|Thursday, February 3, 2000,
JUM leader gives cops the slip
Farooq for autonomy, settlement
PDP for all -party meeting on
Fresh snow, rain in region
SRINAGAR, Feb 2 (PTI) A top militant of pro-Pakistan Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen (JUM) today gave the slip to police party escorting him to a government hospital for medical check-up here.
Ghulam Rasool Shah, alias Mohammad Ramzan Sofi, alias General Abdullah, former supreme commander of the JUM, along with four other top detainees were taken to the Srinagars SMHS Hospital where he managed to give the slip to the policemen escorting them, an official spokesman told PTI.
Jameel Ahmad Syed, another top militant associated with Al-Burq also tried to escape, but was nabbed from the compound of nearby medical college, the spokesman said.
However, Shah, a resident of Kupwara, arrested in 1997 from Srinagar, mingled with the crowd in the hospital and made good his escape in a waiting three-wheeler, he said.
The five detainees lodged in the Central Jail were being taken to the SMHS Hospital for a routine medical check-up.
Meanwhile, a spokesman
for the JUM contacted news organisations in Srinagar
immediately after the incident and claimed that their
detained supreme commander (Shah) was
arrested by the Border Security Force soon after he was
taken to hospital for medical checkup.
JAMMU, Feb 2 (UNI) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah today said a settlement with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue and restoration of autonomy in the state would certainly help resolve the militancy problem and normalise the countrys relations with its neighbour.
In an interview to UNI Dr Abdullah, calling for better relations between India and Pakistan, said somewhow, a settlement should take place with our neighbour so that once and for all this dispute is sorted out and we can get on with our own lives.
He suggested that the Centre should constitute an experts team to discuss the issue. We have sent the report to them (Centre) and now the document is with them for discussions, he said.
The State Autonomy Committee report was tabled in the assembly in April last year. The Cabinet had recently referred it to the Centre.
Asked if the people of the state were feeling alienated from the rest of the country, he said , It is a problem that we had for the past 50 years. I think it is also connected with the war-like situation we are facing. Pakistan has been waging this war in the state for the past 10 years or more and that is not allowing rapid development of the state. Industrialisation cannot take place because nobody is ready to put up an industry in a situation like this.
Dr Abdullah said economic and emotional reasons were also responsible for the alienation of the people. More importantly, political unrest between India and Pakistan was more responsible for the present situation in the state.
The Centre-state relations had suffered a lot over the years which has affected the states interests, Dr Abdullah said, adding that restoration of autonomy to the state was very important to bring back the people of the state to the mainstream.
Jammu and Kashmir is a mini India, representing three regions of different communities like Ladakh-Buddhists, Jammu-Hindu, Kashmir-Muslims. These three regions have a distinct identity and their different culture and customs. More importantly, we have to fulfil their aspirations of protecting their culture, he said.
In reply to a question whether the restoration of pre-1953 status to the state as recommended by the Autonomy Committee was reasonable and practicable in the present situation, Dr Abdullah said, When we had spoken to the Union Government, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao had said in Parliament that sky is the limit and he spoke as Prime Minister of the country.
The Chief Minister said, "When the sky is the limit, none of us are asking for seccession or azadi, we are saying that within the Constitution of India, we have to discuss the autonomy for the state".
Asked if he thought that erosion of autonomy during the past 50 years was responsible for this alienation, he replied in the affirmative. "My father was in prison for nearly 22 years, and Mrs Indira Gandhi in her virtue, realised that it is not possible to move forward without talking to Sheikh Abdullah. Then the 1975 accord was put forth".
At that time the Centre also promised that further discussions on autonomy would take place, but nothing really happened.
Had the misunderstanding between Delhi and Kashmir not developed, what took place in August 1953, would not have had happened and the whole situation would have been totally different.
He advocated the implementation of the Sarkaria Commission recommendations to give the states their due. Terming Article 356 of the constitution as draconian, Dr Abdullah said "It must be deleted as it has been misused in the past by the Centre on several occasions especially with regard to our state. We are totally opposed to this article".
Dr Abdullah said because of the Indus Water Treaty, the state has suffered, now if they wanted to build their own power project, the Centre was not ready to give counter guarantee although they were ready to give such guarantee in the case of Cogentrix in Karnataka. They have already done so in the case of Enron in Maharashtra.
He accused the Centre of
adopting a discriminatory attitude as despite putting the
state in B category, it was getting 70 per
cent grant and 30 per cent loan, while other states like
Himachal Pradesh and those in the North-East were getting
90 per cent grant and 10 per cent loan.
all -party meeting on Kashmir
JAMMU, Feb 2 While the Peoples, Democratic Party (PDP) led by Mufti Mohd Sayeed, is engaged in building the party from the grassroots, the State unit of the Congress has been plagued with dissensions.
The three leaders, Ranbir Manhas, Amit Manhas and Daman Bhasin, known supporters of the AICC General Secretary, Ghulam Nabi Azad, who have joined the PDP.
The PDP has, in its five-month existence, started setting up its units at the district level.
In fact the PDP is trying to gain its strength from the ruin of the Congress and the National Conference. Over a score of the Congress and the National Conference leaders have already joined the PDP and many more are waiting in the wings. One senior Congress leader said if the party high command further delayed reconstitution of the PCC and did not stop Ghulam Nabi Azad from interfering in the PCC affairs the organisation may close its shop within next six months.
While the Congress is trying to resolve the factional feud, the PDP has been regular in holding meetings and conferences.
A PDP two-day conclave opened here today. In two resolutions the PDP berated the State and Central governments for mishandling the economic and political situations in Jammu and Kashmir.
The political resolution demanded that in order to achieve a breakthrough in the Kashmir imbroglio the government must create an atmosphere conducive to holding a meaningful dialogue with the people of the State in general and the alienated sections in particular.
The resolution has demanded immediate release of all political leaders, including youth and end to violations of human rights, amnesty to all gun-wielding youth.
The resolution has said the absence of the political approach, "insensitive character of the administration" have compounded the problems of the people. It said the Government of India did not listen to the PDP's suggestion of opening a dialogue with the people, including the separatists. This has led to the deterioration of situation. The resolution states the ruling National Conference was a "helpless and hopeless minority" and as such had no claim to represent the people of state.
The economic resolution accused the State and the Central governments of mishandling the problems of poverty, unemployment, power and water shortage. It has expressed grave concern over suspension of work on various development projects. It has blamed the State Government for misusing Central funds.
The resolution while demanding a white paper on cash flow from the Centre and the details of its spending by the state governments has called for top priority to the power sector by starting work on unfinished hydel power projects. It has demanded full financial assistance to small and medium scale industrial units under a single window system within three months. Such a programme could arrest the rate of unemployment and allow the State to produce some essential items within the state.
The PDP was far a permanent central monitoring agency so that the misuse of funds, including those under the rural development programmes was checked to enable the deserving families to receive the benefit of the Centrally-sponsored schemes.
The PDP conclave
suggested to the Centre to initiate definite measures for
arresting chaos that has gripped the State owing to
maladministration and militancy related activities. The
PDP has demanded that the Centre should initiate an
experiment of holding a dialogue with all sections of
people, irrespective of their party affiliations and
political ideology. It said the National Conference
government had failed on all fronts. If corrective
measures were not taken by the Government of India things
could assume alarming dimensions in the State.
JAMMU, Feb 2 Militants have started extorting money in Rajouri and Poonch belts for the past few weeks. Reports indicate that agencies across the border have stopped sending money for militants.
In the Rajouri belt militants barged into more than six houses and looted cash and jewellery worth several lakhs. In Targai village militants intruded into the house of Bashir Ahmed. Bashir Ahmed rushed to the nearest police post. By the time the police arrived the intruders had taken away one walkman, one transistor and Rs 21,000 in cash. They hit the sister of Bashir Ahmed with an iron rod and threatened her that the entire family would be wiped out in case her brother did not pay Rs 8 lakh.
Armed assailants barged into the house of Faqir Shah, Anwar Shah, Shamsuddin and Abdullah and took away from them Rs 1.25 lakh in cash.
According to official sources, cases of extortion have been reported from areas of Doda and Udhampur districts.
Official sources said
while the incidence of extortions in the Kashmir valley
has shown a marked downward trend, it has registered an
upward curve in the Jammu region. Militants have either
built or renovated houses or set up their business.
CHANDIGARH, Feb 2 (UNI) Renewed spells of snowfall on higher reaches of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh during the past three days have revived cold wave conditions in most of north-west India.
The higher reaches of Ladakh, including Leh, experienced fresh snow, as also the entire tribal belt in adjoining Himachal Pradesh. Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, received 24.8 mm of snowfall or rain during the past 24 hours ended at 8.30 this morning. The minimum temperarature touched freezing point of zero celsius.
Winter capital Jammu and surrounding areas reported about 40 mm of rainfall during the past 48 hours. The minimum today hovered around 7.4 celsius.
A report from Shimla said that all lakes in the tribal belt, including Chandertal (15,500 feet) and Surajtal (16,000 feet) in Lahaul-Spiti district, froze following steep fall in the temperatures that ranged between 10 and 15 degree celsius below freezing point.
The weathermen attributed vagaries of weather to the appearance of fresh westerly disturbances as an upper air system over north Pakistan and neighbouring areas. Besides, induced upper air cyclonic conditions, 3.1 km above sea level over east central Pakistan, were likely to cause moderate to rather heavy snowfall or rain at many a place in Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir over the next 48
hours. Light to moderate rain could be caused at a few places in Punjab and Haryana during this period. People in the high altitudes of Lahaul-Spiti, Kinnaur and Pangi valley in Chamba district experirenced intensive cold wave conditions following fresh spells of moderate to heavy snowfall.
Cold wave conditions also persisted in the capital town of Shimla and in upper areas of the district, including tourist resorts of Wildflower Hall, Kufri, Naldehra and Narkanda.
Bhuntar reported the highest railfall of 19.8 mm followed by Sundernagar (9.9 mm), Nahan (9 mm) and Solan (2.6mm). People in and around Solan shivered under 1.5 celsius temperature today.
Some roads, including Shimla-Chopal and Shimla-Rampur via Narkanda were closed to vehicular traffic following yesterdays snowfall. Vehicular traffic for Rampur had to be diverted via Basantpur, a Shimla report quoting the state road transport corporation sources said.
As the sun played hide-and-seek during most part of the day, the day temperature in and around Chandigarh today dipped to 18.6 celsius while the minimum was 10.4 celsius. The weather office recorded 2.4 mm of rainfall during the past 24 hours.
The national capital
region, most of Haryana and Punjab was dry without a drop
of rain during the past 48 hours. However, Amrtisar with
4.9 celsius tempeature was the coldest place in Punjab
this morning followed by Patiala win a low of 8.3 C and
Ambala (Haryana) at 8.1 C.
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