|Monday, June 19, 2000,
to observe black week
militants killed in valley
ultras ready to cross LoC
Ladakhis to observe black week
LEH, June 18 (PTI) As the stage is set for the special session of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly from tomorrow to pass an autonomy package, Ladakhis opposed to the rule from Srinagar are planning to observe a black week.
Under the aegis of the influential Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA), the natives, pre-dominantly Buddhists, are preparing themselves to hold rallies, demonstrations and dharnas during the week-long protest.
The LBA has charted out programmes to air their strong opposition to the autonomy package as recommended by the State Autonomy Committee (SAC) for the week-long agitation starting from June 19 at Leh and other block headquarters of Nyoma, Durbuk, Diskit, Khaltsi and Padum.
The Ladakhis are apprehensive that the proposed step for greater autonomy for the state or to restore the pre-1953 position will ruin the interests of Ladakhi people who have been clamouring for union territory status for a long time, a senior LBA leader has said.
In fact, the Ladakhis opposition to the rule from Srinagar dates back to the times of Head Lama Kushuk Bakula, who was also a member of the Kashmiri constituent assembly.
About Bakula, the Kashmir watchers say that he made it clear that he did not like the land reforms and rule from Srinagar was unpalatable.
Bakula, it is believed, started looking at possible autonomy with special relations with India.
In the subsequent period, a native lawyer Sonam Gyalsam felt the change was telling on the people and he coined a classic revolutionary oneliner we tribespeople are the modern day untouchables of Kashmir.
Kargil, the hub of Shia Muslims, as part of the Ladakh province, although made news recently following the Pakistani misadventure, Leh another crucial district with a predominant Buddhist population remained neglected both in the official and media circles, the locals complain.
The SAC was set up by the Farooq Abdullah Government against the backdrop of former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Raos assertion that the sky was the limit (for autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir) provided the solution was within the parameters of the Constitution.
According to the advocates of greater autonomy for trouble-torn Jammu and Kashmir, the pledge for such a package had paved the way for state assembly elections in 1996.
The autonomy committee was initially headed by former Sadr-e-Riyasat and union minister Karan Singh.
Dr Karan Singh, however, resigned after a few months and he was soon replaced by senior state minister G.M. Shah.
Observers of the Ladakh region say that the birth rate of Ladakhis was on a decline and the ratio of women to men stood modestly at 1:4.
Menfolk normally dedicate their lives to the religious course and monastery. They are also called Lamas and become teachers, physicians, astrologers and landlords.
With not much economic support of their own, Ladakhis are dependent on every means of livelihood from food to clothing from outside.
However, in recent times the community has made substantial progress, especially in education.
Opposition to the state governments move to pass the autonomy package even by major parties like the BJP and the Congress would not make any significant impact in the House as the 62-MLA strong National Conference enjoys a brute majority in the 86-member assembly.
The Congress has only six members.
Chief Minister Farooq
Abdullahs detractors say the move to muster a state
assembly resolution for greater autonomy for the state
was only to hoodwink the people as he wanted
to deflect peoples attention from alleged
corruption, misgovernance and the failure to stem
4 militants killed in valley
SRINAGAR, June 18 (PTI) Four militants, including a self-styled deputy supreme commander of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit, and a civilian were killed and two women injured in separate militancy-related incidents in the Kashmir valley since yesterday.
The deputy supreme commander of recently floated Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit, Murtaza Haider Al-Badri, alias Bilal, was killed by the Army in an encounter in the Safapora area of Baramula district in north Kashmir last evening, an official spokesman said here today.
Terming the elimination of the top militant as a major breakthrough, the spokesman said the ultra was involved in a large number of militancy-related incidents. Some arms and ammunition were recovered from the dead militant leader.
Security forces gunned down an unidentified militant during search operations at Doban-Batnar in the frontier district of Kupwara late last night, he said.
Another militant was killed in an encounter with troops at Gujjar-Din-Pora near the Line of Control in the Trehgam area of Kupwara, the spokesman said.
An AK-56 rifle, four magazines with 120 rounds, a grenade launcher and a hand grenade were recovered from the slain militant, he added.
Militants gunned down one person in his house at Wagat in Kupwara last night, the spokesman said, adding that the victims mother and another woman were seriously injured in the attack.
JAMMU: A Pakistani soldier was killed and an Indian jawan injured as the two sides exchanged fire at several places along the Line of Control in Rajouri and Poonch sectors of the Jammu region on Sunday, defence sources said here.
The sources said Pakistani troops had been resorting to firing along the LoC in the Mendhar, Kerni, Krishna Gati, Sunderbani, Bhawani and Noushera areas of Rajouri-Poonch sector since Saturday night.
In the retaliatory action that followed, a Pakistani solider was killed in the Noushera forward area while an Indian jawan sustained bullet wounds in Krishnagati, the sources added.
The firing continued till this afternoon while no loss of life was reported from anywhere in the areas along the LoC, the sources said.
Meanwhile, militants on Sunday detonated a powerful improvised explosive device (IED) damaging a truck carrying foodgrains in the Dunduk area of Poonch district in the Jammu region, official sources said here.
The truck driver was injured in the blast and the vehicle was completely damaged.
The IED was aimed at an Army convoy passing through the area, the sources said, adding that the blast occurred around 8 a.m. when the truck was proceeding towards Poonch.
A report from Poonch
said that a major tragedy was averted when the troops of
the Rashtriya Rifles defused an IED that was planted
beneath a bridge on the Poonch-Surankote road by the
militants last night.
2,500 ultras ready to cross LoC
SRINAGAR, June 18 (PTI) At least 2,500 militants are waiting to infiltrate into the Kashmir valley where already 1,600 active terrorists are engaged in subversive activities, a senior Army officer has said.
At least 2,500 terrorists are awaiting a chance to sneak into Kashmir by crossing the Line of Control, Maj-Gen J R Mukherjee, Chief of Staff of the Srinagar-based 15th Corps, told reporters here yesterday.
Build-up of militants in large numbers is being reported from the Jammu and Ladakh regions, he said, adding that funds for the proxy war were provided mainly by Islamic countries and from the illegal narcotics trade in Pakistan.
He said the militant outfits were finding it difficult to find voluntary recruitment of local youths who were fed up of violence and its effect on the states economy.
New recruits are not forthcoming voluntarily. They are being recruited through kidnapping, blackmail and offer of money, he said.
He claimed that infiltration had decreased this year as the security forces mounted a multi-layered anti-infiltration posture prior to the onset of summer.
Adequate measures had been taken to ensure that Pakistan could not repeat a Kargil-type operation, General Mukherjee said, adding that we have also achieved synergy of operations among all security forces through the unified headquarters, headed by the Chief Minister Mr Farooq Abdullah.
He said a new outfit Jesh-ae-Muhammed had been floated, which was headed by Maulana Masood Azhar with Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar as his deputy, both of whom were released to end the hijacking of the Indian Airlines plane in December.
The Army official said Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was attempting to spread its tentacles all over India with the twin objectives of balkanising India and drawing international attention on Kashmir.
There were 42 training camps in Pakistan while Pakistan-occupied Kashmir had 70 and Afghanistan 11, the officer said.
This year the security
forces had killed 325 militants in Kashmir and 271 in the
Jammu region, General Mukherjee said, adding that
approximately 34,000 weapons had been seized, enough to
equip two Army divisions. 06181346
Demonstrations in Ladakh
JAMMU, June 18 The Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) will hold demonstrations and stage dharnas in the Ladakh region in protest against the holding of a special session of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly from tomorrow for one week in Srinagar to discuss the greater autonomy report.
The president of the
Association in a statement said the LBA would observe it
as a "black week" and renewed its demand for
the union territory status for the Ladakh region by the
trifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir carving out Jammu as
state and homeland for Kashmiri Pandits in the valley.
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