THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Militant, 2 civilians killed in shootout
Srinagar, December 14
The security forces today shot dead a militant in an encounter in the Bemina area of the city which also left two civilians dead, official sources said. 

They want to visit Muzaffarabad with peace message
Jammu, December 14
It was a nostalgic moment for men and women when they recalled the days spend in their ancestral houses in Muzaffarabad prior to the Partition, at a get-together here today.

J&K Govt closes schools in winter zones
Srinagar, December 14
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has announced the closure of all schools in the winter zones of the state from tomorrow till the end of February next year, an official spokesman said here today.

Power cuts irk residents
Jammu, December 14
The electric cuts here in the evening by the Power Department have irked residents of the town who have started pointing out that the coalition government, headed by Mufti Sayeed, has not kept its promise which it made at the time of taking over the reins of the administration last year.





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BSNL subscribers unable to open web sites
Jammu, December 14
The Internet services being provided in Jammu and Kashmir by the BSNL are in a mess these days with subscribers unable to open the web sites of their choice.
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Militant, 2 civilians killed in shootout

Srinagar, December 14
The security forces today shot dead a militant in an encounter in the Bemina area of the city which also left two civilians dead, official sources said.

The shootout broke out when the security forces signalled the militant Javed Ahmad Mir, travelling in an autorickshaw, to stop around 10.45 A.M., official sources said.

The militant, instead fired on the security personnel, triggering a gunbattle in which he was killed on-the-spot and the auto-rickshaw driver Ghulam Nabi Pakhtoon injured, they said.

Pakhtoon, who received two bullets in his back, later succumbed to injuries in a nearby hospital, they said.

A medical store owner Sartaj Ahmad was also hit by a stray bullet in his shop in the shootout, official sources said, adding the body was found four hours after the brief encounter ended.

Five hand grenades were recovered from the spot but the organisation to which Mir was associated was not immediately known, the sources said.

The killing of the auto-rickshaw driver and the medical shop owner sparked off widespread protests from residents who demonstrated on the Srinagar-Baramulla highway, official sources said.

The police used teargas to disperse the crowd which continued to stage protests.

Meanwhile, a boy was killed and six members of his family injured when an explosive device went off in their house in Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir, the police said today.

The boy, Mohammad Iqbal, brought an explosive device to his home last evening, they said.

While he was fiddling with it, the device went off killing the boy on-the-spot and injuring six others of the family, the police said.

JAMMU: Eight militants, including two top Hizbul commanders, managed to give the police the slip after engaging them in a day-long gun-battle in forests of Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said today.

Only two ‘over-ground workers’, including a woman, were arrested from a house in which the militants were hiding, the sources said today.

The police claimed that one of those arrested revealed during interrogation that the militants had gathered to plan the killing of members of minority community

On specific information by the state intelligence department about the presence of a large group of Hizbul-Mujahideen militants, the police cordoned off the entire Machaidi-Katali village in Bhillawer forest area yesterday, they told PTI here.

Despite the strong police cordon, all eight militants, including two top commanders, managed to escape. — PTI
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Jawan kills colleague by mistake

Jammu, December 14
In a fatal error, a jawan shot dead his colleague mistaking him to be a militant, inside the Army camp at Bari-Brahmana, 25 km from here, last night, official sources said today. Jagbir Singh, who was on night-guard duty at the gate, fired at his colleague Sepoy Satnam Singh of Punjab mistaking him for a militant, the sources said adding, the victim died on the spot.

The body has been shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital for autopsy. A case has been registered in this connection and investigations are on. The victim had vacated his sentry post and was walking towards Jagbir Singh’s post with his official weapon in his hand, when the incident happened, they said. — PTI 
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3 Army dog units get  citations
Our Correspondent

Jammu, December 14
Army dogs have played a key role in the counter-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir where these sniffer dogs have assisted the troops in the detection of IEDs, arrest of militants from their hideouts and guarding vital defence installation.

The services rendered by the sniffer dogs are being remembered during the 224th anniversary of Remount and Veterinary Corps. one of the oldest corps in the Army. The Defence Ministry authorities said the Army Chief, in recognition of the valuable services rendered by the dogs, had awarded unit citations to three Army dog units operating in the Kashmir valley.

Remount and Veterinary Corps has been awarded two sena medals for gallantry and 155 commendation cards, including 40 for Army dogs. At the individual level, the best Army dog trainer award has gone to Bhagwan Singh and B.S. Yadav. Capt Vijay Mahato has been awarded the best student officer’s trophy. Under Operation Sadbhavana, Remount and Veterinary Corps had organised several veterinary Aids camps where animals of civilians were given veterinary cover in the remote areas.
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They want to visit Muzaffarabad with peace message
Our correspondent

Jammu, December 14
It was a nostalgic moment for men and women when they recalled the days spend in their ancestral houses in Muzaffarabad prior to the Partition, at a get-together here today.

Women prepared traditional dishes to convey the message of love and peace to people across the border.

The get-together was organised by the Social Republican Volunteers Association and the aim was to urge the Government of India to give them permission to visit Muzaffarabad. “We want to visit Muzaffarabad once to meet our neighbours and remove the veil of mistrust, “said Mr V.K. Sehgal, chairman of the association.

Mr Rajesh Tandon said “My grandfather was the first graduate in Muzaffarabad. I am told our house has been converted into a police station. I want to visit that place not for any compensation but to convince people there that we are one and should work for peace and brotherhood.”

Ms Romita Verma, who was 10 years when she along with her parents migrated from Muzaffarabad at the time of the Partition, asked: “If the Government of India can give permission to politician, cricketers, journalists, businessmen and bureaucrats, why can’t we get it?”

They said the peace initiative taken by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee would reach its logical conclusion if refugees, settled in Jammu were allowed to meet people across the border.”

“we can understand their language, culture and feelings better than politicians from Bihar or Delhi and we may be able to convince them that we are not for any territorial gains but for the union of hearts,” they said.
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J&K Govt closes schools in winter zones

Srinagar, December 14
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has announced the closure of all schools in the winter zones of the state from tomorrow till the end of February next year, an official spokesman said here today.

All educational institutions up to the higher secondary level in the winter zones of the state shall close from tomorrow till February 29, 2004, for winter vacations, the spokesman said.

However, the educational institutions in the Ladakh region and Karnah tehsil of Kupwara district do not fall under the notification.

They will observe winter vacations from January 1 to 15, 2004, he added.

The academic year in schools in Jammu and Kashmir begins in November, unlike in the schools in the rest of country. — PTI
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Power cuts irk residents
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 14
The electric cuts here in the evening by the Power Department have irked residents of the town who have started pointing out that the coalition government, headed by Mufti Sayeed, has not kept its promise which it made at the time of taking over the reins of the administration last year.

The power cuts during the night are back here and this has come as a blessing to the anti-social elements engaged in all sorts of crime. Although the Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, had earlier this week announced that there would be no power cuts in the evening because the children whose examinations were approaching were suffering, but the Power Department was sticking to its new schedule of load-shedding in the evening.

Immediately after becoming the Chief Minister, Mufti Sayeed had last year ordered that there would be no power cuts after the sunset. The things had been going smoothly so far, but suddenly the authorities have resorted to load-shedding at night.

Mr Sanjay Rakwal, president of the welfare association of Panjtirthi in the old city, today demanded that the government should stick to its promise as dark nights were causing problems to the people. He also demanded that the electric wires in the town should be replaced immediately as these were worn out.
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BSNL subscribers unable to open web sites
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 14
The Internet services being provided in Jammu and Kashmir by the BSNL are in a mess these days with subscribers unable to open the web sites of their choice.

The subscribers have been complaining that the service was very slow, but today it became worst with the message coming on the screen that the “page cannot be opened”. The official website of the Jammu and Kashmir BSNL and the Sancharnet also did not open during the day.

However, instead of responding to the complaints the BSNL officials argue that something must be wrong with subscribers’ computers. Many cyber cafes in the valley are on the verge of closure as the clients have stopped visiting these cafes because of poor service being provided by the BSNL.
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