transfers to rig poll,
Jamaat sacks its
political bureau chief
in Mufti’s assassination bid shot
The Union Home Secretary, Mr Anil Baijal, today arrived here from Delhi and discussed with top police and intelligence officers the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir and the arrangements that would be required for the four phases of the Lok Sabha elections.
An Army man was injured in a de-mining operation near Indo-Pakistan border in Jammu district today, official sources said.
Large-scale transfers to rig poll, says NC
Jammu, March 3
There was pandemonium on the issue as soon as the House assembled in the morning. The NC members blocked the proceedings by not allowing the questions to be taken up.
Hot words were exchanged between the Opposition and the Treasury Benches as both sides raised slogans against each other.
The NC members alleged that the state government was violating the orders of the election commission. Mr Mehboob Beg (NC) said that the Mufti government had revived the tradition of rigging the elections that had been discontinued after Sheikh Abdullah became the Chief Minister in 1975.
Mr A.R. Veeri, Minister of State for Home, said that the NC was trying to launch its election campaign from the Assembly by highlighting such cooked-up issues.
As the NC members continued to disrupt the proceedings, the Speaker, Mr Tara Chan, adjourned the House and invited leaders of all parties to his chamber to resolve the issue.
Later, when the House reassembled, Mr Ali Mohammad Sagar (NC) moved a private member’s resolution seeking a judicial commission to look into the cause of disappearance of persons, custodial killings and human rights violations.
Mr Sagar alleged that human rights violation have increased under the PDP-led regime that had made a commitment during the elections that such violations would not be allowed by the security forces and the police.
Whereabouts of over 3500 persons were not known since 1990.
He said that militants also indulged in human rights violations, but they were not answerable to anyone. But the uniformed forces were expected to honour the human rights.
Mr Abdul Rahim Rather (NC) criticised the government for giving contradictory figures about human rights violations and custodial killings.
He said that the human rights commission was being starved of funds and investigating apparatus was not available with it. He demanded that the commission should be strengthened.
Mian Altaf (NC) alleged that certain officers, involved in human rights violations, had been given plum postings by the Mufti government.
During discussion on a resolution moved by Mr M.Y. Tarigami (CPM) seeking to preserve the unity and secular character of the state, several members criticised those who were demanding trifurcation of the state.
Replying to the debate, the Deputy Chief Minster, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, said that the coalition government was committed to the unity of the state and removal of imbalances between the three regions.
He said that while the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was for unity among the three regions of the state, but the local unit of the BJP and the RSS were trying to disintegrate the state.
SRINAGAR: The National Conference has demanded removal of numerous hoardings, signboards and banners on achievements of the PDP-led coalition government at public places, including at twin secretariat buildings in Srinagar and Jammu.
The demand has been given as a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner yesterday, a party spokesman said today.
Raising the objections, party Chief Omar Abdullah urged the CEC to direct the coalition government to remove the signboards and hoardings as these were misleading the people and also intended to allure the voters in the coming parliamentary elections.
Mr Abdullah, in the memorandum, also alleged that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had violated the model code of conduct by using air force helicopter on February 29 during his visits to Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Jammu along with his daughter Mehbooba Mufti, President of Peoples Democratic Party.
A proper action under law is warranted against him and his party, he said.
Abdullah also raised
objections to the government plan to pass a legislation aimed at
amending the J and K State Lands (vesting of ownership to occupants) Act
2001. “The government had introduced a Bill on March 1 this year in this
regard,” he said. — PTI
Srinagar, March 3
Mr Sehrai, who is a close associate of Mr Geelani, was conveyed the decision last night through a letter written by Jamaat chief Nazir Ahmed Kashani, sources in the Jamaat said.
The letter said the decision was taken in view of his “ambiguous” reply to the explanation sought over his “hobnobbing” with Geelani.
The sources said Mr Kashani had taken strong exception to sharing the stage with Geelani and attending functions organised by the amalgam although the Jamaat had decided to maintain equidistance from both factions of the Hurriyat following the split in September.
Mr Kashani said Sehrai was shirking his responsibilities and violating discipline by displaying his liking for one of the two groups. The Majlis-e-Shura (advisory council) of Jamaat had decided not to support any of the factions and to make efforts to unite the amalgam.
Observing that Sehrai’s activities seemed to be motivated, the Jamaat chief said he was given a chance to explain his actions but his reply was neither clear nor satisfactory.
All members of Jamaat-e-Islami are supposed to follow the decisions taken by the Majlis-e-Shura and the conduct of the members should not mislead the people about the policies of the party, Kashani said.
Mr Sehrai, however, said the decision to sack him was pre-planned and yesterday’s letter was just a formality.
“The decision had been taken much earlier as I was not allowed to function as the political bureau chief. I had spoken to Mr Kashani and the Party General Secretary making suggestions about the office requirements and the field staff but they went unheeded,” he said.
“Yesterday’s letter was just a formal announcement of the decision to sack me as it was taken merely based on some newspaper reports,” he added.
Admitting that he, along with Geelani, made a courtesy call on People’s League Chairman Shiekh Abdul Aziz who was recently released from jail, Mr Sehrai said we did not talk about forming new party or inviting him to join Geelani’s Hurriyat.
Asked if he would join Geelani’s Hurriyat, he said: “I cannot join as I do not have a party and the Hurriyat Conference is an amalgam of parties.”
His expulsion may pave the way for Geelani to form new party based on Jamaat-e-Islami cadre and is likely to a cause a split in the party.
Jamaat-e-Islami, which was one of the powerful executive
members of the undivided Hurriyat Conference, has maintained a low
profile in terms of political activity since Mr Kashani took over as
party chief last year. — PTI
Army starts enlisting porters
Jammu, March 3
To generate more employment in the remote areas, porter companies are being raised for raising fence near the Line of Control. Nearly 1020 persons from rural and border areas of Akhnoor, Palanwala and Sunderbani came to the rally. Only 624 fulfilled conditions of age. Of these, after physical tests and medical examinations, 419 were selected and told to report in batches by March 3.
Enrolment of a porter on monthly basis are as per pay commission which is applicable to respective grades with dearness allowances. Field Area Allowance is 10 per cent of the basic pay, High Altitude Alliance, is five per cent of the basic pay between 9000 feet to 10000 feet and 10 per cent of the basic pay above 15000 feet. In 2002, the Army pumped Rs 146 crore into the state economy by hiring porters, ponies and civil transport. In 2003, this amount went up to Rs 180 crore. This included Rs 86 crore for porters and ponies and Rs 94 crore for civil transport.
Next year the Army will spend Rs 200 crore on these heads.
This will include Rs 109 crore for payment to porters and ponies alone.
In 2003-04 13600 civilians were employed porters. In 2004-05 this figure
will cross 19600.
Srinagar, March 3
Elsewhere in the valley, a militant of the Jaish-e-Mohammad and a counter-insurgent were killed.
A BSF spokesman said troops of the 50 Battalion, following information, conducted search operations in a village in the central Kashmir district of Baramula last night.
As the troops were sealing the village, militants opened indiscriminate firing and hurled grenades. In the ensuing retaliatory fire by troops, the Hizbul militant Battal Hamid Sheikh alias, Waseem, was killed.
Hamid had been active in the Beerwah area for the past seven years. He was involved in the attack on a public meeting at Beerwah last Friday.
One AK rifle, three magazines, 20 rounds of ammunition grenades were seized from the slain militant.
A Pakistani militant associated with Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit was killed in a gunfight with the security forces while a civilian was killed in a blast in the Kashmir valley, official sources said today.
The militant Mohammad Brar, alias Fareed was killed in a joint operation by the army and local police at Chandrigam village in Kupwara district in north Kashmir last night.
An AK assault rifle, three magazines and 30 rounds, one underbarrel grenade launcher, a radio set and two hand grenades were seized from the deceased militant.
In a separate incident, a civilian Mohammad Jameel was critically injured when some explosive device went off while he was working in his fields at Vail village in Anantnag district of south Kashmir last evening, the sources said.
Home Secretary reviews security for LS poll
Jammu, March 3
The DGP, Mr Gopal Sharma, and senior officers of the Army were also present in the meeting.
The situation arising out of the terrorist attack on the Central Jail was also discussed.
The Union Home Secretary also discussed the requirement of the security forces for smooth conduct of the elections in the state in view of certain militant organisations having given a call for boycott of the polls.
He is also learnt to have discussed implementation of the package announced by the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during his visits here last year.
Mr Baijal would meet the Chief Minister, Mufti Sayeed, tomorrow and discuss various issues pertaining to the security of the state.
He was also learnt to have discussed with Army officers the issue of alleged human rights violations that was expected to figure in tomorrow’s meeting of the United Command.
Meanwhile, a team of officers of the Election Commission also arrived here today and met Deputy Commissioners of the Jammu division.
The DCs are learnt to have been asked to ensure that all arrangements were made in their respective areas for free and fair elections.
The team, which includes the Deputy Election Commissioner,
Dr Noor Mohammad and the Advisor to Chief Election Commissioner, Mr
C.K.J. Rao, would hold meeting with officers of state Election
Department, top security officials, including Director-General of
Police, Gopal Sharma, Chief Secretary Sudhir Billoria and the state
Intelligence Chief, Dr Ashok Bhan, the sources said. The team would be
visiting Srinagar tomorrow for poll arrangements in Kashmir valley.
Jammu, March 3
Lance naik Sanjeet Kumar of the engineering wing of Army was excavating an anti-personnel mine, when it exploded near the international border in Bt-forward post in the Akhnoor sector, they said.
The jawan lost one leg in the blast, the sources
said. — PTI