|Wednesday, May 3, 2000,
Captain, NC leader killed
Farooq for keeping Art 370
Baramulla exchange opened
Kashmiris bid to attract
Captain, NC leader killed
SRINAGAR, May 2 (UNI) Four person including an Army captain and a ruling National Conference activist, were killed while two counter insurgents working with security forces went missing along with their weapons in the valley during the past 24 hrs.
Official sources said an encounter was going on between militants and security forces at Washbugh Pulwama since 3 p.m.
An officer and a jawan were so far injured in the exchange, sources said and added that reinforcement was rushed to the spot from nearby camps. Further details are awaited.
Official sources said unidentified masked men entered a Government Middle School at Litter Pulwama and shot dead a teacher Ghulam Hassan Mir around 11.30 a.m. today. He was affiliated with ruling National Conference.
Sources said militants attacked an Army patrol party at Khardeyal in the frontier district of Kupwara late last night resulting in on-the-spot death of Captain Ramesh. A forest employee Ghulam Hassan was also killed, sources said. The militants however, managed to escape, they said.
Massive hunt has been launched to nab the militants responsible for the attack, they said.
Two counter insurgents working with security forces at Anantnag are missing along with their weapons since yesterday, sources said.
In another incident, militants attacked a police party near the Charoo bridge in Sopore at about 4.20 p.m., causing on-the-spot death of a Constable Bilal Ahmad. The militants however, managed to escape, sources said.
Farooq for keeping Art 370
SRINAGAR, May 2 Criticising "certain parties" who are demanding abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, that gives Jammu and Kashmir a special status, the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, has said that its abrogation was out of question.
Addressing public meetings in his home constituency of Ganderbal on the occasion of inauguration of the water supply scheme today the Chief Minister cautioned people against "elements" who were misleading them in the name of "Azadi". This was clearly pointed towards the separatists, including the All Parties Hurriyat (freedom) Conference and the militant organisations operating in the valley. He, however, did not identify the "elements" bent upon "misleading" people in the name of "Azadi".
The Chief Minister clarified that the government was not averse to talks with the "political opponents" some of whom had been released recently. These leaders include the APHC chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the spokesman, Prof Abdul Ghani and Moulvi Abbas Ansari early last month. Two other leaders, G.M. Hubbi of the Peoples Conference, a component of the Hurriyat Conference, and Abdul Samad Inquilabi were released from the Jammu jail yesterday. Another top leader of the APHC, and chief of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Mohammad Yasin Malik who was shifted to a private hospital in New Delhi last week, has again been shifted to the Tihar jail. It was indicated that Malik along with his close associate, Javed Ahmad Mir would be among other leaders of the APHC leaders to be released as a sequel to the Centres readiness for dialogue with the separatists for an end to the trouble in Kashmir.
The Defence Minister, George Fernandes who was on a "secret mission of finding a way" for talks, visited the valley last Friday. He had to cut short his visit because of the fire at Bharatpur Ordnance depot. During his day-long visit to the capital city, the Defence Minister met the veteran Congress leader and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Syed Mir Qasim. The Defence Minister also met the former APHC chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq at Nageen on Friday. The APHC leaders particularly the Mirwaiz, have denied having any meeting with the defence minister.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat have already flown to Delhi for meeting the detained APHC leader, Mohammad Yasin Malik, who was undergoing treatment at the Batra hospital in New Delhi. All the top leaders of the APHC here on Thursday last met the visiting US Congressman, David Bonior. This visit was also regarded as significant following the conclusion of the South Asia tour by the US President, Mr Bill Clinton, by the end of March.
The Chief Minister, Dr
Farooq Abdullah, in his address at Tullamulla and
Ganderbal said that gun was not going to solve any
problem. This, he said, was also impressed upon these
leaders. He however, said that talks could only be held
on the relationship of the state with the union. He asked
people to go through the autonomy report which the
government had sent to the Centre. The much talked about
autonomy report was tabled in the state legislative
Assembly last year.
Baramulla exchange opened
SRINAGAR, May 2 A 2,000-line exchange was commissioned at Baramulla in north Kashmir yesterday.
Mr Ramesh Lalwani, Chief General Manager, Telecommunications, J and K Circle, said here today that the long-pending demand of customers in the valley to delegate more powers to DEs at Anantnag and Baramulla had been accepted.
The DEs at Anantnag and Baramulla would have all administrative and financial powers enjoyed by the TDE. The Telecom Commission had also approved the upgradation of the management at Udhampur.
Referring to the plans for the current financial year, Mr Lalwani stated there was a provision for telephone facilities in all block headquarters during the year. Other plans included the STD facility at all tehsil headquarters and block headquarters, internet nodes at all SSAs in the first phase and then to all district headquarters in the second, VPT to 150 locations by INMARSAT and the introduction of the wireless local loop system (WLL) for rural communications.
There was also a plan for 30 more exchanges, 3,000 lines of the WLL for Jammu and cellular mobile services at Jammu and Srinagar.
He, however, said the cellular mobile services and the installation of an internet server for Kashmir subscribers would be shifted from Jammu to Srinagar by next year.
Mr Lalwani said 50,782 lines in the equipped capacity of the exchanges and 22,158 direct exchange lines had been added during the last financial year. A total of 465 village public telephone (VPTs) had also been commissioned, taking the total number of these to 3781 which was 56 per cent of the total villages in the circle.
The STD facility had been provided to as many as 12 areas in Ladakh region, in addition to several other areas in remote areas of Doda and Rajouri districts.
The total number of exchanges had risen to 285 with the installation of 27 exchanges in the circle during last year, Mr Lalwani said. The STD facility had been provided at new 38 stations and the total number of stations with the facility at present was 153. Digital satellite link had been provided at Leh, Kargil and Poonch.
Dr Thomas Phillip, General Manager, Telecommunications, said that Kashmir Telecom had provided 9,686 additional telephone lines by the end of March this year. The equipped capacity had been increased from 55,538 to 73360.
Kashmiris bid to attract tourists
SRINAGAR, May 2 Following the announcement of 30 per cent discount for tourists by traders in Kashmir, the restaurant owners have offered 15 per cent discount on food.
This was conveyed to the Divisional Commissioner, Mr Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, by the representatives of the tourist trade at a meeting held here on Saturday. The Director, Tourism, Seikh Nissar Ahmad, also attended the meeting that was held with a view to making preparations for the coming tourist season.
An official spokesman said here that the representatives, including travel agents, house boat owners and hoteliers, informed that 30 per cent discount had been announced by them. Similarly, 15 per cent discount has been offered by restaurateurs on food. They assured that steps in coordination with the Tourism Department had been taken to make stay of tourists in Kashmir as comfortable as possible.
The representatives also demanded that Indian Airlines, Jet Airways and the Indian Railways may be requested to announce special discount on fairs besides start direct flights to Srinagar from Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Calcutta, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow etc. Similarly they demanded additional train services between Mumbai and Jammu in the months from May to October.
The flow of tourists which had registered a record increase last year since 1990, has again slashed. This year, the killing of 35 Sikhs at Chatti Singhpora on March 20 last seems to have cast its shadow on tourist traffic.
The State Tourism
Department figures, however, reveal that there has not
been much effect of the Chatti Singhpora carnage on the
flow of tourists. As compared to over 8500 tourists who
visited the valley between January and March last year,
an equal number has visited the valley from January to
mid-April this year.
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