Sunday, January 16, 2000,
Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

J&K staff stir on, despite arrests
SRINAGAR, Jan 15 — Even as the Jammu and Kashmir Government has threatened to take action under ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) against the striking employees, their associations have threatened to continue the strike.

Several bodies for asylum to Karmapa
JAMMU, Jan 15 — The Ladakh Buddhist Association has appealed to the union government to grant asylum to the 17th Karmapa, Lama Dorje, who has fled from Tibet to Dharamsala.


Militancy on the rise: General
JAMMU, Jan 15 — There has been an increase in Pakistan-sponsored militancy in Jammu and Kashmir after “Operation Vijay” but the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Kargil sector and along China


Mercury dips further
CHANDIGARH, Jan 15 — The vagaries of weather continued to play havoc in most of North-West India with the entire Kashmir valley, parts of the Jammu region and far-flung areas in Himachal Pradesh staying cut off from rest of the country for the fifth day today following heavy snowfall and landslips, reports available here said. was peaceful, a senior Army official said here today.


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Bandh hits life in Kashmir valley
SRINAGAR, Jan 15 — A dawn-to-dusk bandh called by the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers’ Federation (KTMF) today to protest alleged “excesses” by the security forces crippled normal life in the Kashmir valley, where a counter-insurgent and a militant were killed and three injured overnight.
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J&K staff stir on, despite arrests
Tribune News Service

SRINAGAR, Jan 15 — Even as the Jammu and Kashmir Government has threatened to take action under ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) against the striking employees, their associations have threatened to continue the strike.

The striking employees, who launched their agitation in support of their demands of the payment of all the pending arrears and the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission, on December 20 last, have already threatened to extend the strike up to January 25 next. In case the demand were not fulfilled the employees will go for an indefinite strike", a spokesman for the agitating employees threatened here yesterday. Several leaders of the provincial unit of Jammu and Kashmir Employees Joint Action Committee (JKEJAC) have been rounded up during the past two days. The JKEJAC and its various units have expressed concern over the attitude of the government.

According to the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Mr Khursheed Ahmed Ganai, the attendance of the non-gazetted employees in various government offices was improving. He said nearly 30 per cent of the employees attended their offices today. The Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, and the Additional Commissioner, today visited various office complexes at Lal Mandi and Old Secretariat to record attendance of the employees.

Meanwhile, all the deputy commissioners and head of departments have been directed to closely monitor attendance of all categories of employees and mark those employees as absent who did not report for duty. This directive issued here yesterday following the government's decision to invoke ESMA, also envisages the deputy commissioners of various districts and head of departments to submit the attendance list to the Divisional Commissioner by 2 p.m. daily.

The order is categorically about the strict application, without exception, of the principle of "No work no pay". The deputy commissioners and heads of departments have been asked to take disciplinary action against the striking employees invoking the relevant provisions of the CSR and J&K Classification, Control and Appeal Rules, which may include dismissal. The order further says that serious note will be taken of the officers found absent from duty.

The district level officers have been barred from leaving their headquarters without the permission from the deputy commissioner concerned. Likewise the divisional officers have been asked to avoid holding of meetings of district level officers at divisional headquarters except in extreme exigencies as otherwise the district officers get an excuse to leave their locations for Srinagar for attending meetings.

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Several bodies for asylum to Karmapa
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, Jan 15 — The Ladakh Buddhist Association has appealed to the union government to grant asylum to the 17th Karmapa, Lama Dorje, who has fled from Tibet to Dharamsala.

In separate messages to the Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, External Affairs Minister, Mr Jaswant Singh, Defence Minister, Mr George Fernandes, the President of the Ladakh Buddhist Association, Tsering Samphel, has said that his association had felt elated over the arrival of the lama. He requested all these central ministers to ensure asylum for Lama Dorje because his return to Tibet would not be safe for him.

In the communication Mr Samphel has reminded these central leaders that India has given shelter and asylum to saints, sages, even invaders. Karmapa Dorje is held in high esteem by all the three major sects of Buddhists, Ninampa, Kragyupa, and Gelukapa, in Ladakh.

Mr Tsering has said in case the union government had any problem for providing asylum to Lama Dorje in Himachal, he may be sent to Leh. "We would be very glad to look after his welfare."
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Militancy on the rise: General

JAMMU, Jan 15 (PTI) — There has been an increase in Pakistan-sponsored militancy in Jammu and Kashmir after “Operation Vijay” but the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Kargil sector and along China was peaceful, a senior Army official said here today.

“The post-Kargil scenario shows an increase in Pakistan-sponsored militancy in the State, but the border situation along LoC with China and Pakistan in Kargil is peaceful,” GOC-in-C (Northern Command) Lt Gen H.M. Khanna told reporters here.

There was no report of any incident along the LoC with China during the last six-seven months, he said adding there were some “differences of perception” over two border posts along the India-China border in Kargil.

The matter over the status of the two posts is dealt at diplomatic level with the Chinese authorities, General Khanna said.

There has been no firing by Pakistani troops along the LAC in the Kargil sector after “Operation Vijay”, he said. This is due to involvement of both sides in constructing new pickets on either side of the LAC in the Ladakh sector, he said.

However, along the Line of Control in Siachen sector, Pakistan has been desperately attacking Indian posts with an intention to capture some of them for gaining ground, he said.

Regular exchanges of fire along the LoC in Uri and Poonch have continued. The Northern Command Chief said, adding that sometimes it accelerated.

After withdrawal of troops from the counter-insurgency grid during the Kargil operation, there was an increase in Pakistan-sponsored militancy in the State, he said. However, during the three months after the Kargil war, the grid has been re-established, enhancing pressure on the militants, he added.

“Our troops are alert...,” General Khanna said.

After the Kargil operation, Pakistan sent in trained ultras, who now comprise more foreign mercenaries and suicide squads as part of Islamabad’s strategy to focus media attention, he said.

Terming these initiatives as “bold”, General Khanna said Pakistan has not sustained such bold steps like 1965, 1971 and Kargil wars.

“Pakistan has lost on political, military and diplomatic fronts with a democratically elected government in Kashmir, the Kargil defeat and criticism by international community,” he said. Only option now left to Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir is “to escalate its proxy war”, he said.

On alleged human rights violations by the Army, he said it was the best Army in the world with “best records throughout the world”.

“I am satisfied,” General Khanna responded to a query on alleged rights violations by the security forces.
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Mercury dips further
From Tribune News Reporters and agencies

CHANDIGARH, Jan 15 — The vagaries of weather continued to play havoc in most of North-West India with the entire Kashmir valley, parts of the Jammu region and far-flung areas in Himachal Pradesh staying cut off from rest of the country for the fifth day today following heavy snowfall and landslips, reports available here said.

The tourists resort of Manali in Himachal Pradesh reported the coldest night in several years with the minimum slumping to seven degrees Celsius below freezing point.

Kalpa along the heavily snow-bound Hindustan-Tibet road reported minus 8.2 celsius as the minimum temperature this morning, which too was the lowest in several years. The 320-km highway stayed out of bound for vehicular traffic because of heavy snow and landslips.

Clear weather notwithstanding, the whole of north-western region shivered under intense cold wave conditions caused by clear weather coupled with icy winds from across the Himalayas.

The freakish weather caused a sharp drop in night temperatures by two to seven degrees below normal.

The entire Ladakh region continued to be in the grip of severe cold wave with night temperatures staying six to seven degrees celsius below freezing point.

Week-end holidayers first time ventured out to bask in the bright sunshine after almost three weeks of freakish weather.

In the plains, Amritsar in Punjab turned out to be the coldest place in the region reporting a low of 1.5C, three degrees below normal, followed by Bhiwani in Haryana with a low of 1.8C.

A report from Kapurthala said that a person aged around 60 was found dead near Kanjali bridge on the Kapurthala-Subhanpur road. It was suspected that he died of cold.

Patiala in Punjab too was colder at 1.9C, followed by Ludhiana at 2C.

People in and around Chandigarh shivered as the minimum plummeted to 2.6C.

The whole of the national capital region, including Delhi, shivered under a low of 4.6C.

Hisar (3.6C), Ambala (3.7C) and Rohtak (4.9C) were the other colder places in Haryana.

The westernly disturbances moving eastwards, weathermen here warned of ground frost reappearing at some places in Punjab and Haryana and did not rule out the possibility of fog over the next two nights. They have also forecast isolated light to moderate rain or snow in Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh. Mainly dry weather with sunny days have been forecast in the rest of the region.
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Bandh hits life in Kashmir valley

SRINAGAR, Jan 15 (PTI) — A dawn-to-dusk bandh called by the Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers’ Federation (KTMF) today to protest alleged “excesses” by the security forces crippled normal life in the Kashmir valley, where a counter-insurgent and a militant were killed and three injured overnight.

The police repulsed a militant attack on a police station and arrested three suspected militants in the state during the period, an official spokesman said today.

Markets, banks, government-run ration depots and semi-government institutions remained closed, while traffic kept off the road in Srinagar and other major towns of the valley.

The Hurriyat Conference and the State Government Employees’ Conference also supported the bandh, sponsored by the KTMF to protest what it termed as “unabated excesses” of the security forces and Monday’s arson at Pattan town in North Kashmir in which nearly 90 shops and 12 houses were gutted following an encounter.

Meanwhile, militants shot dead a top counter-insurgent Ghulam Qadir Hurrah, an activist of the Ikhwan outfit, at Gundi Jehangir in Baramula last evening, the spokesman said. Three civilians — Mohammad Ashraf Dar, Farooq Ahmad Dar and Latief Ahmad — were injured in the shootout.

A militant was killed in an encounter with troops at Nagam-Chadoora in Badgam district early today, he said.

The police also arrested three suspected militants at Satwari in Jammu last evening.
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