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Cong, PDP head for confrontation over seat sharing
Jammu, February 1
The Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, which are the ruling coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir, are heading towards a confrontation on the sharing of the three Assembly seats for which byelection is expected to be held shortly.

PDP is anti-Kashmir, alleges NC
Srinagar, February 1
The National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir today lashed out at People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig, for their “anti-Kashmir designs”.

Lashkar commander on most-wanted list
Jammu, February 1
While the police claims to have contained the activities of rebels, a Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, Bilal, alias Salamuddin, continues to give a tough time to security agencies.

Top Hizb commander killed
Srinagar, February 1
Two militants of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), including a self-styled Battalion Commander (BC), were killed and a soldier was wounded in Jammu and Kashmir overnight, official sources said.



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Cong, PDP head for confrontation over seat sharing
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 1
The Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which are the ruling coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir, are heading towards a confrontation on the sharing of the three Assembly seats for which byelection is expected to be held shortly.

The three seats are Pattan, Rafiabad and Sangrama. All these constituencies are in the Kashmir valley.

Congress activists have started mounting pressure for their claim to contest all these seats. A delegation of Congress workers met Ms Sonia Gandhi, Congress president, in Delhi yesterday in this regard.

However, on the other hand the PDP activists were adamant to field their candidates on these seats.

A PDP leader pointed out that the Sangrama seat had fallen vacant due to the assassination of Dr Ghulam Nabi Lone, who had won on the PDP symbol and as such the Congress should not create any dispute over it. He also rejected the Congress’s claim for the Pattan and Rafiabad seats on the plea that Moulvi Iftikhar Ansari and Mr Dillawar Mir represented these constituencies till recently when they left the National Conference and joined the PDP. These seats fell vacant following their resignation from the Assembly.

The Congress activists, however, claim that Mr Ansari and Mr Mir had won these seats in 2002 on the NC symbol and now they have joined the PDP.

Ms Mehbooba Mufti, president of the PDP, said there was no dispute with the Congress on the issue. The PDP and the Congress leadership have not yet discussed the issue.

However, Mr Mir told this correspondent that he would contest the Rafiabad seat on the PDP symbol and there was no question of any compromise on that. He asserted, “I am the candidate for the seat”.

Sources said the Congress was also not willing to compromise on these seats and was likely to field its candidates in two of the three constituencies in a bid to expand its base in the valley.

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PDP is anti-Kashmir, alleges NC

Srinagar, February 1
The National Conference (NC) in Jammu and Kashmir today lashed out at People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leaders, including Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussain Baig, for their “anti-Kashmir designs”.

In a statement here, NC general secretary Shiekh Nazir Ahmad came down heavily on Mr Baig for projecting himself as the “master of Jammu and Kashmir’s political history”.

Mr Baig should not have ignored the fact that had party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah submitted to New Delhi’s pressures for “weakening the interests of the state”, he would not have been removed from the power “illegally” and sent to prison for 22 years, he added.

Reacting to Mr Baig’s recent statement, Mr Ahmad said after Article 370 was incorporated in the Indian Constitution, some methodology had to be evolved for its implementation and the Delhi Agreement of 1952 defined the balance of power between the Centre and the state government.

Mr Ahmad claimed that the PDP had no support of the people for its “known stand” against the identity of the state.

“The PDP’s crumbling edifice cannot be saved by the props of borrowed ideology, which too has been thrown to the winds by confusion and party compulsions,” he said. — UNI

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Lashkar commander on most-wanted list
Our Correspondent

Jammu, February 1
While the police claims to have contained the activities of rebels, a Lashkar-e-Toiba commander, Bilal, alias Salamuddin, continues to give a tough time to security agencies.

Bilal, according to senior police officers, is a Pakistani and has been operating in the Bandipore belt of the valley during the past five years. The police said Bilal had been heading a rebel group of about 100 youths in north Kashmir.

The police claimed that as a result of sustained operations against Harkatul Ansar and Al Badr, militants were either on the run or defensive.

A senior police officer said today that once Bilal was accounted for, violence in north Kashmir would be reduced to zero.

He said elimination of scores of hardcore militants in operations launched by the security forces had resulted in a marked drop in violence. The DGP, Mr Gopal Sharma, had suggested to the security and intelligence agencies to coordinate their efforts so that the militants were either forced to surrender or cross over to Pakistan.

Police sources said the security grid in the Kreeri area of Baramula had been strengthened after reports of an orthopaedic surgeon treating wounded militants.

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Top Hizb commander killed

Srinagar, February 1
Two militants of Hizbul Mujahideen (HM), including a self-styled Battalion Commander (BC), were killed and a soldier was wounded in Jammu and Kashmir overnight, official sources said.

They said the security forces on a tip-off, cordoned off Nihalpora village, Pattan, in Baramula district early this morning to nab militants. However, when the troops were sealing the area, militants attacked them with automatic weapons. The fire was returned and in the clash, two militants, including BC Riyaz Ahmad, were killed. Two AK rifles and other arms and ammunition were recovered from the slain militants.

Militants attacked a security force patrol party at Kangan last night, causing injuries to a soldier. Militants later escaped.

The security forces and the police in a joint operation recovered one PIKA gun, two wireless sets, one detonator and one IED from a hideout at Doda last night. — UNI

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