|Tuesday, May 16, 2000,
lost without guides
leaders provided security
assures Sikh delegation
made JKPCC chief
fruit mandis for Kupwara dist
Infiltrators lost without
JAMMU, May 15 Pakistan trained militants, planning to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir, have been handicapped for want of local guides who, in the past, used to assist them in crossing over.
This was stated by the Corps Commander, Lieut Gen. A.S. Khanna, in an informal chat with mediapersons at Nagrota after opening 14.2 k.m.-long bypass on the national highway, linking Jammu with Srinagar.
Lt. General Khanna said in the past few months the troops had eliminated several local guides, who were well versed with the terrain and topography, and fearing for their lives many others had quit the profession.
He, however, admitted that militancy-related violence had increased to some extent but maintained that the security forces, especially the Army had intensified seek and destroy operations. As result of it the troops had killed over 210 militants during the first four-and-a-half months of the current year against 458 eliminated during 1999 in Jammu sector.
He expressed hope that the situation would improve soon as the militants were now under pressure.
In reply to a question Lt. General Khanna said Pak agencies had concentrated on the International Border (IB), from Kathua to Akhnoor for pushing unfiltrators into Jammu sector as strict security measures on the LoC from Akhnoor to Poonch had made infiltration a difficult task in that sector.
In reply to another question he said fencing of the IB would further help the security forces to reduce the rate of infiltration and arms smuggling.
Lt. General Khanna also complimented Project Sampark for having completed the 14.2 km-long bypass in record time at a cost of over Rs 13 crore.
The project had been
taken in had in 1996 after the Army authorities
visualised the need for a bypass on the national highway
to reduce traffic jams near Nagrota which used to hamper
the movement of Army convoys from Jammu to the Corps
Headquarters. The bypass would also facilitate passengers
travelling to Srinagar and pilgrims on way to Mata
Vaishno Devi shrine.
Hurriyat leaders provided security
NEW DELHI, May 15 (PTI) Amidst speculations about talks with the Centre, four Hurriyat Conference leaders, including its Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, have been provided with security cover in view of threats from some militant outfits, official sources said here today.
The leaders have been provided with a guard at their residence besides, escort vehicles when they move out, the sources said.
They said the decision was taken as a precautionary measure as some militant outfits had reportedly threatened to cause harm to these leaders.
Besides Geelani, other leaders provided with security cover are Abdul Gani Lone, Maulana Abass Ansari and Abdul Gani Bhat, the sources said.
These leaders were reluctant to take the security cover but the state government does not want to leave anything to chance, the sources said.
Former Chairman and Mirwaiz of Kashmir Umer Farooq has already been provided with security keeping in view threat perception and assassination of his father Moulvi Farooq.
Meanwhile, the Home Ministry was also planning to provide security cover to these leaders whenever they come to the Capital on personnel visit.
The step, according to sources, has been taken as a precautionary measure.
Apart from Lone and
Farooq, other leaders were released from prison last
month after over six months of detention under the Public
Abdullah assures Sikh delegation
JAMMU, May 15 A delegation of prominent Sikh leaders led by Mahant Manjit Singh of Dera Nagali Sahib has urged the Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, to take measures for ameliorating the condition of Sikhs in Jammu and Kashmir.
The delegation members, including Mr S.S. Wazir, President, Gurdwara Parbandhak Board, Mr Gurdev Singh, President, state Akali Dal, Mr Jagdev Singh and Mr Dayal Singh, asked the Chief Minister to induct a senior leader from the community into the Cabinet stating that during the past three years of the National Conference rule not a single Sikh leader had been given a berth in the Council of Ministers. They also demanded that more Sikh leaders be nominated to the Legislative Council.
The delegation suggested the name of Mr Rangil Singh, a former minister who joined the National Conference over a year ago after resigning from the Congress, for a place in the Cabinet.
According to Mr S.S. Wazir, Dr Abdullah assured the delegation that he would induct one Sikh leader into the Cabinet. The Chief Minister appreciated the role of Mahant Manjit Singh and the Gurdwara Parbandhak Board in maintaining communal amity in Kashmir. The Chief Minister told the delegation that his government had initiated measures for providing security to Sikhs in the valley.
He informed the leaders
that security pickets had been set up in Chatti Singhpora
village where 35 Sikhs had been massacred. Besides, a
number of Sikh youths had been recruited in the police
under the special scheme.
Qureshi made JKPCC chief
NEW DELHI, May 15 (PTI) In the backdrop of the Centres move to hold dialogue with separatists in Jammu and Kashmir, the Congress today appointed veteran state leader Mohammad Shafi Qureshi as JKPCC president, replacing Chowdhury Mohammad Aslam, to revitalise the party unit.
Announcing this at a
press conference here, AICC treasurer and in-charge of J
and K Ahmed Patel said the appointment had been made by
party president Sonia Gandhi with the hope that the move
would make the party unit more effective in the current
"bad situation" in the state.
2 fruit mandis for Kupwara
SRINAGAR, May 15 Two modern fruit mandis will be set up in Kupwara district shortly. The land for the purpose is being acquired by the District Development Commissioner for which Rs 1.10 crore has already been advanced by the Horticulture Marketing and Planning Department.
This was announced by the Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Mr Mohammad Ramzan, while addressing a public meeting at Kupwara yesterday. He said a dry fruit mandi would be set up at Kupwara while Handwara would have a mandi for fresh fruits.
The minister said the horticulture sector had proved a vital economic background and had sustained the economy of the state during the decade-long militancy. He said this sector alone earned a revenue of Rs 500 crore in the shape of fresh fruits and Rs 250 crore from walnut production annually.
Mr Ramzan said in view
of the importance of this sector, the government was
contemplating to declare horticulture as an industry. He
said over 5 lakh families were directly or indirectly
related to the fruit production and the sector alone
provided employment to 25 lakh people of the state.
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