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When PDP came to power last year, development process had to be started afresh: Mehbooba Mufti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti said on Tuesday the political process and governance in the state have to be carried out simultaneously and asked her party workers to play their role in creating a congenial atmosphere for that. “It has been the biggest success of our party to convince the stakeholders that the political process and governance in Jammu and Kashmir have to be carried out together.”When the party was voted to power in 2002, it not only carried forward its development agenda, but the political process in the state took off, resulting in initiation of dialogue and many major state-specific confidence building measures,” she told a gathering of PDP workers in Srinagar. The chief minister expressed regret that the state had to undergo a “political drought” after the PDP demitted office in 2005 and the whole process had to be “restarted from zero” in 2015 when her father and former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took over the reins again.”This was the biggest reason for the party to form the government in the state (with the BJP) so as to get the people out of the uncertainty which loomed large over them due to the political drought. “In fact, much of the reason for the recent turmoil in the Valley lies in the fact that political engagement was discontinued after 2005 and no more state-specific confidence building measures took place afterwards,” said Mehbooba.The PDP president said when the party took over last year, “everything had to be started afresh”. “Development and dialogue were made prominent components of the Agenda of Alliance (PDP’s common minimum programme with the BJP) and the government had just started to roll out its agenda.”However, certain elements inimical to peace and development in the state worked to derail the process. The whole process got stuck due to the turmoil of the last five months during which not only the government, but every section of the society in Kashmir got affected and bruised,” she said.Mehbooba said though the delay in carrying forward the development process would be compensated, the lives lost and the setback the state’s political process received were “irreparable”. She asked the party workers to make people aware of the “nefarious designs” of these “vested elements” who were only interested in “death and destruction in the state”.The chief minister asked the people to help her maintain peace in the state so that besides development, dialogue with all the stakeholders, opening of routes, more relief to the people and other state-specific measures could be undertaken.

J-K | Give peace a chance, imperative for dialogue & development: CM Mehbooba Mufti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Asking people of Jammu and Kashmir to “give peace a chance”, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said it was imperative for dialogue and development and would have a “soothing impact” on India-Pakistan relations.”For achieving the objective of development and dialogue, a congenial atmosphere of peace and tranquility needs to be created. I seek people’s cooperation in creating an environment conducive for development and dialogue,” Mehbooba said while interacting with people after kick-starting various developmental projects in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district yesterday.”The chief minister said her government would work on the twin objectives of development and dialogue and asked the people of the state “to give peace a chance”. The people of J-K have a huge responsibility to ensure a congenial and peaceful atmosphere in the state so that it has a soothing impact on the relations between the two neighbouring countries (India and Pakistan) which ultimately can pave the way for getting the state out of its difficulties,” Mehbooba said.She regretted that every section of society suffered losses during the turmoil of past few months which also delayed the completion of many developmental projects in the state.The Chief Minister said the government has planned a major developmental programme for the state and asked the people to extend their cooperation for its successful implementation.Addressing the students after inaugurating the new building of the Government Women’s College, Pulwama, the Chief Minister said empowerment of women is key to development of the state.She asked the girls to focus on education as it has the potential to bring about the desired social change. Mehbooba said women hold an important place in society and their empowerment would signal a positive turnaround. She asked the students to attain different skills “so that they are not only educated but empowered as well”.

Mehbooba Mufti hopes to turn Kashmir into a world-class tourism destination

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Describing tourism as the best mean to promote people-to-people engagement, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said her government was making efforts to create a world-class tourist infrastructure.”Tourism promotes people-to-people contact and tourists become goodwill ambassadors of a place. Like the maxim ‘seeing is believing’, a tourist can testify the veracity of the claim about a place only after visiting it,” she said.She dismissed the notion that the state was unsafe for tourists in the aftermath of months-long unrest in the Valley. “Jammu and Kashmir is as safe for tourists, particularly women, as any other place in the country,” she said here at an meeting with a delegation of tour operators from across India.Mehbooba said her government plans to create a world-class tourism infrastructure in the state.”Road connectivity to tourist destinations, bed capacity at tourist spots, wayside facilities etc are being improved and upgraded to address the requirements of every segment of tourists. Theme-based parks and places are being added to provide variety of attraction to tourists.”Similarly, heritage lovers and trekkers would be having more spots and treks to visit by adding new heritage sites and routes to their check list,” the chief minister said.Every region in the state has a unique attraction for tourists and they should be promoted, she said.The state’s tourism department has organised a three-day familiarisation tour to the Valley for travel agents from Bangalore, Mumbai, Gujarat and Indore.The agents, who arrived here yesterday, pitched for point- to-point rail services from Mumbai, Gujarat and Kolkata to the Valley to facilitate the travel of tourists to Kashmir, and sought subsidy in aviation fuel charges to bring down air fares.

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

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

J-K govt aid for Burhan’s kin will generate more sympathisers in Valley: Defence expert

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising the Mehbooba Mufti government for announcing an ex-gratia payment to Burhan Wani’s brother Khalid Wani, in the next of kin killed in militancy-related incidents in the Valley, defence expert Colonel Sunil Deshpande has said the government’s decision would only encourage terrorists to generate more sympathisers and give boost to terrorism in the valley.”Khalid Wani, the brother of Burhan Wani, was killed in action and he was a supporter of terrorists. It was proved that he was working for the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and the civilian authorities announced the list of the supporters who were working for terrorists, and he was ranked ninth on the list. It is incorrect on the part of the government to give money to Khalid Wani,” said Deshpande.Deshpande further said, “Khalid Wani was not an innocent person. He was a known sympathiser and, after his death, a payment of Rs. 4 lakhs is absolutely incorrect on the part of Mufti government. This money is given to those who are killed in action. This will help terrorists to create more sympathisers in the valley and it will give a boost to terrorist activity in the valley.”The government yesterday cleared ex-gratia payments to the next of kin of 17 persons, including Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s brother, killed in militancy-related incidents in the valley.The government has given one week’s time for filing of any objection before formal orders are issued.According to a notification issued on Monday by the deputy commissioner of Pulwama, ex-gratia relief under rules were cleared by the district-level screening-cum-consultative committee (DLSCC) in favour of next of kin of those persons who died in militancy-related incidents.As per report, the ex-gratia relief entitles a victim’s family to a payment of Rs. four lakh or employment for a member of the family.Burhan had left home at the age of 15 in October 2010 to join the Hizb-ul- Mujahideen, while his brother Khalid lived in Tral in Pulwama with his family.Twenty five-year-old Khalid was pursuing a Masters in political science from IGNOU, reportedly told his mother on the afternoon of April 13, 2015 that he was going for a picnic. However, his body was found in the nearby jungle hours later.

Mehbooba Mufti has a rift with BJP minister, leaves cabinet meeting midway

Sat, 10 Dec 2016-12:40am , Jammu , PTI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti left a Cabinet meeting midway after a rift with a BJP minister over police service restructure. The Chief Minister, who had the rift with the BJP minister over her proposal to restructure the Kashmir Police Service (KPS) officers’ cadre, left the meeting midway, a source privy to the meeting said.She became angry over the issue and immediately left the meeting hall and the secretariat, the source said. As soon as the Chief Minister left the secretariat, the meeting was shifted to the office of Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh. Soon a delegation of the ministers headed by Singh also left for the official residence of the Chief Minister and the meeting was still going on. The ministers are trying to placate the chief minister, the source said.

Mehbooba Mufti discusses Kashmir situation with Governor NN Vohra

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called on Governor NN Vohra on Tuesday evening and discussed the overall situation in the valley.

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

“During the hour-long meeting at the Raj Bhavan today evening, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti discussed with Governor NN Vohra the overall situation in the Valley,” an official spokesman said.

He said the chief minister also discussed the steps underway for re-energising the development projects and enabling the restoration of the severely disturbed schedules of the educational system, at all levels.

The Governor urged sustained sharp focus on the implementation of the various works and development projects and the administrative apparatus working over time to catch up on all fronts.

“The governor also discussed with the Chief Minister the likely timeframe for the conduct of elections to the urban and rural self-governing bodies,” the spokesperson said.

In this context, Vohra stressed the importance of empowerment of the rural population through the effective establishment of the panchayati raj institutions.

Mehbooba informed the governor that she is considering a time frame for the panchayat elections, to be preferably held early next year, other things being equal.

First Published On : Dec 7, 2016 08:48 IST

Kashmir unrest: Omar Abdullah lets Pakistan off, says ‘historic blunders’ by India to blame

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said the unrest in Kashmir cannot be blamed on Pakistan, but was a result of “mistakes” made by the Indian government of not engaging with the people of the state. “Do not be under this false impression that the fire you see in Kashmir has been ignited by Pakistan. It is a result of our mistakes,” Omar said, addressing a function of his National Conference in Baramulla.

Omar Abdullah. PTIOmar Abdullah. PTI

Omar Abdullah. PTI

“To blame Pakistan alone for the political situation or the current unrest in the Valley is a distortion of the truth. The people of J&K have espoused a political sentiment, even when there was no external interference and this political sentiment forms the basis of the state’s special status that has since been eroded by extra-constitutional machinations,” Omar said.

He said the political issue in Kashmir is a result of “historic blunders and broken promises by successive dispensations” in New Delhi. “The situation today stands compounded because of the present central government’s refusal to even acknowledge that
a problem exists in Kashmir,” Omar said.

The National Conference’s working president alleged the ruling PDP’s charade of seeking confidence building measures and political initiatives could not conceal the party’s brazen abandonment of its own ideology and vision document in a bargain to attain power.

There is a stark difference between the Mehbooba Mufti of the opposition and the Mehbooba Mufti of the ruling PDP-BJP
government. It has now become evident that the Mehbooba of opposition was just an elaborate facade to pave way for Mehbooba Mufti’s ascent to the Chief Minister’s chair.

“Her theatrical performances as an opposition leader might have served her well but when people compare her present avatar to her previous posturing she stands exposed. Every single promise made by the PDP to seek votes in the previous elections has been broken with utter contempt shown towards the people of the state,” he added.

Omar alleged that the PDP-BJP alliance has “wreaked havoc” with the state. “The government has ceased to exist on the ground and its mere presence is exhibited solely through indiscriminate arrests and imposition of Public Safety Acts against the youth. The loss of nearly a hundred innocent young lives in the current unrest and the unimaginable and indiscriminate repression of our youth has been the most noticeable hallmark of the PDP-BJP alliance and Mehbooba Mufti s refusal to acknowledge her failure has only compounded the misery of the people,” he said.

First Published On : Dec 3, 2016 20:36 IST

Kashmir: Police probing media reports of vehicle carrying demonetised notes

Jammu: Police on Tuesday said that it is probing media reports which alleged that a vehicle carrying demonetised currency was intercepted in Jammu city.

“We are conducting probe into media reports about the news items”, a senior police officer said.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He said the media house was also asked about the report and the news report is being verified.

“We have no knowledge about any such incident”, the senior police officer said.

“Police is investigation media report”, DySP Jammu Sugandha Mahajan said on a whatsapp group here tonight.

Reports in a section of media alleged that demonetised cash running into crores reportedly belonging to a minister was intercepted in a vehicle in the city.

Congress today demanded probe into the matter and asked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to the minister.

Addressing a press conference on Tuesday, senior vice president JKPCC Sham Lal Sharma along with Chief Spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said “we want probe and sacking of those responsible for it by Chief Minister”.

First Published On : Nov 23, 2016 08:13 IST

Dialogue, not ‘warmongering’ is PDP’s agenda: Mehbooba Mufti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday the “emerging scenario” in the state can be addressed best by following the vision of late CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, asserting that her party’s agenda has always been dialogue and discourse and not “warmongering”.”My party’s agenda has always been dialogue and discourse and not warmongering. The emerging scenario in Jammu & Kashmir and the subcontinent can be addressed best by executing and following the vision of late Mufti sahib,” she said.Addressing a meeting of party’s district and zonal presidents of Jammu province here yesterday, she said the situation of past few months in the state and the consequent acrimonious relations between India and Pakistan could be resolved by implementing the political philosophy of ex-J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.She reminded the delegates that since its inception in 1999, the party has always stood for dialogue, peace and harmonious relations between India and Pakistan. Wars have nowhere in the present world solved any problem, rather compounded them only, she added.She said the problems being faced by the people of border areas in the state also underscore the need for pushing for a dialogue to resolve issues and maintain peaceful relations.Terming the formation of PDP as a boon for the people of the State, she said the objective of late Mufti Sahib was to provide J&K people a platform from where they could express themselves freely. She said democracy in J&K couldn’t flourish earlier as people did not have such a platform which resulted in countless miseries to them. Terming the party as a ‘sacred trust’ of the late leader, Mehbooba exhorted upon the functionaries to strengthen the party at grassroots to let the state’s people reap the benefits of this political platform

Kashmir Valley teachers become ‘chowkidars’ to protect schools

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The burning of schools in the Kashmir Valley has prompted the Mehbooba Mufti regime to issue orders to teachers to keep watch at night to prevent such events.So far around 27 schools have been torched across the state. Most of these schools have been burnt during at night, and therefore, the state government has ordered schools to produce rosters, so that the employees can take turns keeping a watch on schools at night.Most schools, however, only plan to use chowkidars or non-teaching staff for this exercise, which will supervised by the teachers. “This is a slap from the government on our society. We have been promoted from teacher to chowkidar. Every teacher has to do his/her duty according to the roster. We have no hope with this government,” a resident teacher said.Private schools in the area have opposed this move. However, the all chief educational officers have advised that this is for their own good. However, heads of private institutions say they are burdened with the task of asking teachers and other staff to work nights and protect the schools. The fact that the lives of the staff are also in danger also worries them. Lady staffers have been exempted from doing night duty, which has left school administrations unhappy.

Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti welcomes Centre’s decision to withdraw Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has welcomed the decision of the Central Government to withdraw currency denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000, saying the step was needed to check the scourge of black money and corruption in the country.

File image of Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

File image of Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

The Chief Minister described corruption as a “vicious menace” which eats up the vitals of growth and development of a society and the country.

She hailed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his bold steps to check corruption, illegal transaction of money and other such evils which hamper the development of the country.

The Chief Minister said though the step would entail temporary inconvenience to people but its positive effects would be in the larger and long-term interests of the country and people.

Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh today welcomed the decision of the Central Government to withdraw currency denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 maintaining that the step would go a long way in eradication of money laundering and corruption.

While describing the step as a historic, the Deputy Chief Minister said that the Prime Minister has taken several measures to end the menace of corruption.

He said that corruption is the scourge which is eating into the vitals of the country thereby hampering its overall development. He said the historical initiative should be welcomed by one and all.

The Deputy Chief Minister informed that he has already taken up the issue of inconvenience being faced by certain traders at toll posts with the State Finance Minister.

He said the remedial measures in this regard would be soon taken.

Kashmir unrest: Mehbooba Mufti calls burning of schools ‘unfortunate’

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday expressed a deep concern over the burning of schools in the Kashmir valley and termed it “unfortunate”.

File photo of Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

File photo of Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

“The govt has already taken into custody some miscreants who burned schools. I hope there should be some good news for us in next one week,” she said on the sidelines of the opening of Civil Secretariat in Jammu.

Over 30 schools have been burnt in various parts of the Valley during the past four months of civil unrest.

Commenting on the ceasefire violations on the border with Pakistan, the Chief Minister said: “Neighbours cannot be changed and both India and Pakistan have to live together. My hope is the shelling on the borders would stop and the ceasefire restored.”

Mehbooba also inspected a guard of honour in the heavily-guarded Civil Secretariat building in the heart of Jammu city.

The Secretariat opened in Jammu after functioning from Srinagar during past six months as part of Darbar move.

The Darbar move is a biannual feature in which the civil secretariat stays for six months of winter (from November to April) in Jammu, the winter capital, and returns to the Kashmir Valley for the summer months (May to October). The practice is on in the state since the time of Dogra ruler Maharaja Ranbir Singh who first introduced it in 1872.

The offices had closed in summer capital Srinagar on 27 October.

The state government functioning in Srinagar had been marred by the unrelenting unrest marked by hartals, lockdowns and curfews that began on 9 July following the killing of a top Hizbul Mujaheedin commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir Kokernag area.

The unrest which entered 122-day on Monday has so far claimed over 90 lives while thousands others have been wounded with over one thousand having received pellet injuries in one or both eyes.

Thousands have been arrested by the security forces during the past nearly four months, with over 400 detained under public safety act (PSA).

250-300 militants active in J&K, says state police chief

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>It’s official—there are 250 to 300 militants active in the terror-plagued Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police Koondaveeti Rajendra Kumar said the continuing infiltration along the border is a cause of worry which can “change the whole game”.“While the intensity (of protests and street violence) has come down, the situation is extremely fragile. At present, 250-300 militants are active. Given the present situation, we need to have a road map for next two to three months,” he said while addressing the meeting of top civil and police officials chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.Rajendra said at least 70 buildings were set ablaze by miscreants during the ongoing situation with 53 of them damaged completely. “The restoration of normalcy will remain the top priority for the forces in the coming days.While a semblance of normalcy has been restored, there is no scope for complacency. Police will continue its drive against miscreants,” he said.On this occasion, Mehbooba announced that her government would review cases against those youths who have been participating in street protests in the last four months.“We will review those cases where students and first-timers are found to be involved. We will talk to their parents and get their assurances that their wards will not participate in protests in future. We can’t go on arresting people. There should be a different and empathetic plan of action to contain the situation,” Mehbooba said.

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

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

Kashmir unrest: 31 schools, 110 govt buildings damaged in last four months

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 31 schools and 110 government buildings have been damaged in Kashmir Valley since the current unrest began four months ago.Among the schools, which were set ablaze by unknown persons, 25 were government-run, two private and four were run by trusts or other social organisations, official sources said.Out of the 110 government buildings, 65 were either completely gutted or partially burnt down and 55 were damaged through “other means”.Amid outrage over the issue, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court took suo motu cognisance of this development and asked the state government to take steps to prevent such incidents and “unmask” the culprits.The Centre had also earlier this week asked the Mehbooba Mufti government to check such attempts and make efforts for reopening the schools which have been closed since July 9.

Schools go up in flames in a tug of war between govt, separatists

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two schools, including a Jawahar Navodya Vidyalaya (JNV), were damaged since Saturday in mysterious fire incidents in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, police said on Sunday.More than 26 schools have been set ablaze by unknown people in Kashmir since the unrest began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahedeen poster boy Burhan Wani in an encounter at Bambdoora village on July 8.Latest being the Central Government-run Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Aishmuqam and Government Higher Secondary School in Kabamarg. More than 12 lakh students are sitting home since schools and educational institutions are shut across the Kashmir Valley following the unrest.The frequency in torching the schools has increased after the Mehboba Mufti government decided to conduct the class X and class X11 board exams in November.Separatists have accused the government of trying to portray normalcy by conducting the exams at a time when hundreds of students have been blinded and thousands of students have been arrested.Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti however hit back, accusing some people of using school-going children for their vested interests by keeping them away from schools in order to raise the arm”Since common people have realised the futility of the gun, forces averse to peace are now instigating youngsters to violence with stones… Certain people have utilised school-going children for their vested interests by keeping them away from schools,” said Mehbooba while addressing the cadets at the attestation-cum passing out parade at the Sher-e-Kashmir Police Academy.Mehbooba noted that some people are instigating poor children and misguiding them to violence. “Their only aim is that any reaction, if, leading to injuries or fatalities would become a fodder to prolong the turmoil, which has over a period of time only brought miseries to the people,” she said.Hurriyat Hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who is one of the three leaders of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) leading the current unrest, has set five conditions for restoring education in the Valley. Those include releasing all people including students, withdrawing the cases against them, stopping police vigil, putting an end to the barbarism, night raids and allowing peaceful demonstrations.”It will help in creating a conducive and peaceful atmosphere”, Geelani said.Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Mohommad Yasin Malik, an important member of JRL who was released on Friday evening, however blamed Mehbooba and her education minister Naeem Akhtar for torching the schools,”For their politics of normalcy these people have waged a war against students and have irked them severely. Mehbooba and Nayeem Akhtar are hell bent upon taking revenge from these innocent students and are pushing them to the wall. People who burned down temples in 1986 for removing Ghulam Muhammad Shah from chief minister-ship can do same to school buildings for their dirty politics,” he saidExpressing disappointment and grief over incidents of schools being burnt in various parts of the valley, National Conference working president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah on said this was an abhorrent ploy to destroy the future of children.In “Our schools hold the key to the self-reliance, dignity and empowerment of our future generation. These are clear, unambiguous attempts to rob our children of education and intellectual growth and there can be no doubt that these elements who attack our schools are the enemies of our children and the enemies of enlightenment. Hurriyat leadership should realize the costs of its reluctance and delay to condemn such behavior unequivocally,” said Omar

Instead of killing youth who have joined militancy, bring them back: Mehbooba Mufti

Srinagar: Try to bring back to their homes the “local boys” who have joined militancy instead of killing them in encounters, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti urged police on Friday amid unrest triggered by the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in a gun-battle with forces in July.

File image of Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

File image of Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

She also appealed to the police and security forces to refrain from using weapons like pellet guns while dealing with protests and instead “tolerate” stone-pelting as a “sacrifice”.

The Chief Minister said while the police had exhibited patience during the last three months of unrest in the Valley, there were some mistakes which warrant action. She also underlined that “black laws” like Afspa would be repealed from the state only when the situation improves. “We all have to work together, heal the wounds of the people here. The children here are the responsibility of God first, then our police because it is they who see them every day, everywhere,” she said.

“Those who have taken up arms or those who have not but are missing from their homes and want to join militancy, they are local boys. I request the police to try to bring them back to their homes. Instead of their being killed in encounters,” she added.

Mehbooba, who has dealt with the unrest triggered by Wani’s killing on 8 July in a tough manner, told the police, “such youth (who have taken to the gun) need hand-holding…If it is possible to bring them back, make them a part of the mainstream. Give them bats, balls and good education, instead of guns.”

Her remarks at the Police Commemoration Day function at Armed Police Complex in Zewan on the outskirts of Srinagar came close on the heels of a fresh video surfacing which shows a group of local militants of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit is playing weapons. Earlier, similar videos of Wani and his associates used to surface in the Valley, before he was killed in an encounter.

Urging local youth to shun violence, Mehbooba said, “When the situation improves here, we will end the black laws. For that we have to create an atmosphere first. I know that today the situation is not such, but tomorrow, a year after… we have to repeal Afspa as we cannot keep it in force forever.”

While stressing that ending militancy and restoring peace were a pre-requisite for repealing AFSPA and for seeking start of dialogue process in the state, she said, “We cannot force anyone to have dialogue on gun-point, stones or by lathis.”

She said only when there is a “conducive” atmosphere, she can go to Delhi with her “head held high”. “How can I do it today? There is infiltration, there are encounters. We have to end militancy and create peace in Jammu and Kashmir so that we can repeal Afspa from some areas here,” she said. She said the police should deal with militants but civilians should not be troubled.

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

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

Cabinet reshuffle likely soon for Mehbooba Mufti ministry

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The five-month-old Mehbooba Mufti government in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be expanded soon with the induction of two PDP MLAs as ministers. The issue came up for discussion when Mehbooba Mufti called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. Immediately afterwards, BJP president Amit Shah met her and the two were also understood to have discussed the issue.As per the arrangement between the two parties, PDP would have 14 ministers, including the Chief Minister, while BJP would have 11, that would include the Deputy Chief Minister.According to sources in the know of the developments, PDP MLA from Amira Kadal constituency Altaf Bukhari is likely to stage a comeback. Bukhari, who was a minister in the Mufti Mohammed Sayeed government, was not included in the cabinet when Mehbooba was sworn-in as the Chief Minister in April this year. Mehbooba was also likely to induct an MLA from the restive South Kashmir in the ministry.Besides Bukhari, Javid Mustafa Mir and two Ministers of State Mohammad Ashraf Mir and Abdul Majeed Padroo, who were part of the previous government led by her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, had been dropped.The BJP was likely to drop one of its ministers and replace him with an MLA from the Kashmiri Pandit community, the sources said. The state can have a maximum of 25 ministers and its current strength is 23.

Mehbooba Mufti asks Kashmiris to embrace Gandhi’s ahimsa philosophy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Her state limping to normalcy after nearly two months of unrest, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Gandhi Jayanti said following the philosophy of peace and brotherhood will be the best tribute to Mahatma Gandhi by the people in the Valley.Paying tributes to Father of the Nation, she said his philosophy of non-violence, harmonious co-existence and mutual respect will always remain relevant, more so in today’s world marred by varied political and ethnic conflicts. She said over the years Jammu and Kashmir has suffered colossal losses in terms of precious human lives, economic dispossession, cultural disintegration and educational dis-empowerment because of the turmoil.Mehbooba said Kashmir’s true picture is that of communal harmony and religious tolerance.Noting that her government be given time and space to mitigate the sufferings of the people, the Chief Minister said, “We can pay greatest tribute to Gandhi Ji by adopting his philosophy of non-violence and mutual respect.” “Help me bring back peace and I will find a way for dialogue to resolve the issues,” Mehbooba said.She said contrary to the ideal situation of maximum resources being utilized for addressing issues like poverty alleviation and unemployment, they are getting diverted towards defence and security.”Peace and harmony are therefore need of the hour, especially in the South Asian Region where the people are still plagued by poverty and impoverishment,” she added.The Chief Minister said under the prevailing situation on this day we need to resolve to give peace a chance.She said, “Violence has not achieved anything but only brought miseries to the people in terms of development, economy, business, trade, tourism and education.” Recalling the turbulent period during the partition when Mahatma Gandhi “saw a ray of hope in Kashmir alone”, she said Kashmir’s age-old traditions of amity and brotherhood have survived several threats in the past and it would continue to uphold the virtues of a civilized society in the future also.She said public policy must go beyond symbolism of standing for Gandhian philosophy and focus on religious harmony, equality of all religious communities and acceptance of diversity “as the basis of our nationhood which were integral to Gandhi’s way of approaching collective identity”.”A hundred years ago, Gandhi began to move Indian society in the direction of a nationhood that was non-competitive, non-combative and non-exclusionary. Nowhere in the world was there a precedent for such nationhood,” she said.”It is time to rediscover India as a symbol of that inclusive nationhood which forms the central pillar of the country’s present,” she said. Mehbooba said the biggest challenge the world faces today is that of violence and chaos. “Be it a large country like America or a smaller ones like Bangladesh, no one considers itself at absolute peace.” She said, “We have forgotten values of peace and brothe -hood, which we need to revive and if there is any time when Gandhi Ji’s ideals and philosophy are most needed, it is now.” With regard to the special sanitation drive, the Chief Minister lauded the work of Srinagar Municipal Corporation under the prevailing situation in the Valley.Mufti said Gandhiji believed that cleanliness was next to godliness and this drive should help imbibe in us the habit of keeping our surroundings and cities clean.She said specific instructions have been given to the LAWDA authorities with respect to maintaining cleanliness of the Dal Lake. She said if we need to conserve the beauty of Srinagar city we need to conserve Dal Lake and stressed that no encroachments shall be allowed within the area and any such construction will be strictly dealt with. Mehbooba meets Guv, discusses security situationJammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Governor N N Vohra and discussed the prevailing situation including the problems faced by the border area residents in the wake of surgical strikes carried out by Army along the Line of Control.”The Governor and the Chief Minister discussed the internal security situation and steps taken to deal with the problems faced by the residents of border villages consequent to the counter-terrorism operations recently carried out by the Army across the LoC,” an official spokesman said.He said they also discussed issues relating to the education sector and measures required to revive economic activities.

Jammu and Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti launches Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojna

Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti launched the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the state to provide free LPG connections to BPL households on Wednesday.

File photo of Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

File photo of Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

Apart from Mufti, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh gave away free LPG connections to 11 women from BPL households.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that the initiative, in line with creating smokeless villages across the country, has come as a moment of pride for the women in BPL households for getting LPG connection as an identity of their own and to lead a smoke-free, less polluted, convenient and healthy life.

PMUY was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May 2016. Under PMUY, five crore LPG connections will be provided to BPL families across the country during the next three years.

For Jammu and Kashmir, a target of 35 lakh connections has been set under PMUY out of which one lakh connections are to be provided during next 15 days.

Under the scheme, the enrolment of the BPL families have been made constituency wise all over the state and the deserving people shall be given free LPG connections along with a gas stove and a regulator.

Highlighting that such schemes are designed keeping in mind the welfare of the poor, the Chief Minister said that PMUY will benefit the poor, especially the women.

Providing LPG connections to BPL households will ensure universal coverage of cooking gas, Mufti said, adding that this measure will empower women and protect their health by reducing the labour and time spent on cooking.

Pradhan said the LPG would be made available to everyone in the state.

He said in the next two years no home in Jammu and Kashmir would be without LPG connection. He also announced that a new LPG bottling plant would be started in Kargil, while gas production would be increased in Leh.

Jammu and Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti asks PDP cadres to work towards normalising situation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday called upon cadres of her Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to work for creating an amicable atmosphere within the state that would sustain the efforts at reviving and building the peace and reconciliation process started in 2003.”Peace and reconciliation has been the core agenda of our party and the hostile atmosphere around the State will one day have to yield place to reason and reconciliation. The peace and reconciliation process which was started in 2003 had gained ground and shown results as the atmosphere within J&K was congenial for the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) to take shape, Mehbooba, who is also PDP president, said. Mehbooba was addressing a meeting of senior PDP leaders, party Ministers, Members of Parliament, legislators and coordinators here.Expressing pain at the loss of precious human lives during the current unrest in Kashmir, the Chief Minister said she and her government are not looking out for a temporary truce but would focus on building an environment where such turbulences never visit the people again. She said while PDP and its alliance partner BJP are committed to the implementation of the ‘Agenda of the Alliance’, a congenial atmosphere needs to be created within and around the State for its effective implementation.Unfortunately we did not get any time to even start the implementation of Agenda of Alliance and some elements who thought that PDP is serious about the promises it made to the people, started making attempts from day one to create hurdles and ultimately found an encounter as the trigger to exploit the sentiments, she said. Mehbooba said the positive impact that the government under the leadership of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed made between 2002-2005, was the result of the combination of circumstances, important one being the readiness of Pakistan to enter into a dialogue process in response to the repeated peace overtures by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.This time, however, the initiatives by Prime Minister Narendra Modi were unfortunately responded to with negativity and even hostility by Pakistan, she said. “But I am confident that the way forward for everybody is through acceptance of ground realities and offering relief, hope and dignity to the people which could ultimately lead to permanent reconciliation, peace and resolution in the region”, Mehbooba said. She said PDP was founded in the immediate aftermath of Kargil war and it was this party that first raised the banner of good relations between the two countries, an agenda that was accepted by everyone in the following years.Our party will never compromise on the need for peace as it is our state and its people who are the main victim of hostilities in the region, she said. Asking the party ministers to increase accessibility and interaction with the people, Mehbooba said the current trouble should lead us to work with more zeal for the welfare of the people and revive the cadres of the party to act as emissaries of peace and development.While it is satisfying that the government has been able to ensure even in the face of difficulties and odds the supply of rations, power, water, gas, medicines and functioning of hospitals, education has received debilitating blow. She said the business and the industry have suffered a loss of thousands of crores and numerous people have been rendered jobless.Expressing confidence in the resilience of the people of Kashmir, Mehbooba said they have come out of many a crisis in the past and were trying to pick up the threads of life after the devastating floods of 2014 when the present turmoil cut short one of the best tourist seasons and revival of economic activities in the valley. She said her government will provide succour in the revival of economy but those who are out to damage the states interests and keep the pot boiling will have to change their mindset and methods so that the people do not suffer.Senior party leader and Member of Parliament Muzaffar Hussain Beigh said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is facing unprecedented challenges. We have full confidence in the abilities and leadership of Mehbooba Ji that she will lead the people out of this morass and quagmire. And I appeal every stakeholder to strengthen the hands of the Chief Minister so that a workable solution to our issues is realized, he said.Beigh said resolution of the Kashmir issue is a must to ensure sustainable peace and development in the state and the parties to the conflict have to realize this fact and work in a manner that will facilitate bonhomie and good neighbourly relations.

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

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

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

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Uri, Pathankot, Pampore: 35 soldiers killed, over 1,740 injured in attacks on Indian Army in 2016

Termed as the deadliest attack on the Indian Army since the Kaluchak tragedy in 2002, the attack at a battalion headquarters of the Army in north Kashmir’s Uri town on Sunday killed 17 jawans and injured 19 other personnel.

According to recent reports by ANI, another sepoy K Vikas Janardhan succumbed to his injuries at the R&R Hospital in New Delhi on Monday taking the death toll to 18.

The Indian Army has lost many of its valiant soldiers since the start of the year. These recent spate of attacks have claimed lives of at least 35 soldiers. Uri, however, will still be remembered as one of the deadliest.

Here are some of the major attacks on the Army in 2016:

The Indian Army has lost many of its valiant soldiers since the start of the year. Uri will, however, still be remembered as one of the deadliest. PTI

An Indian army soldier during the Uri attack. PTI

Pathankot airbase attack

Heavily-armed terrorists carried out a pre-dawn strike at the Air Force base in Punjab’s Pathankot, triggering a fierce gunbattle.

Around six terrorists in army attire tried to storm the base located at 35 kms from the international border. The terrorists were linked to Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) as is the case with the Uri attack.

Seven soldiers died, including Lt Col Niranjan, who is a member of NSG’s bomb disposal squad. He died while sanitising a terrorist’s body during the attack.

One commando of the Indian Air Force’s special Garud unit and two Defence Security Corps personnel also died during the attack.

Pampore attack

At least eight CRPF personnel were killed and 24 injured after Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists opened fire at a convoy belonging to the paramilitary force in Pampore on the outskirts of Srinagar near Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.

The attack happened on the busy Srinagar-Jammu national highway when the security personnel were returning from a training exercise.

However, three more soldiers succumbed to their injuries.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti also condemned the ambush in Pampore on the CRPF personnel. “Would like to express my condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in today’s dastardly militant attack,” news agency ANI reported Mufti saying.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid homage to the eight martyred CRPF personnel on Twitter saying that he was “pained by their demise.”

Kashmir unrest

As many as 81 people, including two soldiers, were killed in the unrest that broke out a day after Hizbul Mujahideen Commander Burhan Wani was gunned down in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir on 8 July.

Union Minister Rajnath Singh told the Parliament during the monsoon session that 1,700 civilians were injured in the violence. However, he also reminded the House that 1,740 jawans too were injured.

While foiling an infiltration bid along the Line of Control in Naugam sector of Kashmir’s Kupwara district, two soldiers were killed in July, 2016.

Pakistan also resorted to unprovoked firing in Poonch district of Jammu in August, 2016. A policemen lost his life while three soldiers were injured.

As of 19 September, normal life remained disrupted in the Valley for the 73rd straight day as a curfew was clamped in Pulwama and Baramulla districts of Kashmir.

With inputs from agencies.

Uri terror attack LIVE: Another soldier succumbs to injuries, death toll at 18

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  • Havildar Ravi Paul, r/o Samba, Dist Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Sepoy Rakesh Singh, r/o Vill Baddja, Dist Kaimur, Bihar.
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  • Sepoy Ganesh Shankar, r/o Vill Ghoorapalli, Dist Sant Kabir Nagar, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Naik SK Vidarthi, r/o Vill Boknari, Dist Gaya, Bihar.
  • Sepoy Biswajit Ghorai, r/o Vill Ganga Sagar, Dist South 24 Parganas, West Bengal.
  • Lance Naik G Shankar, r/o Vill Jashi, Dist Satara, Maharashtra.
  • Sep G Dalai, r/o Vill Jamuna Balia, Dist Howarah, West Bengal.
  • Lance Naik RK Yadav, r/o Vill Balia, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Sepoy Harinder Yadav, r/o Vill Ghazipur, Dist Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Sepoy TS Somnath, r/o Vill Khadangali, Dist Nashik, Maharashtra.
  • Havildar Ashok Kumar Singh, r/o Vill Raktu Tola, Dist Bhojpur, Bihar.
  • Sepoy Rajesh kr Singh, r/o Vill Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh.

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In one of the deadliest attacks on the Army in recent years, 17 jawans were killed and 19 others injured as heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the force in North Kashmir’s Uri town early on Sunday. Four militants involved in the terror strike were killed by the Army. Heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the Army. Explosions and gunfire erupted as the militants attacked the camp, which is located barely few metres away from the Army’s Brigade Headquarters in Uri town, 102 kms from Srinagar, around 4 am on Sunday, official sources said.

The jawans of the Dogra Regiment were sleeping in a tent which caught fire due the explosion. The fire also engulfed the nearby barracks, the sources said. 17 jawans were killed in the terror attack, the Northern Command of the Army said. Nineteen other personnel were injured in the strike in which four militants were killed.

“A group of heavily armed terrorists targeted the rear administrative base of a unit at Uri, Kashmir. In the counter action, four terrorists have been eliminated and combing operations are in progress,” the Army said in a statement. “The administrative base had large strength of troops of units turning over after their tour of duty who were stationed in tents/temporary shelters which caught fire, and resulted in heavy casualties. We salute the sacrifice of 17 soldiers who were martyred in the operation,” the statement said.

Helicopters from the Army’s 19 divisional headquarters in Baramulla have been pressed into service and the injured Army personnel have been evacuated from the encounter site, the sources said. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag are rushing to Kashmir in the wake of terror attack in Uri.

Army soldiers rush to the attack site in Uri. PTI

Army soldiers rush to the attack site in Uri. PTI

The Home Minister has also called an emergency meeting to review the situation arising out of the terror attack. The attack comes two years after militants had carried out a similar type of attack at Mohra in the same area. Ten security personnel were killed in the attack that took place on December 5, 2014.

It is believed that the attack was the handiwork of a freshly infiltrated group of militants who could have entered along the Salamabad Nallah into the town. The Home Minister has postponed his scheduled visit to Russia and the United States in the wake of the attack in Uri and the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

Singh also spoke to the Jammu and Kashmir Governor and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the situation arising out of the terror strike in Uri. The Home Minister was scheduled to leave for Russia tonight for a four-day bilateral visit and later to the US on September 26 for a six-day tour to attend the Indo-US Homeland Security Dialogue. “Keeping the situation of Jammu and Kashmir in mind and in the wake of terror attack in Uri, I have postponed my visits to Russia and the US,” he said in a statement here.

The Home Minister said he has spoken to Governor N N Vohra and the Chief Minister and discussed with them the situation arising out of attack on a Army Brigade Headquarters in Uri and both of them apprised him of the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “I have given instructions to Home Secretary (Rajiv Mehrishi) and other officers in the Home Ministry to closely monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The Home Minister also called an emergency meeting to review the situation arising out of the attack on the Brigade Headquarters in Uri. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, the Union Home Secretary, top Army, paramilitary and Home Ministry officials are attending it. The Home Minister has postponed his scheduled visit to Russia and the United States in the wake of the attack in Uri and the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

Singh also spoke to the Jammu and Kashmir Governor and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the situation arising out of the terror strike in Uri. “Keeping the situation of Jammu and Kashmir in mind and in the wake of terror attack in Uri, I have postponed my visits to Russia and the US,” he said in a statement here.

The Home Minister said he has spoken to Governor N N Vohra and the Chief Minister and discussed with them the situation arising out of attack on a Army Brigade Headquarters in Uri and both of them apprised him of the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “I have given instructions to Home Secretary (Rajiv Mehrishi) and other officers in the Home Ministry to closely monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The Home Minister also called an emergency meeting to review the situation arising out of the attack on the Brigade Headquarters in Uri. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the Union Home Secretary, top Army, paramilitary and Home Ministry officials are attending the meeting.

#UriAttack: J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti pays tribute to martyred soldiers; visits injured at hospital

While two of the 17 soldiers hail from Jammu and Kashmir, rest of them belong to Uttar Pradesh (four), Bihar (three), Maharashtra (three), West Bengal (two), Jharkhand (two) and Rajasthan (one). <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti led senior Army and police officials in paying tributes at the wreath laying ceremony for the 17 soldiers killed in the militant attack on an Army base in Uri.”Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti laid wreaths on the coffins of the martyred soldiers at a somber ceremony held at headquarters of the Chinar Corps here at Badamibagh,” an Army official said.He said General officer Commanding of the Chinar Corps Lt General Satish Dua and Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar were among senior security officials who laid wreaths to pay their respects.
ALSO READ Uri attack: Pak denies involvement, India refuses to back offThe Chief Minister later visited the soldiers, injured in yesterday’s attack, at the 92 Base Hospital of the Army, the official said.Following directions of Defence Minister Manohar Parikkar, the Army has made arrangements for transporting the mortal remains of all the martyrs directly to their respective hometowns.
ALSO READ #UriAttack: Pakistan says India has history of blaming it after terror strikes, rejects charges as ‘baseless’While two of the 17 soldiers hail from Jammu and Kashmir, rest of them belong to Uttar Pradesh (four), Bihar (three), Maharashtra (three), West Bengal (two), Jharkhand (two) and Rajasthan (one).

#UriAttack LIVE: Intel sources say JeM terrorists may have had help from ‘mole’

Sep 19, 2016

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  • Havildar Ravi Paul, r/o Samba, Dist Jammu, Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Sepoy Rakesh Singh, r/o Vill Baddja, Dist Kaimur, Bihar.
  • Sepoy Javra Munda, r/o Vill Meral, Dist Khuti, Jharkhand.
  • Sepoy Naiman Kujur, r/o Vill Gumla, Chainpur, Jharkhand.
  • Sepoy Uike Janrao, r/o Vill Nandgaon (Kh), Dist Amravati, Maharashtra.
  • Havildar NS Rawat, r/o Vill Rajawa, Dist Rajasmand, Rajasthan.
  • Sepoy Ganesh Shankar, r/o Vill Ghoorapalli, Dist Sant Kabir Nagar, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Naik SK Vidarthi, r/o Vill Boknari, Dist Gaya, Bihar.
  • Sepoy Biswajit Ghorai, r/o Vill Ganga Sagar, Dist South 24 Parganas, West Bengal.
  • Lance Naik G Shankar, r/o Vill Jashi, Dist Satara, Maharashtra.
  • Sep G Dalai, r/o Vill Jamuna Balia, Dist Howarah, West Bengal.
  • Lance Naik RK Yadav, r/o Vill Balia, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Sepoy Harinder Yadav, r/o Vill Ghazipur, Dist Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Sepoy TS Somnath, r/o Vill Khadangali, Dist Nashik, Maharashtra.
  • Havildar Ashok Kumar Singh, r/o Vill Raktu Tola, Dist Bhojpur, Bihar.
  • Sepoy Rajesh kr Singh, r/o Vill Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh.

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In one of the deadliest attacks on the Army in recent years, 17 jawans were killed and 19 others injured as heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the force in North Kashmir’s Uri town early on Sunday. Four militants involved in the terror strike were killed by the Army. Heavily armed militants stormed a battalion headquarters of the Army. Explosions and gunfire erupted as the militants attacked the camp, which is located barely few metres away from the Army’s Brigade Headquarters in Uri town, 102 kms from Srinagar, around 4 am on Sunday, official sources said.

The jawans of the Dogra Regiment were sleeping in a tent which caught fire due the explosion. The fire also engulfed the nearby barracks, the sources said. 17 jawans were killed in the terror attack, the Northern Command of the Army said. Nineteen other personnel were injured in the strike in which four militants were killed.

“A group of heavily armed terrorists targeted the rear administrative base of a unit at Uri, Kashmir. In the counter action, four terrorists have been eliminated and combing operations are in progress,” the Army said in a statement. “The administrative base had large strength of troops of units turning over after their tour of duty who were stationed in tents/temporary shelters which caught fire, and resulted in heavy casualties. We salute the sacrifice of 17 soldiers who were martyred in the operation,” the statement said.

Helicopters from the Army’s 19 divisional headquarters in Baramulla have been pressed into service and the injured Army personnel have been evacuated from the encounter site, the sources said. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag are rushing to Kashmir in the wake of terror attack in Uri.

Army soldiers rush to the attack site in Uri. PTI

Army soldiers rush to the attack site in Uri. PTI

The Home Minister has also called an emergency meeting to review the situation arising out of the terror attack. The attack comes two years after militants had carried out a similar type of attack at Mohra in the same area. Ten security personnel were killed in the attack that took place on December 5, 2014.

It is believed that the attack was the handiwork of a freshly infiltrated group of militants who could have entered along the Salamabad Nallah into the town. The Home Minister has postponed his scheduled visit to Russia and the United States in the wake of the attack in Uri and the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

Singh also spoke to the Jammu and Kashmir Governor and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the situation arising out of the terror strike in Uri. The Home Minister was scheduled to leave for Russia tonight for a four-day bilateral visit and later to the US on September 26 for a six-day tour to attend the Indo-US Homeland Security Dialogue. “Keeping the situation of Jammu and Kashmir in mind and in the wake of terror attack in Uri, I have postponed my visits to Russia and the US,” he said in a statement here.

The Home Minister said he has spoken to Governor N N Vohra and the Chief Minister and discussed with them the situation arising out of attack on a Army Brigade Headquarters in Uri and both of them apprised him of the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “I have given instructions to Home Secretary (Rajiv Mehrishi) and other officers in the Home Ministry to closely monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The Home Minister also called an emergency meeting to review the situation arising out of the attack on the Brigade Headquarters in Uri. National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, the Union Home Secretary, top Army, paramilitary and Home Ministry officials are attending it. The Home Minister has postponed his scheduled visit to Russia and the United States in the wake of the attack in Uri and the unrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

Singh also spoke to the Jammu and Kashmir Governor and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on the situation arising out of the terror strike in Uri. “Keeping the situation of Jammu and Kashmir in mind and in the wake of terror attack in Uri, I have postponed my visits to Russia and the US,” he said in a statement here.

The Home Minister said he has spoken to Governor N N Vohra and the Chief Minister and discussed with them the situation arising out of attack on a Army Brigade Headquarters in Uri and both of them apprised him of the overall situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “I have given instructions to Home Secretary (Rajiv Mehrishi) and other officers in the Home Ministry to closely monitor the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The Home Minister also called an emergency meeting to review the situation arising out of the attack on the Brigade Headquarters in Uri. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the Union Home Secretary, top Army, paramilitary and Home Ministry officials are attending the meeting.

Uri attack: Despite strong fences and ring of mountains, army town caught unawares by terrorists

Uri, Jammu and Kashmir: Imran Shah was sleeping in the attic of his house in Parampila village overlooking the bowl-shaped Uri town when a sudden explosion woke him up at 5.30 am on Sunday morning. He went back to sleep thinking that it was the army carrying out firing drills across the river Jhelum, just 500 meters from his house in the northern most part of Uri.

But, minutes later, he was shaken out of his sleep again by the rattling gunshots and loud explosions which continued for almost thirty minutes before that brief lull. “As the explosions continued, I woke up and told my father the army camp has caught the fire,” Shah, 16, told Firstpost on Sunday morning outside his house as plumes of smoke continued to rise from three spots from the Army’s 12 Infantry brigade in the border town of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

“At 6 am, there were several explosions one after the other and we left the house,” Shah said, “My neighbours gathered outside their houses and then someone said militants have attacked the army camp,” he added.

Firstpost/Sameer YasirFirstpost/Sameer Yasir

Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

Another Uri resident Shareef Khan, said he mistook the loud explosions for shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) — Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK), something which was normal till late Nov 2003, when a ceasefire between India and Pakistan provided the much-needed relief from the daily shelling for the residents of this town.

Villages failing along the LoC in Uri have been at the cross-hairs of Pakistan artillery many times in the past after the start of militancy in Kashmir in 1989, but a fragile peace prevailing on the LoC since 2003 has changed the live of thousands of people who have been living on the edge for decades.

The shells would land in the market, and crash on residences of people. In 1999, the shells fired from the PoK sides also reached the brigade headquarters, where militant made one of the most brazen forays to date in the more than two-decade old militancy in Kashmir.

But never had armed militants, in the past, from across the LoC launched such a daring attack on the Army headquarters here or in the main town of Uri.

“When the explosions happened, I rushed to check on my mother in another room,” Khan said. ”It was about 5.30 am then I heard the blast again and went to the mosque,” he added. Khan also said that by the time he had returned home, it was clear that something terrible was happening inside the brigade headquarters.” Then word spread that militants had stormed the headquarters.

Plumes of smoke from the army camp. Firstpost/Sameer YasirPlumes of smoke from the army camp. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

Plumes of smoke from the army camp. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

Sunday’s attack on 12 Infantry Brigade, the first in more than two decades of conflict in valley, was carried out by four alleged Jaish militants, who, intelligence sources said, had infiltrated hours before the attack.

The attack on this garrison town has come as surprise and shock for the people and security officials. Uri town is ringed by mountains from all sides and has a strong fence with latest sensors and lights that shine real bright in the night, making it easy for the army patrols to detect human movement. The sensors and thermal imagers also make it almost impossible for the infiltrators to sneak in without risking detection and elimination at the earliest.

Yet, the puzzle of how four heavily armed militant could sneak into the rear side of the brigade and blast their way into the barracks of sleeping soldiers and unleash death has baffled many.

“The terrorists fired incendiary ammunition along with automatic fire of small arms that led to army tents, temporary shelters catching fire,” said Director General Military Operations (DGMO), Lt Gen Ranbir Singh.” The tents located in the complex were to house additional troops inducted due to routine turnover of units.”

“Since the terrorists had some items with Pakistani markings, I have spoken to Pakistan DGMO and conveyed our serious concerns on the same,” Singh said.

The militants, according to intelligence sources, crossed the Line of Control (LoC) in the wee hours and rolled over from the top of the hill to reach the base of the barracks where the soldiers were sleeping in two tents.

“The soldiers were sleeping in tents for paucity of space,” an army officer told Firstpost. “6 Bihar was to replace 10 Dogra and because of the paucity of space, the soldiers were sleeping in a tent as there was not enough space to accommodate the soldiers,” he said. “The terrorists opened indiscriminate fire on the sleeping Jawans and threw grenades towards the tents that caught fire,”

The lives of the residents of Uri and army are intertwined. The latter is also a source of livelihood for many locals many who literally thronged the entrance of the brigade headquarters in front of the heavy posse of reporters and TV channels covering the attack live.

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Helicopters airlifted dead and injured soldiers. Firstpost/Sameer Yasir

Syed Abdul Majeed, a resident of Uri town, said in the peak militancy years, there used to be daily skirmishes on the LoC between militants and security forces. But the militants never barged into army camps in the main town.

“When I heard militants have attacked the camp I could not believe it,” Majeed told Firstpost as helicopters airlifting injured soldiers hovered over the town with the number of dead soldiers increasing steadily.

By 11 am, 17 soldiers were confirmed dead and 25 others injured. The condition of two soldiers remained critical at the army’s base hospital in Srinagar.

Taha Rashid, who was sitting outside the signboards reading, stop, 200 meters from the headquarters, said he heard soldiers crying for help after two tents caught fire and as explosions continued one after another.

“I don’t know why the soldiers were inside tents when attacks took place,” he said. ” The tents smouldered for hours after they caught fire.”

Initial reports indicate the militants crossed the LoC early morning and straight away headed for the camp. “As far as I understand this group of militants entered Kashmir and carried out the attack the same day,” an intelligence officer said.

In Srinagar, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti condemned the attack saying the deadly attacks was aimed at triggering “fresh violence and creating a war-like situation in the region.”

Mufti said the heightened tension in the wake of Uri attack is set to further vitiate the atmosphere in and around Jammu and Kashmir amid increasing Indo-Pak hostility. “Unfortunately, people in Jammu and Kashmir, who are already mired in an agonising situation shall have to bear the maximum brunt of the fresh attempts being made to step up violence and trigger fresh bloodshed in the State,” she said.

Blow to Mehbooba govt: Another PDP leader quits party over ‘bloodbath’ of Kashmiris

Blow to Mehbooba govt: Another PDP leader quits party over ‘bloodbath’ of Kashmiris

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Srinagar: In a set back to the ruling PDP, party leader Nisar Ahmad Mandoo on Sunday resigned from the party saying he cannot side with “bloodbath” of Kashmiris, the second prominent leader to resign in the wake of the ongoing unrest in Kashmir.

Mehbooba Mufti. PTIMehbooba Mufti. PTI

Mehbooba Mufti. PTI

“I am resigning from the basic membership of the PDP as I cannot side with the bloodbath of Kashmiris,” Mandoo, who was senior vice president of the party’s Srinagar unit, told reporters in Srinagar.

Mandoo also cited “anti-people” policies of BJP-PDP coalition in the state as a reason for his resignation. “I have been associated with PDP for the past 16 years. The party was formed to protect the lives and political dignity of people but today the party has deviated from these principles,” he said.

Mandoo is the second prominent leader of the ruling party to resign in the wake of the ongoing unrest in Kashmir that has left 81 persons dead and thousands of others injured. Tariq Hameed Karra, founding member of the PDP and Lok Sabha member from Srinagar constituency, resigned from the party as well as the Parliament seat on 15 September over civilians’ killings.

PM Modi expresses concern over Kashmir situation; CM Mufti says unrest in valley was ‘pre-planned’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to reach out to people of Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday expressed his “deep concern and pain” over the situation there and asked all political parties to work together to find a “permanent and lasting” solution to problems in Jammu and Kashmir. Making an appeal for restoration of normalcy in the Valley where the unrest entered the 45th day, Modi emphasised that there has to be a dialogue.An official statement issued after his 75-minute-long meeting with a joint opposition delegation led by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said the Prime Minister appreciated the “constructive suggestions” made by them during the talks and reiterated his government’s commitment to the welfare of people. The 20-member delegation comprising Omar and seven of his National Conference MLAs, Congress legislators led by PCC Chief G A Mir and CPI-M MLA M Y Tarigami had called on the Prime Minister this morning and made an appeal for a political approach for resolving the crisis in the Valley and to ensure that the “mistakes” of the past are not repeated.Expressing his “deep concern and pain” at the prevailing situation, the Prime Minister said “those who lost their lives during recent disturbances are part of us, our nation; whether the lives lost are of our youth, security personnel or police, it distresses us.””Government and the nation stand with the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the Prime Minister said, and suggested that all political parties should reach out to the people and convey the same.Kashmir unrest was ‘pre-planned’: Mehbooba MuftiJammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti found nothing wrong in opposition leaders meeting PM Modi over the situation in the valley. “We live in a democratic set-up. If opposition leaders meet the Prime Minister or the President, if some solution can be found, it is a good thing,” said Mufti. Contending that the unrest in Kashmir was “pre-planned”, Mufti said a “handful of people” were deliberately keeping the Valley on the boil while 95% people were peace-loving and should not be punished for the fault of 5%. She expressed pain that children are being used as a shield by “vested interests” while attacking camps and posts of security forces to incite them, as a result of which innocent kids become a casualty.Referring to the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in a gunfight, the Chief Minister said, “there was nothing new in this. Killing of militants has been happening for the past 25 years. I want to tell you this because all this was pre-planned. They were waiting for a reason, a chance to put the state back into that fire in which it was always.” She said, “they (those indulging in violence) are only a handful of people. Most Kashmiris want peace. They understand that the kind of freedom Kashmir is enjoying today is not there even in Islamic countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Turkey and Pakistanis. When gun enters a country, it is no more free, no matter how much it claims to be free.”NC President Omar Abdullah thanks PM Modi for hearing them outThe 46-year-old Working President of National Conference Omar told reporters after the meeting that they requested the Prime Minister for finding a political solution to the Kashmir issue so that a lasting peace is ensured in the state as well as in the country.”I am not going to put words into the Prime Minister’s mouth nor am I going to draw further meaning from what he said,” Omar said.”We talked about the same thing that we have been talking with other leaders ever since we arrived in Delhi that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, especially in light of the present crisis, needs to be understood correctly after which a solution is required. We emphasised that the issue of Jammu and Kashmir is more of political in nature. Time and again such situations do arise but if we are unable to find a political solution to it, we will be repeating our mistakes again and again,” he said.

Over 11,000 ceasefire violations in Kashmir since 2002 have killed 313 people: Mehbooba Mufti

Srinagar: There have been 11,270 ceasefire violations and border firing incidents by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir since 2002 which have resulted in the killing of 313 people, including 144 security forces personnel, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti told the Legislative Council on Tuesday.

She said these violations and incidents have taken place between 1 January, 2002 and 31 December, 2015.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

The highest number of such violations took place in 2002 when 8376 incidents were reported while 2045 incidents of ceasefire violations were reported in 2003, she said in written reply to a question.

The ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the Line of Control and international border in Jammu and Kashmir came into force in November 2003.

For three years — 2004, 2005 and 2007 — there was not a single such violation on the border, Mehbooba said.

The Chief Minister said 169 civilians and 144 security men were killed in the shelling from across the border in J&K since 2002.

The highest number of 76 civilians were killed in such violations in 2002 while in 2003, 59 civilians were killed in the border shelling.

Over the next 10 years, four people died in the ceasefire violation, she said.

In 2014 and 2015, 14 and 16 civilians were killed respectively in ceasefire violations from across the border, she said.

A total of 735 civilians and 311 security forces personnel were injured in these violations in these years, Mehbooba said.

She said a maximum of 58 security men were killed and other 157 injured in the year 2002.

Jammu and Kashmir: Over 200 people lodged in jails in militancy-related cases

Srinagar: Over 200 persons, including 36 foreigners and four non-state subjects, are lodged in various jails in Jammu and Kashmir in connection with militancy-related cases, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Tuesday.

Representational image. CNN-News18

Representational image. CNN-News18

A total of 209 persons — 169 state subjects, four non-state subjects and 36 foreigners — are lodged in militancy-related cases in various jails of the state, Mehbooba said in a written reply to a question by Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid in the state Assembly in Srinagar.

The Chief Minister, who holds the portfolio of Home Department, said it would not be feasible to disclose the particulars of these prisoners keeping in view their security and that of their families.

As on May 30 this year, she said no person belonging to Jammu and Kashmir, who has committed an offence in this state, is lodged in any of the jails outside the state.

In response to a question whether the government plans to shift the prisoners lodged in various jails outside the state to their native districts or divisions, the Chief Minister said no such proposal is under consideration.

Mehbooba said the prisons department provides various facilities to the prisoners lodged in various jails of the state.

The facilities provided include compulsory health screening at the time of initial lodgment as per the guidelines of NHRC, following advisories on health of inmates issued by Home Ministry from time to time and provision of medical care to the sick inmates by doctors and other paramedical staff posted in central and districts jails.

Seven ambulances have been procured to shift ailing prisoners for treatment to other hospitals in case of emergency, counseling of jail inmates by psychiatric specialists at regular intervals, management of unsound prisoners in terms of Lunacy Act and sensitising jail staff and inmates about health issues and hygiene are some other facilities, the Chief Minister said.

She said refreshing the minds of inmates by organising special yoga and meditation programmes and conduct of cultural programmes, painting and sports competitions are for recreation of the inmates.

As regards food, Mehbooba said diet as per the scales mentioned in the manual for superintendent and management of jails is being provided to the inmates.

Additional diet is provided to the lactating and pregnant female inmates, she said adding special diet is also provided to the sick inmates as per medical advice.

Mehbooba said clean and sufficient drinking water has been made available in all the jails.

PM Narendra Modi, CM Mehbooba Mufti express condolences to family of Pampore martyrs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered his condolences to the kin of the eight Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, who were martyred in an encounter with Lashkar terrorists in Pampore, Jammu and Kashmir on Saturday evening.”I salute the courage of the CRPF personnel martyred today in J&K. They served the nation with utmost dedication. Pained by their demise. My thoughts are with the families of those martyred today. May those injured recover soon,” the Prime Minister said in a series of tweets.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has also condemned the militant attack, saying that such acts of violence were aimed at subverting the Government’s efforts to bring peace and prosperity to the state.
ALSO READ Pampore: Lashkar terrorists attack bus carrying CRPF personnel; 8 jawans martyred”The only purpose of such blood-spattered acts of violence is to add to the tragedies and miseries of the people and subvert the Government’s efforts aimed at bringing permanent peace and prosperity to Jammu and Kashmir,” Mufti said in a statement.Mehbooba also said that the elements inimical to interests of Jammu and Kashmir have always tried to derail the peace efforts and the latest militant strike at Pampore was again aimed at subverting the peace and development initiatives launched by the Government. Mehbooba while expressing solidarity with the bereaved families of the security forces personnel, prayed for early recovery of the injured including civilians.
ALSO READ Pampore: ‘Deeply anguised’ by the attack, Rajnath Singh prays for speedy recovery of injured”I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in today?s dastardly militant attack,” she said and added that violence has not served any purpose in the past, nor is it going to do anything in future, except shedding precious human blood.Eight CRPF personnel were martyred and 24 injured in the major ambush by two terrorists, who were neutralised in the encounter in Pampore. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar offered his condolences to the families of the martyred and said that he is praying for the early recovery of those injured.CRPF DG K Durga Prasad has briefed Home Minister Rajnath Singh on the incident and will be visiting Pampore on Sunday to take stock of the situation.The CRPF asserted on Saturday that the two terrorists, who have been neutralised in the gunfight, appeared to be Pakistanis and were Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives.”According to the first hand info, both killed terrorists appeared to be Pakistanis and definitely from Lashkar and in all likelihood fidayeen,” IG, CRPF operation Nalin Parbhat said.Security personnel recovered arms and ammunition including 2 AK 47 Rifles, 11 hand grenades from the killed terrorists.

Jammu and Kashmir: Voting underway for Anantnag bypoll where CM Mufti is in the fray

Polling was underway on Wednesday for the bypoll in Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag constituency, where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is in the fray, election officials said.Starting on a slow note, voting picked up pace as 23 per cent of the electorate exercised their franchise till 1 PM, an official spokesperson said. There was no report of any untoward incident so far, the officials said. He said out of 19,174 votes polled so far, 10,868 voters were male and 8,306 female.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The total number of registered voters in the assembly segment is 84,067 — 42,840 males and 41,227 females, the spokesman said, adding there are 102 polling stations in the constituency. Voting picked up after a slow start in the morning due to the ongoing holy month of Ramzan, officials said.They said there were some pockets in the constituency where the voting percentage is still less than 10, while in some places, there has been brisk polling.

Yasin Malik arrested en-route Anantnag

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Yasin Malik, who was en-route Anantnag for addressing an election boycott rally, has been arrested by the police.The separatists have called for boycotting the upcoming by-elections in Anantnag constituency from where Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is contesting. Asserting that this election process is against the interests of Kashmiris, Malik had earlier urged the people to keep away from by-polls to be held in holy month of Ramadan.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The seat was left vacant after the death of former chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

Oppn guns for Mehbooba Mufti after Rs 58.8 lakh seized in poll-bound Anantnag

A major political storm has hit Mehbooba Mufti-led Jammu and Kashmir government after police seized Rs 58.8 lakh cash from a car in the poll-bound Anantnag constituency.Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba is contesting the June 22 by-elections from the Anantnag constituency. The seat had fallen vacant after the death of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.Pandemonium rocked Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on Thursday when opposition Congress and National Conference created ruckus alleging that the cash was meant for buying votes for Mehbooba Mufti.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Authorities, however, were quick to rubbish the charge claiming that the cash belonged to Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ashaji Pora Branch and it was being transported to be deposited in the currency chest when the vehicle was stopped by police naka party at Janglat Mandi on Wednesday evening.Shouting slogans `loot maar bandh karo’ (stop the loot), `paisa bantna band karo’ (stop distribution of money), Congress and NC members walked out of the House in protest demanding explanation from the government and Election Commission (EC).”Our charge is that the cash was meant to be distributed and buy votes. We request the Election Commission to enquire into it and unravel the truth. We will also lodge a formal complaint before the Election Commission,” said Nawang Rigzin Jora, Congress Legislature Party Leader.National Conference too demanded a statement from the government about the seizure of the huge cash in poll bound Anantnag. “The government should make a statement what was this cash meant for”, said Ali Mohammad Sagar, NC general secretary.Senior PDP leader and J&K minister for consumer affairs and public distribution Chaudhary Zulifikar, however, asked the opposition to lodge a complaint before the EC. “If you have a proof you should go to the EC,” he said.District development commissioner, Anantnag, Syed Abid Hussian Shah, however, said the cash has been accounted for and it belongs to the J&K bank Ashaji Pora branch.”Initially, the vehicle was taken in possession and elaborate enquiry was instituted. It was established that the cash was being transferred to the currency chest of J&K bank when the vehicle was stopped by a naka party.There is an adequate cash reserve number. The money stands deposited in the currency chest of J&K bank,” he said.Shah said the bank used the private car to shift the cash in a hurry. “There are RBI guidelines that the cash should be deposited in the chest before nightfall. In the hurry they used a private car to meet the deadline,” he said.

Jammu temple desecration: CM Mehbooba Mufti appeals for calm

Appealing for calm in the wake of the desecration of a temple in Jammu city by a “mentally disturbed” person on Tuesday evening, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday said she does not want the state to be “hijacked” by extremist forces.”Jammu and Kashmir is the most secular place and I don’t want it to be hijacked by extremist forces,” Mehbooba said while addressing a function at Jammu University on Wednesday. She said some elements were “hell-bent” on creating communal tension in the region but the people of Jammu, irrespective of their religion, must unite and fight the nefarious designs of such forces.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Separatism and communalism are the two faces of a same coin and they ultimately divide the society and the country,” she said.An ancient temple situated in Roop Nagar area of Jammu was desecrated by a “mentally disturbed” person yesterday, triggering protests across the city. Protestors had last night set three vehicles on fire and clashed with police after the news spread. Authorities have suspended mobile internet services in Jammu region as a precautionary measure.Mehbooba said time and again the people of Jammu have shown their secular credentials and it was evident from the fact that the region gave refuge to people who came there while fleeing from militancy-hit areas.”In 1990, people of Jammu opened their doors for the people who escaped militancy and took refuge here. Jammu has always been a shining example of secular harmony,” she said.She said that it was the people of Jammu who voted her father to the Legislative Assembly for the first time in 1985.”It was the secular character of Jammu that they elected my father, a Muslim from Kashmir, from R S Pura,” she said.The Chief Minister warned that communal politics in Jammu region could have a disastrous effect as the state was already facing separatism in the Kashmir valley. She appealed to students to play a positive role and get involved in political activities, but at the same time cautioned them against politics of religion.

Jammu curfew over temple’ desecration’

Curfew is imposed in parts of Jammu after crowds clash with police over alleged desecration of a Hindu temple.

Watch: Turn against cops, Hizbul Mujahideen chief Wani tells Kashmiri youths

Wearing a black combat vest over a white T-shirt with automatic weapons adoring the background wall, the young Hizbul Mujahideen Commander, Burhan Muzaffar Wani, once again rattled the security grid in Jammu and Kashmir with his latest video in which he warns of attacks on police and media if they don’t fall in line.

In the six-minute video, the Hizb Commander urges the youth to join his outfit and help in the profiling of police officers of their respective areas. The video has, in fact, surfaced days after the series of lethal attacks carried out by militants on police and army in Srinagar and Anantnag.

“I appeal to those youth who want to join us to collect complete details of cops of their respective areas; of their role towards militancy and handover the details to us. We will also recruit them at the right opportunity,” Wani says in the video.

Speaking in Urdu, Wani warns police not to participate in anti-militancy operations and to stop harassing the local youth.

“If you (police) care about your life, remain inside police stations, don’t put barricades on roads and stop harassing youth. Those who will do this will be responsible for their life,” he says.

Seemingly modelled on Al-Qaeda videos, Wani boldly suggests that the police stop siding with India and join the fight against them. “I want to tell police that you are our brothers and our real enemy is India but you fail to understand that India makes us fight among ourselves. Train your guns on Indian Army and help in our freedom movement. It doesn’t make any difference to India whether a militant or a cop dies. They are pitting us against each other.”

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

The Hizb commander appeals to people of Kashmir to fight the forces and extends help to them. “If any policeman, army or anybody supporting the Indian cause tries to enter any home at any place in any corner of Kashmir, kick them out. Every Kashmiri has our support, Inshallah. And pelt stones to quell army when they come to your areas because this land belongs to us.”

Kashmir has witnessed a surge in the militant attacks since last month when three cops of Jammu and Kashmir Police were shot dead by militants from point-blank range in Srinagar on May 23. Two other cops were killed in the same fashion in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district by militants who were caught on camera fleeing from the spot on 4 June. A day earlier, on 3 June, three Border Security Forces (BSF) personnel were killed and seven others were wounded when militants attacked an army convoy on Srinagar-Jammu Highway in Bijbehara town of Anantnag district.

Burhan’s militant outfit, Hizbul Mujahideen, claimed responsibility for all the attacks. The same outfit has carried several other attacks in south Kashmir where it mostly operates.

After the deadly attacks, a high-level security meeting was held in south Kashmir’s Khanabal to devise strategy to ensure safe elections. The meeting, attended by DGP K Rajendra, General officer Commanding of Army’s 15 Corps, Lt. General Satish Dua and other police and army officials, decided to provide a multi-layer security cover for Anantnag bypolls.

South Kashmir’s Anantnag is going for bypolls on 22 June. The seat was left vacant after the death of former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, on 27 June. The current CM, Mehbooba Mufti is contesting from Anantnag constituency.

What has surprised many in valley is Wani’s attack on the media for following the line of New Delhi and branding them as “terrorists” instead of “militants.”

“At last I need to warn media because it follows the tone of India. I want to tell media that if we are terrorist we can destroy your networks. But if you want to recognise who the real terrorists are, consult the history and Kashmir and decide if we or Indian army are terrorists,” he says.

Meanwhile, Burhan refuted the reports of carrying attacks on the upcoming Amarnath Yatra but warned attacks on proposed Sainik Colonies and separate KP townships. “We aren’t planning to carry out any attacks on Amarnath pilgrims who will be here to perform their religious rites,” he says.

In the past, Burhan has managed to galvanise huge support for his group through similar videos posted on social media. In many areas, people risk their lives by engaging with forces during gun-battles to help militants flee. The tech-savvy and flamboyant nature of Burhan has made him popular among youth. He also managed to inspire some cops to join his group. It needs to be seen whether the latest video makes any impact on police and youth to join him.

Violence returns to south Kashmir days ahead of bypolls

Two consecutive deadly strikes by militants in south Kashmir’s Anantnag marked the return of pre-poll violence in this restive district. The lethal attacks attempted just weeks ahead of the by-elections in this militant hotbed has left at least five security personnel dead and at least eight others with serious injuries.

Two cops of Jammu and Kashmir Police were killed in the militant attack on late Saturday morning. Reports said the incident happened in the main town of Anantnag district near General Bus Stand located just meters away from the police post. The slain cops were identified as ASI Bashir Ahmad and Constable Reyaz Ahmad.

A photo taken by a bystander shows two young militants with guns and bag near the shootout site walking on the road after the attack.

Representational image. APRepresentational image. AP

Representational image. AP

The Anantnag assembly seat left vacant after the death of former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on 7 January, is going for polls on 22 June. Muftis daughter, Mehbooba Mufti, the current Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, has filed nomination papers from his late father’s constituency. The election has been already deferred twice.

A day earlier on Friday, three Border Security Forces (BSF) personnel were killed and seven other were wounded when militants attacked an army convoy on Srinagar-Jammu Highway in Bijbehara town of Anantnag district. Hizbul Mujahideen claimed the responsibility of the attack. The same outfit has carried several other attacks in Bijbehara town.

Militants often resort to pre-poll violence to show their disapproval of the electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir. In run up to the 2014 Assembly polls, at least 10 Sarpanchs (village heads) were killed and three injured by militants. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) won majority of the seats in 2014 Assembly elections and formed a coalition government in the state. Dozens of village heads were forced to resign from their posts on facing life threats from various militant outfits.

Often such attacks are carried to cause fear psychosis among voters and they result in the low voter turnout during high-pressure elections with a poll-boycott calls already issued by the separatists.

Hardline separatist leader, Syed Ali Geelani, Friday appealed people of Anantnag to boycott the polls. Geelani on challenged CM Mehbooba to set him free for anti-election campaign in the district.

“To prove my point, I ask Mehbooba Mufti to release me from house detention and allow me to visit Anantnag constituency just for five days and let me freely meet the people of the area, then everybody will come to know the actual percentage of people’s participation in the military exercise,” Geelani said, in challenge to Mehbooba.

A couple of local residents who spoke to Firstpost expressed concerns about the safety of voters on the election day.

“These attacks will have a bearing on the election process. People fear for their lives after such attacks and are unwilling to come out of their homes on the election day,” Jabbar Malik, a local resident, told Firstpost.

“I will sit at home on the election day. Why put my life in danger for a single vote?” Ali Kamil, another resident of Anantnag, said.

A total number of nine nominations have been received for the Anantnag constituency by-elections. Firebrand legislator of Awami Itehad Party, Engineer Rasheed, who is currently MLA from north Kashmir’s Langate constituency, has also filed nomination papers from the Anantnag constituency against Mehbooba. Besides, opposition National Conference fielded Iftikhar Hussain Misgar while Hilal Ahmad Shah will contest on Congress ticket.

The twin attacks days ahead of the election has left the law and order machinery of the district in tizzy. A police official posted in the district told Firstpost that the security grid is worried but capable to prevent such attacks for a secure and fair election.

“Such attacks are a cause of worry but we have enough man power to assist Election Commission in conducting secure elections,” he said.

The coming days in run up to the election in this district, in which many areas are considered to be the bastions of militants, are crucial as far as the security on the election day is concerned.

EC issues show cause notice to Mehbooba Mufti for violating model

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has been served a show cause notice by the Election Commission for alleged violation of model code of conduct while filing her nomination for the Anantnag Assembly seat bypoll. State Chief Electoral Officer Shantmanu said that the notice was served following objection that the car in which she had come on June 1 to file her nomination papers was carrying the national as well as the state flags, which is not allowed. The notice was issued to her on June 2, he said. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Another objection that she was using an official car was overruled as she is a Z-plus protectee and is authorised to use an official vehicle, he said. Mehbooba is contesting the Anantnag bypoll to be held on June 22. The byelection was necessitated following the demise of her father and the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed here.

Anantnag by-elections: Mehbooba Mufti, 7 others in fray

Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rasheed on Saturday withdrew his nomination for the by-poll in Anantnag Assembly seat in Jammu and Kashmir, leaving eight candidates, including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in the fray.Rasheed, a legislator from Langate constituency of Kupwara district, withdrew his nomination for the by-election slated to be held on June 22, an official spokesman said. Today was the last date for withdrawal of nomination. With Rasheed’s withdrawal, eight candidates, including Mehbooba, were left in the fray.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By-poll was necessitated in Anantnag following the death of then Chief Minister and incumbent PDP MLA Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.Mehbooba, who assumed the Chief Minister’s office on April 4, had six months to get elected either to the Assembly or the Legislative Council in order to continue in office. The poll process has to be concluded before July 7, the day the six-month deadline, set as per provisions of the Representation of the People Act, expires.

Anantnag attack: Pictures of gun-wielding militants shared widely online

Striking for a second time in less than 24 hours in South Kashmir, militants on Saturday killed two police personnel in poll-bound Anantnag from where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is contesting.In a targeted action against security personnel, suspected militants opened fire at a police party in the main bus stand in Anantnag at 11.20 AM injuring Assistant Sub- Inspector Bashir Ahmad and Constable Reyaz Ahmad who were rushed to a hospital where they succumbed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The attack comes in less than 24 hours when militants of banned Hizbul Mujahideen ambushed a BSF convoy at neighbouring Goriwan area at Bijbehara killing three of its personnel. Today’s attack in Anantnag, 52 Kms from here, is seen as an attempt by the militants to scare the voters as Mehbooba is seeking her election to the state assembly from here.Meanwhile, pictures have surfaced online purportedly of the gun-wielding militants walking on a road after carrying out the attack that left two policemen dead. A police official said they were aware of the photographs and were trying to ascertain the identity of the militants involved.TwitterThe seat, where elections are now scheduled to be held on June 22, had fallen vacant after the death of former Chief Minister and her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed on January 7. Mehbooba is among nine candidates in the fray.Police and CRPF have cordoned off the area and were carrying out searches at various places to nab the culprits. Opposition National Conference hit out at PDP-BJP government and said “instead of making tall claims of improved ground situation on papers, the state government should do something concrete on ground and ensure safety and security of people”.Party spokesperson Junaid Mattu said with elections round the corner in the assembly, ongoing tourist season and forthcoming Amarnath Yatra, “one expects that security should be at its best. But every now and then, loopholes within the security establishment stand exposed”.State Congress Chief G A Mir questioned the PDP-BJP government credentials in tackling the law and order situation saying “fear is being created in the mind of the voters and it does not augur well for a healthy democracy”. The attacks also come against the backdrop of a boycott call for elections given by hardline pro-Pakistan Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.Police and civil administration officials were among those who paid homage to the deceased in a wreath laying ceremony held at district police line Anantnag.

Jammu & Kashmir: Two policemen shot dead by militants in poll-bound Anantnag

Militants on Saturday shot dead two policemen, including an officer, in poll-bound Anantnag town of south Kashmir, police said.Militants opened fire on a police party at General Bus Stand in Anantnag town, 52 kms from here, at around 11:20 AM, resulting in injuries to the two policemen, a police official said.He said the injured policemen were rushed to a hospital where both of them succumbed.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The deceased have been identified as Assistant Sub-Inspector Bashir Ahmad and Constable Reyaz Ahmad.The attack comes ahead of the June 22 polling for by-election to Anantnag Assembly seat where Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is one of the nine candidates in the fray.The by-poll for the seat was necessitated due to death of then chief minister and incumbent MLA Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7 this year.This is second attack in less than 24 hours in the district. Three BSF jawans were killed and nine others injured last evening as militants ambushed their convoy at Goriwan in Bijbehara town.Security forces have been put on an alert to track down the assailants, the official said.

Jammu and Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti files nomination for Anantanag by-poll

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday filed her nomination papers for by-poll to Anantnag assembly segment as she seeks to become a member of the state legislature within the mandatory period of six months from her swearing-in as CM.57-year-old Mehbooba, who is currently a Lok Sabha member from the south Kashmir constituency of Anantnag, is contesting from the seat where by-poll was necessitated due to death of her father and the then chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, on January 7 this year. After filing her nomination papers before the returning officer for Anantnag assembly segment, the PDP chief voiced hope that the people will repose faith in her father and elect her so that she can complete the work started by him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”People showed their trust in Mufti sahab and gave him an opportunity to be the chief minister. I am hopeful that people will again repose their faith in him and give me an opportunity to complete the work left by Mufti sahab,” said Mehbooba who took over the reins of the PDP-BJP government on April 4 this year, three months after Sayeed’s demise.
ALSO READ Anantnag bypolls first popularity test for Mehbooba Mufti after joining hands with BJPCongress has fielded Hilal Ahmad Shah while National Conference has nominated Iftikhar Misger to take on the Chief Minister. Wednesday is the last date for filing nomination while scrutiny of papers will be conducted on Thursday. The candidates can withdraw their nomination till June 4. The voting will be held on June 19 and counting of votes on June 22.Mehbooba has been elected to the state assembly three times in the past 20 years with her first victory coming in 1996 elections from Bijbehara segment as a Congress candidate. She has never lost an Assembly election and her only electoral defeat so far was in 1999 Lok Sabha elections when she lost to arch rival and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah.
ALSO READ Kashmiri Pandits row: BJP defends Mehbooba Mufti, asserts alliance under no pressureShe resigned from the Assembly in 1999 to float regional Peoples Democratic Party along with her father. She won the 2002 Assembly polls from Pahalgam segment in Anantnag district but resigned two years later after she was elected to the Lok Sabha from Anantnag. Her father won the by-poll to Pahalgam seat held that year. She won the 2008 assembly elections from Wachi assembly segment in south Kashmir’s Shopian district and completed first full six-year term in the House till 2014. She was elected to the Lok Sabha from south Kashmir in 2014 general elections and did not contest the Assembly elections held later that year.

First popularity test for Mehbooba Mufti after joining hands with BJP

Ending suspense, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has finally decided to step into her late father’s shoes and contest the assembly polls from Anantnag constituency, which had fallen vacant after the demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7.It will be the first popularity test for Mehbooba after she joined hands with BJP after playing hard ball for two-and-a-half months in a bid to renegotiate the terms of agenda of alliance and pressure BJP-led Centre to announce some confidence- building measures.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehbooba, who is currently People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Lok Sabha member from Anantnag, is filing her nomination papers on Wednesday. The bye-polls for the constituency will be held on June 19.This time the BJP has decided not to field any candidate against Mehbooba from Anantnag. It will be for the first time when there will be a sort of pre-poll arrangement between the PDP and BJP in the state.Last time, BJP had fielded Mohammad Rafiq Wani against late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in Anantnag constituency and he had bagged 1,275 votes.”We will not field any candidate against Mehbooba Mufti. We will extend all our support to the honourable chief minister in the polls. She will secure the highest number of votes in this election,” Khalid Jehangir, spokesman of BJP for Kashmir, told dna.However, Congress candidate Hilal Ahmad Shah is giving a tough contest to Mehbooba from Anantnag constituency. Shah had lost to her father by just 6000 votes in 2014 assembly elections.This time Shah is trying his luck against Mufti’s daughter in the same constituency. Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had bagged 16,983 votes while Shah had got 10,955 votes in 2014 assembly elections.”This time Mehbooba will lose her deposit. People are very angry because of her handshake with BJP and RSS. People want to teach them a lesson in a democratic manner. I have been living amongst people all through and I can see the wave against Mehbooba and her party,” Shah told dna.National Conference (NC), which had finished third by bagging 2,403 votes in 2014, has again fielded Iftikhar Hussain Misger against Mehbooba in Anantnag. Misger was last-minute entry in 2014 since NC candidate Mehboob Beg had defected to PDP and supported Mufti Mohommad Sayeed.”It is a one sided contest and Mehbooba Ji will win with the biggest margin. It is a cakewalk for her. There is nobody who can defeat her in Anantnag”, said Mehboob Beg, chief spokesman of PDP.Speculations are also rife that Mehbooba’s brother Mufti Tasaduq Hussain may contest the Lok Sabha polls from Anantnag constituency after his sister is elected to assembly. “Party will decide who will be the candidate for Anantnag parliamentary polls,” said Beg.

Sainik colonies not for outsiders, only for state subjects: Mehbooba Mufti

Castigating the opposition for attacking her government over allotment of land for Sainik colonies here, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said the colonies are not for outsiders, but only for state subjects. “Sainik colonies are not meant for outsiders, it is for state subjects. The proposal is in the process since the previous government,” she said. “The governor has issued an order to identify land for the proposed Sanik colonies, but I want to clear that our government has still not identified land,” she informed the state assembly. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Talking about the rehabilitation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits, Mehbooba said, “Kashmiri Pandits ko baizzat laayenge, yahan saath milkar rahenge. (We will bring back Kashmiri Pandits with full respect and live together).”Intensifying her attack on the opposition, the Peoples Democratic Party chief said, “When the All Party Working Group has agreed on separate transit camps for Pandits, why then is the opposition opposing the proposal today.When we can’t accommodate Muslim migrants who are affiliated with various political parties in their native villages how can we send Kashmiri Pandits? I assure you that I will bring back Kashmiri Pandits, and they can live wherever they want to. We accommodated them in transit camps and gave all facilities,” said Mehbooba. On the question of repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from the Valley, she said, ?I am running the government as per my father?s (late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) vision and it is clear that the chair is not my weakness. I am working on the agenda of the alliance and it takes time in completion. The agenda also includes removal of AFSPA, but it will take time. Tackling a volley of shots fired by the opposition on Friday, Mehbooba said, “It has been just one and a half months that I took over as the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and the opposition wants me to resolve all the issues, which is not possible in such a short span of time. We are working on the agenda of our alliance in collaboration with our alliance partner the Bharatiya Janata party. Our government will resolve all the long-standing issues step by step.”On the opening of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the state, she said, “We have received the orders for two AIIMs, which will be established in both Srinagar and Jammu regions. In Srinagar, it will be established in Awantipora, while in Jammu AIIMS it will be established in Samba.” Besides, she said her government has also received orders for smart cities for both Srinagar and Jammu. “We are going to set up women police stations in all districts of the state for the safety of women,” she added.However, the House witnessed uproar again on Saturday as Congress and National Conference MLAs staged a walked out, protesting against inadequate rehabilitation of the 2014 flood victims. Opposition MLAs alleged that the ruling PDP-BJP government has failed in providing relief to the families affected by the devastating floods. More than 200 people were killed and almost a million were displaced for weeks in the September 2014 floods in the Valley. The House witnessed a ruckus on Friday over the Handwara incident, where five civilians were killed allegedly by security forces. Independent legislator Engineer Rashid staged a protest in the assembly over the delay in the magisterial probe into the Handwara killings, and sought an explanation from the state government as to why it was retracting from its promise of completing the inquiry within a month.

Jammu and Kashmir oppostion guns for PDP after Centre rules out lifting of AFSPA

Mehbooba Mufti’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has suffered a major setback after the Centre categorically ruled out revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.In a written reply to a pointed question, Union minister of state for home affairs Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary had told Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that there were no plans to revoke AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir and North-eastern states.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the Agenda of Alliance, the PDP-BJP government had agreed to examine the need for de-notifying the disturbed areas to enable the centre to take a final view on the continuation of the AFSPA in these areas.Centre’s blunt “no” to revocation of AFSPA, however, has put the PDP in a tight spot with the opposition parties gunning for its head calling. It’s a “sell-out” on the part of PDP to stay in power, they alleged.”PDP has completely sold out all its ideologies and political stand for the sake of chair. Mehbooba Mufti after the death of her father took a stand and try to fool the people about AFSPA and getting power projects back. Today she could have fooled the people again by saying they are in process of lifting AFSPA, but the BJP at centre categorically said they are not going to revoke it,” Aga Ruhullah, chief spokesman of main opposition National Conference, told dna.Except Kargil and Leh districts of Ladakh, AFSPA is imposed in all other 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Under AFSPA, the armed forces have sweeping powers to operate in the state with impunity. An official of the armed forces can shoot anybody if he is of the opinion that he is acting against law.Under AFSPA the forces can also search or even destroy property if they are of the opinion that it is used as a hideout for the terrorists. In normal circumstances, it is the competent magistrate who has to give orders to open fire or search the property.Under fire, PDP tried to put up a brave face saying this is not the setback and they would continue to pursue this issue. “Government of India has never ever said we will repeal the AFSPA. It is a matter which is being pursued.These things have been said by people earlier also. It is not a setback. We will persue it, as and when it is required”, said Rafi Ahmad Mir, PDP spokesman for Kashmir.BJP, the ruling alliance partner of PDP, said atmosphere is not conducive for lifting of AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir. “AFSPA is a domain of security agencies. It can be be decided by the security agencies alone”, said Khalid Jehangir, BJP spokesman for Kashmir.

Don’t use my picture without my permission: Mehbooba Mufti asks officials

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asked officials not to use her pictures at government functions without her prior permission.”You should not use my pictures especially without my permission. Please do not do it. I am telling everyone that you should not use my pictures outside hospitals or any other places,” Mehbooba said.She was addressing a gathering after inaugurating a book-cum-coffee shop at Nehru Park in the middle of the famous Dal Lake in Srinagar where her pictures were put up by the Tourism and other departments and organisations. She especially asked the state Tourism Department to do away with the practice.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The tourism department especially should not do it and not without my permission. They should not use my pictures, I do not want my picture anywhere. Please note this,” she said.The Chief Minister also holds Tourism portfolio.

Mehbooba asks J&K students to co-operate in odd-even scheme implementation

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today sought cooperation of people of the state to cope with increased road traffic and called upon students to voluntarily help implement odd-even scheme, similar to the one in Delhi.

“Till the time all the departments come together and people do not cooperate, there will be no solution to traffic woes. We will try to remove bottlenecks, start bus services and other facilities, but I seek cooperation of the people in this,” Mehbooba told reporters here.

The Chief Minister was speaking to the media after chairing a high-level meeting on traffic problems.

Mehbooba called upon the students of various colleges and universities to set an example by implementing odd-even scheme.
“You see many vehicles are parked outside a college, students come in cars to colleges, similarly in universities and they occupy a lot of space.

Mehbooba Mufti. File photo. AFPMehbooba Mufti. File photo. AFP

Mehbooba Mufti. File photo. AFP

“I think that if they take this initiative, others will follow. It will be an example for the whole world that our students have voluntarily started something,” she said.

The chief minister said if the students succeed, then peoples’ mindset would automatically change.

“So, I am looking forward to cooperation from our young boys and girls to show us the way by adopting odd-even,” she said.

Mehbooba said she has asked officials to free up space in the commercial hub of Lal Chowk and make it a model for other areas to follow.

“I told the officials to free up space in and around Lal Chowk. I told them to ask the traders and common people to park their vehicles only at designated parking spaces by giving them weekly or monthly packages so that no one parks their vehicle on the road.

“We want to turn Lal Chowk into a model and I request traders and shopkeepers to help us in doing that, because if they do not, then we will not be able to do anything,” she said.

The Chief Minister also said vendors who have occupied footpaths in various areas of the city would be vacated and a suitable place allocated to them.

“I want some space to be allocated to vendors. I told the officials to register them through their Aadhar cards, so that they are given separate spaces and footpaths are vacated,” she said.

She also asked the people of the state to see the situation in Muslim countries around the world which have been affected by violence, and compared them with India where different people live together in peace.

“See the whole world, especially the Muslim countries, Iraq, Syria, Libya or Egypt or even our neighbour Pakistan where only the people of one religion live, but where have they reached. Today, you see that the maximum destruction
caused by the gun is in Muslim countries,” she said.

“India is such a big country where democracy thrives, where different people live together. This extraordinary Ganga-Jamuni civilization was what (her father and former chief minister) Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) saw in Aligarh during his student days. And when he returned, he held only one flag in his hand and did not change his stance because he was satisfied. Today, you have got the evidence of his satisfaction,” she said.

Later, Mehbooba travelled on the inaugural service of the new DEMU train from Anantnag to Baramulla and took the return service from Baramulla to Srinagar.

She said the service would benefit the people, especially government employees and students, and also demanded that special trains be started during peak tourist season.

“We will now try to increase the frequency of the train services, so that the traffic pressure on the roads is lessened,” she said.

Mehbooba Mufti bypassed by not being invited to meet on Jammu and Kashmir chaired by Rajnath Singh: NC

Opposition National Conference on Friday said only the Jammu and Kashmir Governor being invited to attend the high-level meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi to discuss various issues pertaining to the state, amounted to “bypassing” of the elected chief minister.”Instead of the elected chief minister, New Delhi invited the state’s Governor for the high-level meeting to discuss various key issues pertaining to it. This is yet another sign of how Mehbooba Mufti has bartered the constitutional mandate and sanctity of the Chief Minister’s Office to remain in her chair. This brazen disempowerment of the chief minister is an alarming development,” NC chief spokesperson Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi alleged.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The fact that the central government has “sidelined” the elected chief minister in dealing with vital issues of the state and the subsequent “conspicuous silence” of the chief minister does not auger well for the state, he said here. “The Union Home minister chaired the meeting to discuss various key issues pertaining to the state including the issues of rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandit migrants, return of civilian land by the army, the security situation in the state post the Handwara and Kupwara tragedy and the situation along the Line of Control. While the meeting was attended among others by Defence Minister Manohar Parikar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, the state was represented by Governor NN Vohra and not the chief minister,” he said.
ALSO READ Will protect special status of Jammu & Kashmir: Mehbooba MuftiThe NC chief spokesperson alleged Mehbooba had now been “officially relegated to the status of an ad hoc chief minister” who had been placed in the chief minister’s office by the BJP for “specific and limited purposes of furthering BJP’s agenda in the State”.”If the chief minister has no say in these issues that pertain to the state, one wonders why she has been placed in the chief minister’s chair in the first place. It is evident that the state is being “run from New Delhi” and the state government has been “divested of all its rights and roles”, he alleged.
ALSO READ Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti to meet Rajnath Singh today”Even law and order, which is a state subject in exclusivity, is now being supervised directly by New Delhi as was proven in the NIT issue and more recently the Handwara incident,” he said.Mehdi said the chief minister’s “omission” from these meetings indicates a “continued erosion of the state’s democratic institutions” under the PDP-BJP Alliance and these developments have created “widespread disillusionment and resentment” in the state.

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.

People in Kashmir still nursing old wounds, need special care: CM Mehbooba Mufti

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said her state needs special care and attention as people there are still nursing “old wounds inflicted by misfortune and tragedy” as she sought support and cooperation to tide over the challenges in bringing it back on the path of development.

As a Chief Minister, Mehbooba said, her prime objective will be to restore the balance and put Jammu and Kashmir firmly on the path of development.

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

“I will leave no stone unturned in bringing back smiles on the faces of the people of the state,” she said at the annual Joint Conference of Chief Ministers of the States and Chief Justices of the High Courts, at Vigyan Bhawan, in New Delhi.

The conference was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and attended among others by Chief Justice of India Justice TS Thakur and Union Law Minister Sadananda Gowda.

Mehbooba said years of political strife in J-K has resulted in huge loss of life and property and setback to the development process.

The government, along with other mainstream political parties is trying to fight the ideological battle politically, administratively and legally, she said.

“J-K needs special care and attention for which she sought the support and cooperation from all the people in the country. J-K is too sensitive state and the government cannot afford to get distracted by issues which seem to trivialise its special position in India,” the Chief Minister said.

She said her task becomes difficult when certain groups in other parts of the country try to challenge the special relationship of J-K with the rest of the country.

“Such acts, besides wasting our energy, send negative signals and vitiate the peaceful atmosphere in the state,” she said, adding that “people of J-K are still nursing old wounds inflicted by misfortune and tragedy”.

The Chief Minister said this not only aggravates a feeling of distrust in the state but also discredits the mainstream parties in the eyes of the voters who put their faith in their representatives under difficult circumstances.

Responding to the observations made by Mehbooba, Justice Thakur welcomed her participation in the conference after taking over as the Chief Minister of the state.

“The whole country is behind you and realises the difficult situation you are facing in your state,” he told the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister said she has full faith in the wisdom of the country’s judicial system, which has proved time and again its sensitivity to the special needs of the state.

She thanked the Chief Justice for judicial interventions made from time-to-time, especially fast-tracking the clearance of insurance claims of people devastated by the 2014 floods.

Mehbooba also batted for setting up of a National Law University in J-K to impart training and education to students and researchers to improve the quality of justice delivery system in the state.

J&K is one of the states which does not have a National Law University yet, she said.

Referring to the proposal sent by the state government in this regard, Justice Thakur highlighted the need for establishing national law universities in all states to improve quality of legal education.

He, however, requested the state governments not to procrastinate release of grants, which in any case do not exceed Rs 2 to 3 crore, as this gives rise to demand for bringing all national law universities under Central regime.

The Chief Minister also agreed to consider positively the suggestion of Justice Thakur to create posts of Secretaries of Legal Aid at district-level.

If US, Iran can end hostilities, why not India, Pakistan: Mehbooba Mufti

Pitching strongly for Indo-Pak reconciliation, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said India and Pakistan should begin a new era of peace and prosperity in the region similar to how the US and Iran recently ended hostilities and stitched a new phase of engagement.”If US and Iran can join hands, I see no reason why India and Pakistan cannot come together to restore stability and begin a new era of peace and prosperity in the region,” Mehbooba said while interacting with media-persons on the sidelines of her marathon tour in Jammu on Saturday.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Chief Minister invoked the legacy of former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, by sending a strong message of peace and reconciliation to both India and Pakistan. She cited the example of US and Iran, two sworn enemies, who have recently ended hostilities and stitched a new phase of engagement.Giving wings to her father s dream of making Suchetgarh JK s Wagah, the Chief Minister said she will be delighted if the border town is promoted as a people-to-people meeting point with Sialkot, in Pakistan, across the International Border (IB).She urged media to highlight the cultural camaraderie that exists between the people of India and Pakistan. “I wonder if hostilities can become news between the two neighbours, why can’t cultural bonhomie,” she asked, while touring border areas of Suchetgarh and shrine of Baba Chamliyal, revered by people on both sides of the IB.Mehbooba described as most unfortunate the recent incident at Handwara, but hoped that peace will be firmly entrenched in the valley, where years of turbulence has brought untold miseries upon the people.Favouring more transit points for people-to-people contact, the Chief Minister said cultural affinity across the two regions is too strong to resist. “I hope our good intentions are reciprocated by our neighbour,” she added.The Chief Minister, who also holds the charge of the Tourism Department, said Jammu has all the makings of an ideal tourist destination, provided the right strategy is framed to showcase Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex in the City of Temples, Mughal Sarais in Rajouri, Ranjit Sagar Dam in Basohli, border tourism in Suchetgarh and R S Pura and nature destinations like Patnitop, Bhadarwah and Warwan valley. “I promise to take tourism to all corners of Jammu, for which a proposal for a separate Tourist Circuit will be shortly finalized,” she stated.

Jammu & Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti’s request to locals: Treat outstation students well

In an apparent reference to the unrest in NIT, Srinagar ,incident, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asked students in the state to be hospitable towards outstation pupils and make them feel at home so that Kashmiris studying in other parts of the country get the same treatment.”Let’s make them (outstation students) feel at home and when they go back, they go back as our goodwill ambassadors and talk about our hospitality and our behaviour so that our students, who are in lakhs in other parts of the country, get the same kind of treatment”, she said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Invoking “Atithi Devo Bhava”, Mehbooba said the mixing of cultures and religious diversity symbolises the heart and soul of the country which is secularism and brotherhood.”I am sure they will talk about our hospitality and good behaviour and make our children studying in the rest of the country part of their extended families,” she said at the convocation ceremony of Shri Mata Vaishnodevi Shrine Board University (SMVSB).The function was also attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and Union and state ministers among others.”The multi-culture audience such universities are opened to only reaffirm our belief that institutes can be a melting pot of culture, ethnicity where people of all states and culture can converge and indulge in dialogue and inter-culture interaction”, she said.Mehbooba said Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University was borne out of a concept to seek faith as a trust repository for common people and it is no coincidence that the university was established again during her father late former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s time.”I am glad to see the university come up as a role model for institute of excellence leading the way in showing how religious endowment can be professionally used for the good of the society and the hospital that the Prime Minister inaugurated today is one of the example,” she said.

After widespread criticism over handling Handwara, CM Mehbooba says sense of security among youth prime responsibility

Katra: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said providing a sense of security to youth in the state was one of her “prime responsibilities” and pitched for immediate steps to end the “vortex of violence permanently”.

“We had witnessed several tragic incidents in the past, like in Baljarala in Rajouri, Chittisinghpora in Anantnag and more recently in Handwara where innocent people have been caught in the vortex of violence. We need to take immediate steps to bring an end to this permanently,” she said.

Mehbooba was addressing a public rally after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super-Speciality Hospital and Sports Complex, in Katra on Tuesday.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. AFPJammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. AFP

Sharing the dais with the Prime Minister for the first time after becoming the Chief Minister, the PDP leader said the Centre and the state government will have to join hands to win the hearts and minds of the people, especially the youth.

“I have great hope and expectations from my party’s alliance with BJP,” she said.

The Chief Minister said “once we are able to build trust among the youth, they will flourish and contribute to the growth of the country.”

Citing violence in Pakistan and Syria, Mehbooba said quick lessons need to be learnt from the trail of death and destruction left behind by ethnic and sectarian violence.

“The instability in these countries is in sharp contrast to the strengthening of democratic institutions in India. Despite being homogeneous societies, these countries have been unable to stem the rot, forcing people, like in case of Syria, to seek refuge out of their homelands,” she said.

Praising India for its global rise as a “knowledge society”, the Chief Minister sought “liberal financial assistance from the Centre in higher education segment to create enough employment opportunities to absorb our talented human resource.”

‘Pain’ in Kashmir’s heart must be addressed, says Mehbooba Mufti

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday spoke about “pain in the heart of Kashmir” which needs to be addressed immediately by all so that the youth of the state also flourish and contribute to the growth of the nation.In her first public rally after taking over as the first woman Chief Minister of J-K early this month, she spoke about the unrest in Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Syria and Libya.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In Pakistan, the government is fighting against its own people… Sunni kills Shia and vice versa,” she told the rally after inauguration of Shri Vaishno Devi Narayana Superspeciality Hospital here, 32 kms from Jammu.”I am proud to live in a nation where people from different religions live in peace and harmony but there is a pain… There is a pain in heart of Kashmir and we all have to heal it together.”We need to heal it so that the youth of Kashmir flourish like those in rest of the country,” she said at the function which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and Union and state ministers among others.Referring to the recent killings in Handwara town of north Kashmir, she expressed hope that under the leadership of the Prime Minister, her government will be able to restore peace in the state.She recalled her conversation with her late father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed and said when talks for alliance between PDP and BJP were going on he had told her, “I have held the hand of a person who has been made the Prime Minister of the country by crores of people.”

PM Modi to arrive in Jammu and Kashmir on day-long visit

Jammu: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday on a day-long visit.

A special plane carrying the Prime Minister will land at the technical area of Jammu airport at around 9 am.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. PTI

State Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, senior ministers of the PDP-BJP ruling coalition government and top Army and civil administration officials will receive Modi at the airport.

Modi will fly to Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine base camp town of Katra in Reasi district along with Vohra and Mufti.

He will address the convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University later in the day.

He is also scheduled to formally inaugurate the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana super specialty hospital.

The 250-bedded hospital has been built at a cost of Rs. 300 crores and is equipped with state of the art facilities.

The premier will also inaugurate a sports complex and address a public rally in Katra town.

This is Modi’s third visit to Katra shrine since he took office in May 2014.

“I am looking forward to being in Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow where I will attend a wide range of programmes and interact with citizens,” Modi tweeted on Monday.

Dozens of specially trained commandos of the special protection group (SPG) are being deployed around the town.

Management of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board said the pilgrimage will continue uninterrupted during Modi’s visit to Katra.

However, helicopter services carrying pilgrims from Katra town to the Trikuta Hills where the cave shrine is located will remain suspended as a security measure.

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