|Saturday, April 1, 2000,
Mahayagya for world peace
Centre urged to waive
Encourage SPOs, village
defence panels: forum
3 Armymen die in cloudburst
3 kids charred to death
Kin of porters killed in Kargil
3 jawans among 10 killed
SRINAGAR, March 31 Life was paralysed in the valley today in response to a bandh call given by the Kashmir Sikh Joint Action Committee ( KSJAC) and supported by the AHPC to mark antim ardas of 35 Sikhs killed at Chatti Singhpora village.
Shops and offices were closed and there was thin attendance at central government offices. Skeletal transport plied on some city routes, mainly in the central Lal Chowk area.
At least 10 persons, including five militants and three security men were killed in separate incidents of violence across Kashmir valley since yesterday.
Five persons including two militants, two security men and a civilian died in an encounter at Shaiepora village in Handwara area of Kupwara district yesterday.
Three residential houses were gutted in an exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces, police spokesman said here this evening.
Both the militants killed were reported to be foreigners, while the civilian was identified as Farooq Ahmad Sheikh of the same village. The encounter took place when the concealed militants opened fire during a security patrol.
Another foreign militant, identified as Syed Ifran alias Abdul Rouf from Narwal in Pakistan, of Al-Burq outfit was killed in an encounter with the security forces at Wavoora Lolab in Kupwara district.
A Hizbul Majahideen militant, Mohammad Yousuf Wani alias Yusuf Jadoo and a security force jawan were killed in an encounter at Kanjoo-Aroo in Pulwama district of south Kashmir.
One AK rifle, five magazines with 204 rounds, a wireless set and two hand grenades were recovered from the site of the encounter.
Two girls were injured when militants opened fire at the shrine of Haji Mohammad Bukhari Sahib at Kreeri Pattan in Baramulla district today. A number of persons had gathered at the shrine on the annual Urs. The two girls injured in the shootout were shifted to a hospital, where their condition was stated to be out of danger. One former militant Bashir Ahmad was killed in the firing.
Mahayagya for world peace
CHARAN PADUKA (Katra), March 31 Preparations are afoot to perform the first-ever Sahastra Chandi Mahayagya at this scenic spot where Mata Vaishnav Devi, on her journey to the shrine, had turned her gaze back to see Bhairov gunning for life.
"The ongoing Kashmir turmoil has defied any military or political solution. The Sahastra Chandi Mahayagya will restore peace not only in Kashmir but in the world," says Dr Anand Swami, a well-known spiritual leader and a scholar in Ayurveda and who spends most part of the day, during the last 25 days, to make arrangements for the big event.
By performing the Yagya Dr Swami aims at silencing the guns here or elsewhere. "The direction of Chinese ICBMs is directed towards America and the American ICBMs gaze at China. The Pakistan and the Indian missiles wait for the trigger to be pressed. I plan to silence these missiles and replace hatred by love", Dr Swami says with an air of confidence.
"Neither the gun, nor wealth nor terrorism can solve problems of people. Spiritualism can change the thinking of people and politicians because prayer is different from religion as the former is a caste or community free path and a supreme route to peace and salvation", believes Dr Anand Swami who has become quite popular at Katra.
When this correspondent visited the site many labourers were busy in levelling the land, raising sheds and thatched cottages for scholars and spiritualists. As many as 40 Brahmins from Banaras and Kanpur will perform the Mahayagya between April 4 and 18, coinciding with Navratra days.
Pandit Dev Raj Shastri, a local religious leader, has been entrusted with the task of setting up five Agni kunds where tonnes of incense and fuel would be burnt. According to Pandit Dev Raj, five cemented kunds have been built Chaturasastra in the east, Arth Chandraka in the south, Brita Kund in the west and Chatura in the centre. Along with Chandi Mahayagya, Navgreh Paath will also be performed so that "prosperity for India, peace to its people and those living in other countries" is assured.
Dr Swami had performed a mini Chandi Mahayagya at Katra last year. When reminded that the security scenario in Jammu and Kashmir had deteriorated during the last one year he said, "it is the result of last years Yagya that India and Pakistan did not fight a nuclear war."
"I am sure after the Chandi Mahayagya is over, peace will return to Kashmir within less than two years. I am equally sure that people, who had migrated from the valley, will return to their ancestral villages." This is how Dr Swami, who wears a radiant face with a perpetual smile indicating his love for human beings, explains the inherent power in prayers.
He expects several lakh people, including foreigners and NRIs from the USA, Canada, Malaysia and other countries, to visit this holy place and pray for peace in the world.
Though the Chandi Mahayagya is being organised by the International Shri Swami Ram Foundation Trust, many philanthropists, including the noted film maker Ramanand Sagar, and others from Chandigarh and Mumbai are lending a helping hand for the success of the saga event.
It is definitely an ordeal for the organisers for arranging a free langar for 15 days for several hundred thousand pilgrims.
As a noted researchers in Ayurvedic medicines, Dr Anand Swami has successfully treated patients suffering from cirosis of liver, brain tumour, hypertension, skin diseases and those having the problem of baldness. When the Swami took me to the site where the Chandi Mahayagya is to be performed a couple of shopkeepers rushed to him, touched his feet and sought his blessings. They are his fans because they are no longer bald.
The Trust has its units in several countries, most of them in the USA. Dr Swami has plans to set up Ayurvedic resort in New Jersey where the plantation of herbs, their use for medicines and research on new herbal treatment would be its main feature.
Will Chandi Mahayagya
usher in peace in Kashmir? Dr Swami is hopeful and says,
"even with the start of the exercise for holding the
Mahayagya American President Bill Clinton has changed his
stand and adopted a positive attitude."
Centre urged to waive
JAMMU, March 31 The state Assembly today adopted a private-member resolution urging the Centre to waive agricultural loans of upto Rs 60,000.
The resolution was moved by CPM member, M.Y. Tarigami, who said militancy had affected agriculture reducing small farmers to penury. He asked the state government to persuade the Centre to waive small loans.
The Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, supported the resolution and suggested that members, particularly those of the BJP, visit Delhi as a team and pressure the Union Government to waive the loans. After the Chief Ministers support the resolution was adopted unanimously.
The House also adopted another private-member resolution seeking lifting of restrictions on national and international agencies for funding hydro-electric projects in the state. Moving the resolution BSP member, Sheikh Abdul Rehman, said since the state faced an acute resource crunch and the Centre was not willing to invest in power generation it had become mandatory to secure funds from national and international agencies.
Speaking on the resolution, Dr Abdullah said with national and international funding the state could tap its potential hyder capacity for generating 15,000 MWs of electricity. He urged members to visit the Middle East and other countries to invite big business houses to invest.
The worsening power situation came up for a discussion during question hour. The question was tabled by Mr Shiv Charan Gupta (BJP, Mr Mohammed Shafi Bhat and Mr Abdul Gani Malik of the NC and Mr Ashok Kumar Sharma of the Congress.
The Minister for Power informed the House that there was a wide gap between the availability of power and demand. The Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, who holds the portfolio of power, said the state government had taken in hand several power projects including Upper Sindh-II, 105 MW capacity, Sewa-III of nine MW, Chenani-III, 7.5 MWs. The state government had also requested the Centre to transfer to the state sector Uri and Salal projects. He said had the Centre given counter-guarantees the state could have begun major power projects. Dr Abdullah said several international agencies had been sounded for funding power projects. A project was being finalised to tap wind energy in Ladakh.
The Chief Minister announced that despite two hikes in power tariff there was a big gap between the rates at which electricity was purchased and the tariff charged from consumers. Against a purchase cost of Rs three per unit consumers paid just Rs 1.50 per unit.
A special arrears drive had netted power arrears of Rs 70.50 crore from the Jammu region and Rs 41.40 crore from Kashmir valley.
In reply to another question, Dr Abdullah said his government would use the Special Task Force to throw out those who had illegally occupied government houses and flats. He had already directed the Chief Secretary to issue notices to former ministers, legislators and retired employees to vacate government houses or face eviction.
The government admitted, during Question Hour, that the incidence of molestation and rape of women in the state had increased.
Encourage SPOs, village defence
JAMMU, March 31 The Jammu and Kashmir Nationalist Forum, has demanded the immediate "weeding out" of anti-national elements from the state administration and the police.
The forums convener, Mr Shri Kumar, in a statement issued here today said the recent incident in which personnel of the special police and men of village defence committees were allegedly tortured and killed by the police indicated that some anti-India elements within the police and the state administration were trying to punish those who would render possible assistance to the security forces in eliminating the militants.
Mr Suri Kumar referred to the incident of the torture of five SPOs in Tathri in Doda district by the selection grade constable and his associates recently. One SPO succumbed to his injuries while others were hospitalised. He said the state government had confirmed the incident on the floor of the Assembly and though the culprits had been booked under several cases, it was time the government set up an agency to identify those with doubtful bonafides and sacked them.
The forum convener wanted the government to encourage SPOs and village defence committees, who were playing a significant role in blunting the offensive launched by the militants.
He also criticised the recent statement of the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah in the legislative council in which he had blamed the Centre for giving a raw deal to the state as far as grant of quota for promoting state officers to central services.
Mr Kumar said the Chief
Minister had tried to create a wedge between the promotee
IAS and IPS officers and the district recruits in the
central services, who did not belong to the state but
were given the Jammu & Kashmir cadre.
3 Armymen die in cloudburst
BARAMULA (KASHMIR), March 31 (PTI) Three soldiers were killed in a cloudburst at their post in Gulmarg, North Kashmir, yesterday, official sources said today.
3 kids charred to death
KATHUA, March 31 Three children of a Gujjar family were burnt alive when their hut caught fire at Papad Avtara village in Nud area yesterday. The police said the hut of Fattu Gujjar caught fire when he along with his wife had gone out . Three children, including a son and a daughter of the Gujjar and an infant of a relative were inside the hut when the fire engulfed it.
Kin of porters killed in
Kargil get relief
JAMMU, March 31 The defence authorities today gave an ex-gratia relief of Rs 2 lakh to the kins of five porters, who were killed during the recent Pakistan aggression in the Kargil sector.
Those porters who had been injured were given a financial aid ranging from Rs 20,000 and Rs 80,000.
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