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BJP condemns Hurriyat leaders, says will continue to support the west Pakistani refugees

Jammu: BJP on Saturday condemned Hurriyat and other political parties for opposing the grant of domicile certificate to the west Pakistani refugees(WPRs) residing in Jammu and Kashmir and said it will continue to support the rights of the WPRs.

“Hartal called by Hurriyat and other separatist groups on Friday to oppose the grant of domicile certificate to WPRs is very unfortunate, unwarranted and uncalled for. BJP strongly opposes the efforts of these pro-Pakistan elements to politicise a humanitarian issue,” BJP state spokesperson Brig Anil Gupta (retd) said.

He condemned the attitude of Hurriyat and political parties who are opposing the grant of domicile certificate to the WPRs residing in the state and said what was more discomforting is that these people belong to economically backward segment of the society and have been denied the growth opportunities due to no fault of theirs.

“It is very unfortunate that a section of society living among us is termed as refugees and denied basic rights on the plea that they are not the state subjects and have migrated from West Pakistan at the time of partition,” he said.

Representative image. PTI

Representative image. PTI

Even after 70 years of independence they are being given this treatment in their own country due to the “parochial outlook” of the majority community in the state is tragic, Gupta said.

“It is the influx of illegal Bangladeshi and Burmese migrants that has resulted in the demographic change and ironically they do not raise any voice against them but welcome them.

“This highlights their communal outlook. Our Party will continue to support the WPR and ensure that justice is delivered to them,” he said.

Taking a dig at the National Conference’s stand, Gupta said political parties like NC are misquoting history and trying to mislead the people of Jammu using the name of late Maharaja Hari Singh.

“Their contention that State Subject laws were enacted by the Maharaja to safeguard the interest of Dogras is being quoted out of context.

“The State Subject Act was enacted by the Maharaja in 1927 to protect the rights of its citizens when J&K was an independent state.

“It was the Maharaja only who had acceded the state with India in 1947 and it was his desire that his state should be a part of Union of India,” he said.

He said, “All citizens of J&K are now citizens of India.”

Had the Maharaja been alive he would have himself ensured that any law that keeps his state away from rest of the country should be “abrogated”, the spokesperson said.

“He would have ensured that these helpless people are given all rights immediately and they would not have to suffer this humiliation for 70 years,” he said.

It was surprising and unfortunate that parties which had included this issue in their election manifestos in the past were now opposing the issue of the domicile certificate.

“The statements of Ambika Soni in Jammu and Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal in Srinagar clearly show that the Congress was only exploiting them for narrow political gains and now that their plight is being improved by the present BJP government they have joined hands with the Hurriyat and others to oppose the same,” he said.

“Issue of domicile certificate will enable the WP refugees to seek central government jobs including in the armed forces. There will be quota for them in the 5 IRP Battalions being raised under Prime Minister Special Package for J&K,” he said.

The contention that it is an attempt to change the state’s demography, Gupta said it is not understood as to how it will affect the demography of the state since they have been staying here since 1947.

“The State Subject Act was enacted by the Maharaja in 1927 to protect the rights of its citizens when J&K was an independent state.

“It was the Maharaja only who had acceded the state with India in 1947 and it was his desire that his state should be a part of Union of India,” he said.

He said, “All citizens of J&K are now citizens of India.” Had the Maharaja been alive he would have himself ensured that any law that keeps his state away from rest of the country should be “abrogated”, the spokesperson said.

“He would have ensured that these helpless people are given all rights immediately and they would not have to suffer this humiliation for 70 years,” he said.

It was surprising and unfortunate that parties which had included this issue in their election manifestos in the past were now opposing the issue of the domicile certificate.

“The statements of Ambika Soni in Jammu and Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal in Srinagar clearly show that the Congress was only exploiting them for narrow political gains and now that their plight is being improved by the present BJP government they have joined hands with the Hurriyat and others to oppose the same,” he said.

“Issue of domicile certificate will enable the WP refugees to seek central government jobs including in the armed forces. There will be quota for them in the 5 IRP Battalions being raised under Prime Minister Special Package for J&K,” he said.

The contention that it is an attempt to change the state’s demography, Gupta said it is not understood as to how it will affect the demography of the state since they have been staying here since 1947

First Published On : Dec 31, 2016 17:56 IST

Will continue to support the rights of West Pakistani Refugees: BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> BJP on Saturday condemned Hurriyat and other political parties for opposing the grant of domicile certificate to the West Pakistani Refugees residing in Jammu and Kashmir and said it will continue to support the rights of the WPRs.”Hartal called by Hurriyat and other separatist groups yesterday to oppose the grant of domicile certificate to WPRs is very unfortunate, unwarranted and uncalled for. BJP strongly opposes the efforts of these pro-Pakistan elements to politicise a humanitarian issue,” BJP state spokesperson Brig Anil Gupta (retd) said. He condemned the attitude of Hurriyat and political parties who are opposing the grant of domicile certificate to the WPRs residing in the state and said what was more discomforting is that these people belong to economically backward segment of the society and have been denied the growth opportunities due to no fault of theirs.”It is very unfortunate that a section of society living among us is termed as refugees and denied basic rights on the plea that they are not the state subjects and have migrated from West Pakistan at the time of partition,” he said. Even after 70 years of independence they are being given this treatment in their own country due to the “parochial outlook” of the majority community in the state is tragic, Gupta said. “It is the influx of illegal Bangladeshi and Burmese migrants that has resulted in the demographic change and ironically they do not raise any voice against them but welcome them.”This highlights their communal outlook. Our Party will continue to support the WPR and ensure that justice is delivered to them,” he said. Taking a dig at the National Conference’s stand, Gupta said political parties like NC are misquoting history and trying to mislead the people of Jammu using the name of late Maharaja Hari Singh. “Their contention that State Subject laws were enacted by the Maharaja to safeguard the interest of Dogras is being quoted out of context.”The State Subject Act was enacted by the Maharaja in 1927 to protect the rights of its citizens when J&K was an independent state. “It was the Maharaja only who had acceded the state with India in 1947 and it was his desire that his state should be a part of Union of India,” he said. He said, “All citizens of J&K are now citizens of India.” Had the Maharaja been alive he would have himself ensured that any law that keeps his state away from rest of the country should be “abrogated”, the spokesperson said.”He would have ensured that these helpless people are given all rights immediately and they would not have to suffer this humiliation for 70 years,” he said. It was surprising and unfortunate that parties which had included this issue in their election manifestos in the past were now opposing the issue of the domicile certificate. “The statements of Ambika Soni in Jammu and Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal in Srinagar clearly show that the Congress was only exploiting them for narrow political gains and now that their plight is being improved by the present BJP government they have joined hands with the Hurriyat and others to oppose the same,” he said.”Issue of domicile certificate will enable the WP refugees to seek central government jobs including in the armed forces.There will be quota for them in the 5 IRP Battalions being raised under Prime Minister Special Package for J&K,” he said. The contention that it is an attempt to change the state’s demography, Gupta said it is not understood as to how it will affect the demography of the state since they have been staying here since 1947. “The State Subject Act was enacted by the Maharaja in 1927 to protect the rights of its citizens when J&K was an independent state.”It was the Maharaja only who had acceded the state with India in 1947 and it was his desire that his state should be a part of Union of India,” he said. He said, “All citizens of J&K are now citizens of India.” Had the Maharaja been alive he would have himself ensured that any law that keeps his state away from rest of the country should be “abrogated”, the spokesperson said. “He would have ensured that these helpless people are given all rights immediately and they would not have to suffer this humiliation for 70 years,” he said.It was surprising and unfortunate that parties which had included this issue in their election manifestos in the past were now opposing the issue of the domicile certificate. “The statements of Ambika Soni in Jammu and Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal in Srinagar clearly show that the Congress was only exploiting them for narrow political gains and now that their plight is being improved by the present BJP government they have joined hands with the Hurriyat and others to oppose the same,” he said.”Issue of domicile certificate will enable the WP refugees to seek central government jobs including in the armed forces. There will be quota for them in the 5 IRP Battalions being raised under Prime Minister Special Package for J&K,” he said. The contention that it is an attempt to change the state’s demography, Gupta said it is not understood as to how it will affect the demography of the state since they have been staying here since 1947.

Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam released from Kathua Jail, rearrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Masarat Alam Bhat, who had been in custody under the Public Safety Act since April 2015, was released from Kathua district jail but subsequently re-arrested in another case.J&K High Court had ordered his release on Tuesday. “Masrat was released today in the case in which the high court had quashed his detention. But he was rearrested subsequently from jail in another case,” a senior Police officer told PTI.Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, while allowing Masrat’s plea challenging the latest of the detention orders under Public Safety Act, held his detention illegal on several grounds. Masarat had been booked under PSA several times since April 2015 and the latest order in the series was issued by District Magistrate Baramulla.”…(the) order of detention…passed by the (deputy commissioner Baramulla) is quashed with a further direction to the (government) to release (Masrat) Alam forthwith from preventive custody,” the court had said in its order on Tuesday. According to the order, Masarat was accused of making the ongoing agitation “successful” from inside the jail.

Kashmir unrest: With key elections around corner, PDP and NC cash in on people’s emotions

While Kashmir is yet to come out of the trauma and despondency after months of violent protests, strict curfews and shutdowns that took an immense economic and human toll, the two major political parties from the Valley — the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party — are back to what they know best: Playing politics.

With the elections to the two key Lok Sabha seats of Srinagar and Anantnag set to be held early next year, the political leadership of the National Conference and PDP is leaving no stone unturned to appeal to the emotions of people who have been traumatised by the ongoing agitation in the Valley. It all began with the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah‘s criticism of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre and the PDP-BJP coalition government headed by Mehbooba Mufti for failing to handle the unrest in the Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.

File image of Omar Abdullah. PTI

File image of Omar Abdullah. PTI

The National Conference’s working president, who himself faced a similar situation in 2010 during which at least 125 persons, mostly youths, were killed in retaliatory action against protesters, didn’t stop there. He even said that it would be a “grave mistake” to blame Pakistan for flaring up the situation.

“Simply blaming Pakistan for the present situation, then, it would mean that we don’t have to do anything to prevent the unrest, which I think would be a grave mistake. We need to have talked internally, we need to solve this political crisis and until we are conscious of this reality, I don’t think we can take any concrete action,” Omar told reporters in Srinagar.

Going a step ahead, on the 111th birth anniversary of his father, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Dr Farooq Abdullah asked the Hurriyat to unite under a single banner and extended his party to the separatists “at this hour”. Addressing party workers at the mausoleum of Sheikh in Srinagar, Farooq said, “I ask these Hurriyat leaders to unite. We are standing by your side at this hour. Don’t think of us as your adversaries. We are not your adversaries.”

As if not to be left behind, Mehbooba admitted that security forces had used excessive force in the past five months of civilian uprising in Kashmir, and urged the Jammu and Kashmir Police to “change its line of action so that wounds inflicted on people are healed”. She also directed security forces to differentiate between militants and their families and not to see everybody as a suspect.

“Over the past five months, a lot of damage with regard to life and property took place here. Civilians, policemen and other security forces personnel sustained injuries. I will not shy away from speaking the truth. We were left with no option other than to take tough measures to protect life and property,” the chief minister said, while addressing the passing-out parade of a batch of new police recruits at Commandos Training Centre (CTC) Lethpora in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

So, why are all the political parties shifting their moral goalposts on the prevailing crisis in the Valley which has left at least 96 civilians and two security personnel dead, over 16,000 injured while more than 10,000 have been arrested during the past five months?

File image of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

File image of Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

While many experts have argued that the political posturing, especially by the National Conference, shows that there are no dividing lines between mainstream and separatist politics in Kashmir, that would be denigrating their contributions to the process of establishing democracy in Jammu and Kashmir that has been hit by turmoil over the last three decades.

The upcoming parliamentary elections to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha constituencies, which fell vacant after the resignation of PDP MP Tariq Hamid Karra and election of Mehbooba to the post of chief minister respectively, has forced the regional parties to take a populist view on the prevailing crisis so as to brighten their electoral prospects.

Farooq is at the fag-end of his political career and it is obvious he is trying to stage a comeback by giving it a last shot before retiring, whatever it costs. Mehbooba, on the other hand, is facing severe criticism for ‘mishandling’ the prevailing crisis in the Valley. Her party has lost the ground it gained during the 2014 state Assembly elections.

In such a situation, both parties would like to appeal to the passions of the people in order to restore their electoral credibility. Calling them ‘separatist backers’ or ‘Hurriyat sympathisers’ would be distorting what lies at the heart of the issue. These days, separatism sells like hot cakes and the political compulsions brought about by the prevailing crisis has forced the two parties to toe the populist sentiment.

Nothing more.

Nothing less.

First Published On : Dec 19, 2016 15:45 IST

J&K: Separatists hint at calling off six-month long shutdown, want a ‘long-term plan’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Amid unease and fatigue displayed increasingly by people over shutdown, Kashmiri separatists hinted on Wednesday at calling off the six-month long strike call from the beginning of next year, saying they would instead focus on long-term plan of programmes and initiatives. In a joint statement, hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, chief of moderate faction of Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLJ chief Mohammad Yasin Malik said they are working on a plan for transition from weekly protest calendars to a long term-plan of programmes and initiatives.They said the announcement of the “transition plan” may take some more time as “most of the leadership has been caged and all kinds of hurdles put in place to thwart and sabotage our every move by force”. They stated this while issuing a fresh protest calendar for the next two weeks, during which the number of strike days has been scaled down.While people have been asked to observe complete shutdown on Fridays and Saturdays, there will be no strike on rest of the five days of the week till December 31, as per their call. The change of strategy comes amid unease and fatigue displayed over the prolonged shutdown by the people who are increasingly defying the call and going about their work for livelihood and other aspects of normal life.

Hurriyat made a spelling mistake, think they meant terrorists: Ram Madhav mocks invitation to tourists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Taking a dig at Hurriyat’s invitation of “tourists” to Kashmir, BJP leader Ram Madhav said the separatists were more interested in welcoming “terrorists” to the state. “I consider it a spelling mistake by Hurriyat people.They might have mistakenly said tourists in place of terrorists. They always welcome terrorists (to Kashmir),” he told reporters here.The separatist leaders, who have been spearheading the five-month-long unrest in Kashmir, had in a surprise move yesterday invited tourists and pilgrims to visit the Valley to enjoy the traditional hospitality of its people while promising them safety. The BJP National General Secretary said nobody trusted the separatists and if they were so “sincere” about peace, they should stop issuing calendars (of shutdowns). “On one side, you (Hurriyat) preach terrorism and on the other, you issue calendars by shutting down shops, business establishments and educational institutions. Then, you do this drama of issuing statements of inviting tourists to Kashmir,” he said.Stating that this was the “biggest hypocrisy” by the Hurriyat, Madhav said, “If they want tourists in the Valley, they should first restore peace in the Valley. But unfortunately, they are the biggest hurdle in restoration of peace and normalcy in Kashmir.”
ALSO READ Farooq Abdullah’s statement on Hurriyat shows NC was involved in Kashmir unrest: Mehbooba MuftiHe also hit at National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah for supporting the Hurriyat’s call in this regard and questioned the leader’s “change of mind”. “Farooq Abdullah’s statement is very unfortunate and surprising. He is the same Farooq, who used to release statements against Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir Valley and today suddenly he wants to move forward on the path of Hurriyat,” he said. Abdullah, while addressing his party workers at a function to commemorate the 111th birth anniversary of his father and party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at Hazratbal on December 5, had said his party was not against the Hurriyat and supported the Kashmiris’ demand for their rights but it would not tread the “wrong path” for achieving these goals.Minister of State for Tourism Mahesh Sharma welcomed the “initiative”. “My big salute goes to all those who support tourism, and yes, we are for it. The vision of our great Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) is to see that the Valley comes back again. We are all prepared to see and ensure that the tourism industry in the Valley flourishes and for that any steps need to be taken, we will come a step forward. “Tourism will change the shape of the Valley and will bring the glory back…as a Tourism Minister I welcome their initiative and of course other calls will be taken by the Government of India,” Sharma told reporters here. Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said everyone should promote tourism as Jammu and Kashmir has been “very, very important” for the sector. “If there is peace in the Valley, tourism will flourish there and if tourism increases, it will economically benefit the state and its people. Promotional tourism is absolutely necessary to revive the economy because it is very important part of their social life,” Rijiju said.Two factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF, which have been spearheading the five-month-long unrest in Kashmir that has thrown life into complete disarray, had in a surprise joint statement last night invited tourists and pilgrims to visit the Valley to enjoy the traditional hospitality of its people while promising them safety. Separatist leader Yasin Malik on Wednesday invited the tourists and pilgrims to visit Kashmir, adding that the people of the valley have been ‘safeguarding and providing exemplary hospitality’ to them. Malik said the people of Kashmir have always respected, safeguarded and served their guests even during tough times.‘In 2014 there was a flood, every Kashmiri suffered because of the flood’.This year this is the fifth month as far as the unrest is going on. The pilgrims were here, tourist were here. So, do you have any one single complain from them that they are facing any kind of fear factor in Kashmir’ So, we reiterated that though the people of Kashmir are facing the worst kind of suppression through the end of the forces. As far as the tourist and the pilgrims are concerned, they are always welcomed here,’ he told ANI. ‘The tourists and pilgrims should not feel any kind of fear here. The people of Kashmir are famous for their hospitality,’ he said while extending the whole-hearted welcome to the tourists and yatris intending to visit Kashmir.Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said tourism is ideal for economic revival of Kashmir, adding it is in the interest of everybody.‘Promotion of tourism is absolutely necessary to revive the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. It is very important part of their social life. So, it is in the interest of everybody. We want to promote tourism in Jammu and Kashmir because Kashmir has been very important for the tourism sector,’ he said. The separatist leaders have in a surprise move invited tourists and pilgrims to visit the Valley to enjoy the traditional hospitality of its people while promising them safety.Leaders of the two factions of Hurriyat Conference issued a joint statement asking people from outside to visit the Valley reminding them of the “exemplary hospitality” extended by the Kashmiris.The Kashmir Valley is witnessing continued turmoil since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with the security forces on July 8. With inputs from PTI and ANI

Farooq Abdullah’s pro-Hurriyat line shows once again that dividing lines in Kashmir are only on paper

Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s public endorsement of the Hurriyat Conference is one more indication of the fact that there is no real dividing line between the so-called ‘mainstream’ and so-called ‘secessionist’ politics.

I was sitting with a couple of ranking Hurriyat Conference leaders the evening after Abdullah’s statement. One of them remarked with a cynical smile that Abdullah was preparing the ground to contest a Lok Sabha by-election in spring. By-polls are due for the Srinagar and Anantnag seats – the latter vacated by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

Both the major mainstream parties have at various times played with people’s emotions. Not only do they destabilise each other’s governments by funding `pelters,’ they promote secessionist sentiment through the education system, bureaucrats, police, media, and various institutions when they are in government.

If indeed Dr Abdullah has an eye on the by-elections, it would not be the first time this sort of thing has occurred. During the 1977 elections, 29 months after the Indira-Sheikh `accord,’ both Mirza Afzal Beg for the National Conference and Mirwaiz Farooq for the Janata Party obliquely or directly promoted secession and Islamist sentiment in their respective campaigns.

After the Centre pulled the rug under his feet in 1984, showing contempt for his House majority, Abdullah and his party learnt a hard lesson: he would keep on the right side of whoever was in power at the Centre. Since the Centre has given him and his party short shrift of late, he seems to have opted for populism in the run-up to the by-elections.

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Reuters

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Reuters

A veteran of Kashmir’s backroom politics observed that, if the Congress and the National Conference pooled forces, the Congress could win the Anantnag seat, and Abdullah the Srinagar seat. In fact, Abdullah could win even without pooling forces.

Despite this week’s googly, Abdullah should be complemented for having avoided such populism since his father’s death in 1982 brought him to the forefront. The PDP, on the other hand, has walked a delicate tightrope ever since it was formed in 1999 – beginning from its choice of a green flag and the same election symbol which the secessionist Muslim United Front had adopted in 1987.

The Islamist Jamaat-e-Islami has covertly backed the currently ruling PDP in the 2002, 2008, and 2014 elections. As politics in other places have shown, such alliances can prove costly. A case in point: activists of the Jamaat have been at the forefront of organising this year’s uprising.

To a large extent, the constituent units collectively known as `Hurriyat’ are only the front for a vast and variegated range of forces and interests. This year, the buttons of remote control have been operated from Pakistan.

The poor end up dead

The tragedy is that the children of the poor get killed in the sordid blood games of those with interests in that vast array of forces, which benefit from unrest and instability. The children of those within those interest groups never come to harm. Their studies – often abroad or at least in different parts of the country – have generally not been affected this summer.

A few hours after Dr Abdullah’s statement on Monday, I sat with some of this year’s leading `stone-pelters’ in Pulwama. They were intent on `azadi’ (which one of them described as the removal of armed forces), but agreed that it is always the poor that end up dead in Kashmir’s repeated unrests.

They had little idea of the ideology, programme or borders of an independent Kashmir – much like the various so-called `Hurriyat’ `leaders’. When I asked about Ladakh, saying the people there want a closer relationship with India, they decided after a four second discussion to grant Ladakh what the people there want.

Their emotions are ever-so-often pushed to fever pitch by the speeches and positions taken by a range of `leaders’ who want power but have no vision – or commitment to any position, or political agenda.

The boys agreed that stone-pelting has become something of an obsessive game for their generation. They even said that they had attended practice sessions at Srinagar’s Idgah, under the gaze of security men, where organisers had taught them that over-arm lobs did not leave the elbow aching the way straight throws did.

They said that, when they were children in the previous decade (they were all born between 1994 and 1998), they used to play with army men, and share their food. It was during the agitations of 2008 that they learnt a different narrative, and began to hate the army, and India.

Since 2008, a carefully orchestrated `narrative’ about `occupation,’ `colonization’ and repression, peppered with talk of `mass graves,’ `mass rapes’ and so on, has shaped a new generation’s sentiments, a new movement, and a new militancy. Universities, literary festivals and the media have been vehicles for this.

Those two Hurriyat men with whom I sat the next evening in Srinagar spoke of their despair at the extent to which this generation, mainly teenagers, are influenced by radical ideas about Islamism. Hurriyat Conference Chairman Mirwaiz Omar had expressed similar views more than a year ago (please hyperlink my interview-based article of last November). The powers that be still apparently thought the situation was `under control’ at that time – as perhaps they have convinced themselves once more.

The fact is that, in the cesspool of Kashmir’s politics, so-called `secessionist’ leaders sometimes shows more maturity and responsibility than so-called `mainstream’ ones. All too often, much depends on who has been fed how much, and the stakes they see for gaining power or money.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 18:39 IST

Farooq Abdullah’s statement on Hurriyat shows NC was involved in Kashmir unrest: Mehbooba Mufti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday slammed National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah for his remarks that his party is not against separatist Hurriyat, saying it showed that the Opposition party was behind the violence in the Valley over last few months.She alleged that NC wants to keep the atmosphere charged in the Valley as it “can go to any extent for power”. “He (Abdullah) used to say that Hurriyat leaders should be thrown into river Jhelum. Today he is talking about something else. It again makes it clear that NC will play with the lives of anyone, including children and women, for power,” Mehbooba told reporters here. “The statement of Farooq telling his party workers to lend full support to Hurriyat makes clear one thing which we did not mention till now that NC can go to any extent for power,” she said.The chief minister said NC can play with the lives of anyone including children and women, for power. “In the last four-five months, the criminal element which entered into the situation here, who pelted stones on vehicles, burnt schools and attacked camps… this statement makes it clear that NC was involved in such activities in these months,” she charged. The Chief Minister said NC leadership has asked its party workers to not let the situation improve.
ALSO READ We are with Hurriyat till they are on right track: Farooq Abdullah”Now when the situation is improving, children are going to school and tourism is also picking up slowly, Farooq has once again asked his workers, giving them an order, to create that situation once again in which the atmosphere in J&K will remain charged,” she said. Abdullah, while addressing his party workers at a function to commemorate the 111th birth anniversary of his father and party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at Hazratbal yesterday, had said his party was not against the Hurriyat and supported the Kashmiri’s demand for their rights but it would not tread the “wrong path” for achieving these goals.He had also asked his party workers not to be away from “this struggle” because “We are a part of this struggle. We have fought regularly for the interests of this Valley.” Mehbooba said Abdullah is not concerned about the struggle because since 1947 till now, NC has only struggled for power. “Even today I feel that, by the statement yesterday, he has hinted at his workers to not let the situation improve because they want power at any cost,” she alleged.She noted that Abdullah’s son Omar has been a Minister (of state) for External Affairs in the BJP-led government and had said that Pakistan should be labelled as a terror state. Farooq Abdullah also regularly used to say that Pakistan should be bombed, Mehbooba said.

We are with Hurriyat till they are on right track: Farooq Abdullah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Monday said his party was not against Hurriyat Conference and supported the Kashmiri people’s demand for their rights but it would not tread the “wrong path” for achieving these goals.Addressing his party workers at a function to commemorate the 111th birth anniversary of his father and party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at Hazratbal, he asked the Hurriyat leaders not to go separate ways saying “be united and we are also standing with you”. “Do not think of us as your enemies, we are not. But we are not ready to tread the wrong path. So, I am telling you from this sacred place that you (Hurriyat) move forward, we are with you till your steps are on the right track and till you take this nation forward in a right manner,” he said. However, later talking to reporters, Abdullah said the issue was not whether he was with the Hurriyat or not.”This agitation which talks about demanding the rights of the people of Kashmir, NC is with them on this to the extent of they talking about rights. We neither were nor are against (demanding) the rights,” he said.The former Union minister said the people talking of “freedom” were indulging in propaganda. He also said the “fire” in the Valley would not be extinguished till India and Pakistan do justice with the people of the state.”Remember this, till this fire is there, it cannot be extinguished till India and Pakistan do justice with us, with the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The more they try to extinguish this fire, the more it will rise,” he said.He asked his party workers not to be away from “this struggle”. “We are a part of this struggle. We have fought regularly for the interests of this Valley,” he said.Responding to his criticism by the BJP over his recent remarks over India’s claim on PoK, Abdullah said he has never spoken anything against the country.”Farooq Abdullah has never spoken anything anti-national. This (Kashmir) issue is not my creation. This issue is from 1948, it is not anything new. It is still in the UN Security Council. It is in the agreement between India and Pakistan which Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister of India and Zulfikar Bhutto as Prime Minister of Pakistan signed that Kashmir issue would be resolved through dialogue,” he said. He said both the countries would have to resolve their issues through dialogue.”I do not know anything about whether they (Pakistan Prime Minister s Foreign Affairs Advisor Sartaj Aziz and NSA Ajit Doval) talked or not. But one day both the countries will have to resolve their issues through dialogue. There is no other way,” he said. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi wishes to solve this issue and “I hope one day he will talk to Pakistan as there is no other option”.”Both the countries should exhibit restraint. When border skirmishes happen, people on both sides suffer losses. Both are parts of Kashmir,” he said. Commenting on the Prime Minister’s remarks at a Jalandhar rally that he was determined to stop the flow of water into Pakistan and bring it for farmers of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah said people of India were “befooled”.”People of India were befooled. What did Modi say in Jalandhar? He said he will stop Pakistan’s water. Which rivers has he stopped water from?” he said.

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.

Despite no role, we have been inviting Pakistan on Kashmir issue: RAW chief AS Dulat

Mumbai: We have been “inviting” Pakistan to play a role in the Kashmir problem on various occasions despite the neighbouring country having lost its standing in that state, former RAW chief A S Dulat said in Mumbai on Friday.

We have been inviting Pakistan to play a role in the Kashmir problem on various occasions despite the neighbouring country having lost its role in that state,” Dulat said.

“We (government) need Pakistan as something to fall back on. We must not forget that in the 2013 elections in Pakistan, Kashmir was not the issue in their election.”

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

“Nawaz Sharif never spoke of Kashmir during that election campaign. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan had also said ‘Let’s forget Kashmir’. Then, how come Pakistan still got active in Kashmir?” he said.

“After J&K elections, we tried to maintain status quo, which was dangerous. J&K was already polarised and after BJP winning some seats, it formed the government with PDP.

“Though it was a natural alliance based on their voting, the ground reality was of unrest after then chief minister thanked Pakistan and separatists, which invited Pakistan back in the game,” Dulat said.

“Post 9/11 attack on twin towers in the US, even separatists from Kashmir had lost hopes from Pakistan and latter’s support to them and one of them had openly told me about it. In the following year’s Pakistan’s role was reduced further in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

“But when Manmohan Singh became prime minister in 2004, his approach towards Kashmir changed. I think he did not know how to manage the Kashmir issue. He spent more time on Pakistan and it is because the people around him told him so,” Dulat said.

“There was also chance for Manmohan Singh during 2006-07, but he did not visit Pakistan. We missed the window of taking peace talks ahead,” Dulat said.

Referring to former Pakistan army chief turned President General Pervez Musharraf, Dulat said, “There has not been a more reasonable person on Kashmir than Musharraf.” “He had suggested a settlement across LoC but unfortunately it was not followed up seriously. Today, he has become a persona non-grata in Pakistan,” Dulat said.

On the Modi government, he said, “Looking at his massive support in Lok Sabha, he has a greater opportunity on Kashmir issue and if the government talks, holds dialogues, there will be some solutions.”

“After Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, J&K people felt that he would walk the Vajpayee path, because Kashmiris were highly impressed by Vajpayee.

“Surprisingly, Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had congratulated Modi for the win. But today, most of the
separatists have joined hands against Modi government,” the ex-RAW chief said.

“One misconception about Kashmir is that we believe they always want something from us,” Dulat said.

The Jammu and Kashmir government now a days pays only lip service to the Modi government, as a result of which the state has been in a worse situation in last four months, he said.

“Kashmir’s recent unrest has some roots in then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s press conference after his swearing-in where he praised separatists and Pakistan for ensuring smooth elections,” Dulat said.

“I think he got carried away but it gave a wrong message,” he said.

“Earlier, clashes during Amarnath yatra polarised Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

This background later led to massive stone-pelting in the valley after the killing of Burhan Wani who had the audacity to post his photo on social media and challenge the government, Dulat said.

During the UPA government, “where Manmohan Singh had everything on platter”, his advisers probably convinced him to engage only with Pakistan, which led to unrest among Kashmiris, he said.

Relations between separatist leadership and NDA regime had improved so much that Hurriyat Conference began to be called “Advani Hurriyat”, Dulat said.

“Musharraf would be regretting walking out of Agra (summit),” Dulat said about the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s visit in 2001, as it stalled the dialogue.

About the recent `surgical strike’, Dulat said, “May be we did not need so much media hype” as it leads to increase in tension. “Look at the LoC, more civilians are dying now from both sides,” he said.

Dulat and Sudheendra Kulkarni of Observer Foundation paid tributes to the senior journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, who had headed Centre-appointed interlocutors’ panel for Kashmir, and who passed away in Pune earlier on Friday.

First Published On : Nov 26, 2016 11:04 IST

Fake currency racket: Hurriyat activists, army spies, murky policemen complicate task ahead

Security agencies in Kashmir have claimed to have unearthed a large-scale fake currency and hawala racket, one that involves a territorial army spy and some Hurriyat leaders as well.

According to police officials, several people have been apprehended in Kashmir over links with different incidents involving fake currency rackets and hawala transactions. Among the cases registered is the one where a territorial army spy and a police official were apprehended for receiving fake currency from across the border. The case was registered at Srinagar’s Ramunshi Bagh police station, and cops are investigating if any army personnel were involved in transporting the fake currency from Pakistan.

A top police official said that large batches of fake currency come from Pakistan, and sizeable chunks of money also reach militants involved in insurgency in the Valley. Between 2012 and 2014, police and bank authorities have recovered Rs 87.1 lakh in fake currency, while many cases are under investigation.

Image courtesy: Nicocrisafulli/FlickrImage courtesy: Nicocrisafulli/Flickr

Image courtesy: Nicocrisafulli/Flickr

Senior superintendent of police (SSP), Pulwama, Rayees Mohammad Bhat, seconded the argument that militants get fake currency notes from Pakistan. “Militants need money not only for their over ground workers (OGWs) but also for making local purchases like food and mobile phones. They hide in the forest areas, and use fake currency notes for local purchases,” he said. “This apart, there are also local militants using a different modus operandi: They print their own fake currency notes and use them between a big wad of notes to ensure it’s not detected. We have registered a lot of such cases.”

The National Investigating Agency (NIA) has also registered cases involving hawala transactions, which came to light after the arrest of a few Hurriyat activists. The NIA is investigating the role of the Naeem Geelani, the elder son of Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in a case involving the “flow of funds from various overseas bank accounts”, meant to be used in separatist activities here.

The NIA investigation has revealed that in some of the cases, even Pakistan’s ISI officials were involved. The officials supply hawala money through their contacts to the Hurriyat activists in India. To evade detection and arrest, the accused even speak in code language. The ISI has roped in militants, who along with their contacts in Srinagar, had managed to get currency from across the border. In one of the cases, a Delhi-based businessman was found guilty of helping militants get their money from across the border.

Apart from this, under-invoicing is another trick used by militants to carry out hawala transactions, say police officials. “Trucks that carry trade items across the Line of Control (LoC) aren’t checked as thoroughly, which results in a high possibility of there being fake currency being transported in these trucks,” said a senior police official.

Superintendent of police, Sopore, Harmeet Singh, said that some traders even provide money to Hurriyat leaders here “on the instructions of their contacts in Pakistan”.

A senior official said that traders from Srinagar inflate the value of the goods they are plying, and also transport higher volume of goods. “The money which is earned through transport of goods in larger volume is given to the Hurriyat leaders here,” he said.

However, Farooq Ahmed Shah, custodian, cross-LoC trade, said that the government has put in place adequate security arrangements. “It will ensure that only genuine people are involved in the trade. We are conducting the trade in barter system. The police is better equipped to investigate any cases of doubtful transactions,” he said, adding that over 350 traders from Jammu and Kashmir are are involved in the cross-LoC trade. “The value of goods is reflected properly by the traders. We have also X-ray detection facilities for checking of the goods,” Shah said.

First Published On : Nov 25, 2016 18:09 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.

‘Kashmir unrest is to dethrone Mehbooba Mufti’: PDP’s Baig stirs hornet’s nest with his latest remark

Srinagar: Stirring the hornet’s nest, the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP) said on Sunday that the four months of civilian unrest in Kashmir valley was a conspiracy to dethrone Mehbooba Mufti and her PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. They also added that who died during the agitation were innocent.

Senior party leader and MP, Muzaffar Hussain Baig said the party will not be cowed down by “nefarious designs aimed at our economic subjugation, degradation of ethics and values”.

“These four months were the most dark and oppressive months. But God is witness that it was a conspiracy against Mehboobaji. It was a conspiracy to defame PDP. They conspired to kill Burhan (Wani). May Allah have maghfirat (for dead) … they took a man’s life to dislodge Mehboobaji,” Baig said while addressing a gathering outside the party headquarters in Srinagar, without naming anyone.

Baig’s comments on the civilian killings in Kashmir over the last four months are in sharp contrast with the position that PDP president Mehbooba Mufti has taken on the issue. She had said that those who died during clashes with security forces “had not gone to buy toffees or milk”.

In a show of strength at a time when Kashmir is reeling under shutdowns and curfew, this was the first ever public rally by the PDP, which has faced criticism from all sides for civilian casualties and failing to contain the agitation following the killing of the Hizbul Mujahideen commander in early July.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

The PDP leaders who addressed the gathering underscored the need to push the agenda of peace and development through reconciliation and dialogue. The PDP leaders, once again, tried to impress that if there was ever a prime minister in India who not just enjoyed the mandate of the people but had the capacity and will, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, they said, can address the vexed issue of Kashmir.

“We have not aligned for the sake of chair. We know if there is any Prime Minister who is going to solve the problem of Kashmir, it is Modi. It is our Agenda of Alliance that has kept us intact. If our agenda is bypassed, we will throw this chair on that very same day,” Baig said to a thundering applause.

Sunday’s rally comes at a time when the separatist leadership, spearheading a four month long agitation against New Delhi, is struggling to keep the momentum alive with the vehicular traffic slowly returning to the roads in many parts of capital Srinagar and other towns and villages of Kashmir, despite calls of shutdown by the Hurriyat.

At least 94 people have been killed in 128 days of unrest in the Valley following the killing of Burhan Wani on 8 July. Thousands, including security forces, have been injured in clashes between forces and protesters. According to doctors, over 1,100 protesters suffered injuries in eyes due to pellets. Addressing the gathering, Baig said Kashmir issue will be solved only “by your votes” and not by stone pelting. “Those who have lost their lives were innocent people and they hardly knew what they were doing”.

“PM Modi went without an invitation to Pakistan and sat with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif because he had promised PDP that he would take the dialogue forward. But Pakistan reciprocated by attacking Pathankot. How are cordial relations possible in such atmosphere? But still we believe the dialogue is the only way forward,” he said.

“The two countries can’t prosper until they resolve the Kashmir dispute and it was for this purpose that our party came into being-to resolve this conundrum”.

Taking a dig at Hurriyat Conference, Baig, while pointing towards the flea market which was thronged by hundreds of people on Sunday, said the people have told the Hurriyat that they are not with ‘Hartal politics’. “This is a mazaq (joke). There is no hartal (strike),” he said, pointing towards shoppers in the market.

Earlier, the Hurriyat Conference had hit out at the PDP, terming the party as a “local stooge” of “Indian rulers” whose “hollow slogans of religious freedom, individual liberties and equal rights is nothing but the age old deceitful slogans of the imperialistic mind set which they have been using to fool others.”

The Hurriyat Conference said the “local government has purposefully joined hands with the preachers of Hindutva to implement the Nagpur agenda. They have waged war against the whole community by forcefully preventing people from their prayers.”

The PDP, however, called upon all the stakeholders to focus on political means and through the medium of well-established democratic institutions to “wriggle the state out from the brink of abyss”.

First Published On : Nov 14, 2016 21:37 IST

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.

Kashmir separatists call for joint meeting to discuss ‘future course of action’ in the valley

Srinagar: On Sunday, the separatists in Kashmir called for a joint meeting of all stakeholders on Tuesday to chalk out the “future course of action” with regard to the ongoing unrest in the Valley, while rejecting Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s statement that development was the key to a solution.

“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 organisations, bar association and people from other walks of life have been called on Tuesday, 8 November … to jointly deliberate and discuss future course of action,” the separatists said in a joint statement.

The decision to invite the stakeholders for consultations came after a meeting of the chairmen of both Hurriyat factions – Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq – and JKLF chief Yasin Malik at Geelani’s residence at Hyderpora here.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The statement said the separatist leaders “unanimously rejected” the statement of the Prime Minister “wherein he has said that development is the corner stone of Kashmir solution.”

“It was asserted that the struggle … is not meant for any economic gains or packages but for the determination of future of millions of humans living in Jammu Kashmir,” it said, adding “such manoeuvering has failed” earlier and would fail now as well.

The separatists also condemned the burning of educational institutions in the Valley, saying “this phenomenon is very grave” and alleged that these were intended “to defame the ongoing struggle.”

Condemning the recent relaxation of the syllabus by Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education, the separatists termed it as “ridiculous” and said the move “will tell upon the educational standards and individual potential of the students.”

Curfew in parts of Srinagar to prevent post-prayer protests

Srinagar: Authorities on Friday imposed curfew in some parts of Srinagar city to prevent post-prayer protests.

The police said curfew has been imposed in old city Nowhatta area while restrictions would remain in force in other parts to maintain law and order.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat group has announced that he would defy restrictions to offer Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta.

Mirwaiz has been placed under house arrest in his uptown Nigeen residence on the outskirts of Srinagar.

For the 112th consecutive day, life across the valley remained paralysed due to the separatist called protest shutdown which is now extended till 3 November.

All educational institutions including schools, colleges and universities have remained closed.

After the authorities announced holding of exams on schedule, over a dozen schools across the were gutted.

Main markets, public transport and other businesses have also remained close during this period.

Ninety-one people have been killed and over 12,000 injured since the present unrest began here on 9 July, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed.

Once final12 lakh students caught between separatist and government conflict

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Track II diplomatic efforts to persuade Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani to allow schools to function as usual failed. Instead he put up five conditions, ‘to create a peaceful and conducive atmosphere’ for resuming education in Kashmir.Three of the five members visiting the team — Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, veteran journalist Bharat Bhushan and Executive Director of the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation Sushobha Barve – on Thursday called upon Geelani for the second time urging him to not let students lose this academic year in Kashmir.Geelani also informed the delegation that if authorities were really concerned and bothered about education, they should have released the people including students, withdrawn the cases, stopped police vigil and put an end to the barbarism and night raids. He also said that they should have allowed peaceful demonstrations helping create a conducive atmosphere.”Exams can be deferred so students have time to prepare and prove their worth. Concrete action should be taken to address the root cause otherwise beating the drum of education is nothing but a mockery of the imperialistic designs to strengthen unwanted occupation,” said Geelani.More than 12 lakh students have been sitting at home since schools and educational institutions were shut down following the unrest that began after Hizbul Mujhadeen leader Burhan Wani on July 8, this year. The miscreants had burnt more than 20 schools with the latest being the Government Primary School Pattan on Wednesday night. “We repeat what we have already said before; no sane person can oppose or deny the importance of education.We believe education is a basic necessity for not only the building of the nation but also for an individual,” Geelani continued.Hurriyat hawk however did bring out the fact that while education cannot be ignored, it can only thrive in a calm, peaceful and dignified atmosphere thus making school attendance a mere farce that may sooth the eyes of perpetrators and their media, that may want to portray an “illusionary breakthrough”. “These innocent kids will be far from receiving an education because they are mentally and psychologically disturbed and terrified. Ensuring peace and calm is the constitutional responsibility of those holding reins of power with lakhs of armed forces, police and paramilitary,” he said.

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.

BJP distances itself from Yashwant-led team’s meeting with Hurriyat leader Geelani

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>BJP on Tuesday distanced itself from the meeting between Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and a delegation led by its leader Yashwant Sinha, saying the party has nothing to do with it.”It is not a BJP delegation. BJP has nothing to do with this,” its National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said.A five-member civil society delegation led by the former Union Minister today met Geelani amid continuing volatile situation in the valley. Some media outlets have said that it is a BJP delegation which is absolutely wrong, Sharma said, adding Sinha too maintained that he took up the enterprise in his personal capacity. The other members of the delegation are Wajahat Habibullah, the former chairman of National Commission for Minorities, Kapil Kak, former Air Vice-Marshal, journalist Bharat Bhushan and Sushoba Barve of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation. They plan to meet other separatist leaders too.A five-member civil society delegation led by senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday met hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani here in an attempt to break the three month impasse in Kashmir triggered by the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July. The delegation led by Sinha called on Geelani at his residence in Hyderpora area of the summer capital here.Before meeting Geelani, Sinha told reporters that they had not come as a delegation. “We are few people of goodwill who have come here on the basis of humanity. The aim is to share the pain and sufferings of the people. If we can do that, we will consider ourselves as fortunate,” he said. Asked if the team will be meeting other separatist leaders like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, Sinha said they are trying to meet everyone.In response to a question about timing of the visit, the former Finance Minister said, “That is an eternal question why did you not do it before. We are doing it at a time which is quite appropriate.”Asked if they had been invited by the separatists, Sinha said, “We do not have an invitation (from Geelani). We had requested (for a meeting) and we are going to see him.” The other members of the delegation are Wajahat Habibullah, the former chairman of National Commission for Minorities, Kapil Kak, former Air Vice-Marshal, journalist Bharat Bhushan and Sushoba Barve of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.The delegation is also scheduled to call upon moderate Hurriyat Conference leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. Mirwaiz was released from Chesma-Shahi sub-jail late last night where he was lodged on August 27.Geelani, Mirwaiz and JKLF chief Yasin Malik have been jointly issuing weekly protest programmes ever since the unrest started in the Valley.

ADHM row: Had opposed MNS’ demand of Rs 5 crore for Army fund, says Maha CM Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Facing heat over “brokering” a deal between producers of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and MNS chief Raj Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis maintained that he had opposed the offer of Rs 5 crore contribution from the film makers to the Army welfare fund. Fadnavis, however, defended his intervention to resolve the issue, saying democratic governments at times would even talk to separatists and left ultras for the sake of peace.Karan Johar’s film faced protests by MNS workers for casting Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. The film’s smooth release, later this week, was ensured at a meeting of Film Producers’ Guild, producers and MNS leader Raj Thackeray, mediated by Fadnavis last week. A key demand conceded at the meeting was Rs 5 crore contribution from makers for the army welfare, which sparked strong reactions from opposition parties and some army veterans.”Thackeray had put three demands, out of which there was no objections to the other two. When the issue of Rs 5 crore came up, I intervened and made it clear to the Film Producers’ Guild that they need not have to agree to it. I also told them that the contribution has to be made voluntarily. However, it was producers’ decision to accept it,” Fadnavis said on Monday evening at his residence ‘Varsha’.”I categorically told that although it is nice that the Guild has decided to stand by the families of our martyrs but it is not a compulsion. Still if they wish to do, they may contribute whatever amount they feel (is) appropriate. This figure of (Rs) 5 crore came from MNS but was not agreed in the meeting and turned down then and there only,” he said.Asked about the opposition allegations of “brokering” the deal shirking his prime duty of ensuring land and order, he said, “Another choice was deploying thousands of police staff outside theatres (when film releases). I would then face allegations like I have spoiled Diwali holiday of police staff. Issues should be solved by talking, and we are a democratic government,” he said.Before the intervention, Mumbai Police had arrested MNS activists who demonstrated over the issue, hence there should not be any doubts about the government’s intentions. Some even called that the government is playing both sides, which is not true, he added.Apart from the opposition, ruling partner Shiv Sena has slammed Fadnavis’s intervention in the matter and had termed it as an act of “siding with Pakistani personalities.”On this, the CM said, “Did our governments not talk with separatists like Hurriyat (Conference) or negotiate with Naxal groups for peace? Then holding discussions with a political party, though this is a comparatively a minor issue, should not be criticised so bitterly. I think, successful mediation has disappointed some people,” he said.He also refuted charges of going soft on MNS and emphasised that there was “no political motive” behind such negotiations.

ADHM row: Had opposed MNS’s Rs 5 crore demand right there in meeting, says Fadnavis

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Under fire over “brokering” a deal between producers of “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil” and MNS chief Raj Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has maintained that he had opposed the offer of Rs 5 crore contribution from makers to the Army welfare fund.Karan Johar’s film faced protests by MNS workers for casting Pakistani actor Fawad Khan. Film’s smooth release, scheduled to open on October 28, was ensured at a meeting Film Producers’ Guild, producers and MNS Thackeray, mediated by Fadnavis last week. A key demand conceded in the meeting was Rs 5 crore contribution from makers for the army welfare.”Thackeray had put three demands, out of which there was no objections to the other two. When the issue of Rs 5 crore came up, I intervened and made it clear to the Film Producers’ Guild that they need not have to agree to it. I also told them that the contribution has to be made voluntarily. However, it was producers’ decision to accept it,” Fadnavis said last evening at his residence ‘Varsha’.”I categorically told that although it is nice that the Guild has decided to stand by the families of our martyrs but it is not a compulsion. Still if they wish to do, they may contribute whatever amount they feel (is) appropriate. This figure of (Rs) 5 crore came from MNS but was not agreed in the meeting and turned down then and there only,” he said.When asked about allegations of “brokering” the deal, Fadnavis said, “Another choice was deploying thousands of police staff outside theatres (when film releases). I would then faced allegations like I have spoiled Diwali holiday mood of police staff. Issues should be solved by talking, and we are a democratic government,” he said.Before intervention, Mumbai Police had already arrested MNS activists, hence there should not be any doubts about government’s intentions. Some even called that state government is playing both sides, which is not true, he added.BJP’s ally Shiv Sena has slammed the CM’s intervention in the matter and had termed Fadnavis’s act as “siding with Pakistani personalities.”On this, the CM said, “Did our governments not talk with separatists like Hurriyat (Conference) or negotiate with Naxal groups for peace? Then holding discussions with a political party, though this is comparatively a minor one (issue), should not be criticised so bitterly. I think, successful mediation has disappointed some people,” he said.He also refuted charges of going soft on MNS and emphasised that there was “no political motive” behind such negotiations.

Hurriyat leader Aga Syed Hassan detained after meeting Pak High Comm Abdul Basit

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader and prominent Shia cleric Aga Syed Hassan was put under house arrest on Friday, shortly after his return from New Delhi, where he met the Pakistan High Commissioner and discussed the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”Syed Hassan was detained at his Budgam residence (in central Kashmir) soon after his return from Delhi,” a spokesman of his Anjuman-e-Sharie Shian, a constituent of hardline Hurriyat Conference, said in a statement. He said the Hurriyat leader had gone to the national capital for a medical checkup on the advise of his doctors as his continuous detention had badly affected his health.”The state administration had allowed Aga (Syed Hassan) to go to Delhi where he also met Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit on Tuesday,” the spokesman said.”Hassan discussed the ongoing resistance (unrest) movement in the Valley and the aggressive revenge adventure for breaking the determination and courage of Kashmiri people,” he added.

Kashmir unrest: 100 days after Burhan Wani, lies and mismanagement run rampant

A hundred days after Kashmiri militant commander Burhan Wani was killed, lies and mismanagement have seamlessly turned a mass uprising into large-scale cross-border militancy.

The lies are so blasé that they have even got the century mark wrong. Kashmir was awash with talk on Sunday that it was the 100th day of curfew. Of course, twisting facts is more or less normal in this ‘conflict zone,’ but this particular twist is bizarre. For, it is precisely because the government did not impose curfew on those fateful days, 8 and 9 July, that South Asia is now set on a terrible course.

Since the news of Burhan’s death only spread after 7 pm on the evening of 8 July, and there certainly was no night curfew, the first possibility of curfew would have been on 9 July, the day of Burhan’s funeral.
Especially those who have reported the many back-to-back funerals (eyewitnesses say half-a-dozen, interspersed with long rounds of speeches) should know how strict the curfew was imposed on that day. In fact, hysterical mobs attacked police stations and paramilitary camps across the valley. Some posts were set on fire. One police station was burned to the ground. Its armoury was looted.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Even after 9 July, curfew was not imposed on most of the last 100 days in significant parts of the Kashmir Valley. In Tral, from where Burhan hailed, there was no sign of police, army or paramilitary until a month ago – i.e., most of the first 70 days. That was excellent strategy. For, there was no death or injury there either.

Of course, the phase of repression and depraved police brutality that has followed will only cause more alienation, and insurgency.

But the ‘narrative’ is oblivious to these variations. It says in its blithe two-dimensional imbecility that the entire place has been locked down for hundred days.

Migrant work ethic

On the morning of 11 July, the Monday after Burhan was killed, I drove through large parts of Srinagar. In many places, I saw large numbers of migrant workers standing or squatting on the roadside — waiting for contractors who would hand out work for that day. No contractors were to be seen. Most of those whom the Indian taxpayer pays salaries were absent from work. A few shops were open, though their owners looked uneasy.

The government was invisible. It remained paralysed for several weeks, as those in power waited in vain hope for things to ‘settle down’ without their having to lose popularity. A very vain (pun intended) hope on both counts, as it predictably turned out. Things didn’t settle down. Their popularity plummeted.
But nobody apparently had the intelligence to figure out that the common pattern of attacks on security establishments across the valley could not have been a gigantic coincidence. A long war would unfold.

Restrictions versus narrative

During the first few weeks, the then divisional commissioner had said that ‘restrictions’ were in place. It was a suitable term. For, in fact, there have been only restrictions, at least in most parts of Srinagar through these 100 days. Security men have allowed one past their barricades, even in the often turbulent Downtown on a Friday afternoon in late July, so long as one was not agitating.

And yet, nobody in government challenged the ‘narrative’ of a total lockdown curfew in those crucial early weeks. I would love to be corrected here. Really, I would!

It is only over the last week or so that they have got a couple of news channels to portray what the stone-pelters have been doing. Coming so late, these bold reports risk being perceived as a less-credible counter-narrative. Nationwide, many viewers complain of being confused. Naturally!

Earlier this month, Education Minister Naeem Akhtar addressed a poignant open letter to the high profile secessionist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, highlighting the priority Islam gives to ensuring education. (Most educational institutions have been shut for three months.) The heart-touching letter would surely have moved Geelani.

The sad fact is that, by and large, the boys on the streets don’t acknowledge the Hurriyat leaders. And in any case, control over what is happening had passed across the Line of Control several weeks before.

In those crucial weeks of July, when the government was paralysed, some of its putative managers were actually trying to cozy up to ‘narrative’ walas on Facebook. It was the same old ‘we are with you, against them’ narratives that have been whispered in Delhi and Jammu and Srinagar far too often — ‘us’ and ‘them’ being as variable as convictions, morality and concern for the people. It happened from 1950-52, 1977, 1982 and 1987, but even those who should know better don’t seem to learn.

More recently, those managers have been trying to buy over  the ‘narrative’ walas. That’s another familiar story — raise the price and then squeeze. Such absolutely intolerable cynicism pervades this ‘conflict zone’ that some of those who kill militants have been known to do much the same with regard to the price on militants’ heads.

The problem with all this is not so much that the world at large is confused or misinformed as a result; the problem is the two-fold anger dividend on the ground. One, the ‘narrative’ raises the anger of the agitating youth, as it is calculated to do. In the bargain, it demoralises and frustrates those of the forces that have exercised restraint. Sooner or later, the resulting anger among soldiers will wreak havoc.

No wonder we are skidding headlong into the quagmire of a war-like situation.

Kashmir issue: Hurriyat asks UN to intervene

Fri, 7 Oct 2016-08:17pm , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Separatist Hurriyat Conference asked the United Nations on Friday to intervene on the Kashmir issue by prevailing upon India to “shun violence” and initiate process for granting right to self determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”Since we believe and understand that Kashmir dispute remains at the centre of the regional conflict, we appeal you to challenge the behaviour of Indian State in Jammu and Kashmir and urge it to stop this reign of terror. In the interests of regional peace and global justice we once again implore you to intervene and prevail upon the Indian state to shun violence and initiate processes for granting universally recognised Right to Self Determination to the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” the separatists said in a memorandum addressed to the UN.As its proposed march to the local office of the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was foiled by authorities by imposing curfew in some parts and restrictions elsewhere, the separatist camp released the memorandum to media outlets in Srinagar.

Pakistan Parliament passes resolution, says Kashmir is not an integral part of India

Islamabad: Pakistan Parliament on Friday unanimously passed a resolution rejecting India’s assertion that Kashmir is an integral part even as it called for a result-oriented dialogue with New Delhi for resolution of all outstanding issues including Kashmir.

File image of Sartaj Aziz. Reuters

File image of Sartaj Aziz. Reuters

The joint session of the Pakistan Parliament, which has been discussing the current tension with India since Wednesday, unanimously passed the resolution, urging the international community to carry out an independent investigation into “gross human rights violations” in Kashmir.

The resolution moved by Pakistan Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz called upon the world community to play its role in stopping “Indian brutalities” in Kashmir. The resolution also expressed concerns over the detention of Hurriyat leaders and human rights activists and urged the Indian government to release them.

“It strongly deplored the draconian laws which have created an environment of impunity” for Indian forces, Radio Pakistan reported. The resolution rejected India’s assertion that Kashmir is an integral part of India, recalling that it is a “disputed
territory” on the agenda of the United Nations.

It urged the Indian government to immediately stop “terrorising” the people and fulfill its commitment regarding international and humanitarian laws. The resolution condemned the repeated “ceasefire violations” by India. It also reiterated Pakistan’s desire for a “result-oriented dialogue” with India for resolution of all outstanding disputes including that of Jammu and Kashmir.

At the start of the session on Wednesday, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had hit back at his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, saying poverty cannot be eradicated by “driving tanks on farmlands”. He had also needled India again by calling Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani the “valiant son of Kashmir”.

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.

J&K: Curfew continues for second day in Kishtwar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The curfew imposed in Kishtwar district following stone pelting incident triggered by arrest of three separatists remained in force for the second day on Monday even as several towns of Doda and Bhaderwah observed partial shutdown in protest against the arrests. Three separatist leaders in the town were arrested on Saturday night and booked under Public Safety Act (PSA) for disrupting peace in the district following which some persons resorted to stone pelting prompting the authorities to impose curfew in the district.One more person has been arrested from the town for instigating trouble. The curfew that was imposed yesterday as a precautionary measure continues for second day today,” Deputy Commissioner (DC) Kishtwar, Ghulam Nabi Balwan told PTI.”The situation right now is normal and peaceful. The district administration will hold a review meeting and if the community leaders guarantee peace, the curfew would be relaxed,” Balwan said. Sources said the three Hurriyat leaders were booked under PSA for allegedly delivering hate and anti-India speeches since August 4. They were also allegedly instigated the youth to resort to stone pelting and violent protests. Security has been stepped up in the sensitive areas of the district with the deployment of additional personnel of police and para military forces.”The administration is taking all precautionary measures to ensure that law and order continues to be in place in the district,” the DC said, adding, whosoever tries to vitiate the peaceful atmosphere of the district would be dealt as per the law. Meanwhile, several towns of Doda and Bhaderwah observed partial shutdown today in protest against the imposition of curfew in the Kishtwar town.Shops and other business establishments and schools belonging to a particular community in Doda and Bhaderwah were closed whereas government offices and banks functioned normally.

Kashmir curfew lifted: Valley returns to normalcy with busy markets, traffic jams

It was for the first time in last over two-and-half months that the Sunday market stayed open at Lal Chowk, Kashmir’s main market, which had usually seen deserted roads and closed shops. The curfew, which was imposed in the Valley for the last 79 days, was lifted from all parts of Kashmir on Sunday but restrictions on an assembly of people remained in force in most areas as a precautionary measure.

The footpath vendors had laid out the used clothes, shoes, and handicraft products on the charpoys as people thronged the market. People had lined up outside petrol pumps and heavy movement of vehicles during the day caused traffic jams at many places.

The crowded markets in Srinagar. Image: Ishfaq Naseem / Firstpost

The crowded markets in Srinagar. Image: Ishfaq Naseem / Firstpost

In the new protest calendar that was issued by the separatists in Srinagar, it was for the first time that the relaxation was given from 2 pm to 6 am on Sunday. In the previous week, there was no relaxation in the strike even during Eid. Even during those two days of the Muslim festival, three people were killed as youth clashed with the forces.

However, Sunday was unusual as would be the evenings when according to the Hurriyat calendar, shops, and other business establishments stay open between 6 pm to 6 am. The protest calendar has changed the routines of the people who work in Kashmir. The working hours for many have spilled into the night and in a large number of areas of Kashmir normalcy returns in the evening after daylong clashes with the forces and the blockades on the roads are removed.

Nazir Ahmad Mir, the owner of Sonatraders, a gas distribution agency, said that he has turned to a new routine following the strike calendar issued by the separatists after the killing of Burhan Wani,  Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander. He wakes up before 4 am to oversee the supply of gas cylinders from his godowns at Bemina and Karanagar in Srinagar city and ensures that the delivery is done before 6 am. In the evening, he brings the staff from different parts of Srinagar to his Karan Nagar office who works late into the night to sell the gas cylinders. Mir has turned to this new routine of working in the evening instead of day, after the strike call given by the Hurriyat Conference.

In a fresh protest calendar, issued by the separatists recently, have asked the people to observe the shutdown till 29 September. Besides marking a new way of life in Kashmir, the ongoing protests have also united the two factions of Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq who are issuing a common calendar now. The people are also following the calendar to observe different modes of protests. Youth and elderly are seen rolling out mats on the roads to offer prayers and even turn to the cleaning of lanes and drains.

Motorists queuing at the petrol pump. Image: Ishfaq Naseem / Firstpost

Motorists queuing at the petrol pump. Image: Ishfaq Naseem / Firstpost

Around 6 pm shopkeepers are seen opening the shutters and vendors lay wares on the footpath and roads are cleared of blockades. Barbers shops remain filled with people as they wait for their turn for the haircut while people jostle to fill their vehicles at petrol pumps. On Sunday, after 2 pm almost every shop was open in Chanapora and Jawahar Nagar. Traffic police had a tough time regulating the jams in Srinagar as people had parked the vehicles outside the shops in Lal Chowk due to which the pedestrian movement was also affected. There was a total gridlock in the city and it took hours for people to reach the Lal Chowk.

Shiekh Maieed, who runs the Gulshan Book Shop in Srinagar, said: “It was like Eid today. I am studying in Delhi and came to Srinagar only a week back. It has been a great relief after the markets opened.”

Rouf Ahmad Shiekh, who works at the bookshop, said that he feels that “a siege has been lifted.”

At a famous handicrafts shop, Amirudin and Sons, salesman Aijaz Ahmad, said that they have been footing losses of between seven to eight thousand on a daily basis. He, however, said that Kashmir issue should be resolved soon so that people can live peacefully.

The owner of Sonatraders, Mir, said that he has to also bring the staff to the office due to the protests. “I have adjusted to a new routine of life after the protest calendars were issued by the Hurriyat Conference. The internet services remain suspended here due to which we are not able to make the online bookings for home delivery. It is due to this that I have to ferry the staff to the office during the relaxation in the shutdown announced,” he said.

The Hurriyat Conference has issued the calendar asking people to carry out their business between 6pm to 6 am. However, President of the Federation Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK), Mohammad Ashraf Mir, said that the industries have not benefitted from the protest calendar.

“Due to the incidents of stone pelting we are not able to carry the truckloads of material to the industrial estates. However, there are only a few industries which are functional like the two medical oxygen supply plants. We are footing a loss of Rs 100 crore daily, but we are continuing with the protests as more than the business’ loss it is the loss of daily lives that matters for us. The government should hold dialogue with separatists to end the current unrest.”

Hurriyat leader Geelani criticises UN Secy General for not mentioning Kashmir

Thu, 22 Sep 2016-12:55am , Srinagar , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Geelani was on Wednesday critical of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon for not mentioning the Kashmir issue in his speech at the world body and termed it as “very shocking”.”We had pinned hope that his Excellency will make a reference to Kashmir issue during his official speech. It is highly disheartening and unfortunate,” Geelani said in a statement here. He said it is “very shocking” that while referring to conflicting zones in world, the UN chief did not make any mention of Jammu and Kashmir.”Kashmir remains a long-pending issue and UN stands accountable and answerable as to why it ignores and shuts its eyes from this issue which tops the UN agenda since 1947,” the Hurriyat hawk said. He said despite more than 18 resolutions passed in favour of Kashmir, “we as a nation fail to understand why this august House can t fulfill its own commitment.”

PoK men living in Italy fund Kashmir unrest via separatists, says ED

Firdous Ahmad Shah and Yar Mohammad Khan, Hurriyat separatists, have been charged by the ED for money laundering, raising finance for terror activities, holding proceeds of terrorism. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Enforcement Directorate had sought the details on six men from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) who live in Italy for funding terror activities in Kashmir via the Hurriyat separatists, reports The Times of India. The ED had filed for the information less than three weeks before the Uri attack and given it to the district court on 24 August, 2016 and 30 August, 2016.The report says Hurriyat separatists, Firdous Ahmad Shah and Yar Mohammad Khan used Italian remittance firm, Madina Trading, at Corso Garibaldi to receive money from the men from PoK. The firm is based in Brescia, Italy. The same company was used to make a internet protocol account for 26/11 attackers in 2008 with software firm Callphonex. Shah and Khan have been charged with money laundering, raising finance for terror activities, holding proceeds of terrorism, waging and attempting war against India.Shah is also a member of Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s hardline Hurriyat Conference and chief of Democratic Political Movement.

34% polling in Anantnag despite boycott calls

Defying separatists’ boycott calls and militant threats, around 34 per cent of voters cast their ballots in the prestigious Anantnag constituency on Wednesday.The voting percentage was five per cent less than the 2014 assembly polls when the late chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed won the seat by 6,000 votes. The byelections in the constituency were necessitated with the demise of Mufti on January 7.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This time around Mufti’s daughter and Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti is locked in a triangular battle with Congress and National Conference from this prestigious seat.Voter turnout in Wednesday’s by polls was recorded at 33.84 per cent compared to 39 per cent in 2014 in the Anantnag constituency. In 2008, the voter turnout in the constituency was recorded at 41 per cent.Traces of boycott were also visible in certain areas with some polling booths recording negligible polling percentage. Particularly the urban areas in the Anantnag town were oblivious to the polling. In Lal Chowk polling booth only 40 out of 275 votes were cast by 3 pm. There were other polling booths including Qazibagh which witnessed very less polling.”Elections are not going to solve any issue. We need to look for bigger issues that confront people,” said Sameer Ahmad in Anantnag town.Enthusiasm marked the elections in rural belts of the Anantnag constituency. Long queues of people were witnessed outside the polling booths. People particularly the first timers were thrilled to cast their ballot.”I have been studying in Jammu. Since there are vacations I came to Kashmir. I am casting my ballot for the first time and I am very much thrilled to exercise my right to franchise,” said Gurleen Kour, a BDS student.The polling was conducted in the backdrop of threats by militants and call for poll boycott by various separatists groups including hard-line Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Hizbul Mujhadeen militant group had put up posters asking voters to stay away from the polls in Anantnag constituency.Chief electoral officer of Jammu and Kashmir Shantmanu said the polling was peaceful and incident free in the Anantnag constituency. “It was an incident free poll. There was no major untoward incident. There was no major complaint. There were few complaints about the violation of model of conduct. But all of them have addressed, examined and disposed off,” he said.Shantmanu said 117 polling booths were set up including 15 for migrants in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi.

Hurriyat Conference to make ‘serious attempt’ to bring back Kashmiri Pandits

Srinagar: In a significant move, separatists have decided to hold talks with Kashmiri Pandit migrants to discuss their return to the Valley, marking their first “serious attempt” to bring back the community which was forced to leave over 26 years back due to militancy.

Making the announcement during his sermons after the Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid, moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said there is no precondition for the return of Pandits who are “part and parcel” of Kashmiri culture and ethos and they can support any political ideology while being in the Valley.

“We have decided to form a joint committee from the resistance (separatist) camp—both groups of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF led by Mohammad Yasin Malik—which will interact with members of the Kashmiri Pandit community in the state and elsewhere as part of efforts to pave way for their return to Kashmir,” he said.

Mirwaiz said the joint committee would hear out the Kashmiri Pandits to understand their reservations about returning to their homes in the Valley.

File photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. ReutersFile photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

File photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

“This is not just a lip service but a serious effort for bringing the Kashmiri Pandits back to the Valley as they are part and parcel of our culture and ethos,” he said.

The Hurriyat chairman said the separatist camp wanted the Pandits to return to their native places instead of being nestled in isolated townships.

“They are free to support whichever political ideology they want…They may support India. That does not deprive them of their rights as Kashmiris,” he said.

This will mark the first serious effort by the separatists to bring back the Pandits who were forced to leave the Valley starting from late 1989 after the onset of militancy.

At present, there are about 62,000 registered Kashmiri migrant families, who have moved from the Valley to Jammu, Delhi and other parts of the country.

Various governments have from time to time devised policies for return of Kashmiri Pandits but those attempts have been unsuccessful. Even the present PDP-BJP government is working on such a policy.

Later, Mirwaiz led a protest rally against the new industrial policy of the state government, alleging it was part of the RSS’ design to change the demography and occupy the resources of the state.

“There is no clarity on whether land in industrial estates will be given to outsiders. Four statements have come from the government within a short span of time. The government will do well to make its stand clear or face the consequences,” he said.

Sainik Colony row: Mufti does U-turn; releases separatists Geelani, Farooq from house arrest

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has retracted her decision to put separatists leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, under house arrest to prevent them from holding a protest rally against the proposal to set up a Sainik Colony in Kashmir.

Mehbooba, according to ANI report, has decided to go soft on the separatist leaders and has given a nod to their release.

The issue had been a soft spot for the Mufti government ever since she assumed power after the demise of her father and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. The row started when reports surfaced that the government is planning to allot land for setting up shelters for the Kashmiri Pandits and army personnel in the state.

The Mufti government had however, tried to dismiss it as a “demand made by the state subjects” which is still under review. She also clarified that the colony has nothing to do with ‘non-state subjects’. Taking on the opposition for blowing the issue out of proportion, Mufti had said that gossip mongrels were using a non-issue to “disrupt peace in the valley.”

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mebooba Mufti. AFP

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mebooba Mufti. AFP

However, the proposal for the colony did not specify whether non-state subjects could be allocated the space or not, drawing Mufti government much flak from the Opposition and the separatist leaders, reports said.

Following this, in an unprecedented move, both the factions of separatist groups,  Hurriyat conference and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) had decided to come together against the government’s decision allocate land for separate colonies for Army personnel and Kashmiri Pundits in the valley.

The hard-line separatist leader Geelani and JKLF leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq met and agreed that it was a do or die situation for Kashmiris and freedom fighter, according to an India Today report.

The two groups decided to come together to launch a campaign against the establishment of Sainik Colony in the valley. Following this, the government had ordered a house arrest for the two senior leaders to preserve the law and order situation in the valley, and arrested the JKLF chief Muhammad Yasin Malik— which it later backed away from.

Earlier on 25 May, the Jammu and Kashmir government had ordered the arrest of Malik on the eve of another such protest rally planned in the state.

The separatists have condemned any efforts to establish pockets of kashmiri Pandit and army settlements, stating it is an attempt “to change Kashmir’s demography”. The Hurriyat spokesperson had alleged that the new communal government will use its entire force and machinery to dilute Kashmir’s demography to suit its own agenda, according to a India Today report.

The Mufti government has however categorically denied allegations of giving a go-ahead to Sainik Colony, according to The Indian Express report.

The Opposition has raked up the issue in the Assembly several times, staging protests and walk-out from the House. The National conference leader, Omar Abdullah‘s series of tweets have angered the chief minister much.

Sainik colony row: Separatists leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq briefly detained ahead of meet

Separatists leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq were briefly put under house arrest on Sunday ahead of their meeting on the Sainik colony issue. They were later released. Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik is still detained, ANI reported.According to reports, both factions of the Hurriyat Conference and the JKLF are launching a joint effort against the state government’s decision to set up separate colonies for Sainiks and Kashmiri Pandits in the valley.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Post the 2008 Amarnath land row, this is reportedly the first time in eight years the separatists are assembling at one platform. Though the Jammu and Kashmir Government has reiterated that it has no plans to set-up a Sainik colony in the Valley, the controversy was raked up after reports that the government is planning to set up shelters for “floating population” and implement a new industrial policy that allows a non-state subject to get land on lease anywhere in Kashmir for 90 years.

J&K govt cracks down on ‘united’ Kashmiri separatists over Sainik and KP colonies

Srinagar: Unnerved by a joint strategy formulated by “united” separatist camp against the government’s plans to construct Sainik Colonies for retired army officials and ghetto-type housing complexes for displaced Kashmiri migrants, the Jammu and Kashmir government has come down heavily on separatist leaders by putting them either behind bars or under constant house detention.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman, Yasin Malik, was put in city’s Central Jail for a week. He was briefly released on Friday evening but was rearrested on Saturday soon after he addressed a press conference in Srinagar. JKLF, in a statement, said that Malik has been arrested in a case dating back to 1987 elections which were largely seen as rigged and are believed to be responsible for fanning large-scale militancy in Kashmir.

“If so-called rulers and their authorities have any shame left, they should instead of caging resistance leaders and activists, find some courage and compete with them on political fronts,” the statement read.

Malik is the main driving force for “uniting” the already divided separatist camp against the government plans of building colonies for ex-army men and Kashmiri pandits. Since the government’s plans of constructing colonies were “exposed” by a local newspaper, Kashmir Reader, the separatists issued joint statements to oppose any such plans. The separatists say the move was aimed at deeply polarising Kashmir.

Moderate Hurriyat (M) leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is also under house detention, lashed out at J&K government for “worst-ever” crackdown on separatist leaders. “The way this government is behaving with us is worst-ever dictatorial approach. This government is pushing people to wall and is creating a vacuum on the ground. This shows the frustration of government and police over united approach of pro-freedom leaders of Kashmir,” he told local media.

Accusing the government of committing blunders, senior Hurriyat leader, Nayeem Khan, said that the choking of the movement of separatist leaders would further trigger public anger on ground.

“This time the approach by the government is more harsh and rigid. The fact is that the public is against the plans of establishing separate colonies for retired army men and clusters for migrant Kashmiri Pandits,” Khan said. Lashing out at the government for its policies, Hurriyat (G) Chairman, Syed Ali Geelani, who is under house arrest, said the separatists would continue to protest until government revokes its decisions.

“We will resist all such attempts aimed at turning the Muslim majority Kashmir into minority. We will register our protest till government revokes its decisions to set up separate colonies for Pandits and ex-army men,” Geelani said.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The Hurriyat Conference and JKLF have termed the government plans of building separate colonies as “nefarious designs to change the demography of the state.” They have also warned government of “serious consequences” if their leaders aren’t released before the holy month of Ramadan. Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir Police have justified the crackdown on the Hurriyat leadership for maintaining “peace” in the Valley.

“The separatists have been taken into preventive custody to ensure that the peace is not disturbed in the Valley. Nobody will be allowed to disturb the peace,” Syed Javaid Mujtaba Geelani, the Inspector General of Police, said.

Separatists from across the different faction of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF including Shabir Shah, Ashraf Sehrai, Ghulam Nabi Shumji, Altaf Shah, Ayaz Akbar, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, Hilal War and Showkat Bakshi have been lodged in various police stations or kept under house detention by the police.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, cautioned the government of any decision on Pandit and Sainik Colonies.

“All the political parties and stakeholders should be taken into confidence and no unilateral decision should be taken on this sensitive issue,” Azad said.

While the Jammu and Kashmir government is in continuous denial over the allotment of the land for Sainik Colonies, the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies (JKCSS) Saturday made some startled revelations about the construction of apartments in Old Air Field on the outskirts of Srinagar. JKCSS asked government to come clean on the purpose of 47 apartments blocks being constructed inside Old Air Field base.

“If it is not part of the proposed Sainik Colony, the government and the army should clarify the status of this upcoming colony inside the Old Air Field,” the JKCSS said in a statement. But CM Mehbooba has denied any settlement of non-state subjects in the Sainik Colonies by the government. “I want to make it clear that the Sainik Colonies are meant for ex-army men who are State Subjects,” she said in the Assembly last week.

On separate Pandit colonies, she said the government would set up transit accommodation to facilitate the return of migrant Pandits to the valley. Former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, shared government documents about the allotment of land in the Old Airfield area for proposed Sainik Colony triggering war of words between the government and opposition.

Public anger in Kashmir is visible against the government’s move. A statewide shutdown called by separatists against the Sainik and KP Colonies on 26 May evoked strong response from the general public. Emboldened separatists are mulling to launch large-scale protests if government doesn’t revoke its orders on separate colonies.

Separatists creating controversy over Kashmiri Pandits issue unfortunate: BJP

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Friday said displaced Kashmiri Pandits are an integral part of the Kashmiri milieu and questioned separatists in the Valley for creating a controversy over their return. “It is unfortunate that the separatist groups in the Valley are trying to create a controversy out of an issue on which there always existed a near unanimity of opinion in the Valley. Kashmiri Pandits are an integral part of the Kashmiri milieu. “I have myself heard hardline Hurriyat leaders including (Syed Ali Shah) Geelani talking about Pandits as integral part of Kashmiriyat. So was the case with all the other Hurriyat factions,” Madhav told reporters here. The BJP general secretary was here for a meeting with senior state leaders of the party. He also met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti last evening. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Madhav said the state government would hold consultations with all sections of Kashmiri society, including Pandit leaders, for the return of the displaced community. He said the government was committed to bringing back the Pandits with honour and security. “We gave a commitment in our Common Minimum Programme that the Kashmiri Pandits have to be brought back to the Valley with honour and also with security,” he said. He said the separatists were going against the interests of the people of the state by raking up issues on which there was no controversy. “Tourism is in full swing and people are traveling to the state in hordes. It is the time when people here earn their livelihood and the separatists are giving bandhs and raking up issues on which there is no controversy at all, for example the Kashmiri Pandits issue. It is actually going against the interests of the people of the Valley, Madhav said. Madhav also talked about the controversial Sainik Colony issue, saying a decision would be taken by the government at an appropriate time. “You see Sainik Colony issue is an issue of the previous government. It was in the Omar Abdullah government’s time that some movement happened on this issue. An appropriate decision will be taken by the government at an appropriate time,” he said. The BJP leader also questioned why Omar was making it into an issue at this time.Commenting on the rise of anti-militancy operations in the Valley, Madhav said it was necessary for preserving peace in the state.”Action against militants has been happening in the state for several years now. Action against militants is necessary for preserving the peace in the state. But our government, both at the Centre and in the state, will ensure that no innocent is affected, no innocent is killed.”

Jammu and Kashmir separatists call for shutdown on Thursday

Even as authorities ruled out exclusive colonies for Kashmiri Pandits or Sainik colonies in the Valley, the issues brought the divided separatist camp together with chairmen of both factions of Hurriyat Conference and JKLF calling for a shutdown on Thursday to counter “plans to change the demography” of Jammu and Kashmir.Chairman of moderate Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF Chief Mohammad Yasin Malik called on hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani at his Hyderpora residence this evening and held a closed door meeting for about one-and-a- half hours in which they decided to call for the general strike on May 26, a statement issued by hardline Hurriyat said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The leaders held a detailed discussion over the serious situation prevailing in the Jammu and Kashmir and deliberated upon the future course of action in this regard,” the statement said.The leaders also called for a peaceful protest after the Friday prayers against the “proposed plans of creation of the separate clusters for the Pandits, establishment of Sainik colonies, harassment of the Jammu Muslims, new anti-Kashmir industrial policy and the attempts of demographic changes in Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.Appealing for people’s support to make the proposed shutdown call a success, they said, “It is our collective fight for our collective existence and every citizen should play his part in this regard.”

Srinagar: Pakistani flags raised during a Hurriyat rally

During a rally organised by moderate Hurriyat conference in old city on Friday, Pakistani flags were waved. “Pakistani and green (Islamic) flags were waved by a group of youth at the rally led by Hurriyat Conference chairman Murwai Unar Farooq,” a police official said.He said the rally was taken out from Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of the city as part of series of events organised by Hurriyat on the eve of 26th death anniversary of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, father of the current Mirwaiz.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The official said police is investigating as to who hoisted the controversial flags.
ALSO READ Composite township for Kashmiri Pandits ‘unjustified’: HurriyatThe rally culminated at Mirwaiz Manzil, head office of Awami Action Committee.

Shiv Sena slams Centre’s ‘constantly changing’ policies on Hurriyat

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s ally Shiv Sena on Wednesday took at swing at the Centre’s ‘constantly changing’ policies regarding the Hurriyat, asserting that the u-turn made by the government to allow the separatists to hold dialogues with Pakistan was nothing short of incredible.Speaking to ANI here, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said that Kashmir is an emotional and sensitive matter, adding there are divisive forces in Kashmir like the Hurriyat, who are trying to align the state with Pakistan or make it independent.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have always maintained that there should be no talks with such people because the Hurriyat wants Pakistan to be involved in talks regarding Kashmir. Even the BJP agreed with us, now suddenly allowing Hurriyat to talk with Pakistan is incredible. Even the Congress did not do this,” Raut said.
ALSO READ Kashmiri separatist leaders are Indian citizens, can meet representatives of any country, says govtHe added that if the Congress had taken this stand then the Shiv Sena would have branded the grand old party as ‘agents’ who want to sell Kashmir to Pakistan but their hands were now tied since it was the BJP.”They (government) need to think really carefully when they make decisions regarding Kashmir. It will not fare well for the nation if the Centre makes a spectacle of love with those people, who have already shaken hands with Pakistan,” Raut said.The Shiv Sena’s reaction comes in wake of the Centre yesterday giving its nod to the Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders for talks with Pakistan and its representatives, two years after imposing a policy whereby the Pakistani officials meeting Hurriyat leaders was strictly prohibited.Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) VK. Singh had in a written reply to the Parliament last week said there is no bar on so-called Kashmiri leaders meetings with representatives of any country in India since the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India and they are Indian citizens.General (Retd.) Singh reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government’s stand that there can’t be any role for any third party in the India-Pakistan dialogue process.”India has consistently maintained that there is no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan as per the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. India’s displeasure at Pakistan’s attempts to interfere in India’s internal affairs has been repeatedly conveyed to Pakistan,” he added.The NDA Government had in August 2014 cancelled the Foreign Secretary-level talks with Islamabad over Pakistan’s High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s meeting with the Hurriyat leaders prior to the talks.

Govt has realised red lines don’t work in politics or diplomacy: Hurriyat

Srinagar: Union minister V K Singh’s statement that separatist leaders can talk to Pakistan High Commissioner was on Monday welcomed by the moderate Hurriyat Conference while the hardline faction said peace will not be restored until promises made by the Centre to Kashmiri people were fulfilled.

While welcoming Singh’s statement, Chairman of moderate Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the Centre has realised that red lines do not work in politics or diplomacy, the chief of hardline faction, Syed Ali Shah Geelani said peace cannot be achieved till promises made by India to the people of Kashmir at the national and global level are fulfilled.

“It (Singh’s statement) is better late than never. Perhaps the government of India has realised the red lines which they had drawn do not work either in politics or diplomacy,” Chairman of moderate Hurriyat Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told reporters.

Terming it as a “welcome change” and an “acceptance of the reality”, he said there is no other option for India and Pakistan but to engage with each other and take along the people of Kashmir.

A file photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. ReutersA file photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

A file photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

He suggested that the Centre need to revisit the policies of “shedding the beaten track and take new initiatives” of former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee to address Kashmir issue.

In a written reply in Parliament on 28 April, Singh had said that since the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India and these so-called Kashmiri ‘leaders’ are Indian citizens, there is no bar on their meetings with representatives of any country in India.

The Mirwaiz said the Kashmir is among India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir, and Hurriyat has always maintained that it is the primary party to the dispute.

He also accused the state government of using “oppressive methods” to silence the separatists.

The Mirwaiz threatened mass agitation if the curbs on the movement of separatists are not withdrawn immediately.

Meanwhile, dismissing Singh’s statement, Geelani said “It is not an issue for us whether we are invited or not. Our only concern is that the promises made by India to the people of Kashmir at the national and global level are fulfilled.”

“UN resolutions be implemented to give an opportunity to the people of J-K the right to self-determination. Till then peace cannot be achieved,” he told reporters.

He said Kashmir was not a border dispute between India and Pakistan, but an “internationally accepted dispute and the solution of which lies in implementation of UN resolutions.”

Geelani alleged that plans were being made by BJP and RSS to change the demography of Jammu and Kashmir by holding an all-India level medical entrance test.

“They will then be selected at all-India level and if students from here are selected, they will be sent to different states and doctors from other states will be forced upon us.

“This is the plan of RSS and BJP, to turn Valley of Muslim saints into a Hindu Rashtra. They want to force Hindutva upon us,” Geelani said.

About his successor in his party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and the Hurriyat Conference amalgam, Geelani said the leader would be chosen after consultations following his death.

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Uttarakhand loses 1,900 hectares of forests to fire; role of timber mafia being investigatedWhy is the hill-state of Uttarakhand so prone to forest fires? In the last one month itself, the state has seen 1,233 incidents of forest fires. Read more here <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kashmiri separatist leaders are Indian citizens, can meet representatives of any country, says govtThe government has said just like other citizens of India, Hurriyat leaders are also not barred from meeting representatives of other countries. However, it clarified that there would be no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between the two countries. Read more hereIPL 2016: Massive blow for Rising Pune Supergiants again, Steve Smith heads home with wrist injuryAustralia cricket captain Steve Smith has pulled out of the Indian Premier League to head home for treatment on a wrist injury. It is another big blow to MS Dhoni led Rising Pune Supergiants. Read more here ‘Steady economic growth has failed to revive jobs in India’Notwithstanding the Indian economy’s steady growth, sectors such as telecom, engineering and electronics have witnessed a decline in employment rate over the last four years, says a report. Read more hereGame of Thrones: Four theories about Melisandre’s reveal in episode oneThe first episode of Game of Thrones season six sent fans into a tizzy after it ended with a huge reveal about Melisandre. Read more here

Kashmiri separatist leaders are Indian citizens, can meet representatives of any country, says govt

The government has said just like other citizens of India, Hurriyat leaders are also not barred from meeting representatives of other countries. However, it clarified that there would be no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between the two countries.In a written answer to Parliament last week, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh had stated that the government is aware of reports regarding the presence of ‘leaders’ of the Hurriyat and other Kashmiri separatist ‘leaders’ at the Pakistan High Commission on Pakistan’s National Day.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Singh said, “Since the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the Union of India and these so-called Kashmiri ‘leaders’ are Indian citizens, there is no bar on their meetings with representatives of any country in India.”Singh, however, clarified that there could be no role of any third party in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan. “India has consistently maintained that there is no role for a third party in the bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan as per the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration. India’s displeasure at Pakistan’s attempts to interfere in India’s internal affairs has been repeatedly conveyed to Pakistan,” Singh said.According to a Times of India report, the Modi government had imposed a new precondition to talks with Pakistan in August 2014, cancelling foreign secretary talks on the argument that the Pakistani high commissioner had met Hurriyat leaders before the official talks.The India- Pakistan dialogue process was also temporarily halted after the Pathankot attack and the Pak envoy to India, Abdul Basit had later said that talks have been suspended between the two countries. However, the recent meeting between Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhary and his counterpart S Jaishankar on the sidelines of the ‘Heart of Asia’ conference has served as an ice-breaker in the on-off relationship between the two countries.

Kashmir: Teams for cricket tourneys named after Hizbul Mujahideen militants

Militant sympathisers in Kashmir Valley have named cricket teams participating in certain tournaments after militants, a trend security officials say should be nipped in the bud to avoid “huge problems”.A cricket tournament was recently played in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district which had few participating teams named after militants like Aabid Khan Qalandars, Khalid Aryans and Burhan Lions.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While Burhan has emerged as one of the most wanted commander of Hizbul Mujahideen over the past one year, Khalid was his brother who was killed in a security forces’ operation.Burhan had shot into prominence late last year after he uploaded pictures of his and his comrades on a social networking site.Several of 11 militants featuring in those pictures have been eliminated but Burhan remains elusive for the security forces.Many sports events, named after slain militants and separatist leaders, have been held over the past 20 years in different parts of Kashmir.Shaheed-e-Millat cricket tournament, organised in memory of Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq — slain father of Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has not become a regular feature of the cricketing calendar in Srinagar.However, this time the security forces seem to be concerned over the latest move.”If this practice is not nipped in the bud, it can create a huge problem in coming months and years. The psyche of the impressionable minds is sought to be influenced,” a security official said.He said before the onset of militancy in the state, a football club was formed in the memory of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat following his hanging in Tihar Jail in 1984.”This club would take part in tournaments within and outside Kashmir and seemingly there was nothing wrong with it.However, when militancy erupted several players joined the ranks,” the official said.National Conference working president Omar Abdullah saw a link between the trend of naming cricket teams after militants and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti representing south Kashmir in Lok Sabha.”Lest we forget this South Kashmir being mentioned is Mehbooba Mufti’s Lok Sabha constituency,” Omar said.Ruling PDP leaders chose not to comment on the issue.

Kashmir: Security officials concerned about cricket teams being named after militants

Srinagar: Militant sympathisers in Kashmir Valley have named cricket teams participating in certain tournaments after militants, a trend security officials say should be nipped in the bud to avoid “huge problems”.

A cricket tournament was recently played in Tral area of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district which had few participating teams named after militants like Aabid Khan Qalandars, Khalid Aryans and Burhan Lions.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

While Burhan has emerged as one of the most wanted commander of Hizbul Mujahideen over the past one year, Khalid was his brother who was killed in a security forces’ operation.

Burhan had shot into prominence late last year after he uploaded pictures of his and his comrades on a social networking site.

Several of 11 militants featuring in those pictures have been eliminated but Burhan remains elusive for the security forces.

Many sports events, named after slain militants and separatist leaders, have been held over the past 20 years in different parts of Kashmir.

Shaheed-e-Millat cricket tournament, organised in memory of Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq — slain father of Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, has not become a regular feature of the cricketing calendar in Srinagar.

However, this time the security forces seem to be concerned over the latest move.

“If this practice is not nipped in the bud, it can create a huge problem in coming months and years. The psyche of the impressionable minds is sought to be influenced,” a security official said.

He said before the onset of militancy in the state, a football club was formed in the memory of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat following his hanging in Tihar Jail in 1984.

“This club would take part in tournaments within and outside Kashmir and seemingly there was nothing wrong with it. However, when militancy erupted several players joined the ranks,” the official said.

National Conference working president Omar Abdullah saw a link between the trend of naming cricket teams after militants and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti representing south Kashmir in Lok Sabha.

“Lest we forget this South Kashmir being mentioned is Mehbooba Mufti’s Lok Sabha constituency,” Omar said.

Ruling PDP leaders chose not to comment on the issue.

Police detain Yasin Malik, impose restrictions ahead of JKLF founder’s funeral

Srinagar: Police on Wednesday detained Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front(JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik hours ahead of the funeral prayers in absentia for party founder Amanullah Khan, who died in Pakistan on Tuesday.

“Ahead of Gayibana Nimaz-i-Jinaza (funeral prayers in absentia) for JKLF supreme leader Amanullah Khan, Malik was arrested by police,” a spokesman of the JKLF said in a statement.

The spokesman claimed that authorities have imposed “curfew” in Lal Chowk, Maisuma, Kokerbazar, Kothibagh, Abi Guzar, court road and other adjoining areas.

File photo of JKLF leader Yasin Malik. ReutersFile photo of JKLF leader Yasin Malik. Reuters

File photo of JKLF leader Yasin Malik. Reuters

Amanullah Khan, one of the founders of pro-Independence JKLF, died in Rawalipindi, Pakistan, on Tuesday.

Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq has also been put under house arrest.

“Mirwaiz was put under house arrest this morning.He was scheduled to head the Hurriyat’s condolence meeting and join the funeral prayers at Lal Chowk, but a heavy contingent of police arrived at his Nigeen residence this morning and put him under house arrest,” a Hurriyat spokesman said.

Meanwhile, authorities imposed curfew-like restrictions in parts of Srinagar ahead of the proposed funeral prayers for Amanullah Khan.

Restriction were imposed in the city centre Lal Chowk, Maisuma and adjoining areas to prevent JKLF from holding the funeral prayers, officials said.

They said heavy contingent of police and paramilitary CRPF has been deployed in these areas of the city.

“All shops and business establishments in Lal Chowk, the commercial hub, are closed and traffic is being diverted to other routes,” the officials said.

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1. US Presidential Elections: Donald Trump sweeps five states, Hillary Clinton wins 4; moves closer to nominationDonald Trump swept primaries in five Northeastern states on Tuesday, moving closer to winning the Republican presidential nomination as he easily defeated rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich. Read more here<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>2. BJP fires fresh political salvo against Congress in Augusta chopper scamIn the face of revelations in an Italy court order over the 2013 Augusta VVIP chopper deal that puts the UPA and its senior leaders Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi under scanner. Read more here3. Pakistan snubs Hurriyat, no invite to meet for the first time in 20 yearsShock, disbelief and anger sums-up the mood in the separatist camp after Pakistan openly snubbed their leaders by not inviting them for a meeting with its visiting foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in New Delhi. Read more here4. First ever drop in iPhone sales, Apple revenue streak endsApple has reported its first-ever drop in iPhone sales since launching the smartphone in 2007 as the tech giant’s long streak of rising revenue ended. Read more here5. Vijender accepts Amir Khan’s fight challengeA day after Amir Khan said he would love to fight Vijender Singh in India, the recently-turned professional Indian boxers accepted his challenge on Tuesday. Read more here6. ‘Raees’, ‘Ra.One’ sequel and more: Shah Rukh Khan on life after ‘Fan’What will he shoot for next? There are reports that he has given a nod to at least five films. So which one will take off first? SRK talks about the films on his platter. Read more here

Pakistan snubs Hurriyat, no invite to meet for the first time in 20 years

Shock, disbelief and anger sums-up the mood in the separatist camp after Pakistan openly snubbed their leaders by not inviting them for a meeting with its visiting foreign secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry in New Delhi.”You should ask them (why they have not invited us),” retorted Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of hard-line Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. “It is probably for the first time in 20 years that there is no invite for the Hurriyat to meet any Pakistani dignitary. Last time, I believe talks were cancelled on this issue only.”<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ayaz however put up a brave face saying it does not matter whether they are invited for talks or not. “We are in principle not against talks. We never said that there should not be good relations between India and Pakistan. But we have always said Kashmir is the core dispute between the two countries and it should be solved according to the aspirations of its people,” he said.Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq played down the issue saying Pakistan foreign secretary had arrived in Delhi for Heart to Asia Conference and not specifically for bilateral.”This is not a composite dialogue. It is a separate conference. When there was any bilateral Indo-Pak dialogue we were invited. We welcome the foreign secretaries meeting and hope composite dialogue between the two countries will resume. Ultimately they have to involve Kashmiris in the process as well,” Mirwaiz told dna.Last year Pakistan called off the National Security Advisor (NSA) level talks after New Delhi objected to the proposed meeting of Sartaz Aziz with the separatists. Senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah and moderate Hurriyat Conference executive council member Bilal Gani Lone were detained and placed under house arrest soon after they landed at the Delhi airport on August 22 2015.”I was detained last time. But this time the situation is different. This time it was not a bilateral meeting between India and Pakistan. We welcome the meeting of two foreign secretaries on the sidelines. We will see when formal talks will be held,” Shah told dna

Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani says ‘Insaniyat’ slogan is ‘lip service’

Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Wednesday termed as “lip service” the slogan of “Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamhooriat” of Atal Bihari Vajpayee which was invoked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Katra yesterday while talking about development of Jammu and Kashmir.The separatist hawk said the meaning of ‘Insaniyat (humanity), Kashmiriyat and Jamhooriat (democracy)’ change on reaching Kashmir” and that these elements are being “suffocated” in the Valley.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Geelani also termed as “wrong and meaningless” the Prime Minister’s remark that Jammu and Kashmir is ‘Mini-India’, claiming that the state is a “separate entity”. He said though the brotherhood among the people, irrespective of their religious beliefs, is the hallmark of Jammu and Kashmir for centuries, but terming the state as “mini-India” is against the history and ground realities.Modi had made the remarks in Katra in Jammu during his public address after inaugurating 230-bed Shri Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital.

Unrest in Handwara indicates that Pakistan will go to any extent to claim Kashmir

The Srinagar Valley is smoldering. There was the violence at NIT, Srinagar, with media reporting that 2,000 non-Kashmiri students had left NIT, and another 1,000 non-Kashmiri students proceeded on leave. The Centre was forced to rush in CAPF units, with some students alleging that the local police beat up non-Kashmiri students who actually were the very victims of the student violence. The issue has not died down. There were calls to move the NIT out of Srinagar which the CM refused. Now student unrest is being reported in Rajouri as well.
The fires in Handwara are still burning after the violence erupted post allegations that a local minor girl was molested by army soldiers. It is a sad commentary that some Kashmiri radicals will even molest and rape local girls in order to please their masters from Pakistan’s ISI. The allegation of molestation created unprecedented violence including a mob of frenzied youth attacking an army camp. The army opened fire in self-defence which resulted in the deaths of five youths. The girl, accompanied by her father, was produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Handwara, where she revealed that after school hours on 12 April, she entered a public toilet on way back home but as she came out, she was confronted, assaulted and dragged by two boys and her bag was snatched. One of the boys was in school uniform. Significantly, a video shot right after the alleged Handwara molestation is on the social media, where the girl clearly says that no soldier tried to molest her, and that local boys had already planned to create disturbance and just wanted an excuse for it. The girl from Handwara was exceptionally brave and persisted with the truth, despite threats to her and her family from terrorists and their sympathizers. Otherwise, the situation could have been uglier.

Security personnel in Handwara. File photo. PTISecurity personnel in Handwara. File photo. PTI

Security personnel in Handwara. File photo. PTI

The separatist Hurriyat Conference questioned the credibility of the girl’s statement before the CJM and raised the issue of the youth killed because of army firing. Yes, innocent lives were lost, but it is not the army which is responsible for killing people in Kashmir. The Pakistan’s ISI and their Indian protégés (Hurriyat included) behind the violence want the world to focus its attention on Kashmir while the ISI and the Pakistan Army is slaughtering Baloch people into silence and targeting the Shia population of Gilgit-Baltistan (already reduced from 70% to 50%) through demographic invasion, institutionalized killings and military courts steamrolling valid descent. A former CISF officer, veteran of the 1st CISF Course, wrote on social media, “If you are surrounded by 1000 people who want to kill you…They are trying to burn you to death and pelting stones at you and the ones next to you, what will you do? Army men in Handwara were in the same situation. If they hadn’t fired, the mob would have lynched them. Is that what you want? If not, please support your Jawans. They did what they did to save the lives of their colleagues. Jai Hind”.
Now a blog (not any national daily) has reported that the state government is quietly shifting art treasures (including oil paintings, acrylic paintings, sculptures, artifacts wooden works, modern Art, Basohli paintings and a collection of the works of top artists of the country – collected over 58 years) on display at Kala Kendra, Jammu under pretext of ‘inadequate storage capacity’ and ‘suitable weather conditions in the Valley’. Significantly, the J&K Academy of Art Culture and Languages (JKAACL) is the custodian of these art works. Shifting these 300 paintings, 91 miniatures, 34 artifacts, 80 sculptors and a number of rare photographs has already commenced. The State Minister of State for Culture and Education was not even aware of the shifting having commenced till recently because the move was apparently ordered during the fag end of Governor’s rule. It is possible that even the Governor not aware of it. Significantly, it is being reported these art works are being shifted to the Academy’s strong room at Lal Mandi Srinagar, which was flooded with water in September 2014 causing immense damage to historic manuscripts and other art works. It is difficult to decipher whether this is an attempt to destroy old art, akin to what the Taliban and IS did elsewhere. If these art works are on display in Jammu, why can’t they remain on display to the public? The authorities can install air-conditioners and add additional accommodation, as required. Is this not better than locking them up in a strong room in Lal Mandi, awaiting the next deluge?
During 2013, the media, quoting the NIA had reported: one, Kashmiri terrorist groups had received US$ 100 million for terror operations in past two years; two, over the past 10 years. some Rs 600 crores were diverted to terrorism in J&K from within India; three, Rs 98 crores were diverted in one single year from the J&K Affectees Fund; four, the J&K Affectees Relief Trust (JAKART) has been facilitating Pakistani infiltration into J&K and; five, goods sent through trucks to POK were intentionally overpriced two-three times and additional money received was being diverted to terrorist operations. Syed Salahuddin, HuM chief has been involved in exploiting JAKART for funneling more than Rs 100 crore in J&K; manipulating funds meant for relief to finance terrorism in the state. The ISI has also been pumping in fake Indian currency, narcotics and drug money into J&K, drug proceeds being significant amount obtained through Taliban links.

With 42 terrorist training camps running full steam in PoK, the main branches of terror financing from Pakistan at Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Muzzafarabad service collection points at Pulwama, Kupwara, Sopore, Budgam, Doda, Baramula and Srinagar. It is unthinkable that with all the illegal funding coming in to finance terror, the politicians of J&K are not getting their pie. For example, how is it that the State Government is not aware of such a large diversion of funds from JAKART? Rackets like overpricing of goods transported by trucks, narcotics and fake Indian currency rackets would obviously have political connections including through the state intelligence. The irony of J&K is that none of the state governments have tried to focus on improving administration leave aside correcting the anti-national narrative, because retaining status quo implies enormous funds from all directions. So, while successful panchayat level elections are lauded, panchayats per se have little powers and hardly any finances. That is why no government in J&K has released data of the massive number of AIDS cases in the Valley courtesy Pakistani infiltrators. That is why, Pakistani and IS flags can be waved without fear. Ethnic cleansing of Kashmiri Pundits was successfully orchestrated by one political party. A subsequent attempt in Doda was made during the last regime.
Pakistan knows well that no matter what they do, including attempts to masquerade PLA Troops on posts along the LoC, it cannot get them J&K. Radical politicians and rabble rousers in J&K know this too. The more Pakistan implodes; the more ISI will attempt to destabilize India, J&K in particular. Nawaz Sharif being caught in the Panama web is an indication that the Pakistani military is holding all aces. It appears that, aided by China and cajoled by the US, the proxy war levels will be raised by Pakistan. The elder Bhutto had announced we will get the bomb even if we have to eat grass.

The present mantra of the ISI appears to be we will get J&K even if we have to sell our sovereignty to China. Only difference is that Bhutto succeeded in getting the bomb (not that he did not want J&K as well), but ISI can continue to destroy Pakistan until infinity in the vain hope of getting J&K. The Modi government and BJP as a coalition partner in J&K need to work within this paradigm.

The author is a veteran of Indian Army.

One killed and 47 injured in volatile situation in Kashmir valley

Srinagar: Volatile situation prevailed in Kashmir on Friday with one more youth getting killed and 47 others, including over 40 security personnel, being injured in clashes which rocked many parts of the valley, spreading beyond Kupwara, the epicentre of the four-day unrest.

18-year-old Arif Hussain Dar was killed while three others sustained bullet injuries when army opened fire to disperse stone-pelting mobs outside a camp in Nathnusa area of Kupwara, 100 kms from Srinagar, a police official said.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed deep anguish over the death and appealed to the general public to remain vigilant against nefarious designs of elements who want to disturb peace in the state.

The local residents were protesting against the killing of four persons — three in Handwara on Tuesday and one in Drugmulla on Wednesday — in action by security forces against protestors who were demonstrating against alleged molestation of a girl.

The three injured persons were referred to SMHS hospital for specialised treatment, the official said.

An army official said the forces opened fire only after the mobs tried to storm the camp.

“A group of protesters were pelting stones at the (army) camp but the soldiers exercised restraint. However, the situation started going out of hand as a large number of them tried to storm the camp from all directions,” he said.

With Friday’s casualty, the death toll has risen to five in the unrest that began on Tuesday following allegations of molestation of a girl in Handwara.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

While Kupwara district has been witnessing trouble since Tuesday, protests spread on Friday to other parts of the Valley including Sopore town in Baramulla district, Tral in Pulwama district, Bijbehara in Anantnag district, Srinagar city and Kangan area in Ganderbal district.

Zachaldara, Kralgund, Kralpora, Mir Mohalla, Drugmulla and Magam were the other areas in Kupwara district where violent protests were witnessed.

Two civilians were injured in action by security forces in Heeri area of Trehgam and Kupwara town during the protests.

Showkat Ahmad Ganai was hit by a teargas shell in the head at Heeri and has been referred to a hospital here while Sajad Ahmad Bhat of Poshpora sustained bullet injury in the leg in Kupwara town during protests, the official said.

A police spokesman said over 40 of its personnel had been injured in the clashes.

Among the cops, one sustained injuries after being hit by a stone at Magam while a Head Constable of Jammu and Kashmir police was injured in clashes in Kangan town.

In Sopore, a small group of 40 people indulged in stone-pelting after Friday prayers, a police official said.

In Tral town, the protestors pelted stones on a CRPF camp but they were chased away, the official said.

Incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Goriwan in Bijbehara area of Anantnag district as well, he added.

An official spokesman said the Chief Minister has expressed deep anguish over the “unfortunate death” of a youth at Natnusa in Kupwara district on Friday.

Sharing the grief of the victim s family over the inconsolable loss, Mehbooba said, “she is extremely distressed as the circle of violence has consumed yet-another life of a young boy. My heart goes out to the bereaved family of the boy who died in the prime of his youth.”

The Chief Minister appealed to general public to remain vigilant and maintain calm to defeat the nefarious designs of those who want to disturb peace in the state.

Separatist groups including JKLF and Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tried to stage separate protest demonstrations against the killings in Srinagar but their attempts were scuttled by the police and several of their activists were detained.

Mirwaiz and chairman of hardline Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani are under house detention while and JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik is in preventive custody.

Separatist groups including hardline Hurriyat Conference have called for a shutdown tomorrow to protest against the fresh deaths.

Kashmir University has announced postponing of all examinations scheduled for Saturday.

A spokesman of the varsity said fresh dates for these examinations would be notified later.

J&K: Geelani calls for shutdown in state over Handwara firing, other pol parties demand action against guilty

National Conference, Congress and CPI(M) on Tuesday demanded action against those involved in the firing in Handwara in Kashmir Valley in which two youths were killed and said the guilty be brought to book without any delay.NC President Farooq Abdullah and Working President Omar Abdullah said the onus was on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to ensure that the truth comes to the fore without any delay and the guilty are brought to book. They expressed grief and sorrow over the incident and conveyed their solidarity with the families of the two youths, a party spokesman said here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Condemning the firing by security forces, Congress and CPI(M) demanded a probe into the killing of two youths. “Expressing deep shock and grief over loss of two precious lives in Handwara, JPCC President G A Mir has strongly condemned the firing by army personnel,” a PCC spokesman said.
ALSO READ Watch: 2 youths killed in alleged army firing in Handwara in Jammu and KashmirHe said the “unfortunate incident could have been avoided” and demanded a probe into the incident, “so that the truth comes out and the guilty personnel are punished”. CPI(M) MLA from Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami also condemned the firing in Handwara town and demanded a time-bound judicial probe into the incident. “The alleged incident of molestation of a girl and subsequent killing of two youth in firing during protests is highly condemnable and heinous act which cannot be tolerated in any civilised society,” Tarigami said.He demanded that the authorities take action against those involved in the incident. Hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani called for shutdown across Kashmir tomorrow to protest the killing of the two youths.Moderate Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned the firing by security forces.

India, Pakistan must display political maturity to resolve Kashmir issue, says Hurriyat

Srinagar: The Hurriyat Conference on Friday expressed hope that the dialogue process between India and Pakistan would be carried forward as people of Kashmir are desirous of friendly relations between the two countries.

Chief of its moderate faction Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the resolution of Kashmir issue will help the two countries to reach a consensus on other outstanding issues like Sir Creek, Siachen, water and trade.

A file photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. ReutersA file photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

A file photo of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Reuters

“Sincerity and seriousness is imperative for resolving all outstanding issues including Kashmir,” the Mirwaiz said addressing a Friday congregation at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.

He said the political leadership of the two countries needs to raise above mere statements and demonstrate “political farsightedness” and “maturity” and take “solid steps” to resolve Kashmir.

Meanwhile, the amalgam’s hardline faction said it was not surprised by the suspension of dialogue.

Reacting to Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit’s statement that the peace process with India was “suspended”, Hurriyat said unless India gives up its “unrealistic approach”, the dialogue between the two countries will always be considered as a “time consuming exercise” and “no positive outcome” can be expected from it.

He said the key for peace, prosperity and development in the sub-continent lies in the resolution of Kashmir issue.

Hurriyat chief vouches for safety of NIT’s outstation students

Srinagar: Amid the NIT trouble, hardline Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Wednesday vouched for safety and security of outstation students at the institute even as he asked the Centre to ensure protection to Kashmiri students in various institutes outside the state.

“Our policy and our religion teaches us that we should not have any grudge or enmity against anybody on the basis of religion, race, caste or linguistics. If outside students are studying here, we should ensure that there is no harm done to them or any obstacle created in their pursuit for education,” Geelani told reporters in Srinagar.

Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Reuters

Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Reuters

Geelani, who reached his Hyderpora residence in Srinagar after undergoing treatment for various ailments in Delhi for the past two months, expressed his displeasure over the happenings in the NIT in Srinagar. “We will not tolerate such a situation which is against the teachings of our religion and culture,” he said.

At the same time, the separatist leader said the engineering college belonged to the state but “unfortunately India extended its occupation” to the institute as well.

“It (engineering college) was made an all India college which is the main reason for the prevailing situation,” he said, adding “despite this misadventure, we should ensure that there is no harm is done to the outside students.”

He used the issue to accuse BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena and other right wing parties of harassing the students from Kashmir studying in various institutes outside the state.

“Our children are facing harassment and torture at the hands of RSS, BJP and Shiv Sena and other right wing groups outside the valley,” Geelani said.

“Torture of Kashmiri students outside the state is a blot on the government. Unless they treat it, the blot will not vanish,” he said while terming the frequent attacks on Kashmiri students as the biggest “weakness” of the government.

“It is the responsibility of the government of India to tackle attacks on Kashmiri students,” he said.

He also appealed outside students not to indulge in any type of highhandedness with their classmates.

“They are your classmates and studying with you,” he said calling for peaceful atmosphere in the educational institutions.

Sajjad Lone: From being separatist to a minister for 2nd time in Jammu and Kashmir

Sajjad Gani Lone, younger son of People’s Conference leader Abdul Gani Lone who was assassinated in 2002 in Srinagar, was sworn in as a minister for a second time in the PDP-BJP government since he broke ranks with separatists nearly a decade ago.He has got a Cabinet berth from the BJP quota. Born on December 9, 1966, Sajjad is the younger son of Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone who was assassinated on May 21, 2002 by militants in Eidgah ground of downtown Srinagar. His father’s killing was a turning point for Lone and though he continued in Hurriyat Conference, he was accused by hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani of fielding proxy candidates in the 2002 Assembly polls.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This led to a vertical split in the separatist amalgam. He parted ways with his brother Bilal Gani Lone in February 2004 to float his own faction of People’s Conference founded by his father.The healthy turnout in the 2008 Assembly polls, which were held immediately at the end of the Amarnath Land row agitation that left 60 people dead, brought a change of mind in Sajjad, who called on the separatists to review their strategy for being heard in Delhi.He took the electoral plunge in April 2009 and contested as an independent candidate from Baramulla Lok Sabha seat. “I will take the problems of Kashmiri people to the Indian Parliament,” Sajad had said but was defeated by the National Conference candidate Sharifuddin Shariq.The 49-year-old, who married daughter of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front founder Amanullah Khan from Pakistan, spent the next five years to galvanise his party cadres.He gave a miss to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls himself but fielded a candidate from the north Kashmir constituency who lost.Sajjad was elected to the state Assembly from Handwara constituency in the election held in 2014. He defeated sitting minister Chaudhary Mohammad Ramzan of National Conference and his one-time “proxy” Ghulam Mohiuddin Sofi, who contested on a PDP ticket.

Hurriyat Conference says willing to help in India-Pakistan peace

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated peaceful resolution of problems with Pakistan, moderate Hurriyat Conference on Friday said it is willing to extend cooperation in all such endeavours that would be aimed at the resolution of Kashmir issue.”The leadership of India and Pakistan need to devise a mechanism to initiate a dialogue process with the inclusion of true leadership of Kashmir to find a just and lasting solution to the vexed Issue of Kashmir. Hurriyat will extend its cooperation in all such endeavours that would be aimed at the resolution of the issue,” Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said while addressing Friday congregation at the historic Jama Masjid here.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Terming the resolution of the long-pending Kashmir issue as a pre-requisite for peace in the sub-continent, he said if Modi desires to resolve all outstanding issues between the India and Pakistan through dialogue, then there is a need to have ‘walk the talk’ approach and take concrete and practical measures to address and resolve the issue.”Hurriyat has always stood for resolving issues through parleys and that there cannot be permanent peace in the sub-continent unless the Kashmir Issue is resolved. “However, New Delhi’s stance in dealing with Kashmir issue has always been aggressive with a belief in unleashing military might on the people rather than approaching it through a political dialogue,” Mirwaiz said.He said the statements of Indian leadership at the international forums about tackling the issues through dialogue were always negated by their actions on the ground. Modi, while citing the example of resolution of decades-old disputes with Bangladesh last year, made a veiled dig at Pakistan in Brussels, saying “some neighbours” don’t understand that issues can be resolved peacefully by talks.

Ahead of SAARC meeting, Pak invites Hurriyat leaders for Pakistan Day event

Even as SAARC Council of Ministers are slated to meet on March 17 in Nepal, Pakistan has invited Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to attend a function organised to commemorate ‘Pakistan Day’ at the Pakistan High Commission here on March 23.A Hurriyat statement said, ‘Umar Farooq will lead a delegation of dozens of leaders to the Pakistan High Commission following an invitation for a function on ‘Pakistan Day’. “Besides Mirwaiz, we have received invitation for 35 leaders, including 20 from the Hurriyat and rest from the Awami Action Committee (AAC),” said media advisor to Mirwaiz, Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam. Earlier, Sartaj Aziz had called off his visit to India after New Delhi protested against the scheduled meeting between Aziz and Hurriyat leaders.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reacting to India’s stand, Islamabad had said Pakistani leaders had met Hurriyat leaders whenever they visited India in the past 20 years, and it would be ‘inappropriate’ for India to ‘impose the condition India’s determination to not allow the separatists to be a party to the engagement was reflected in the detention of separatist leaders Shabir Shah and Bilal Lone, among others, in the Capital.Meanwhile, in response to media queries, the spokesperson informed that the Adviser to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz, will meet Foreign Ministers of SAARC Countries on the sidelines of the SAARC Council of Ministers’ meeting on March 17 in Nepal to extend Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s formal invitation to their respective Heads of State/Heads of Government for the 19th SAARC Summit, being hosted by Pakistan in Islamabad this year.

Look who is thanking JNU in Kashmir

Violent protests rocked the old Srinagar city after scores of masked youth raised banners thanking Jawahar Lal Nehru students for raising voice against Afzal Guru’s execution.Police had to lob smoke shells and resort to lathicharge to disperse the mob which pelted stones near the historic Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of old Srinagar city. The incident occurred after Friday prayers were over and a group of youth surfaced from the lanes and bylanes shouting pro-freedom and pro-Afzal Guru slogans.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The youth, most of them masked, and then hit the main road waving Pakistani and Islamic State flags. What came as a surprise for the security forces was the raising of pro-JNU banners by some of the masked youth in the crowd. “Thank (you) JNU,” read the black banner flashed by some of the masked boys.”Sad that recent events and their handling have created a situation where JNU now features alongside Pakistan & IS flags,” tweeted former chief minister Omar Abdullah.Youth later resorted to heavy stone pelting on the police and paramilitary forces deployments. Security forces retaliated by firing tear smoke shells and using baton charge to disperse the violent mob. The ding-dong battle between the stone throwers and police continued for few hours creating a chaotic situation in the old Srinagar city.The stone pelting occurred despite government barring moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is also Kashmir’s chief cleric, from leading the prayers at the Jamia Masjid on Friday.Mirwaiz later took to twitter patting the youth of India for what he said challenging the unjust policies of the state. “Heartening to see many among the youth of India are challenging the unjust policies of the state. This does not qualify them to be traitors…. They understand that there are many issues such as Kashmir which have to be dealt with based on the principles of truth and justice… Anyone who disagrees with it or even simply has a difference of opinion is sweepingly labelled as an anti national!” he said.Tensions have been mounting in the Valley after the reports of harassment to Kashmiri students and arrest of SAR Geelani following the JNU saga. Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani has threated to launch an agitation akin to 2010 if the harassment of the students is not stopped and SAR is not released forthwith.”All the charges against the SAR Geelani should be drooped and he should be released. Harassment of Kashmiri students should be halted forthwith. Otherwise it will have a serious reaction in the state. After consulting the entire pro-freedom camp, we will announce a protest calendar against this,” he said.

JNU row: Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani supports SAR Geelani and Kanhaiya Kumar

Hardline Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Tuesday came out in support of former Delhi University professor SAR Geelani and JNU Students Union leader Kanhaiya Kumar, saying their arrest over alleged anti-India statements amounts to “muzzling the freedom of expression”.The separatist leader said, “this detention has no constitutional and legal justification and it is an act of muzzling the freedom of expression”.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Demanding immediate release of Geelani and Kanhaiya, the Hurriyat leader said, “The secular and democratic claims of India are badly exposed day by day and this country is on its way to become an extremely intolerant Hindu Rashtra.” He also termed as “baseless and ridiculous” the comment by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh linking the JNU event with Pakistan and Hafiz Sayeed.Controversial Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid also jumped into the row, saying “I thank and salute the students and scholars of JNU for raising their voice against the hanging of (Parliament attack convict Afzal) Guru. Hats off to them.”He added, “Unfortunately, BJP and Congress are trying to use it for political gains and are giving it a political colour. It is an ideological war and battle of ideas, not a battle between BJP and Congress.”Rashid said “if the students of JNU are anti-national, then why is BJP trying to ally with the PDP” whose MLAs “had endorsed my stand on Guru on eve of seeking my support for Rajya Sabha and Legislative Council elections last year”.

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