|Sunday, July 2, 2000,
area commander shot
Complete bandh in Jammu city
18 kids die of enteritis
J&K: demand for separation of
Ban on shahtoosh trade opposed
Al-Badar area commander
JAMMU, July 1 The troops of Romeo Force today killed a top foreign mercenary, Asim Khan, alias Doctor, area commander of Al-Badar.
A Defence Ministry spokesman said on a specific information jawans of Romeo Force laid an ambush near Badun bridge in Rajouri during the early hours of this morning. The ambush party spotted militants on the move and challenged them but they opened fire on the troops. The troops retaliated killing Mohd. Asim Khan on the spot.
One assault rifle, one pistol, two hand grenades and 340 rounds of ammunition were recovered from the site of the encounter. A diary and some incriminating documents were seized from the slain militant. His personal diary revealed that Asim Khan belonged to Islamabad and after joining militants in December, 1999, he had received armed training in Al-Badar training camp at Aoji under Hara division in NWFP.
Asim Khan had been sent to Rajouri to revitalise Al-Badar outfit in Poonch and Rajouri districts. During a period of four months he had killed a large number of innocent people. As the area commander is responsible for organising infiltration and anti-security forces operations in Poonch and Rajouri sectors.
One Hizbul Mujahideen militant was killed and another injured in an exchange of fire with army personnel near Poshina on Pir Panjal range in Poonch district.
The operation to nab the injured militant was on till last reports came in, the sources said.
Meanwhile, a militant Nazir Ahmed, who was arrested by the police from the Budhal area of Rajouri on June 22 while carrying 10 kg of explosives and other arms and ammunition, died in custody yesterday, the sources said.
Though the police said he died of stomach ailment, unofficial sources said torture during interrogation had caused his death.
Meanwhile, the troops of Gurj Division eliminated one hardcore Pakistani militant after a two-day operation in Kalontha forest of Ramnagar tehsil on Saturday.
Based on a tip off the
troops of Garhwal had an encounter with a militant in
this area. The militant after being wounded had vanished
into the dense Kalontha forest. After a search operation,
the troops found the militant hiding in a nullah. The
troops immediately surrounded the area and asked the
militant to surrender but he opened fire and tried to
escape, in the ensuring half-an-hour-long encounter. The
militant was shot dead. Recoveries from the encounter
site, included one AK rifle, four magazines, one Chinese
grenade, one Japanese compass and other incriminating
material. The dead militant was identified as Abu Shahib
Altaf, a dreaded Pak mercenary involved in several
killings and extortion activities in the area.
Complete bandh in Jammu city
JAMMU, July 1 Activists of the Peoples Initiative for Peace and Unity (PIPU) failed to march to Raj Bhavan to submit a memorandum expressing their anger against the adoption of a resolution by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly seeking restoration of greater autonomy to the state. The police interfered and threatened against the attempt to take out a march.
The activists set ablaze copies of the State Autonomy Committee report and burnt an effigy of the Chief Minister, Dr, Farooq Abdullah, at a demonstration in the city today.
It was on the call of the PIPU comprising the Panun Kashmir, the Jammu Joint Students Federation and the Ladakh Buddhist Association, that the city observed a complete a complete bandh. The call for the bandh had been given to protest against the National Conferences demand to restore greater autonomy to the state.
The city of temples wore a deserted look with most of the shops closed and transport services off the roads. Several hundred pilgrims to the Vaishno Devi shrine had to walk to the railway station.
For the second day today work in government offices, banks and public sector undertakings was affected as a majority of employees failed to attend offices because of lack of transport.
Carrying anti-autonomy placards, PIPU activists shouted anti-Farooq slogans. They demanded either full integration of the state with rest of India or its trifurcation allowing people of the Jammu region to be part of a separate state and those in Ladakh enjoying union territory status.
The police resorted to a mild cane charge when some of the activists started pelting stones on the police near the Satwari chowk. Senior PIPU leaders intervened when one police official was roughed up by the slogan-shouting demonstrators.
The protesters also accused the Central Governments, especially the BJP leadership, of secret connivance with the National Conference regarding raising a demand for the restoration of the pre-1953 constitutional status to the state.
Meanwhile, the PIPU has
demanded quadrification of the state so that nationalist
Hindus were able to live with dignity and safely in a
separate homeland within the Kashmir valley. The PIPU
leaders urged people to remain prepared for a prolonged
struggle for either scuttling the demand for autonomy or
securing quadrification of the state.
18 kids die of enteritis
UDHAMPUR, July 1 (UNI) As many as 18 children died of gastro-enteritis during the past three days in the far-flung Warban area of Kishtwar tehsil in Doda district, reports received here today said.
The children who died were in the age group of eight days to five years. About 200 villagers, mostly children, had been admitted to a hospital suffering reportedly from the disease. Sixty of them were stated to be in serious condition.
The affected villages are stated to be Nigli, Afti, Choitran and Pul-Warwah.
J&K NCP opposes autonomy
JAMMU, July 1 The state unit of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) seems to be at variance with the stand taken by the party high command on the National Conferences demand for restoration of greater autonomy to the state.
During the past one week, the NCP President of the state unit, Thakur Randhir Singh, has not only issued a series of statements berating the National Conference for adopting a resolution in the state Assembly seeking restoration of the pre-1953 constitutional status, but he and his party have also lent full support to the two-day Jammu bandh for which a call had been given by the BJP, the Chamber of Commerce and the Peoples Initiative of Peace and Unity (PIPU).
Thakur Randhir Singh has blamed the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for its "treacherous" role in allowing Dr Farooq Abdullah to get the autonomy resolution adopted in the Assembly. He described Dr Abdullahs move to secure greater autonomy for the state as a "retrograde step".
In contrast to Thakur Randhir Singhs stand the NCP high command favours implementation of the maximum autonomy approach formulated by former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.
A spokesman for the NCP had stated that Dr Abdullahs only fault was that he had chosen a wrong time for initiating the autonomy move. He had also stated that the demand for autonomy should not be related to the demand for further decentralisation in respect of other states, but it should be tackled on a different footing as far as Jammu and Kashmir was concerned.
In the meantime, the
state unit of the NCP has succeeded in winning over to
its side many political workers and Gujjar leaders
belonging to different political parties on the issue of
its opposition to the demand for greater autonomy by the
J&K: demand for separation of Ladakh illegal
SRINAGAR, July 1 (PTI) The Jammu and Kashmir Government today termed as illegal the resolution adopted by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) seeking separation of Ladakh region from the state and a union territory status for it.
An official spokesman said the issues on which the LAHDC resolution was moved yesterday, were totally political in nature, not falling within the jurisdiction of the LAHDC Act.
The LAHDC resolution follows a motion adopted by the state Assembly for the restoration of greater autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir.
The spokesman said the resolution had no sanctity, as it was moved and adopted in the absence of secretary and chief executive officer of the LAHDC and had not been recorded in the record note of the meeting, as required under the LAHDC Act.
The LAHDC meeting had been convened to deliberate on the annual plan for 2000-2001 and the resolution, which was not included in the agenda, was taken up after the secretary and CEO had left, he said.
The resolution was moved
by LAHDC councillor Rigzin Spalbar and seconded by Tashi
Chottak. LAHDC Chairman Thupstan Chhewang tabled the
resolution for discussion and it was adopted by a voice
vote, a LAHDC release said.
Ban on shahtoosh trade
SRINAGAR, July 1 While the Jammu and Kashmir Government has imposed a total ban on the 650-year-old shahtoosh trade in Kashmir, traders and artisans associated with the trade have expressed serious concern over the decision. They have asked the state government to reconsider its decision in order to safeguard the interests of the over 5 lakh people whose livelihood is dependent on the trade.
The state Cabinet here yesterday approved in principle the proposal to ban shahtoosh trade in view of the ban on it at the national and international levels and in pursuance of the government policy in wildlife protection. The Cabinet which met under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, however, decided that before the ban came into force, the state government would request the Central Government to provide one-time exception for the sale of shahtoosh stocks available with the traders in the state.
Announcing the decision of the state Cabinet, the Chief Secretary, Mr Ashok Jaitly, said the traders would be asked to declare their stocks and hand over these to a nominated authority for an all-India auction to get competitive rates to benefit the traders. The traders would indicate the reserve price for their produce and any return in over and above the reserved price would go to a fund to be created for wildlife protection. The traders would get reserve price.
Mr Jaitly said at the same time private owners of shahtoosh shawls in the state would also be permitted on the basis of one-time exception to declare their shahtoosh shawls etc as there had been no ban in Jammu and Kashmir. This they would have to do before the ban came into force. Mr Jaitly said the Cabinet had asked the Industries and Commerce Minister to invite shahtoosh traders for discussion regarding modalities on implementing this policy, an official spokesman said.
The traders and manufacturers of shahtoosh shawls here today urged the state government "not to get influenced by the so-called save animal activists and reconsider the matter taking into account all aspects of the trade, its economic and social implications and revoke the order banning the shahtoosh trade and allow the downtrodden sections of Kashmir society to earn an honourable earning".
Representatives of about 36 sections of traders and artisans associated with the industry, rejected the claim that the Cheru antelope was being killed to procure the wool. They said the trade involving five lakh people of the valley, including womenfolk, was continuing for the past 650 years. Had it been killed to procure the special wool, the Gheru antelope would not exist at all, Mr Kaleemullah Khan, a spokesman of the traders, said.
Giving details of the shahtoosh manufacture, he claimed that at least 50 quintals of the wool was being required annually in the manufacture of shahtoosh shawls in the valley, while each antelope gave a meagre quantity of 150gm of the wool. "Then how could it be possible to procure such a huge quantity of the wool even after centuries of the trade?" he questioned.
The representatives said
the decision had come even as the Chief Minister had
already defended and opposed the Central Government ban
on the trade. The traders claimed that the state High
Court on a writ petition by the WWF to impose ban on the
trade had asked state government to regulate the
shahtoosh trade under permissible limits".
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