|Wednesday, March 1, 2000,
Mendhar killing: Opposition stages
workers stage dharna
Five truck drivers shot
SRINAGAR, Feb 29 Gunmen shot dead five truck drivers, belonging to a particular community, at Mir Bazar near Khannabal, about 55 km from here on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway last night.
One foreign militant and four civilians were killed in separate incidents in the Kashmir valley since yesterday, the police here said.
A group of gun-wielding persons, most of them Punjabi speaking, shot dead five truck drivers at Mir Bazar, five km from Khannabal at 9 p.m. yesterday after they were segregated from other, the police here said.
The group of militants stopped a number of vehicles coming from Jammu late at 9 p.m. near Qazigund and segregated five drivers from others. They were shot dead and the gunmen escaped along with the cash they snatched away from the drivers, the police said.
Four of the truck drivers have been identified as Kewal Krishan from Samba, Karnail Singh from R.S. Pora Raju from Chenani and Surinder Kumar from Rajouri all in the Jammu division. The other person was yet to be identified, the police said.
Elsewhere, five persons, including a foreign militant were killed in separate incidents in the valley since yesterday.
Abu Waheed of Lashkar-e-Toiba, was killed in an encounter with security forces at Nowpora Jagir in Baramulla district. One AK rifle, one rocket gun, a rocket launcher, three magazines and 30 rounds of AK ammunition were found at the site of the encounter.
Militants intruded into the house of Ghulam Qadir Wani at Hanjeeveera in the Pattan area of Baramulla district last night and opened fire on the inmates.
One of the inmates, Bashir Ahmad Mir died on the spot, while his four-year old niece, Rukhsana was wounded. She later succumbed to her injuries in the hospital here. Bashir Ahmad, according to the police, had been an activist of the ruling National Conference and was residing in the Tangmarg area for the past some years.
Unidentified militants intruded into the house of Ghulam Akbar at Saidi Laikote in Baramulla district last night and shot him dead. He is reported to have been a government teacher and an activist of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Mendhar killing: Opposition
JAMMU, Feb 29 The BJP and the Congress staged a walkout from the State Assembly today in protest against the killing of 10 Hindus in Harni village in Mendhar and near Khannabal in South Kashmir during the last three days.
As question hour started the leader of the BJP legislature party, Mr Shiv Charan Gupta, raised the issue of the militant attacks on the soft target and the killing of eight Indian soldiers in Nowshera by the Pak troops. He was joined by Mr Piara Singh in condemning the attacks on the members of the minority community. When the Speaker, Mr Abdul Ahad Vakil, suggested to the members to raise the issue through a proper procedure, the BJP and the Congress members staged a walkout. The matter was raised again by the members during zero hour. Mr Piara Singh had entered the Assembly with a black headgear demonstrating their mourning for those killed by militants.
The Minister of State for Home, Mr Mushtaq Lone, explained to the members that the Nowshera incident in which eight Indian soldiers were killed was the result of a surprise attack launched by Pak commandos. He said similarly militants had killed five drivers and conductors on the national highway. While condemning the incidents, including the one in Harni village where five civilians were killed Mr Lone said that measures were being taken to check the activities of the rebels.
Mr Shiv Charan Gupta, expressing shock over these incidents wanted to know as to why the police did not retaliate at Harni village when the militants opened fire killing five civilians. He suspected that the police was involved in providing indirect support to the militants and said that part of the police had gone to Harni to force Hindus to migrate to safer areas.
Two National Conference members, Mr Mubarak Gul and Mr Najib Sohrawardhy, condemning the incidents said that such issues need not be politicised and communalised. They said these acts were being committed as part of a bigger conspiracy. The CPM member, Mr M.Y. Tarigami, too treated these attacks on soft target as part of the bigger conspiracy to foment communal trouble.
Mr Harsh Dev Singh of the Panthers Party, Mr Lal Singh and Mr Tara Chand of the Congress, Mr Piara Singh and Mr Ashok Khajuria of the BJP expressed their anger against the killing of innocent people. They were critical of the Government for its failure to take in hand suitable measures to check such gory incidents.
The BJP members staged another walkout during question hour when they were not satisfied with the reply given by the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies on the question relating to ban on export of basmati rice from Jammu. The minister, Mr Ajay Sadhotra, said the export of basmati had been banned to allow poor farmers to get good prices for their produce. He said once the ban was lifted middlemen would mint money because the poor farmers had no means to export their product.
The Minister for Health, Mr Altaf Ahmed, admitted in the House that there was an acute shortage of doctors in the State. He said that the public service commission had been asked to speed up the process of selection and in the meantime some doctors were being appointed on the ad hoc basis.
In the Legislative Council (Upper House) members cutting across party affiliations condemned the killing of innocent people by the militants. Mr D.K. Kotwal of the BJP and others wanted strict measures to check killing of members of the minority community.
Meanwhile, traders and
transporters in Warehouse and Transport Nagar observed a
complete hartal today in protest against the killing of
five drivers and cleaners near Khannabal. Transporters
suspended loading of trucks carrying essential
commodities for the Kashmir valley.
ABVP workers stage dharna
JAMMU, Feb 29 The activists of ABVP today staged a dharna in the premises of Jammu University in protest against acceptance of the reports of Regional autonomy committee and the State Autonomy Committee by the State Cabinet. Mr Romesh Pappa and Mr Narinder Singh, National Secretary and State President of the ABVP, respectively, led the day-long dharna.
The ABVP activists shouted slogans criticising Dr Farooq Abdullah led Government for its failure to deliver the goods. They also held the ruling National Conference responsible for its failure to weed out militancy from the State.
Both Mr Pappa and Mr Narinder Singh said that Dr Abdullah by demanding restoration of pre-1953 constitutional status was trying to shield his "misdeeds" and was aiming at diverting the attention of the people from the real problems. They said if Farooq Abdullah-led Government was keen on promoting development of the State and the three regions it should implement the recommendations of Gajendhar Gadkar, Wazir and Sikri commission reports.
The ABVP leaders alleged that since the National Conference regained power in 1996 militancy related violence had increased in the State with the result killing of innocent people had become a daily routine. They also charged the State Government for shielding those employees and officers who were supporting anti-India campaign in Jammu and Kashmir.
Thefts on the rise
UDHAMPUR: Due to timely and adequate snow and rain, farmers and residents of the district are feeling relieved as the farmers have been expecting a good crop this year. Snow which is the only underground source of irrigation has been adequate and timely after about six years.
The residents are hoping that the shortage of drinking water and electricity will end now. There has also been a heavy rush of tourists to Patnitop and Sanasar following the heavy snowfall. Winter games are also being organised by various sports organisations at Patnitop.
* * *
Theft cases are on the rise in the town despite regular patrolling by the police. About 24 thefts have taken place in the town in the past few days. But no arrest has been made in this connection. Residents have resented the failure of the police to check the rise in the thefts and say that frequent power cuts which plunge the town into darkness are responsible for it.
* * *
The construction of a
sports stadium which was undertaken about 20 years ago,
has not been completed yet. The stadium is being used
only for the landing of helicopters of VIPs or for
Dasehra celebrations. It is not usable for national or
international competitions. During rain the stadium
becomes muddy and cannot be used for sports activity even
after about 10 days. In the town there are only two
grounds for outdoor games. One is the above mentioned
stadium and the other a small ground behind the townhall
which is also in the same condition. Dirty water from the
bus stand flows to the small ground which always remains
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