|Tuesday, April 18, 2000,
mercenaries shot dead
mercenaries shot dead
SRINAGAR, April 17 Eight persons, including four foreign mercenaries have been killed in separate incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir while the security forces averted a major tragedy with the detection of a mine in Budgam district since yesterday.
Four foreign mercenaries were killed in an encounter with the security forces at Burzahama in the Ganderbal area of Srinagar district late last evening. They were identified as Tulla code Mudassir, district commander of Al-Badr, Qasim, Junaid and Sadiq, all Pakistanis, a police spokesman said here. Four jawans were also injured in the encounter. Two houses and two cowsheds were damaged in the exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces.
The residents, however, claimed that the security forces targeted residential houses with mortar shells causing heavy damage to the houses. The security forces have recovered three AK rifles, three magazines and a grenade thrower from the site of the encounter.
Reports said the security forces cordoned off the locality last evening on the receipt of a specific information, while the hiding militants opened fire on the search party injuring four jawans. Four militants were killed in the ensuing encounter.
One militant was killed in an encounter with the security forces at Arpanchala in the Banihal area of Doda district yesterday. He was identified as Adil, regimental commander of the Lashkar-e-Toiba militant outfit. One AK rifle, three magazines, a wireless set and three rounds of ammunition were recovered from the site of the encounter, a police spokesman said here today.
Militants shot dead Dikbazeer of Sonai village in the Surankote sector of Poonch district in Jammu division, during the intervening night of April 15 and 16. He was an employee of the Forest Department and the police has started investigations.
The police recovered the body of Mehda Lone of Athwatoo village from the nearby forests in the Bandipore area of Baramula district yesterday. He is believed to have died in a mine blast, the police said.
The security forces averted a major tragedy with the recovery of a mine fitted in an LPG cylinder on the Zanpanchal-Pakharpora road in Budgam district. The mine was later defused by the bomb disposal squad.
One person, undergoing treatment at SMHS Hospital here since April 10 after he received bullet injuries in an encounter between militants and the security forces at Nussoo in Bandipore, died last evening. He was identified as Mohammad Ashraf Sheikh, who was injured along with two others on April 10.
Two suspects were
apprehended by the security forces at Cheewa in the
Safapore area of Baramula district during search
operations yesterday. One person was apprehended from
Hatbaru village in the Ganderbal area of Srinagar
district, the police said, adding that 15 kg of explosive
and 15 detonators were recovered from him.
for more MLC seats
JAMMU, April 17 The state government is not in a position to its fill six seats in the Legislative Council (Upper House) for the past over 17 years.
The Legislative Council has 36 seats of which two seats are reserved for local bodies, one from Kashmir and the other from Jammu, and four seats are reserved for panchayat bodies, two each from the two regions. Since there have not been either civic elections or panchayat polls in the state during the past 17 years these six seats have remained vacant.
During the past three years the state government has been making intermittent attempts at holding panchayat elections. But there has been little progress as any move in this direction is postponed by militant violence. But while it is not in a position to fill these seats it has asked that the strength of the council be increased.
A year back the Bill providing for enhancing the strength of the Upper House by adding eight more seats was sent to the Centre for approval. The Union Home Ministry returned the Bill with a rider that the state government should explain the reasons for the increase.
The state informed the ministry that since the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly had been raised, under the recommendations of the Delimitation Commission, from 76 to 87, an addition of 11 seats, an increase in the seats in the Upper House had also become necessary. But the matter, according to a senior functionary of the state government has remained under the carpet despite two reminders.
It came up for a brief discussion during the recent Chief Ministers Conference in the shape of complaints that although required by the Sarkaria Commission recommendations Presidential assent had not been given to the Bill within the stipulated period of four months.
At the same time critics of the state government are opposed to the increase. Mr Harsh Dev Singh, Panthers Party MLA, was even for abolition of the Legislative Council in the Assembly, claiming that the state was faced with a serious cash crunch and the Legislative Council had become a white elephant.
Others were of the opinion that despite severe financial problems the ruling National Conference was in favour of retaining the bi-cameral system, simply to please those who fail to get elected to the Assembly.
Mr Harsh Dev Singh gave instances of states which had greater internal resources than Jammu and Kashmir abolishing the Upper House.
Whatever the arguments
in favour or against retired bureaucrats have been seen
visiting the Civil Secretariat and the state legislature
secretariat to know whether Presidential assent for the
Bill was forthcoming. They are doing this because they
have been promised a seat by the CM.
exploiting Hindus, NC Muslims: Kanshi
JAMMU, April 17 The BSP chief, Mr Kanshi Ram, has accused the BJP and the National Conference of exploiting the Hindus and the Muslims in the name of greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir. Addressing a public conference here today, Mr Kanshi Ram said the BJP tried to exploit the Hindus by opposing the restoration of greater autonomy to the state and the National Conference was misleading the Muslims by demanding greater autonomy.
He said had the National Conference leadership been sincere about it, it should have sought a firm assurance from the Centre when it was persuaded to contest the assembly elections and resume power in the state in 1996. He said Dr Farooq Abdullah did not do so and had been siding with the BJP which continued to oppose the restoration of the pre-1953 constitutional status.
Mr Kanshi Ram said if Dr Abdullah was sincere about getting greater autonomy he should quit the NDA and oppose the BJP. He blamed the National Conference and the BJP for bungling the security in Jammu and Kashmir with the result militancy-related violence had increased. He said Mr Advani had announced over a year ago during his visit to Barshalla in Doda district, where several Hindus were killed by the militants, that in case such carnages were repeated he had no moral right to remain as Home Minister.
Mr Kanshi Ram reminded Mr Advani of his commitment and moral obligation. He said the BJP leaders had forgotten all their promises, including the building of Ram Mandir, to reatin power.
He said the BJP had failed on economic and political fronts and was confident that either the government at the Centre would fall under the weight of its mistakes or a mid-term poll would be held in which the electorates would reject the BJP and its allies.
JAMMU, April 17 (PTI) Seven persons, including four Vaishno Devi pilgrims, were killed and 50 injured in separate road accidents in Jammu division, official reports said here today.
Four pilgrims were killed and 20 injured when their mini-bus, on its way from Katra to Sonepat, collided with a truck at Chadwal on the Jammu-Pathankot highway yesterday, the reports said adding that the condition of the injured was critical.
The victims, all residents of Haryana, have been shifted to hospital, it added.
In another mishap, one person was killed and 30 were injured when a passenger bus skidded off the road and fell into gorge at Selpur last evening, it said.
schemes to be updated
SRINAGAR, April 17 The Jammu and Kashmir Government has formulated a comprehensive plan for remodelling all out-dated and defunct water supply schemes at a cost of Rs 140 crore. The process would be implemented in a phased manner.
This was disclosed by the Works Minister, Ali Mohammad Sagar, during his inspection of various water supply and irrigation schemes of Achhabal, Shangas and Kuther areas in the South Kashmir yesterday.
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