of infiltration along the Line of Control, the deteriorating security situation will pose a tough challenge to the forces who have to deal with street protests on one hand and also carry out counter-insurgency operations.

“Presently we have about 250-300 militants active in the Valley. With locals openly coming to their support and sympathy for militancy gaining ground after Burhan Wani’s killing, the situation is going to only get worse in coming days,” the police officer said.

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 15:35 IST

Kashmir: Separatists-led strike extended till 10 December, continues to disrupt normal life

Srinagar: There was less movement of people and transport across Kashmir on Friday as normal life remained affected due to the strike called by separatists.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The movement of people and transport is less on Friday compared to the other days due to apprehensions of law and order problems after Friday congregational prayers, a police official said.

He said most of the shops, fuel stations and business establishments in Srinagar – the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir – were shut due to the strike, while public transport was comparatively less.

However, few of them were open in some areas in the civil lines as well as in the outskirts of the city in Srinagar, the official said.

Few vendors had put up their stalls along TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis through Lal Chowk city centre, he said.

Reports of less traffic and most of the shops being closed were received from other district headquarters of the Valley, he said.

Except for the past weekend, Kashmir has witnessed shutdown for the last 140 days.

The separatists, who are spearheading the agitation since killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on 8 July, have been issuing weekly protest programmes.

They have extended the strike till 1 December, announcing two full days of relaxation on the weekend like the past week.

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.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 13:55 IST

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.

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.

Lost vision to pellets, J&K students still appear for exams

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A whiff of fresh air amid the unrest. For the record, the students, who suffered damage to their eye by pellet guns, sent a powerful message across when they wrote their Class X exams despite staring at a bleak future.Class X student Suhaib Nazir suffered vision impairment in one of his eyes when security forces fired pellets after clashes broke out in his area of Pulwama district in south Kashmir in July this year. Despite being operated once, the 16-year-old is unable to regain his eyesight.Suhaib decided to postpone his second surgery, and appear for his examination. “Doctors have recommended a second surgery. I told them that I will first sit for exams and later go for the operation,” said Suhaib.For Suhaib, education is the only means to achieve big in life and that is why he decided to give it a chance, despite not been able to concentrate fully. Such was his conviction that he did not opt for a writing assistant and wrote his papers on his own.“I did not opt for the assistant and wrote my papers myself. There was 50 per cent relaxation in the syllabus, which prompted me to write my papers before going for second surgery,” he said.More than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 people injured in four-month unrest that started after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 7. Over 1,100 people, mostly teenagers, have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to quell the violent mobs across Kashmir.Athar Hussain, 16, had undergone three surgeries to regain eyesight after he was hit by the pellets. So far doctors have little success in restoring his vision. He has been asked to remain ready for the fourth surgery so that he could regain his vision. When the exams were announced, Athar decided to give it a shot before going for the surgery. “It was difficult but I managed somehow. Education is the key and we have to pursue it,” he said.

Kashmir unrest: Normal life remains unaffacted in the valley; banks see heavy rush of customers

Srinagar: Some shops opened, while passenger vehicles plied in some areas of the city and other towns of the Kashmir Valley on Thursday, where banks witnessed heavy rush of customers.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the ongoing unrest in Kashmir on Thursday rose to 86 as an elderly man injured in security forces action against protesters two weeks ago succumbed at a hospital here.

Ghulam Mohammad Khan, 70, who was hit by a tear smoke shell fired by security forces on protesters at Anchar locality of Soura on 2 November, succumbed to injuries at a hospital this morning, a police official said.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Elsewhere in the Valley, normal life remained affected for the 132nd consecutive day due to the unrest triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in July.

Shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut in Srinagar, as well as in other district headquarters of the Valley due to the strike called by the separatists, officials said.

They said while the annual board examinations were currently on, the class-work in schools, colleges and universities remained affected due to the unrest.

Most of the public transport in the Valley was also off the roads.

However, in some areas in the civil lines and the outskirts of the city here as well as in some other towns of the Valley, few passenger vehicles were seen plying, the officials said, adding few shops were also open in these areas. Some inter-district cabs, connecting the summer capital with other districts of the Valley, were also plying.

Many vendors have put up their stalls along TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis through Lal Chowk city centre, while banks were also open across the Valley and witnessed rush of customers.

The separatists, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation since Wani’s killing in an encounter with security forces on 8 July, have announced two full days of relaxation on Saturday and Sunday in the agitation programme — the first full day relaxation since 8 July.

First Published On : Nov 17, 2016 13:24 IST

Kashmir: Class XII board exams begin peacefully after months of schools being shut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Class XII board examinations began peacefully in Kashmir on Monday with nearly 95 per cent of the 32,000 students writing their papers, marking the resumption of educational activity in the Valley after schools remained shut for over four months due to the unrest.Barring a few minor law and order incidents in some places, the test on the first day was conducted smoothly at more than 450 centres across Kashmir, including 73 in the summer capital here, officials said.About 94.88 per cent of the total 31,964 students appeared in the examination, an official of Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (BOSE), which conducts the examinations, said.The official said the overall attendance of the students was up by 2.56 per cent from last year.Over 480 centres have been set up for about 48,000 candidates for Class XII board examinations across Kashmir division, the official said, adding that the students who opted for the sixth paper appeared for the test today.The government had decided to hold the exams as scheduled despite demands by parents that they be put off as the unrest had disrupted educational activities in the Valley.Massive security arrangements were put in place across the Valley for the smooth conduct of the examination.However, minor stone-pelting incidents were reported at a few places in Pulwama, Shopian, Budgam, and Baramulla, which did not affect the conduct of the examinations.The miscreants were chased away by the security forces without affecting the test, a police official said.The BOSE official said the highest appearance percentage of the students was recorded in central Kashmir’s Budgam district where about 96.10 per cent of the students wrote their papers.Budgam was followed by Anantnag in south Kashmir where 96.01 per cent students appeared in the examination, he said.The official said North Kashmir’s Bandipora witnessed the lowest attendance at 92.80 per cent.Two other south Kashmir districts Pulwama and Shopian recorded 94.65 and 93.66 per cent, respectively.South Kashmir has been the worst hit in the ongoing unrest in the valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in July.North Kashmir’s Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara districts recorded attendance at 92.80, 93.70 and 93.10 per cent, respectively, the official said, adding Srinagar and Ganderbal in central Kashmir recorded 95.83 and 92.93 per cent attendance.

Thousands of students appear for board exams in restive Kashmir

Srinagar: Thousands of students on Monday appeared in the annual board examinations in unrest-hit Kashmir, where life is showing signs of limping back to normalcy.

There was a significant increase in movement of people and transport across the Valley as the annual board examinations began on Monday, officials said in Srinagar. About 484 centres have been set up for about 48,000 candidates for class 12 examination across Kashmir division.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The government had decided to hold the exams as scheduled despite demands by parents that they be put off as the unrest had disrupted educational activities in the Valley. Massive security arrangements are in place for the smooth conduct of the examinations. However, there were no restrictions on the movement of people anywhere in the Valley, the officials said.

Along with the heavy rush of vehicles, shops were also open in areas like civil lines and outskirts of the city as well as in few of the rural areas in other districts of Kashmir.

Inter-district cabs were also plying on different routes, the officials said. Many vendors had put up their stalls along TRC Chowk-Batamaloo axis through Lal Chowk city centre, while banks were also open across the Valley and witnessed rush of customers.

However, many shops, fuel stations and other business establishments in other areas of the Valley were shut due to a separatist sponsored strike. The separatists have been issuing weekly protest programmes since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July.

As many as 85 people, including two police men, 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.

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 15:26 IST

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.

Signs of normalcy return to Kashmir Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Increased movement of people and traffic in Srinagar and other main towns of Kashmir hinted at return of normalcy in the Valley where separatists have called for a meeting of all stakeholders today to chalk out the future course of action with regard to the current unrest. Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, and some other main towns of the Valley witnessed increased movement of people and public transport, except buses, as more people defied the separatist diktats by coming out to carry out their day-to-day activities, officials said. They said a large number of taxis, auto-rickshaws and private cars were seen plying in the city especially in the areas in civil lines and the outskirts, including in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk here.Inter-district cabs also plied on the routes connecting many district headquarters with the city, the officials said, adding reports of increased movement of traffic were received from other main towns of the Valley as well. Some shops were also open in these areas, while there was huge rush of customers at banks, the officials said.They said there were no curbs on the movement of people anywhere in Kashmir, but adequate deployment of security forces has been made on some vulnerable points to maintain law and order as well as to instill a sense of security among the people to carry out their day-to-day activities. However, most of the shops, fuel stations and other business establishments were shut elsewhere in the Valley due to the separatist-sponsored strike. They are expected to open in the evening as the separatists have announced a 15-hour relaxation in the strike from 4.00 pm onwards.The ongoing unrest in Kashmir, triggered by killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, has completed four months.The separatists, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation in the Valley, have called for a meeting of all stakeholders at hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s residence today to chalk out the future course of action. There is an urge to take all the stakeholders into confidence for taking the ongoing movement forward.All the forums among whom traders, educationists, transporters, civil society members, religious, social and political organizations, bar association and people from other walks of life have been called at Hyderpora to jointly deliberate and discuss future course of action, the separatists said in a joint statement on Sunday. The decision to invite the stakeholders came after a meeting of chairmen of both Hurriyat factions Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Yasin Malik at Geelani’s residence earlier on the same day.As many as 85 people, including two cops, have been killed and several thousand others injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley.

Separatist strike: Life in Kashmir Valley still affected; shops, schools remain shut

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Normal life remained affected in Kashmir Valley on Thursday due to the separatist-sponsored strike.While most of the shops, business establishments and fuel stations across Kashmir were shut, some were open at a few areas in Civil Lines and outskirts of Srinagar, officials said.Most of the public transport continued to remain off the roads but auto-rickshaws and cabs were seen plying at some places in the Valley, including at a few areas of the city here, they said.However, the movement of transport, including private cars, was comparatively less today, apparently because there was no relaxation in the strike.The separatists, who are spearheading the ongoing agitation in Kashmir, have been issuing weekly protest calendars since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.They announce periodic relaxation in the strike on some days of the week for people to buy essentials items. However, there is no relaxation this evening.The separatists have extended the strike till November 10.Schools, colleges and other educational institutions continue to remain shut, but the government has notified holding of board examinations as per schedule.Officials said there are no curbs on the movement of people anywhere in Kashmir, but restrictions on assembly of people under Section 144 CrPC were in place throughout the Valley.They said 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 instill a sense of security among the people to carry out their day to day activities without fear.As many as 85 people, including two security personnel, have been killed, while several thousand have been injured in the ongoing unrest in the Valley. Around 5,000 security forces personnel have also been injured in the clashes.Over 300 persons have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

J&K Police crack school burning cases; 10 arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Police achieved a first major breakthrough when they arrested 10 people allegedly involved in the torching of two schools in the Kulgam district of south Kashmir.Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, Shridhar Patil told DNA they have arrested 10 people for torching Government High School Mirhama and Jawahar Navodhaya Vidyalaya in the district.“During investigations it has been revealed that the school burning incidents was a mischief by miscreants. The arrested people are also involved in the stone pelting incidents during the unrest,” he said. Police have also zeroed in on some more people involved in the torching of other schools in south Kashmir. However, the accused have escaped outside the Kashmir valley. “Many of them have fled outside the valley. I do not have the exact figures. But we do not know where they have gone. What we know is that they are not at their homes,” said Patil.Sources said police is investigating the links of the accused with the separatists in Kashmir. So far separatists have denied any role in the torching of schools and in fact cried conspiracy to defame the ongoing agitation in the valley.The arrest comes days after Jammu and Kashmir high court took a suo moto notice of the “unfortunate and horrendous episodes” and called for collective efforts to save the school buildings from ”mysterious enemies of education”.“All concerned at their respective levels and the authorities of the government in particular shall immediately take all necessary measures so as to protect these school buildings,” the court said.The court had also directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, and Director School Education Kashmir to devise modes and methods in collaboration with higher authorities and lower officials which shall be effective in protecting school institutions.More than 26 schools have been set ablaze by unknown arsonists in Kashmir since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen poster boy 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).

PM Modi asks MHA to get schools reopened in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Prime Minister Narendra Modi is believed to be concerned over prolonged closure of educational institutions in Kashmir due to separatist-sponsored strike and wants their early reopening for which the Centre is understood to have asked the state police to prepare an action plan for providing security to schools.Modi is worried that the closure of educational institutions for such a long period is affecting thousands of students and feels that if schools reopen, then it would be a great step towards restoring normalcy in Kashmir, official sources said. He is believed to have asked the Home Ministry to explore ways to get the schools and colleges in Kashmir reopened at the earliest, they said.Accordingly, the Home Ministry is believed to have asked the Jammu and Kashmir Police to prepare an action plan to provide security to schools, especially those vulnerable, the sources said. The Home Ministry is said to have persuaded the Jammu and Kashmir government to direct the state Board of School Education to notify over 500 schools to conduct regular examinations.Examinations for Class X will commence from November 15 and will culminate on November 28 while examinations for Class XII will commence from November 14 and will culminate on December 3. Educational institutions in the valley are closed since July 9, mainly because of strike call given by separatists after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Wani.The Centre is also worried over the incidents of burning down of over 20 schools in various parts of the Valley. Sources said assessment of security forces is that radical forces are trying to force children in rural areas to join Jamaat schools or madrasas and not opt for modern education so that youngsters could be radicalised easily.

Pak PM Nawaz Sharif warns India over ‘ceasefire violations’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday warned India that if “ceasefire violations” continue they will not go unpunished, according to a media report. According to Radio Pakistan, Sharif, in a statement, claimed that Pakistan has exercised “maximum restraint” and categorically stated that “ceasefire violations” if continued will not go unpunished.Sharif claimed Pakistan is a “peace loving nation” and it believes in resolution of all the outstanding issues and disputes through dialogue.”As a responsible state, we have been endeavouring for regional peace and stability for the collective betterment and prosperity of South Asia,” Sharif was quoted as saying.Sharif said it is unfortunate that Pakistan’s “initiative and efforts have not been reciprocated” by India. He said Pakistan’s “quest for peace must not be misconstrued as a sign of weakness”.Sharif said India should “investigate” the recent incident of “ceasefire violations” and share the findings with Pakistan. Geo News quoted Sharif while speaking on the Kashmir issue. It said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reiterated Pakistan’s “unflinching and steadfast moral, diplomatic and political support for the just cause of Jammu and Kashmir”.Sharif was quoted as saying that support would continue till the realisation of the “lawful right to self- determination” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.In a message on the occasion of observance of ‘Kashmir Black Day’, the Prime Minister claimed that in the wake of “extra-judicial killing” of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, the “brutality” of Indian forces had been intensified.”They have shed all norms of humanity and civility in committing the worst form of state terrorism against the defenceless and hapless masses” of Kashmir with the “misplaced perception that they can crush the legitimate Kashmir struggle,” Sharif alleged.

Situation in Kashmir returning to normalcy after four-month-long strike

Srinagar: Summer capital Srinagar witnessed significant improvement in public transport on Thursday even as normal life elsewhere in the Valley remained affected due to the strike called by separatists.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Many people have started defying the separatist-sponsored strike over the past week, as they are slowly picking up the threads of their lives affected by the nearly four-month-long strike, officials said.

While there is increased movement of private traffic in the summer capital, the city has also witnessed a significant improvement in the public transport, except buses, they said.

The officials said the inter-district transport has also improved as many cabs were plying on the routes connecting Srinagar with other districts like Anantnag and Baramulla.

They said as the traffic in the city has significantly increased, additional traffic police personnel have been deployed at some intersections to ensure smooth flow of traffic.

Many shops were also open in the civil lines and the outskirts of the city, while many street vendors set up stalls at many places around the commercial hub of Lal Chowk.

However, normal life continued to remain affected in the rest of the Valley due to separatist-sponsored strike.

While there were no curbs on the movement of people anywhere in Kashmir, the officials said restrictions on assembly of four or more people were in place throughout the Valley for maintaining law and order.

They said security forces have been deployed in strength at vulnerable spots and along the main roads as a precautionary measure.

Security forces have also been deployed at many market places to instil a sense of security among the public to carry out their day-to-day activities, the officials said.

Shops, business establishments and fuel stations remained shut and are not expected to open this evening as separatists have not given any relaxation.

The separatists, who are spearheading the agitation have been issuing weekly protest calendars since Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter with security forces on 8 July. They have extended the strike till 3 November.

The ongoing unrest in Kashmir, apart from business and tourism, has also affected education as schools, colleges and other educational institutions continue to remain shut in the Valley.

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.

J&K deadlock: Signs of thaw as Hurriyat leaders meet five member team

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A crucial Track-II diplomatic efforts achieved a first major breakthrough on Tuesday when Hurriyat leaders, who had earlier slammed doors on the All Party Delegation (APD) members, welcomed the five member team led by former foreign minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha in a bid to break the logjam on Kashmir.Besides Sinha, the team comprises of former divisional commissioner Kashmir and Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah, former Air-Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, veteran journalist Bharat Bhushan and Executive Director of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Sushobha Barve.After landing here, the five member team straightaway drove to the residence of Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Unlike September 2 when Geelani did not open the doors to APD members, Hurriyat hawk warmly received the five member team.”The conversation took place in a cordial atmosphere. Geelani reminded the delegation about the historical perspective of the Kashmir issue, pending for its final resolution since 1947. Delegation was told that for the last 107 days, 94 people have been killed with 15,000 people injured,” said a spokesman of Geelani led Hurriyat Conference.Geelani told the delegation that onus of peace in the region particularly in Jammu and Kashmir lies with those holding power, military might and other resources.”Geelani is under house arrest for last six years. All the people and leaders should be released and the cases against them should be withdrawn so that after consultation a common and collective point of view can be put forward,” the spokesman said.Later the delegation held talks with the moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at his Nigeen residence in the afternoon. Mirwaiz, who was released from sub jail Chashma Shahi on Monday evening, had earlier refused to meet the APD member Assaduddin Owaisi in the jail on September 2.”I did not know about the delegation till Monday evening. It is possible that my release was made in this context only. But I told the delegation unless Kashmir is accepted as dispute and meaningful process for resolution is started the uncertainly will continue in Kashmir. There are two ways of resolving this issue: either implement the UN resolutions or start meaningful tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said.Unfazed by his detention, Mirwaiz threatened to break the curfew if he is not allowed to offer prayers at Jamia Masjid on Friday. Friday prayers have not been held in Jamia Masjid due to the curfew and restrictions imposed by the authorities since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen commander Burhan Wani on July 8.Former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha tried to clear the air saying they have not come here as a part of any delegation. “We have come here for humanity. Talks were held in a very good atmosphere,” he said.The team is scheduled to meet the governor NN Vohra, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, representatives of trade and civil society during their stay in the valley.

Kashmir unrest: Increase in weapon-snatching incidents raises insurgency worries

One recent evening, two unsuspecting cops were sitting inside a police post guarding a minority community settlement in south Kashmir, when a group of suspected militants threw chilli powder on their faces and attempted to snatch their weapons. The irritation almost blinded them, but they fought back. The suspects, however, fled the spot.

“They wanted to take advantage of our situation and snatch our weapons. But we called our colleagues and fought back till they escaped,” one of the guards told Firstpost on Sunday. He spoke on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak with media.

This is one of the many incidents that have taken place in Kashmir, most of them being a success, with at least 100 youngsters recently going missing or are believed to have joined militant ranks after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzafar Wani on 8 July.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

On Monday, the Awantpora police arrested a group of youths who were allegedly motivated by a militant commander to snatch weapons from minority security pickets or policemen and join militant ranks. When questioned, Shakir Ahmad Khan, one among the arrested youth, revealed his plan to snatch weapons and join militancy.

After years of relative calm, the Kashmir Valley saw the first attempt of weapon-snatching on 3 March, 2014, when a young man surprised a police constable on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Pampore town, 16 kilometres south of Srinagar. The suspect tried to slit the cop’s throat in broad daylight before trying to snatch his weapon.

The attacker was, however, overpowered by other policemen and taken into custody. No one in the security establishment had an inkling at that time that weapon-snatching incident in Pampore will soon become a trend among the militants and those wanting to join their ranks.

Following the killing of Wani, at least 60 weapons have been snatched either from Kashmir policemen guarding minority colonies or on-duty security personnel. Kashmir’s Inspector General of Police, Syed Javed Mujtaba Gilani, said it is a “matter of concern” that more weapons are falling in the hands of people who “may use them for militancy” purposes.

“There has been an increase in the number of weapon-snatching incidents in the last few months. We have taken adequate precautionary measures by sensitising all the personnel and strengthening all the posts guarding minority communities,” Gilani told Firstpost.

“Also, a security feature has been installed in the weapons so that the snatched weapons can be tracked and the culprits are held and dealt with as per law,” he added.

Recently, the purported successor of Wani and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant, Zakir Rashid Bhat, alias Zakir Musa, in a video massage circulated on social media, asked youths to snatch weapons from government forces and become part of his militant outfit.

“Many youths have taken to jihad, have snatched weapons and joined our ranks; those who want to join us should do the same; we will always welcome them,” Zakir said in the video shot at an undisclosed location.

On 17 October, militants had stormed a TV transmission tower in Dooru of Anantnag district and snatched five rifles from policemen guarding the station.

According to officials, over two dozen such incidents have taken place since Wani’s death. Last month, unknown suspects decamped with a service rifle of a policeman posted outside district court complex in Kulgam of south Kashmir. The attackers, armed with pistols, sprayed chilli powder into the policeman’s eyes before snatching his rifle.

Last year, when the incidents of weapon-snatching went up, the Kashmir police had asked its personnel not to retain their weapons while going on leave and instead ordered them to deposit them in the post or the nearest police station.

“These days, militants don’t trust people wanting to join them. They want you to snatch a weapon so that all your option of leading a normal life are exhausted,” said a senior police officer based in south Kashmir.

According to official records, at least 28 service weapons have been snatched at eight places in south Kashmir. These attacks took place in “vulnerable” areas or on policemen guarding politicians in the valley. These include rifles such as carbines, AK-47s, INSAS, SLRs and 303. “Most of these weapons have ended up in the hands of Hizbul Mujahideen militants,” the police officer added.

Security agencies believe that of the 140 youths missing from the valley, at least 35 of them have joined militancy in south Kashmir since the unrest began.

“Our local boys, who are missing or have taken up guns or want to join militancy, I request the police to try and bring them back home. What is their future?” Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Friday, reflecting the growing anxiety in the state about the danger of heightened insurgency.

While the frequency with which the incidents of gun-snatching are being reported now has jolted the security establishment, the state is possibly gearing up for hard times ahead. The group of militants, led by Wani, managed to give a new impetus to the fading insurgency in Kashmir. If the trend of gun-snatching is not controlled immediately, the state may be pushed to the brink of another major crisis which may exceed, in both magnitude as well as scale, the outbursts previously reported in the state.

J-K – Try to bring back youths to mainstream: Mehbooba to police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti urged the police on Friday to try to bring back to mainstream the youths who have fled their homes to join militancy, instead of their being killed in encounters.In remarks which come in the wake of a prolonged unrest in the Valley triggered by gunning down of local Hizbul militant Burhan Wani, she said, “Those who have taken up arms or those who have not but are missing from their homes and want to join militancy, they are local boys. “I request the police to try to bring them back to their homes. Instead of their being killed in encounters, if it is possible to bring them back, make them a part of the mainstream, give them bats, balls and good education, instead of guns.”Mehbooba, who was speaking at the Police Commemoration Day function at Armed Police Complex in Zewan on the outskirts of the summer capital here, said that such youths needed hand-holding. She stressed that ending militancy and restoring peace were a prerequisite for repealing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and for seeking start of dialogue process in the state. “We cannot force anyone to have dialogue on gun-point, stones or by lathis,” she said adding that only when there is a “conducive” atmosphere she can go to Delhi with her “head held high”. Urging local youths to give up violence, she said that “black laws” like AFSPA would be repealed from the state when the situation improves. “When the situation improves here, we will end the black laws. For that we have to create an atmosphere first. I know that today the situation is not such, but tomorrow, a year after… we have to repeal AFSPA as we cannot keep it in force forever. How can I do it today? There is infiltration, there are encounters. We have to end militancy and create peace in Jammu and Kashmir so that we can repeal AFSPA from some areas here,” she said. The Chief Minister said the police should deal with militants but civilians should not be troubled.

J&K: Mehbooba Mufti bats for peace, says AFSPA not permanent

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is not permanent in Jammu and Kashmir, adding the same can be revoked provided an environment of peace and tranquility is created.Speaking at the Police Commemoration Day parade, Mufti said, “We have to create an environment of peace and tranquility in Jammu and Kashmir, AFSPA is not permanent.”Speaking over the outrage which enveloped the Kashmir valley post the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, Mufti urged for a need to stop militancy.”I want to ban pellet guns but it is possible only if you people support the government. Our children are always used as shields. We can’t force someone to talk by throwing stones on them. If we need a dialogue, we have to stop militancy,” she said.Mehbooba further took on Pakistan over its move to ban Indian content in its territory and said, “Even Pakistan has to help us as we both have to live together. We discuss about films but Wagah border is still moving.”

Jammu and Kashmir: Army, police launch major search operation in Baramulla

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A major search operation has been launched by the security forces and police in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir at suspected hideouts of militants.This is the second such search operation in less than a week.Security forces on Wednesday recovered Chinese flags along with incriminating material during raids at suspected hideouts of militants in Baramulla and arrested 44 people for their alleged involvement in “terror-related activities”.”Over 700 houses were searched in a span of 12 hours on October 17 in an extensive search operation in old town in Baramulla, during which 44 persons involved with terror related activities have been apprehended,” an army spokesman said.Over a dozen of employees have also been dismissed by the Jammu and Kashmir government for alleged anti-national activities.With over 90 people killed so far in the clashes, the death toll continues to mounts and the number of injured also continuing to soar. As per reports, over 7,000 people have been detained along with the arrest of a human rights activist Khurram Parvez.The unrest began soon after the killing of poster boy Burhan Wani, a commander of militant organisation Hizbul Mujahideen along with two other militants in an encounter in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir on July 8.

Pakistan says OIC backed it over Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Pakistan on Thursday said the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has backed its stance over Kashmir by adopting a resolution upholding Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.OIC Foreign Ministers met in Tashkent on October 18-19 for the 43rd Session and adopted a very strong resolution on the “grave human rights situation in Kashmir”, Pakistan Foreign Office said. While upholding Kashmiris right to self-determination in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions, the grouping reaffirmed its unwavering support to the just cause of Kashmiri people, expressed deep concern and condemned in strongest possible terms the unabated killing of defenceless Kashmiris. The grouping said that demonstrations by unarmed Kashmiris, despite curfew in the wake of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani s death is a referendum against India, it said.It also rejected Indian attempts to equate the indigenous freedom movement of Kashmiris in Kashmir with terrorism. Stressing that “Jammu and Kashmir is the core dispute between Pakistan and India”, the grouping said its resolution is indispensable for realisation of the dream for peace in South Asia. Condemning in strongest possible terms the unabated killing and brutality let loose in Kashmir, the grouping expressed shock at the deadly silence of world community.They also condemned prolonged detentions of Kashmiri leaders by India and violations of freedom of movement and expression. Acknowledging that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are the party principle to the dispute, the resolution said they should be included in Pakistan-India dialogue process. The grouping regretted that India is not allowing OIC fact finding Mission to visit Kashmir or responded favourably to the offers of the Good Offices Mission by the OIC.They called upon India to implement numerous UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir which declare that the final disposition of the State of Jammu and Kashmir will be made in accordance with the will of the people, to join India or Pakistan, expressed through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of the United Nations. They reminded “the international community of its obligations to ensure the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on Kashmir and fulfil the promises made by it with the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

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 at least 12 employees for alleged ‘anti-national activities’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid ongoing spiral of violence, agony and pain that the Valley has been witnessing, Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday night dismissed over a dozen of its employees for alleged anti-national activities.The Jammu and Kashmir government has issued orders to dismiss over a dozen of its employees for their alleged involvement in the ongoing unrest, IANS reported quoting a top official.The report says that the dismissed employees include an assistant registrar of Kashmir University, and officials from education, revenue, public health, engineering and food supplies.Stating that the state government invoked Article 126 of the state constitution to carry out the action, the official said, “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.”With over 90 people killed so far in the clashes, the death toll continues to mounts and the number of injured also continuing to soar. As per reports, over 7,000 people have been detained along with the arrest of a human rights activist Khurram Parvez.The unrest began soon after the killing of poster boy Burhan Wani, a commander of militant organisation Hizbul Mujahideen along with two other militants in an encounter in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir on July 8.Wani was popular among Kashmiris, due to his activity on social media and many photos and videos posted by him on social media against Indian rule in Kashmir and soon after his killing, it sparked demonstrations across the valley as protesters clashed with the police and paramilitary forces, and even attacked government installations.The crackdown also witnessed a ban on the newspapers, mobile internet has been snapped along with partial communication blockade and the approximate business losses have been estimated at more than Rs 10,000 crore.(With agency inputs)

Hizbul Mujahideen asks exiled Kashmiri Pandits to return home, guarantees ‘protection’

Srinagar: Militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen has asked migrant Kashmiri Pandits, who were forced to flee the Valley in early 1990 after the eruption of militancy, to return to their homes, assuring protection to them, and also said it was planning to raise a group of Sikh youths.

Security challenge in Kashmir. ReutersSecurity challenge in Kashmir. Reuters

Security challenge in Kashmir. Reuters

“We request Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homes. We take responsibility of their safety,” Zakir Rashid Bhat alias ‘Musa’, the self-styled commander of the militant outfit, said in a brief video message released on Tuesday.

Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits were forced to flee the Valley after they were targeted by militant groups during the outbreak of militancy and have been living in Jammu and other parts of the country.

“They should look at those Pandits who never left Kashmir. Who has harassed or killed them?” asked slain
militant Burhan Wani’s ‘successor’.

Dressed in military camouflage and fiddling with a grenade in the video, Bhat, who dropped out of engineering
course from a Punjab college and joined Hizbul Mujahideen some years back, also gave a bizarre argument that Pandits were forced out of the Valley under a planned strategy to target Muslims.

He claimed that the government was planning to take action in the Valley in an operation similar to ‘Operation
Blue Star’ in Punjab.

Bhat revealed in the 1.38-long minute video that the militant was planning to raise an exclusive group of Sikh youths in the outfit.

“Our Sikh brothers are requesting us to join Hizbul Mujahideen…We are with them on every front and God willing,
we will try and make an exclusive group for Sikhs in the outfit,” he said.

About the latest trend of weapon snatching in the Valley, especially in south Kashmir districts, he said, “Many youths have taken to Jihad, snatched the weapons and joined our ranks.”

Two green banners with religious slogans and as many weapons on both sides behind him could also be seen in the
video which was shot at an unknown location.

South Kashmir witnessed a spurt in weapon snatching incidents over the past three months of unrest which was
triggered by the killing of Wani in an encounter with security forces on 8 July.

The unrest has so far claimed 84 lives and injured thousands of others.

Hizbul Mujahedeen says it will set up Sikh armed group

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahedeen has announced that it will set up a separate group of Sikh armed youth to fight against the security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.Releasing a fresh video, Hizbul commander Zakir Rashid Bhat said the outfit has received requests from Sikh youth for joining the militant ranks in a bid to ‘avenge’ the Operation Blue Star in Punjab.”We have received several requests from oppressed Sikh brothers to join us. KPS Gill with the help of RAW killed our Sikh brothers during Operation Blue Star. The Sikh brothers want to join us to take revenge from India (sic),” said Zakir.Sporting a short trimmed beard, Zakir is seen in the video wearing at-shirt with olive green camouflage waste-coat and trouser in a well-laid out room. Sitting on a chair, Zakir is seen composed with two automatic rifles resting on both sides of his seat and a banner in the background wall.This is the second time since the death of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani Zakir Bhat that it has released a video in the Valley akin to his former boss who was known for using social media to reach out to the people.Hailing from Noorpora in Tral, Zakir had left civil engineering at a Chandigarh college and joined Hizbul in 2013. Coming from an affluent family, Zakir’s father is also an engineer by profession.Zakir also appealed to migrant Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homes and assured them security from the militants. “We request Kashmiri Pandits to return to their homes and we will take full responsibility of their safety and security,” he said.Hizbul commander asked youth to snatch weapons from the security forces in order to join the militant ranks.

Kashmir unrest: Despite surgical strikes, militancy not in the wane in Valley, says Lt Gen Dua

Srinagar: The Indian Army said on Tuesday that despite surgical strikes carried out by its forces across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir last month, the presence of militants along the LoC is still intact and many “desperate attempts” by militants trying to sneak into Kashmir valley have been foiled.

Lt Gen Satish Dua. Sameer Yasir/FirstpostLt Gen Satish Dua. Sameer Yasir/Firstpost

Lt Gen Satish Dua. Sameer Yasir/Firstpost

General Officer Commanding of Army’s 15 Corps, Lt General Satish Dua, said that Army is prepared for any “misadventure” by militants, along the LoC, and its preparedness to deal with the situation is of the highest degree. He also said that there has been an increase in attempts of infiltration made by militants in the recent past.

“We do see the presence of militants across the Line of Control, the very fact that there are infiltrations at different places and several such encounters have taken place [they are still there] and continue to try to infiltrate. We are prepared for any eventuality,” Dua said after inaugurating Chinar 9 Jawan Club at Boniyar.

The 9 club, inaugurated by Lt Gen Dua on Tuesday, aims at the constructive engagement of the youth of Kashmir and provides an ideal platform to the youth to interact, rejuvenate, play games and to develop their skill for holistic growth in a stress-free environment, a press statement issued here said.

These clubs which have come across the valley are being seen as an effort to reach out to youngsters in Kashmir. The Army has set up the clubs – centres called Naujawan Clubs where vocational training is imparted free of cost. A total of 70 Naujawan clubs is being set up across the Valley which also doubles up as centres for recreation and exchange of ideas.

Dua said that there has been no change in the way militants have tried to infiltrate into Kashmir valley and this year has been no exception.

“In recent weeks we have noticed movements along the LoC. Yes, there is an increase in attempts of infiltration the Indian Army is today and geared up to meet any such challenge,” Lt Gen Dua said.

Kashmir has been witnessing an unrest since July after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani and Army has been trying to reach out to the disaffected youths in villages and towns of south Kashmir. The unrest has left at least 91 civilians dead, more than 14,000 injured while around 7,000 protesters have been detained to bring normalcy on the simmering streets.

When asked how did he see the resentment among the youth towards the Army in general, the outgoing Core Commander of the 15 Corps, said that he did conceive the idea that there has been a lot of agitation and anger by the youth towards the security forces but it was not directed at Army.

“I don’t believe and agree with the fact that there is a trust deficit between youth and the army because at several places the army has gone and operated in the recent past, we haven’t had the problem with the youth at all. Kashmiryat is still alive,” the Chinar Corps commander said.

On the rising number of youth joining militancy in south Kashmir, Lt Gen Dua said that there is no exact count available on how many boys have joined militancy because the forces have been rounding up people (stone pelters) and many have fled their homes.

“Some of the boys have been hiding they are not living in their own houses and the agencies have not been able to figure out how many of them have joined militancy. Yes, some of the boys have joined militant ranks exact number will be known later,” he said.

He said the weapon snatching incidents in south Kashmir have been a cause of concern and there are small pickets of the police where they are not able to take care of the situation when militants arrive there to snatch weapons. But it is being jointly addressed with the police, Lt Gen Dua said.

Jammu & Kashmir: Eight-fold surge in terror infiltrations across LoC

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s been a tough year for Indian forces in Jammu and Kashmir, as they have been battling an eight-time jump in terrorist infiltrations. Apart from this shocking statistic, officials say that the rising number of cases of arson by raging mobs suggests a rise in local recruitment this year.According to officials, the good news is that ‘surgical strikes’ have brought cheer at a time when infiltration is at an all-time high with 87 cases reported this year, while the tally last year was 10.“Ceasefire violations have taken place in hundreds for the last five-six years… The only difference is that if they do it now, we give a befitting reply,” said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar at an event in Ahmedabad on Monday. However, officials warn that the situation is only going to get worse from here with Pakistan-based terrorists planning retaliation. According to ground intelligence and intercepts, more men have been pumped in by terror groups to strike at Indian forces. This has kept the forces on its toes with the terrorists kills also doubling. Sources said with more infiltration, even the numbers of kills have increased. Last year, in the corresponding period, around 70 terrorists were gunned down, while the tally this year has reached 128. While the Army has killed 120 terrorists, the other operations were carried out by local police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).Clearly, the surgical strikes destroying terror launchpads have not deterred Pakistani-based terrorists from planning more strikes. “The infiltration attempts are still continuing,” said a government official.Sources said a number of infiltrations have occurred along the LoC and it seems the terrorists are going back to the old routes used for penetrating into Indian territory. In 2013 and 2014, there had been increased infiltration from new routes along the International Border (IB).The assessment of infiltrations increasing is based on ground intelligence from civilians, intercepts and evidence of fence-cutting in some areas.The recent trend of the increasing cases of arson has been a cause of worry for the forces. Around 100 arms were looted by raging mobs protesting against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen local commander Burhan Wani.Sources said this is also an indication that local terrorist recruitment is happening as arms are needed for them.Since Wani’s killing in July, mass protests triggered turmoil in the state with over 80 deaths and thousands wounded over the last three months. Army sources said that since then operations in South Kashmir have taken a hit.Intelligence inputs also indicate that after India’s surgical strikes, the Pakistani Army has carried out “precautionary deployment” all along the LoC, as they fear another round of strikes from Indian forces.“Soon after our raids, they have increased deployment in areas they consider vulnerable. Precautionary deployment is roughly 25 percent of a full mobilisation aimed to plug the gaps,” said an intelligence officer.Fears of local recruitment by Pakistan-based terror groups, has also alarmed security forces. It is estimated that around 100 youths have gone missing in the last three months.

With dreams in their eyes, Kashmiri students head to Jammu

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seventeen-year-old Suraya Gulzar, a resident of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, wants to join civil services while Khursheed (name changed) from Pulwama dreams of becoming a cardiologist. “But how will we compete in the world if we cannot study,” says Khursheed, a Class XII student who like several other children from Kashmir had no option but to shift to a Jammu school from the Valley, where educational institutions have been shut for 100 days now due to unrest. Gulzar, who too has migrated to a school here, says she wants to follow the footsteps of Shah Faesal, the 2009-2010 topper of civil services examination from Kashmir. “You cannot join IAS or become a doctor or an engineer when the schools are forced to close. We waited for few days for the schools to open, but when months passed by, my parents decided to shift to Jammu and admit me in a school here where I can continue my studies,” she says. Scores of students from Kashmir Valley have moved to Jammu and other places in the country to continue their education in view of unrest in the Kashmir Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8. But Khursheed says there were thousands of students who wanted to study, but were not financially sound enough to move out of the Valley to continue their education. “My friends also want to study. I am lucky that my parents were able to shift me to Jammu, but for my friends their parents don’t have the financial means to shift them out of Kashmir so as to continue their studies,” he said. Gulzar and 30 other students from Kashmir Valley have taken regular admission at the Government Higher secondary School in Sunjawan area of Jammu where special classes are being held to make up for the time they have lost. “So far 30 students from Kashmir have taken regular admission in our school and the number is increasing with every passing day,” its principal Prem Singh said. He said that he has regularly been getting phone calls from parents from Kashmir who want to shift their children to the school. “Apart from the students who have taken regular admission, there are some students who come here to take classes. For such students we have exempted the morning assembly. They can come at their will to attend the class and leave whenever they want to,” Singh said. Khursheed rues that the future of the Kashmiri students was being put in jeopardy by the separatists. “The education of the students should be kept out of the ambit of the protest. Why are we being made to suffer. “To succeed in life one has to compete and we cannot compete with the world with illiteracy,” says Khursheed. The students in Kashmir are also worried as the government has refused to postpone the class 10th and 12th examination in the Valley. State Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said there were no plans to defer the examinations. “There is no plan to postpone 10th and 12th exams any further. I have been receiving countless calls from worried parents and children since yesterday after a baseless report was circulated by a news gathering agency and unfortunately picked up by many newspapers,” Akhtar wrote on social networking site Facebook.Asserting that some parents and students insisted that examinations must go on in accordance with the published date sheet, he said let the students remain focused on studies. “All the students and parents who called me insisted that exams must go on in accordance with the published date sheet. That is the decision of the government as well. Let the students remain focused on studies and prepare vigorously for exams on the due date,” he said. Following the closure of schools in the Kashmir, several private schools in Jammu too have witnessed a huge rush of students who are migrating from the Valley. In the past three months we have admitted over 100 students from Kashmir Valley and the number keeps on increasing,” said Kuldeep Singh in charge admission of a private school in Jammu.The parents who have admitted their children in Jammu say that they don t want to compromise with the future of their children. “Back home in Kashmir we have not told anybody that we are shifting our children to Jammu otherwise we will be targeted by protestors. We just want to give our children a bright future that is why we admitted them in Jammu,” Khursheed’s father said.

Unrest in Kashmir Valley completes 100 days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ongoing unrest in Kashmir, triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces, on Sunday completed 100 days even as the Valley remained curfew-free in view of the improvement in the situation. The unrest, which began a day after Wani was killed in an encounter in south Kashmir on July 8, has left 84 people, including two cops, dead and several thousand injured. The Valley has witnessed continuous shutdown for the past 100 days with periodic relaxation as announced by the separatists who are spearheading the current agitation. The strike has crippled normal life in the Valley as shops, business establishments and petrol pumps have remained closed except for the relaxation period. The shutdown has affected the education of the children as schools, colleges and other educational institutions have been shut in the Valley. Authorities also imposed curfew and restrictions on most of these 100 days, throwing normal life out of gear in the Valley. However, there was no curfew anywhere in Kashmir today, a police official said, adding restrictions on the assembly of people under Section 144 CrPc were in force throughout the Valley as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order. He said there was improvement in the situation with each passing day as more people were defying the Hurriyat-sponsored strike and coming out to carry their day-to-day activities. There is increased movement of public transport, except buses, on the days when there are no restrictions. Some shops also opened in some areas in the civil lines and outskirts of the city, the official said. 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. The authorities had on Friday night restored outgoing call facility on prepaid mobile phone connections after three months in view of the improving situation. However, mobile Internet services continued to remain suspended across Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir: Indian Army to go full throttle against militants

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After 100 days of unrest, security forces have decided to go full throttle against the militants in Jammu and Kashmir.The decision to resume the counter terrorist operations in the hinterland comes in the backdrop of growing number of militant attacks and intelligence inputs that the ultras are regrouping to take advantage of the current unrest in the valley.A high level security meeting was held on Friday under the chairmanship of J&K Governor NN Vohra to review the security situation consequent to the terror attack at Pampore. Top army officers including Northern Army Commander Lt Gen DS Hooda, Director General of Police J&K K Rajendra Kumar, General officer Commanding 15 Corps Lt Gen SK Dua besides Intelligence Bureau head in J&K and senior paramilitary officers attended the meeting.”It was agreed that surveillance should be enhanced not only along the International Border and Line of Control (LoC) but also in the entire hinterland. Counter-terrorist operations should be resumed and steps should be taken to safeguard all civil and military vital establishments in J&K,” said an official spokesperson.For the last 100 days, the counter-terrorism operations have been severely hit with security forces concentrating on maintaining law and order and controlling the street violence.Figures reveal that 39 militants have been killed since the unrest began on July 8 after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani in an encounter at Bamdoora village in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district. Among the 39, only eight ultras were killed in the hinterland. Thirty one militants were killed near the LoC, mostly during anti-infiltration operations.Security forces suffered huge casualties in the militant attacks during the unrest. More than 37 security men were killed by the militants since the unrest began. Of the 15 gun fights that broke out, 11 took place near the LoC and only four in the hinterland. Most of the encounters ensued after militants attacked the forces.Besides fidayeen attacks, the militants have launched shoot and scoot attacks to inflict casualties on the forces. Militants have been targeting the security forces deployed on the law and order duties in a bid to up the ante.On Friday evening a Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) jawan was killed and eight others were injured when their convoy was attacked by ultras near Zakoora in the outskirts of Srinagar.”Three companies were coming back in six vehicles. There were 130 to 138 people travelling in a convoy. Had they not fired back there could have been more casualties,” said Archana Ramasundaram, Director General of SSB.

Kashmir unrest: Curfew lifted across the valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Authorities on Saturday lifted curfew across Kashmir following improvement in the situation, but normal life remained affected due to the unrest which erupted after killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July.A police official said there is no curfew anywhere in Kashmir and the curbs on the movement of people have been lifted across the Valley, including from the summer capital here, following improvement in the situation. However, 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.The authorities on Friday night restored outgoing call facility on prepaid mobile phone connections after three months in view of the improving situation. However, mobile Onternet services continued to remain suspended across Kashmir. Meanwhile, normal life remained affected in the Valley for the 99th day due to the ongoing unrest.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, would complete 100 days tomorrow as shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions remained closed, while public transport continued to be off the roads.However, there was increased movement of private transport and auto-rickshaws in the civil lines areas of the city including around the commercial hub of Lal Chowk. Many vendors set up their stalls in the areas around the city centre while some shops were also open partially, the official said.

Farooq Abdullah calls meeting of opposition parties in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Friday called a meeting of opposition parties of Kashmir to discuss the prevailing situation in the Valley which has crippled normal life for more than three months.”Abdullah has called a meeting of opposition parties and individual leaders to discuss the ongoing situation in Kashmir,” a National Conference spokesman said. He said the aim of the meeting was to find a way out of the situation.Life in Kashmir has come to standstill for the past 98 days due to street protests which erupted after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8.The unrest has claimed 84 lives, including two cops, and left thousands of others injured in clashes between protestors and security forces.Shops, business establishments, petrol pumps and educational institutions have largely remained closed.Thousands of youths, including some top separatist leaders, have been arrested by police in an attempt to break the impasse. Over 300 persons have been booked under Public Safety Act (PSA).

Pampore attack: Rajnath Singh holds high-level meeting to review border security situation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday reviewed the security situation in the country, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, with Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval and other top officials.During the hour-long meeting, top officials briefed the Home Minister and Defence Minister on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir in the wake of the 56-hour gunbattle between militants and security forces in Pampore which ended on Wednesday with the killing of two ultras.The two ministers also took stock of the situation along the Indo-Pak border and the Line of Control and steps taken to check attempts of infiltration from across the border, official sources said.Unrest in Jammu and Kashmir has been continuing ever since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8 that led to violent protests and clashes with security forces and death of 84 people. Terrorists also killed 19 soldiers at an army station in Uri on September 18 which led to the surgical strikes by Indian Army on terror launch pads in PoK 10 days later.The top security officials also gave briefings on the overall situation in the country and steps taken to maintain peace in view of the ongoing festival season.The Home Ministry has already sent an advisory to all states to deploy additional forces in sensitive places to foil any attempt by terrorists to disturb peace and attempts by miscreants to try to create communal disturbance.

Are missing Kashmiri youths becoming jihadis?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An estimated 100 young men have gone missing from their homes in various parts of the Kashmir Valley over the last three months. According to a secret internal report by security agencies, following the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir after the death of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani in July this year, 80-100 youth are reportedly untraceable.Security agencies believe that these men may have been part of a mass recruitment drive by terrorist outfits. A review done by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) also indicated that the recruitment of local youth was likely to increase in the coming months.”We expect a big surge in local recruitment in the next few days. It’s difficult to give an accurate number as of now, but in the last three months, the numbers have gone up considerably,” a top security official told DNA.
ALSO READ Kashmir tense as Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani killedSources in the security establishment said with the local armed movement gathering momentum, security forces and particularly the Army have been asked to carry out area domination exercises in parts of the state considered especially prone to terrorist activity. Areas and neighbourhoods in south Kashmir have been identified as potential recruitment hubs which are now under watch.AT A GLANCEClashes between raging stone pelting protestors and security forces have killed more than 80 people and left thousands wounded in the Valley.Figures show just how alarming the situation in the Valley has become. Last year, security agencies estimated that 80 Kashmiri youth had joined the terror ranks.This year, till July, before Wani’s death, only 35 Kashmiri youth had been recruited.Post Wani’s death, agencies say the number of radicalised Kashmiri youth has risen to 90, out of the total number of 145 militants in the Valley.”Before Wani’s killing around 35 locals had taken up arms this year. We had expected the numbers to be low. But now everything has changed in the last three months and the number of militants are likely to go well over 100 this year,” said an official.
ALSO READ Latest video of new Hizbul Mujahideen commander emerges in KashmirOfficials privy to the situation say that it is no surprise then that Pakistan-based terror outfits are taking advantage of the situation and luring local men. Just like Wani who soon became the posterboy of indigenous militancy in the conflict hit state, another rung of young men are now being prepared to be showcased as local militants.The rise in local militants is alarming as it can help Pakistani-based terrorists to carry out attack on security forces with greater ease. “Not only do the local recruits gather support for an armed insurgency but also play a crucial role in assisting fidayeens who infiltrate from Pakistan to carry out terror strikes,” says a security official.
ALSO READ Who is Burhan Wani? All you need to know about the Hizbul Mujahideen poster boyIt’s not the first time that recent events have caused Kashmiri youth to pick up the gun. In 2013, the hanging of Afzal Guru, convicted for the Parliament attack of 2001, became a catalyst for local youth in the state to join terror groups.The Burhan Wani killing could well just be another catalyst for an even bigger indigenous militant movement against Indian security forces.

Curfew in interior areas of Srinagar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Curfew remained in force in interior areas of Srinagar as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order on Tuesday in view of the fourth day of mourning of a minor boy, who was hit by pellets during a protest.Curfew continues in five police station areas of downtown (interior areas) city as a precautionary measure, 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 in view of the fourth day mourning of 12-year-old Junaid Akhoon, who was hit by pellets at Saidapora and later succumbed to injuries at SKIMS Hospital at Soura. He was buried on Saturday. The official said the curbs in other areas of the city, where they were imposed yesterday in view of Muhurram, have been lifted. With the lifting of the curbs from most areas of the city, there was increased movement of traffic around Lal Chowk this morning, while some vendors were also seen selling fruits, vegetables and other items, the official said. However, normal life remained affected for the 95th 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.

250 active terrorists in Kashmir Valley plan to ‘avenge’ surgical strike

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 250 terrorists belonging to three Pakistan-based terror groups were active in the Kashmir Valley, trying to target security forces to “avenge” the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian army in PoK.Quoting intelligence inputs, top government sources said, most of the 250 terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and Hizbul Mujahideen had infiltrated before the surgical strikes on the intervening night of September 28 and 29, which caused significant damage to their outfits.The terrorists were given clear instructions by their handlers across the border to target security forces in Kashmir Valley to “avenge” the surgical strikes, sources said. The central government has asked security forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir to maintain maximum level of alertness and take all precaution to foil any attempt by the militants to target them.Sources said even though vigil along the LoC as well as the International Border has been intensified, there are gaps in many places due to difficult topography of the region. All attempts are being made by the security forces to foil any fresh infiltration bids from across the border, sources said.There were intelligence reports that terrorists were planning to infiltrate India from various directions in Kashmir as well as Jammu region. Sources said Lashkar-e-Taiba suffered the maximum damage in the cross-LoC surgical strikes on terror launch pads carried out by Indian army with assessment reports of radio intercepts indicating that around 20 of its militants were killed.The assessment reports available from Indian army field units which included radio conversations between various Pakistani formations showed maximum damage was inflicted on LeT, a banned terror group, at Dudniyal launch pad in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, opposite to Kupwara sector of North Kashmir, according to sources in the know of details of the recent surgical strikes.

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 limping back to normalcy after 3 months, but state is used to ‘seasonal protests’

It is 3 pm in the afternoon and the Bijbehra-Pahalgam road in South Kashmir can be seen filled with trailers, trucks and tipper trucks preparing to load apple boxes for shipping them outside the Kashmir Valley. It is the harvesting season in Kashmir and people here are busy working in paddy fields, plucking apples and harvesting other crops.

These scenes portray the gradual return to normalcy in the region which was in the grips of turmoil for more than two months, after the killing of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani on 8 July.

Immediately after Wani’s killing, thousands of people had come out on streets protesting and hurling stones at the security forces and also private vehicles which dared to defy the shutdown calls given by the Hurriyat-led separatists. The protests were intense with no relaxation in shutdown calendars. In retaliation, government was quick to impose a ‘communication blackout’ by blocking the mobile telephony, internet, and at times cable TV taking Kashmir back to the medieval times.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

While the region is limping back to normalcy after incessant protests and shutdowns, the attack on the army camp in Uri in North Kashmir, on 18 September and the reports of subsequent ‘surgical strikes’ by the Indian Army, a few days later brought in another phase of uncertainty. India’s military action and its flaring tensions with Pakistan got many in the Valley worried about a possible war between the two neighbors. What caused further anxiety was the government’s decision to shift people living near the Line of Control (LoC) in North Kashmir to safer places. While the government wanted to move people with a view to minimize civilian casualties in case of Pakistan opening heavy artillery fire on the LoC, the decision nonetheless sparked further rumors and fears about the impending military confrontation between the two nuclear weapons states.

But those rumors and fears appear to have settled down. For now at least.

Private vehicles have resumed plying on the roads and shopkeepers have partially opened shutters to their shops. Villagers from South Kashmir, who had participated for the first time in the current protests, are busy in their orchards and paddy fields for harvesting.

The Hurriyat’s protest calendars were formulated during the ‘communication blackout’ and disseminated to the public without taking views from the people associated with business- especially shopkeepers and transporters. These businesses have faced huge losses due to the continuous strike and restrictions from the government. Some estimates suggest that the loss is so huge that it can’t be recovered for next fifty years. A report suggests that there was overall loss of more than Rs 10,000 crore and more. Another report projected that there was a loss of more than Rs. 3000 crore to the tourism industry alone.

In a conversation with Firstpost, it was revealed that a shopkeeper from the famous tourist destination of Pahalgam in South Kashmir had lost more than Rs 4 lakhs due to the present agitation. He said, “We are entirely dependent on tourism and this year our harvesting season was paralyzed due to the strike. We have lost in lakhs.” He questioned, “Was Azadi a concern for just summer season? If things had to go back to normal in any case, why was not done it before?” There are similar stories coming in from hundreds of others small and big business establishments, who have lost their business due to the protests.

These people have a legitimate grievance, but in the charged atmosphere full of pro-Azadi sentiments, their voices had no takers. Just few weeks before, hordes of young protestors wandering in the rural areas had coerced the shopkeepers to shut their shops and blocked the roads with whatever they could lay their hands on. The roads across the valley might be buzzing with the activity but have looked desolate just a few days back. In towns and cities, the situation was no different from that of villages.

But somewhere down the line the disenchantment of the people set in. The fatigue among people was so apparent that last Sunday when there was a relaxation in hartal from 2 pm onwards, there was a traffic jam in Srinagar and major towns of the Valley. Street vendors came out in hordes to sell their goods to earn whatever they could.

The question that is lingering on everyone’s minds, is whether the region will again witness the protests? Rumours on the ground are that the fruit growers and people associated with farming have been given the time until 10 October, for getting their work done and then the protests will resume.

It is difficult to ascertain these rumors. For now protests seem to have dissipated due to the harvesting season. However, elders in South Kashmir re-assure saying that Kashmir is now used to these ‘seasonal protests’.

The author is a freelance journalist based in Srinagar. He focuses on the socio-political issues of the Kashmir Valley.

Kashmir unrest: Upset over shutdown, distressed people in valley protest against Geelani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Distressed by continuous shutdown in the valley against the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on July 8, scores of Kashmiris held a protest march against separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Srinagar on Thursday.With Kashmir entering its 90th day of shutdown, the locals in Srinagar have been finding it difficult to feed their children as they are unable to earn due to the strike. “Due to the shutdown since the last three months, our livelihood has been getting adversely affected. We are unable to pay the school fees of our children,” one of the locals said.The locals also criticised the Hurriyat leaders for not showing sympathy towards them and their family members.Internet services are still suspended except for mobile-phone services in several parts of the restive valley.Local shops and schools have been closed and public transport has been severely affected due to the shutdown.The police and paramilitary forces have been put on a high alert across the valley following the Uri and Baramulla attacks.Wani (22) was killed by the Indian security forces in an encounter in the Anantnag district. His killing has triggered massive protests in Kashmir.More than 83 persons, including two cops, have been killed and thousands others injured in clashes between the protestors and security forces since the unrest began.

Sharif’s Burhan Wani statement shows Pak’s ‘continued attachment to terrorists’: India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yet again showering praise on killed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, India on Wednesday said the former’s statement reflects Islamabad’s ‘continued attachment to terrorism’. Disapproving Sharif’s remark, government sources put forth New Delhi’s views in this regard. Sharif earlier in the day accused India of stalling the dialogue process and urged world powers to ensure that UN resolutions on Kashmir are implemented. Addressing a joint session of Parliament on ‘Kashmir issue’ in Islamabad, Sharif said, “The death of Burhan Wani, son of the Kashmiri soil, had reminded India to give Kashmiris their right to self-determination.’Responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech last month challenging Pakistan to a contest over eradicating poverty and other social ills, Sharif said, “If they (Indian leaders) want us to fight them to end poverty, then they should realise that poverty cannot be eradicated by driving tanks on farmlands.” Addressing the nation at the backdrop of a three-day BJP conclave held in Kozhikode last month, Prime Minister Modi slammed Pakistan for exporting terrorism across the world and said, ‘While India exports software, Pakistan exports terrorism across the world.’ ‘Your (Pakistani) rulers speak of fighting India for a thousand years. Today, there is such a government in Delhi that I am ready to accept your challenge… Pakistan’s ‘awam’ (people), I want to say to you, India is ready to fight you,’ Prime Minister Modi had said.‘Come, if you have the courage, let’s fight poverty…unemployment’illiteracy. Let us fight and see who is able to end poverty first,’ he added.Prime Minister Sharif today said, ‘We have done everything to make India come to the dialogue table, but India did not let it happen. Our efforts were thwarted over and over again.’ He also 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.”We have done everything to make India come to the dialogue table, but India did not let it happen. Our efforts were thwarted over and over again,” Sharif claimed. “Without any investigation (into Uri incident), within a few hours, India blamed Pakistan for the attack,” he said. Sharif accused India of having some “motives” in blaming Pakistan for the Uri attack when it was “not even established” that who was involved in it. The Pakistan Prime Minister also expressed support for Kashmiris and said the issue should be resolved according to the wishes of people of Kashmir and the UN resolutions.Raking up the Kashmir issue at the United Nations General Assembly last month, Sharif had called Wani a “young leader”, evoking a strong reaction from India. The Hizbul Mujahideen commander was killed in an encounter with the Indian security forces on July 8, sparking off protests in the valley.

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.

When tourism event turned into terrorism debate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid growing tension between India and Pakistan, a war of words erupted at a tourism event in the national capital, after Delhi Tourism minister Kapil Mishra asked Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to clarify her position on Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, and Afzal Guru.Beginning his speech, Mishra asked Mufti is she considered “Burhan Wani a terrorist or not”.”Terrorism and tourism can’t go together. We can fight Pakistan, but how do we fight with people who give shelter to terrorists in J&K? It can’t be that you don’t accept Burhan Wani as a terrorist and then expect tourism to increase,” he said.Mishra then went on to asking Mufti, if she considered Afzal Guru a terrorist or not.Although even as the event organisers rushed to contain the matter and interrupted Mishra’s speech urging him not to use the space for politics, Mishra exited the event claiming that he didn’t want to share the dais with Mufti.Mufti, however, refrained from commenting on Mishra, she highlighted rising crime against women in the national capital.”Any place in the world, including Delhi, women are safest in my Kashmir. They move around in shikaras and houseboats. That’s the biggest thing my state can offer. As compared to any place in the world, including Delhi, women and girls are safest; there is no fear of getting raped in a car,” said Mufti.She added, “The biggest confidence building measure in the current scenario would be if you visit our state, it will portray your trust in us. We need you, I don’t know if you need Kashmir or not, but Kashmir needs you.”

Modi govt won’t allow anyone to dent India’s honour, says Rajnath Singh in Ladakh

Kargil: Amidst the ongoing hostilities with Pakistan, Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday said the Modi government will not allow anyone to dent India’s honour and every citizen has faith in the country’s armed forces. Singh, who is on a two-day trip to Ladakh, dismissed queries about doubts being raised by some quarters on the surgical strike carried out by the Army on the terror launch pads in PoK.

File image of Union minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

File image of Union minister Rajnath Singh. PTI

“I have not read any such statement. Desh ke bache, bache ko sena par bharosa hain aur garv hain, aur rahega (The entire nation has faith in our armed forces and are proud of them and it will remain so),” he told reporters. “Our government will not allow anyone to dent the country’s honour and prestige at any cost. We will ensure that the country’s head is always held high,” he said.

Asked about the demand for Union Territory status for Ladakh, the Home Minister said he has listened to the people of Kashmir, Jammu as well as Ladakh but a decision will be taken only on the basis of consensus. “We always try that any decision is taken only on the basis of consensus,” he said.

BJP’s ally PDP on Tuesday expelled its Leh district chief Tashi Gyalson from its basic membership for signing a memorandum submitted to Singh demanding Union Territory status for Ladakh, saying under no circumstances will it endorse any move aimed at dividing the state.

The head of PDP’s Disciplinary Committee Abdul Rehman Veeri expelled Gyalson for violating the party’s whip, a party spokesman said in a statement. The Union Minister said during his trip to Ladakh since Monday, 21 delegations of political parties, religious groups and civil society members have met him and placed before him various demands.

“We will try to resolve their problems as much as possible. If there are issues concerning other Ministries (of central government), we will write to them or tell the concerned Ministers,” he said. The Home Minister said he paid homage to the martyrs at the war memorial at Drass.

This is Singh’s fourth visit to Jammu and Kashmir ever since the unrest began in the state following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on 8 July. Singh had led an all-party delegation to Srinagar and Jammu on 4-5 September.

The leaders of various political parties 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 24-25 August and 23-24 July . Singh was accompanied by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi and other senior officials.

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.

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