|Tuesday, March 14, 2000,
Bid on Army post, 1 killed
Forest land encroached on: Oppn
Bid on Army post, 1 killed
JAMMU, March 13 An activist of the Lashkar-e-Toiba was killed and another was wounded when the men of the Romeo Force foiled an attempt at the Army post at Thana Mandi in Rajouri during early hours today.
Defence Ministry sources said that one Army jawan, who was wounded, later succumbed to his injuries.
The sources said that a group of five militants, equipped with sophisticated weapons, tried to storm the Army post. The sentry at once opened the fire. The rebels fired several shots. The Army jawans engaged them in an encounter for over 15 minutes. In the retaliatory fire one militant, later identified as Khazi Abu Harare, was killed and another Abu Attaullah was wounded.
Militants immediately escaped in the forest belt leaving behind two assault rifles, four magazines and large quantities of ammunition.
The men of the Romeo Force later launched "seek and destroy operation" to eliminate the militants who had attacked the Army post.
An official spokesman said militants kidnapped and later killed a special police officer Farooq Ahmad Wagay at Hanger-Varipora in Kulgam in South Kashmir last evening.
Militants shot at and critically wounded two police personnel at main market at Pattan in Baramulla district last evening. One of the injured later died on way to hospital while another was admitted to the police hospital in a critical condition.
Meanwhile, about 2000 residents today took to streets in protest against the death of Ali Mohammad Dar allegedly by the Jammu and Kashmir Police task force personnel after the attack on police personnel.The demonstrators, who also blocked the Srinagar-Baramulla road for an hour alleged that task force personnel also set on fire 15 shops at the main market, Pattan.
The spokesman said one person was killed in a mine blast near the Line of Actual Control in the Uri sector last evening while militants shot at and critically wounded Nazir Ahmad Bhat at Asham in north Kashmir.
Forest land encroached on: Oppn
JAMMU, March 13 Noisy scenes were witnessed in the Assembly, during question hour, here today over the Opposition charge that the State Government had failed to reclaim large chunks of forest land which had been encroached upon by people during the past 53 years.
The question was raised by the BSP member, Shiekh Abdul Rehman, and after the Minister for Forests, Peerzada Ghulam Ahmed, informed the house that over 29,000 hectares of forest land had been encroached and so far over 8,000 hectares had been reclaimed several Opposition members from the BJP, the Congress and the BSP were on their feet to register their protest.
Mr Ashok Khajuria and Mr Bhali Bhagat voicing their anger over ruination of forests marched to the well of the House. They accused the state government of shielding the encroachers. Mr Ashok Sharma of the Congress also moved near the well and protested against degradation of forest wealth which had affected the states ecology. The Forest Minister said that several cases regarding encroachment had been pending in the courts and hence the delay in throwing out the encroachers. He said that several measures had been taken for the preservation of forests and establishment of a forest protection force and rapid schemes have been launched.
Shiekh Abdul Rehman said that forests had been looted and their degradation had affected the ecology and the result was acute drought in Doda district. As Mr Khajuria, Mr Bali Bhagat and Mr Sharma were dissatisfied with the government measures they staged a walkout.
The Speaker, Mr Abdul Ahad Vakil, censored the government for having taken the serious matter of forest degradation lightly. He told the forest minister that his department had ignored the adverse impact of massive deforestation on the states ecology and environment.
The Assembly was informed during question hour that the State Government will take up with Punjab Government the need for expediting work on the Shahpur Kandi barrage and the release of additional water from its rivers.
Mr Som Nath of the BSP had raised the question and the Minister for Irrigation, Mr Ali Mohd. Sagar, informed him that Jammu and Kashmir continued to receive only 450 cusec feet water from Punjab against the agreement for receiving 1150 cusec feet water. He said as a result of it the state had so far suffered losses to the tune of over Rs 717 crore. He said Punjab had agreed in 1979 to release 1100 cusec feet water and had it fulfilled its commitment more than one lakh acres of land would have been irrigated. With 450 cusec feet water "we are able to irrigate only 30,000 acres of land."
The communal tension in Rajouri town dominated discussion during zero hour. While the BJP member, Mr Shiv Charan Gupta, blamed the Deputy Commissioner for having failed to maintain law and order, others from the same party condemned the recent incidents. Mr Gupta said that it was the duty of the majority community to ensure safety of the members of the minority. When he again tried to involve the Deputy Commissioner, the Education Minister raised a point of order informing the House that members should not name person who is not present in the House to defend himself.
Mr Ashok Sharma of the Congress said some communal elements in both the communities were responsible for it. He said that all those involved in kicking up communal divide should be penalised. Mr M.Y. Tarigami of the CPM condemned the Rajouri incidents and wanted strict measures to keep the communalists at bay. He said the government should have come out with a detailed statement on the incident. Couple of NC members did not agree with the charge levelled by some BJP members that some members of the majority community and government officers were responsible for the incidents.
When in zero hour Mr
Harsh Dev Singh of the Panthers Party protested over the
way some National Conference Ministers were combining
their officials tour with party activities, the Chief
Minister angrily intervened to say that the ministers
were at liberty to tour any area they liked. Mr Harsh Dev
had in fact drawn the attention of the House towards
Sundays tour of the Minister for Food, Mr Ajay
Sadhotra, saying that he had visited his constituency
with a caravan of officers for a party function. The
Chief Minister was peeved and announced in the House that
his ministers had full freedom to tour any area they
liked for listening to the grievances of the people.
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