|J A M M U C
& CK A S H M I R
Sunday, October 31, 1999
|Two BSF jawans killed in valley
SRINAGAR, Oct 30 Two BSF officials and two foreign militants were killed in the Kashmir valley during the past 24 hours.
Durbar move: J&K seeks more forces
JAMMU, Oct 30 The state government has sought the help of the Army in sanitising the Jammu-Srinagar highway to prevent militants from attacking the employees who would be moving to Jammu in connection with the "Durbar move."
dilly-dallying on autonomy: CPM
Army introduces refrigerated
SRINAGAR, Oct 30 (UNI) Two BSF officials and two foreign militants were killed in the Kashmir valley during the past 24 hours.
Director-General of Police Gurbachan Jagat told a press conference here that the police special operations group (SOG) of the state and the BSF launched a joint operation at Machoo last night after information that some militants were hiding there.
When a house-to-house search began this morning, militants fired on the forces with automatic weapons. In the ensuing gunbattle, two foreign militants were killed. A BSF inspector also lost his life in the encounter.
At Shoura, militants attacked a BSF camp near Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences last evening. They used rifle grenades and later opened fire with automatic weapons.
A BSF havaldar was killed and two jawans were injured. Later, the entire area was cordoned off and searches launched to nab the militants responsible for the attack.
This is the second major attack in Srinagar city during the past two days. Three employees were killed and 10 injured when militants fired rifle grenades on the heavily guarded multi-storeyed secretariat building on Thursday.
move: J&K seeks more forces
JAMMU, Oct 30 The state government has sought the help of the Army in sanitising 200 km of the 300 km line Jammu-Srinagar highway to prevent militants from attacking convoys of the employees who would be moving to Jammu in connection with the bi-annual Durbar move.
The government offices in Srinagar closed today and would open in the winter capital of Jammu on November 8.
Following intelligence reports that militants, especially foreign mercenaries, had been directed to attack the convoys of the employees when they would be on the move from Srinagar to Jammu. Consequently, the state government has requested the 15th and the 16th corps headquarters to sanitise the highway belt from Srinagar to Qazigund and from Qazigund to Ramsu which includes the 20-km road link passing through Banihal.
Under the decision the troops would provide logistic support to the police and the paramilitary forces that are to be deployed on the hilltops on either side of the highway from Qazigund to Ramsu.
Senior functionaries of the state government including those belonging to the police and the intelligence agencies, held a series of meetings in Srinagar during the past three days where the need for strengthening the security arrangements in and around vital government installations was emphasised.
Experts informed the authorities that after BSF and CRPF bunkers around Srinagar city were removed militants enjoyed free movement for sneaking into the summer capital. The authorities were told that the number of bunkers of security forces near Batamaloo and Qamarwari had been demolished either on account of shortage of forces or under the mistaken belief that the situation had improved and this had allowed militants to sneak into the city and carry out IED and grenade attacks.
Informed sources said a large number of foreign mercenaries had sneaked into Srinagar city from Budgam and from Ganderbal side. Those who had entered the city from Budgam had set up hideouts in the civil lines areas and those from Ganderbal had taken shelter in the interior of the city. This had given them an opportunity to use houses around the civil secretariat for firing grenades.
According to these sources in a decision taken about six months ago multi-storeyed buildings around the civil secretariat, from where one could have a clear view of the secretariat, had to be kept under security picket. Security bunkers had to be established on the rooftop of such buildings to prevent militants from carrying out grenade attacks on the secretariat. The decision was never implemented shortly because of shortage of forces.
The sources said two grenade attacks on the civil secretariat were organised from these housetops and the use of a speeding Maruti car was to confuse investigations.
According to official sources, militants have plans to launch grenade or IED attacks on other government installations, including the Doordarshan centre and Radio Kashmir buildings in Srinagar. The sources said a decision had been taken to have a three-tier security bandobast in and around the civil secretariat in Jammu. Under the decision additional security personnel, including NSG commandos, would be deployed within the civil secretariat premises and the entire area around the secretariat would be ringed by the police and paramilitary forces.
In the light of the
reports that militants might step up their activities the
state government has repeated its request to the Centre
to send additional battalions of the paramilitary forces
so that new pickets and bunkers could be set up to
prevent militants from attacking vital government
Truckers stir costs apple growers dear
SOPORE, Oct 30 (ANI) Apple growers in the Jammu and Kashmir say they have suffered heavy losses due to a week-long strike by transport operators.
A huge quantity of apples lay rotting at a fruit market in Sopore town, 70 km from Srinagar.
Transport operators were on strike against nearly 40 per cent increase in diesel prices by the Centre.
Apple dealers said many trucks carrying apples were still stranded in Punjab. The fruit would be completely damaged by the time it reached Srinagar, they added.
"It is estimated that apples worth millions of rupees have been lost, said Hamid-ul-Rahatan, an apple dealer.
"This is a perishable item. Hundreds of trucks loaded with apples are stranded in Punjab where temperature is high and the fruit is rotting. Each truck carries apple worth Rs 1,50,000 so the losses are colossal."
Market sources estimated the losses at more than Rs 150 million a day.
Apple growing is the largest source of revenue for Jammu and Kashmir since tourism was hit by the decade-old insurgency.
More than 500,000 families are engaged in apple cultivation.
"Ever since the strike was called, the truck drivers have refused to load the apples. We are the worst sufferers of the deadlock between the government and transport operators. I have been trying to sell my apple for the past four days but there are no takers," said Parvaiz Ahmed Ganai, another apple dealer.
The transporters called off their stir late Wednesday after the government reached an agreement with the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) which spearheaded the strike.
But officials said diesel prices would not be revised.
"Both parties have come to an understanding that the transport sector will be given the status of an industry. Our government will take necessary steps in this regard," Indian Surface Transport Minister Nitish Kumar told reporters after the agreement was reached.
dilly-dallying on autonomy: CPM
JAMMU, Oct 30 Accusing the National Conference of adopting delaying tactics over the issue of restoration of greater autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir the state unit of the CPM has demanded convening of a special session of the state legislature to discuss the report of the committee set up to recommend measures for grant of pre-1952 constitutional status to the state.
Talking to media persons here today, the CPM leader and MLA, Mr M.Y. Tarigami, said that during the previous session of the assembly the government had tabled the Autonomy Committee report without providing time for a full-fledged discussion. He said that the National Conference leadership had stated that the matter would be discussed at the special assembly session.
Mr Tarigami urged the state government to convene the special assembly session so that the matter was debated and the process for restoration of greater autonomy to the state was initiated. He said that grant of greater autonomy along with devolution of political and financial powers to the block-level was very essential for the state.
He expressed a doubt on whether the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, would remain serious about the restoration of greater autonomy because after the National Conference joined the NDA led by the BJP, it may pursue a policy which would not clash with the one followed hitherto by the BJP.
The CPM leader urged the Centre to release a special economic package for the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the light of the huge losses it suffered owing to a decade-long militancy. He said that the development activities in the state had come to a halt because of cash crunch. He blamed the Centre for squeezing the flow of funds to the state and the National Conference Government for having wasted the Central funds on non-productive activities.
He said that there was
need for setting up power projects and till these new
projects were completed, the Centre should help the state
so that the people were not inconvenienced by prolonged
power cuts. He also demanded Central assistance for
increasing the job avenues in Jammu and Kashmir.
UDHAMPUR, Oct 30 (PTI) Refrigerated lorries, equipped to preserve foodstuff in transit for army personnel posted in remote areas, have been introduced in the Leh region of Jammu and Kashmir.
General-Officer-Commanding-in-Chief, Northern Command, Lt-Gen H.M. Khanna yesterday flagged off the first convoy of the modified Ashok Leyland Stallion lorries, each fitted with three automatic air-conditioned chambers, a defence release said here.
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