|J A M M U C
& CK A S H M I R
Sunday, August 29, 1999
9 militants killed in
encounters in valley
campaign bereft of poster, banner war
9 militants killed in
encounters in valley
SRINAGAR, Aug 28 Twelve persons, including nine militants and a soldier, were killed in separate incidents in the valley today, police officials said.
Six militants, a soldier and a civilian were killed in a two-day-long encounter at Gopalpora village in Anantnag district. The police said four houses were destroyed in the exchange of fire between militants and security forces.
Large quantity of arms and ammunition, including four AK rifles, one universal machine gun, was recovered from the site. The village was still under siege and the security forces were looking for more militants till last reports came in.
In an another encounter at Chowkibal in Kupwara district, security forces shot dead two militants. "The encounter is still going on and details are awaited," a defence spokesman said.
In Baramulla district, the Special Operation Group of police shot dead a militant identified as Zahoor Ahmad Teli, the police said.
They said body of Mohammad Akram was recovered from Sadoora and Qazigund villages. He was killed by the militants.
During the intervening night of August 27 and 28 militants entered the house of Mohamad Bhat at Wantpora, Anantnag and kidnapped his two sons Farooq Ahmad and Riyaz Ahmad, while Farooq was killed. The kidnappers released Riyaz later.
Militants also hurled a grenade near Amar Singh Club Gate today. It, however, hit a pole and exploded without any damage.
The security forces during search operations at Ghai-Puniyas, a forest area in border district of Rajouri, seized 480 rounds of ammunition, 150 rounds of pistol ammunition, a telescope, a night vision device, a wireless antenna, six pouches and Rs 80,000 in cash.
Life in Srinagar and rest of the valley remained disrupted today following a strike call given by Hurriyat Conference as a protest against the police crackdown on Hurriyat leaders and denial of permission by the authorities to hold a public meeting in Srinagar yesterday.
Shops and business establishments remained closed in most areas of the city.
APHC strike call hits life in
SRINAGAR, Aug 28 Life was hit today here following APHC call for protest against police action here yesterday. The police on Friday held several APHC leaders and prevented it from holding anti-election rally after Friday prayers at Sher-e-Kashmir Park.
Most of the shops and business establishments in the city were closed. However, shops in interior localities were open. Transport was normal in the city and on the inter-district routes. Schools, banks and other institutes were closed in response to the call.
According to a spokesman of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), a conglomerate of separatist organisations, the police action on Friday was unwarranted. He claimed that it was despite the recent statement of the Election Commissioner of India, Mr GVG Krishnamurthy, here that a person had the right to boycott as well as campaign for election, that police prevented the APHC to hold anti-election rally. The spokesman also condemned the arrest of several APHC leaders and house arrest of the top leaders of the APHC.
This was for the first time that the APHC had called for an anti-election rally at Sher-e-Kashmir Park in the Civil Lines area. The park has been the venue of the public meetings and election rallies of mainstream political parties during recent years, particularly after the installation of the National Conference Government in 1996. The APHC leaders claimed that authorities had not been allowing them to hold meetings in the city as also in major towns of the valley. Its leaders have been holding anti-election meetings in rural areas of the valley.
The mainstream political
parties have been continuing election meetings in and
around the capital as also in other parts of the valley.
The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah,
holds that the Hurriyat Conference launched its
anti-election campaign for they knew that the people were
going to exercise their franchise. According to Ms
Mehbooba Mufti, PDP candidate for Srinagar constituency,
in the event of a boycott, there would be an advantage
for the ruling National Conference. She said that the NC
would get the opportunity to cast bogus votes in favour
of its candidate, Umar Abdullah.
Kashmiri scholar dead
JAMMU, Aug 28 A well-known Kashmiri astrologer and scholar, Pt Prem Nath Jotshi, passed away here today without being able to complete his dream project of publishing a separate "panchaang" for the people of the Jammu region.
The 79-year-old scholar had been in demand in the Kashmir valley and after the migration he and his panchaang were much sought after. People in large numbers would consult him on various religious, social and domestic issues.
Pt Prem Nath Jotshi had translated several scriptures in the Kashmiri language.
He was ailing for the last several weeks and after surgery he died in the hospital.
A large number of people were present when his body was carried from the hospital to his residence.
When over three lakh
Kashmiri Pandits got scattered all over the country
besides some foreign lands, Pt Shastris panchaang
alone would bind the community together and help them to
perform various rituals.
campaign bereft of poster,
JAMMU, Aug 28 The usual flag and poster war among the candidates of various political parties has been missing this time. The poll campaign is going to end within the next five and 10 days and except for a few pockets in the urban belt of Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur, Baramula and Anantnag, where party flags of the National Conference (NC), the BJP and the Congress and some buntings have added slight colour to the otherwise lacklustre campaign, in the rest of the areas the party flags and banners have been missing altogether.
Some of the political parties, including the NC, managed to "plant"party flags in the Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas.
The only candidate who has used posters to seek the support of the electorate is Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, contesting from Udhampur constituency from where he was elected in 1998 poll. Prof Gupta also has planned a booklet listing his achievements as MP, including details of the utilisation of the constituency fund. Several thousand copies of this booklet are being circulated among voters in Kathua, Udhampur and Doda districts, forming part of the Udhampur constituency.
This is an attempt to highlight the failure of the BJP candidate, Vaid Vishnu Dutt, contesting from the Jammu constituency, to utilise the constituency fund.
However, the Congress which had banked on the support of Gujjars and other sections of community from Poonch and Rajouri Assembly segments so far, is now having sleepless nights ever since the PDP leader, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, succeeded in winning over several leaders, including Mr Yashpal, during his recent two-day tour of the border areas. This may affect Congress' chances significantly.
On the other hand, the supporters of the NC candidate, Mr R.S.Chib, and the Congress candidate, Mr Madan Lal Sharma, both contesting from the Jammu constituency, are having a tough time trying to make a choice between the two.
Some of these supporters told TNS that since it was difficult to make a choice between the two "friends", we may not cast our votes". Others said "we are assuring our support to both but in the end "we may adopt conscience vote strategy".
The BJP candidate here, however, is banking on the sharp division in the anti-BJP vote bank. Though growing dissidence in the BJP camp over allotment of party ticket may affect its performance.
Analysts are of the opinion that the campaign launched by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in support of his party candidates in Udhampur and Jammu may hit the chances of the NC and the Congress which could give advantage to the BJP by default.
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