|Saturday, May 6, 2000,
Four militants shot dead
New outfit attracts militants
Bandh in Katra over murder
Advani, Army chief to visit
Farooq to improve facilities for
Govt insincere, says APHC chief
Water supply scheme
MVD University to emerge as IT
Four militants shot dead
JAMMU, May 5 (UNI) Four militants, including three foreigners and a district commander of the outlawed Hizbul Mujahideen, were among five persons killed in Doda and Udhampur districts of Jammu region since last night.
A Defence Ministry spokesman said troops of Five Sikh Light Infantry cordoned off Belia village, 4 km north of Gandoh tehsil in Doda district, this morning following a tip-off.
During the operation, militants attacked the party with automatic weapons. Three militants, suspected to be foreigners, were killed when the troops retaliated. Three rifles, six magazines, 120 rounds of ammunition and four grenades were recovered from the encounter site.
The spokesman said troops killed self-styled district commander Mohammad Riyaz, alias Betab, of the Hizbul Mujahideen during a search operation at Manoh village under Majalta police station late last night. A rifle and some rounds of ammunition were recovered from the slain militant, he said.
Official sources said unidentified gunmen shot dead Shakti Singh of Katra as he came out of a cinema hall in Udhampur town early this morning. Shops and business establishments were closed in protest against the killing.
Later, a mob reached the cinema hall and damaged it. A vehicle belonging to the cinema owner was also damaged.
Sources said the irate mob set ablaze two government vehicles, including a bus, at the Katra base camp of Vaishno Devi.
The security forces foiled a plan to trigger bomb blasts on the eve of reopening of the Civil Secretariat in the summer capital, Srinagar, when they recovered 60 kg of explosives in Ganderbal last evening.
A Defence Ministry spokesman said the forces, on a tip-off, carried out searches in Tulmulla and Ganderbal areas during the 24-hour operation several hideouts were smashed and a large cache of arms and ammunition including 60 kg of explosives, detonators, remote-controlled devices and three rifles recovered.
The explosive material was enough to make 10-15 powerful improvised bombs which could have caused much damage to life and property.
A report from Baramulla said shelling by Pakistani troops from across the border continued throughout the night in Uri, Teetwak, Karnah and Keran sectors of north Kashmir. There was no report of any casualty or damage to property.
Sources said the Indian troops retaliated and targeted Pakistani posts.
Official sources said the security forces gunned down militant Reyaz Ahmad at Bani during search operations. Militants shot dead two counter-insurgents, Ghulam Nabi Dar at Kulgam, and Mushtaq Ahmad at Frishal Anantnag, last evening.
New outfit attracts
JAMMU, May 5 Jishe- Mohammadi (army of the Prophet) has launched a recruitment drive in the Kashmir valley and in areas close to the border across the LoC.
According to official sources, the recently floated Jish-e-Mohammadi, which hit the newspaper headlines when one of its activists carried out a suicide bomb attack outside the main gate of Badami Bagh cantonment in Srinagar, plans to extend its areas of operation in Jammu and Kashmir. For this it needs large groups of activities.
The sources said Jish-e- Mohammadi has attracted activists from Harkatul Mujahideen, Tehrik-ul-Mujahideen and Hizbul Mujahideen. These activists are already trained in the handling of sophisticated weapons and explosives. Under the banner of Jish-e-Mohammadi, these activists and fresh recruits would be fully indoctrinated for launching a "jehad" in the state.
A report said some molvis and imams have been lending a helping hand to Jish-e-Mohammadi in its recruitment drive. A number of imams in the Kashmir valley were taken into custody for interrogation and some are said to have died in custody.
According to the sources, Maulana Mohammad Azhar Masood, who was released from the Kot Balwal jail in exchange for 150 Indian Airlines passengers held hostage by militants in Kandahar, is the brain behind setting Jish-e-Mohammadi. Since he belongs to one of the richest landlords of Pakistan, he has managed to earmark huge sums of money for strengthening the organisation.
He has been shuttling between Pakistan and Afghanistan during the past two months. Inside reports say he is exploring the possibility of recruiting Afghans as well.
Maulana has plans to send his activists to different parts of India. During his four-year imprisonment in Jammu, he carried out a detailed study of the cultural history of the state. Those who used to meet him in the Kot Balwal jail found him an embittered scholar whose sole aim was to avenge his arrest and detention by carrying out massive operations against the Indian security forces.
Though Hizbul Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Taherikul Mujahideen are worried over the exodus of their activists to Jish-e-Mohammadi, Pakistani agencies are said to have decided to give a chance to Maulana Masood to play his role. These agencies have suggested to the three militant bodies to cooperate with Jish-e-Mohammadi.
Since Jish-e-Mohammadi has already raised a large group of suicide bombers across the border, Pakistani troops have been asked to provide fire cover to these squads to enable these to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir. Official sources said in the recent weeks more than 300 trained militants, including activists of Jish-e-Mohammadi, crossed into Jammu and Kashmir under the cover of heavy shelling and firing by Pakistani troops across Uri, Kupwara, Tangdhar, Poonch, Chhamb and Pallanwala areas.
The sources said activists of Jish-e-Mohammadi are assured of bigger, financial packets than those belonging to other militant outfits. Due to unemployment, poverty and alleged excesses by the security forces, Kashmiri youths have started joining militant outfits. Between 1994 and 1997 it was the other way round. More and more Kashmiri boys were seen bidding farewell to arms.
The trend stands
reversed and several hundred Kashmiri boys have crossed
over to Pakistan for arms training during the past two
years. Most of them have returned to the valley and
others may be back within the next two or three months.
Bandh in Katra over murder
JAMMU, May 5 (PTI) A bandh was observed today in Katra , the base camp to holy cave shrine of Vaishno Devi, following eruption of violence over murder of a youth last night, official sources here.
The sources said one Tankiyat Singh, alias Happy, was killed when some unidentified persons shot at him in the town last night.
The incident which took place in a theatre caused panic among residents of the town, the sources said, adding a group of people raised slogans against the authorities and resorted to violence following the killing.
Shops and market places in some areas of the town remained closed since morning, while some groups sat on a dharna to protest the alleged murder.
The demonstrators pelted stones on the police station, some shops and also set afire a truck belonging to state road transport corporation last night, the sources said.
Situation was later brought under control in the town. However, tension continued to prevail, the sources said.
Advani, Army chief to visit Kashmir
SRINAGAR, May 5 (PTI) Union Home Minister L.K. Advani and Army Chief General V.P. Malik are scheduled to visit Kashmir on May 7, according to defence sources.
Although Mr Advani and Gen Malik are scheduled to visit Ahagam in south Kashmir to inaugurate a school constructed by the Army under "operation sadhbhavana", significance is attached to the visit as it comes at a time when Pakistani troops have intensified shelling and firing on Indian positions and civilian areas of north Kashmir.
Both Mr Advani and Gen Malik are likely to review the overall situation in Kashmir and interact with top Army and civil officers regarding the continued shelling from across the border, they said.
The Home Ministers visit to Kashmir comes a day before the Civil Secretariat and other offices are reopening in Srinagar, summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
Security in the Kashmir
valley, especially in Srinagar, has been stepped up in
view of reports with the government agencies that
militants are planning a "big incident" on the
day opening of the offices.
Farooq to improve facilities
JAMMU, May 5 The Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, has said that he will take up with the Centre the issue of financial help to state government needed for improving facilities for newsmen and newspaper editors. He said he would discuss the issue especially with the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, and the Information and Broadcasting Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley.
During an informal chat with a group of newsmen here today, the Chief Minister said he agreed that the Press Club in Jammu and the one being set up in Srinagar needed to be expanded so that a big conference hall was set up. He said this required money and since the state government was faced with an acute financial crisis, he would discuss the matter with the Centre. He hoped he would be able to persuade the Centre to earmark some grant for improving facilities for working journalists and the state government too would make a suitable contribution for this project.
Dr Abdullah suggested to the mediapersons to shoulder their responsibility towards society at a time when efforts were on to destabilise peace and promote turmoil. He wanted newsmen to follow those great journalists in Punjab who sacrificed their lives but continued to launch a crusade against militancy. He felt the need for improving the standards of the vernacular press in the state. He suggested to the editors and owners of Urdu and Hindi newspapers being published in the state to improve the content of their papers and widen the scope of covering state, national and international events.
He said the Information
Department would be equipped with the latest gadgets so
that it could quickly disseminate information to the
newspapers. He said a healthy Press was needed for
strengthening democracy and the role of the Information
Department had become more important than in the past
because of the disturbed security situation in the state.
Govt insincere, says APHC
SRINAGAR, May 5 The APHC Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has described the much-talked about "centres offer for talks" as "insincere" even while its top leader Mohammad Yasin Malik was released yesterday.
"There is no sincerity. It is futile because they (government) has set pre-conditions" Mr Geelani told The Tribune on his arrival from New Delhi here this afternoon. Mr Geelani, along with two top leaders of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, were in New Delhi last week. Mr Geelani said the "talks offer" was only to "divert attention at the local and international level.
The Hurriyat leader said that pre-conditions for the talks had been set these could be held within the framework of the constitution. India, he said did not accept Kashmir as "disputed" and the APHC was for "tripartite talks on Kashmir", Mr Geelani said.
He said talks between
the two countries over the past 52 years had been futile.
In this connection he referred to the Indira-Abdullah
Accord of 1975. He said the Hurriyat would not enter into
such a dialogue as Kashmir needed a "final solution
for lasting peace".
Water supply scheme
JAMMU, May 5 The Minister for Works, Mr Ali Mohammad Sagar, inaugurated a water supply scheme at Sunderbani on Wednesday in Rajouri district.
Five villages Sunderbani, Loharkote, Phulwari, Kathanu and Lower Makra Mohara will be benefited from this scheme.
The minister also inaugurated a bridge on the Kakora Bijji in Rajouri district. The bridge was constructed at a cost of Rs 45 lakh.
MVD University to emerge as IT centre: Saxena
JAMMU, May 5 (PTI) Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Girish Chandra Saxena has said that the Mata Vaishno Devi (MVD) University will emerge as a major centre of information technology in northern India and its first phase is likely to be launched by the end of next year.
The university, to be located 12 km from Katra, will fulfil the requirement for a centre for higher education in the state, Mr Saxena told mediapersons yesterday, adding it will enrol students from all parts of the country, including non-resident Indians.
The first phase envisages launching of School of Information Technology, School of Management Studies and the Department of Philosophy. Other departments like Bio-Technology, Tourism and Hotel Management and Environmental Sciences will be added in the second phase, the Governor added.
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