Thursday, November 22, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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Militant involved in Assembly blast held
Srinagar, November 21
The police here today claimed to have identified those involved in the blast at the Assembly complex here on October 1 in which at least 40 persons were killed, and several others injured with the arrest of a local militant, Firdous Ahmad Shah, belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit.

Resettlement Act a poll card?
Jammu, November 21
There is much ado about the Resettlement Act which provides for the resettlement of those who migrated to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir between 1947 and 1950 if they choose to return to Jammu and Kashmir.

A soldier keeps vigil using night-vision glasses at the Line of Control in the Akhnoor sector on Tuesday night following intelligence reports that Taliban fighters may infiltrate into India after leaving Afghanistan. 
— PTI

A soldier keeps vigil





Scores of people in Ladakh take out a rally demanding a centrally administered status.

(28k, 56k)


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Militant involved in Assembly blast held
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, November 21
The police here today claimed to have identified those involved in the blast at the Assembly complex here on October 1 in which at least 40 persons were killed, and several others injured with the arrest of a local militant, Firdous Ahmad Shah, belonging to the Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit.

The Director-General of the Jammu and Kashmir Police, Mr A.K. Suri, said five foreign militants of the outfit were involved in the blast. He said militants blasted a Tata Sumo near the outer gate of the Legislative Assembly complex in which a militant was blown up and thereafter three Jaish-e-Mohammad militants masquerading as police personnel had entered the administrative block and fired indiscriminately.

The militants who had blown himself up has been identified as Wajhat, alias Saifulla, of Pakistan. Those who entered the complex and were killed identified as Mohammad Irfan Zaman, alias Umar, of Pakistan, Abdul Rauf Ahsan, alias Arabi, and Tariq Ahmad, alias Ayubi.

The DGP, said Firdous Ahmad Shah who had been closely associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad had admitted that Safdar Malik, alias Qasim Bhai of Lahore on September along with Wajahat Hussain, alias Saifulla, of Pakistan and a local militant prepared an IED in a milk can at his residence at Habbakadal and the device was shifted to a mosque in the Fateh Kadal Area. After snatching a Sumo vehicle on October 1, the DGP said the explosive device was collected by four foreign militants and one local militant, who along with the driver of the vehicle drove up to the Jehangir Chowk. The driver and the local militant were dropped there and the four militants proceeded towards the gate of the Assembly complex with Wahajat Hussain, alias Saifullah, on the wheels.

The police chief claimed that Sardar Malik, alias Wasim Bhai, who was one among those who prepared the IED, was killed on October 26 by a patrol party of the BSF at Dewan Bagh here.
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Resettlement Act a poll card?
M. L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 21
There is much ado about the Resettlement Act which provides for the resettlement of those who migrated to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) between 1947 and 1950 if they choose to return to Jammu and Kashmir.

While opposition parties, including the BJP, the Congress and the Peoples’ Democratic Party, have started campaigning vociferously against the Act in the Jammu region, the ruling National Conference is trying to regain the support of the people in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley. The Act rose like a ghost from the grave when the Supreme Court returned the Act to the state, saying that it had already become law.

The Act had been adopted by the state Legislature in 1989 and after the Governor gave his consent, it became law. But to dilute criticism in various parts of the state and the Centre, it was referred to the President for his opinion, who referred it to the Supreme Court.

For 19 years, the President’s reference to the Supreme Court gathered dust. With the change of guard in the Supreme Court, the Bill was returned to the state. A senior Hurriyat Conference leader, Mr Abdul Gani Lone, has said by reviving the Act, the BJP and the National Conference want to garner voters’ support, the former in the Hindu-dominated Jammu region and the latter in the Kashmir valley.

The vice-president of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Mr Muzaffar Hussian Beg, while describing the Resettlement Act as a toothless legislation has alleged that its implementation would lead to communal polarisation. He said the National Conference would use it as the main slogan to win the support of the voters in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley, which has 46 Assembly seats out of 87.

An organisation of refugees from Pakistan and PoK, headed by Mr Rajiv Chani, while berating the National Conference for enacting a law for the rehabilitation of those who had migrated on their own to PoK and did not think of resettlement of refugees who had been staying in Jammu for the past 54 years. He said the secular tradition of the National Conference had been exposed in the sense that it was concerned about the resettlement of Muslims and not Hindus and Sikhs.

Congress leaders, including Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, have started using the Resettlement Act as the main tool to strike at the National Conference fortress. Mr Sharma too sees the danger of communal polarisation if the government implements the Act.

However, the Law Minister, Mr Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, said there was nothing objectionable about the Act. Even the Indian Constitution’s Article 7 and Article 6 of the state constitution have treated Kashmiri migrants living in PoK as citizens of the undivided state. He said since India had given up its claim on PoK, 24 seats had been reserved in the state Assembly for PoK residents.

Mr Lone explained that the Resettlement Act did not provide for opening of floodgates for the re-entry of people from PoK to this state. He said under the Act, a competent authority was to be set up which would scrutinise each applicant seeking resettlement in Jammu and Kashmir. The competent authority will send its recommendations to the state government and it is for the government to accept the recommendations or not.

Reports from across the border have revealed that not many are keen to return to Kashmir. More than 70 per cent of the migrants have died and their children have neither any interest in returning to their ancestral places in Jammu and Kashmir nor have they any knowledge about the land and its people. Most of them neither speak nor understand Kashmiri.

The immovable assets, house and land of these migrants have either been leased out to local people or used by the government for construction of roads, tubewells, and other development works.

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