|Monday, March 20, 2000,
Omar keen to be back in J&K
Shabir Shah, 15 supporters held
to be back in J&K
JAMMU, March 19 The Union Minister of State for Commerce, Mr Omar Abdullah, is keen to be back in Jammu and Kashmir and serve in the capacity of a senior National Conference leader.
Sources close to Mr Abdullah said that the youngest minister in the Council of Ministers headed by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, is trying to prepare himself to take over from his father, Dr Farooq Abdullah, as the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Soon after he took over as Minister of State he told newsmen in Jammu that his heart is in Jammu and Kashmir. He said he would be looking for an opportunity to return to Kashmir. When asked whether he would be installed as the Chief Minister he had said that it was for the people and the party legislators to decide.
According to reports Dr Abdullah has started feeling tired of running a cash-starved government in a troubled state and if left to him he would either settle in London where his wife is serving, or be a union minister or an Ambassador or a Governor. At one stage he expressed a wish to be the President of the country. The NDA Government is keen to utilise his services in a capacity that could help Dr Abdullah to project Indias case on Kashmir in the international fora.
During the last two years, the National Conference has suffered serious erosion in its base. Some of the dissident leaders in the ruling National Conference have started holding Dr Abdullah responsible for the erosion. He has of late realised that he may not be able to fulfil his commitments made in 1996 assembly poll manifesto, which included the restoration of greater autonomy to the state, and hence it would be better for him to install his son as the Chief Minister because during the last three months Mr Omar Abdullah has demonstrated better administrative and political skill than his father.
Dr Abdullah does not want to enter into any major confrontation with the Centre and hence he would like to hand over the power to his son who has not made any firm commitment to the people that he would secure restoration of pre-1953 constitutional status. Once Mr Omar Abdullah was installed as Chief Minster it would enable Dr Abdullah to retain his hold on the state affairs.
However, there are many who prefer a man out side the dynasty to replace Dr Abdullah. But under the present organisational set up the National Conference has failed to throw up a second leadership. There are at least five senior party leaders, who are cabinet ministers, but all of them view one another with suspicion. No doubt Mr Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah is the seniormost member in the Cabinet but his failing health and his rivalry with some of his colleagues are his disadvantages.
However, according to some reports a section of the National Conference leaders were favouring the installation of Mr Omar Abdullah as a minister so that by the next assembly elections of 2002 he would have gained enough experience to head the government.
At present there is no
threat to the Farooq government as the ruling party
enjoyed a two-thirds majority leaving hardly any scope
for a handful of dissidents to topple the government
Hindi films, songs in army camps
JAMMU, March 19 Pakistan Government has imposed a blanket ban on the screening Bollywood films and on listening to Hindi film songs on radio in army messes, camps and in forward posts.
Informed Defence Ministry sources said that the ban was imposed soon after reports reached Islamabad that large sections of Pakistani soldiers and civilians living in border villages were keen on watching Hindi films and listen to Indian film songs on transistors.
Army in Pakistan have been threatened with disciplinary action in case they viewed Indian films on video or through cable connections.
The Ministry sources said that while in Army messes and camps only PTV is allowed to be watched. many Pak farmers living in the border villages have been seen enjoying listening to Hindi film songs sung by Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Talat, Kishore Kumar. Some of them have shown interest in listening to the audio cassettes of Hindi films on the transistors.
Transborder smugglers, operating on the Indo-Pakistan border in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Gujarat have been smuggling video and audio cassettes of latest Hindi movies into Pakistan in return for foreign gadgets and some luxury items.
The Pakistani agencies have distributed cassettes titled crush India to the border villagers and to the army camps, units and forward posts so that the soldiers could be indoctrinated fully in their hatred for India. The Crush India cassettes contain provocative songs, speeches and cooked up incidents to incite Pakistani armymen to be ready for the Jehad.
These cassettes are
being played in camps where the militants receive arms
training. Scores of these cassettes have been smuggled
into Jammu and Kashmir. Recently one selection grade
constable Mohammed Altaf, who was arrested on charge of
his involvement in militancy related activities confirmed
to the police that such cassettes were being given to
each militant group along with magazines and brochures so
that they were brainwashed. The police recovered one such
cassette from Iqbal.
SRINAGAR, March 19 (PTI, UNI) J and K Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP) president Shabir Ahmed Shah and 15 of his supporters were taken into custody here this morning when they were to leave for Delhi to participate in a meeting to draw US President Bill Clintons attention to the plight of Kashmiris, official sources said.
The police and paramilitary personnel arrested them at Lal Chowk here when they tried to board vehicles for Delhi to participate in the proposed meeting, the sources said.
A JKDFP spokesman, condemning the arrest of Shah and his supporters, said: We had planned a peaceful demonstration in New Delhi to invite attention of the US President to the plight of Kashmiris and their demand for right of self-determination.
He said his party had also organised an exhibition of photographs showing incidents of human rights violations in the state.
The spokesman condemned the arrest and termed it undemocratic.
Twentyone activists of the JKDFP were arrested yesterday from a Srinagar hotel. The sources said all 37 detainees had been lodged at the local Khotibag police station.
The JKDFP had also made preparations to distribute among the foreign press copies of a book on Kashmir, and a memorandum to Mr Clinton through the US Embassy appealing him to initiate steps for resolving the Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes and aspiration of its people, the spokesman said.
Mr Shah had also decided to observe on March 22 a token hunger strike in front of Parliament to draw the attention of the US President and the world community towards the Kashmir issue, the spokesman said.
The police and paramilitary forces had sealed the JKDFP headquarters at Rajbagh in Srinagar and Mr Shahs residence at Hyderpora on the Srinagar airport road yesterday in a bid to prevent his party activists proceed to New Delhi.
Outlawed Hizbul Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the yesterdays attack on the Doordarshan kendra here.
Militants might have fired the three rifle grenades towards the kendra complex from the river bank adjacent to the complex, police said.
Meanwhile, Pakistani troops resorted to indiscriminate shelling from across the border in Keran, Karnah and Teetwal sectors while elsewhere in the valley two militants were killed and five persons, including four jawans were injured during the past 24 hours.
A report from Baramula said Pakistani troops fired mortars and artillery shells targeting civilian and security force installations in the three sectors in northern Jammu and Kashmir.
Official sources said the shelling continued for several hours. However, there was no report of any loss of life or damage to property on this side as most shells exploded either mid-air or in open fields.
An official spokesman said security forces killed two militants, including a foreigner, at Pulwama and Heranagar in different encounters last evening.
scout of J&K honoured
SRINAGAR: It was the happiest moment in the life of Ahmadullah Affandi, when the septuagenarian scout received the Bharat Scouts and Guides Silver Elephant Award in recognition of his services of the most exceptional character to the movement.
The national award was presented to him on behalf of the President of India, Chief Patron of the Bharat Scouts and Guides, in New Delhi on November 29, 1999.
When I received the national award it was the happiest moment in my life. I was reminded of my youthful days which I spent in the scouting movement. Undoubtedly this is an international movement in the service of mankind", said Mr Affandi in a chat with this reporter.
Residing in the remote village of Wonagam in the Bandipore area of Baramulla district, he leads a life of hectic activity and service based on the principles of scouting, which he has nourished for the past six decades. Retired from the government service, where he served as a school teacher till 1980, "Babai J&K Scouting", as he is popularly known in the field and "Kaka Lala" in his family and neighbourhood, he has not made any change in his daily activities. Even at this age he cycles daily to and fro, a private school at Bandipore, 4 km from his home. As Adviser, scouts section of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Affandi's name mentioned in the Bharat Scouts and Guides investiture for the 1998-99 distinguished award.
Mr Affandi has raised a scouts troops at the Eaglet's Public School in Bandipore, where he has been teaching for two decades after his retirement. Such groups are hardly raised nowadays at private or government schools in the valley. Most government schools in the sixties and seventies had troops comprising boys scouts and girl guides. "But now the government does not pay any attention to the scouting movement", he laments.
Annual rallies used to be held in all three regions of Ladakh, Kashmir and Jammu in the state. Now it is not the practice", he adds. He describes the movement in Jammu and Kashmir as "going on at a low pace, which needs to be revitalised". Still hopeful of revival of the scouting movement, Affandi has on his finger tips, the Semaphore and Morse signalling skills used by scouts. Semaphore singnalling is done with the help of red and yellow or white and black flags tied on 75-cm-long rods used by the scouts to convey messages in difficult terrain over long distances. Morse signalling engaged long and short wistles at short distances.
For the deaf and dumb, the scouts use fingers identifying the English alphabets to convey messages. The other practice, known as Pioneering involves typical rope knots used in erection of hanging, suspension, monkey and trestle bridges to reach the needy and helpless. With the help of these aids, scouts and guides render services to the people and serve the nation on the basis of three principles know as scouts' owns.
Mr Affandi teaches a unique style based on the spirit and basic principles of scouting, nursery and pre-primary students in and outside his school. The teaching methods are an amalgamation of teaching skills with the scouting spirit, which has earned him popularity for inculcating learning capabilities among his students. "He is a legend in the history of scouting of the state and all present day leaders of J&K are the result of his motivation, dedication and sincerity", he says the investiture while reforcing to him.
For the past six decades
Mr Affandi has been upholding the spirit and principles
laid down by Lord Baden-Powell, the pioneer chief of
scouting. He has developed lot of interest in the field
at the MP High School, Srinagar way back in 1938. He
recollects his selection as a troop leader from MP School
when he was sent to Lahore for training in scouting in
1939-40. On the basis of his scouting skills, he was
appointed as teacher in 1941.
|| Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
| Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | In Spotlight |
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
| 119 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |