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Friday, December 18, 1998
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CM suspects central agencies
JAMMU, Dec 17 — Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, is said to be concerned at the continued killing of National Conference activists by unidentified gunmen in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir. What is intriguing is the fact that between 1990 and 1996, when militants called the shots, the number of National Conference activists killed was less than that during the two years of the National Conference rule in the state.
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Dal Lake freezes
SRINAGAR, Dec 17 — The Dal Lake in Srinagar today froze for the first time in 12 year, while a cold wave has been sweeping the Kashmir valley for the past fortnight.
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CM suspects central agencies
From M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, Dec 17 — Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, is said to be concerned at the continued killing of National Conference activists by unidentified gunmen in different parts of Jammu and Kashmir. What is intriguing is the fact that between 1990 and 1996, when militants called the shots, the number of National Conference activists killed was less than that during the two years of the National Conference rule in the state.

During the past two years, more than 35 ruling party activists, including more than 24 NC block presidents, have been killed.

Sources close to the Chief Minister say Dr Farooq is convinced that renegade militants, especially those belonging to the Ikhwan outfit, under the patronage of central security agencies and intelligence outfits are eliminating NC activists to weaken the ruling party base.

It is believed that the state Congress leaders have built an equation with separatists, especially the Hurriyat Conference and Jamait-e-Islami. Hence, their workers are not being targeted.

Informed sources are of the opinion that three factors are responsible for the increase in the killings of NC activists. First, the ruling National Conference has failed to meet the aspirations of the people. With the growing erosion in the NC strength in the state, its opponents, including renegade militants, have got an opportunity to strike at the roots of the National Conference.

It may be recalled that soon after the National Conference regained power in October 1996, it launched a campaign against the renegade militants. Security to them was withdrawn and they were not provided with facilities which they enjoyed during Central rule. Several renegade militants were killed. Others were forced to flee to safety and yet others had no alternative but to rejoin militant outfits.

Second, certain separatists, who have the backing of political parties, want to unnerve NC party workers and create a situation forcing Dr Abdullah to quit.

Third, agencies across the border realise that Dr Abdullah and his party have acted as a bulwark against Islamabad's designs in Kashmir. These agencies are upset over the way people have started cooperating with the security forces and giving information regarding the insurgents' hideouts which has resulted in the elimination of a large number of foreign mercenaries during the past two years.

The role of these agencies in eliminating NC activists cannot be ignored. Knowledgeable circles say that senior NC leaders, including ministers and legislators, have not been touched because of the heavy security cover they have been provided with.

Observers believe that the Chief Minister influenced by his party men launched "victimisation campaign" against the renegade militants. The National Conference leadership had preferred friendly ties with Jamait-e-Islami to befriending the renegade militants. Had the National Conference won over the latter, the security situation in the state would have further improved.


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Dal Lake freezes

SRINAGAR, Dec 17 (PTI) — The Dal Lake in Srinagar today froze for the first time in 12 year, while a cold wave has been sweeping the Kashmir valley for the past fortnight.

Children could be seen playing on the frozen surface of the lake even as the day’s temperature dipped to 5.7 C. Water pipes in most city areas also froze and low water level in rivers affected power generation in the valley, disrupting normal life.


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