Sunday, August 6, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Curfew in R.S. Pora
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, Aug 5 — An indefinite curfew was clamped in R.S. Pora town today and the Army was called out to quell violence triggered off by sacrilege committed by a section of people last night.

Several thousand angry demonstrators, protesting against the killing of a cow, torched the tehsil headquarters, treasury office in the town. The crowd attacked the police station and ransacked the station and set ablaze furniture and other equipment.

The police resorted to lathi charge and then fired over 100 teargas shells. As the situation took an ugly turn the Army was called out to assist the police in maintaining law and order.

When this correspondent visited the site the major portion of the tehsil headquarters and treasury had been gutted and valuable records destroyed. Angry demonstrators gheraoed the police station for more than six hours. The Deputy Inspector-General Police, Dr S.P. Vaid, and other senior officers rushed to the spot.

The government authorities said a cow was found slaughtered in Dabliar village in the R.S. Pora sector yesterday. When the police was informed about it, they arrested four persons belonging to one community. The villagers demanded that the four persons be handed over to them so that they would garland them with shoes and parade them in the villages. The police agreed to the demand. When the people went to the police station, the police authorities refused to hand over the arrested youths to them. This led to the trouble.

During a five-hour pitched battle between the police and the people more than 50 persons were injured, including 20 policemen.

Village elders alleged that when they visited the police station this morning to get the four youths, the police stoned the villagers to chase them away. However, the police said when the angry demonstrators insisted on taking hold of the arrested youths, the authorities felt that there was no other alternative but to resort to lathi charge and lobbing of teargas shells.

The situation was described under control, but tense. The police authorities have been arguing with the protesters that since the four persons had been arrested they have to be produced before the court. They explained to the people that the arrested persons could not be handed-over to the villagers.

It was because of this incident that curfew restrictions, which had been lifted in Jammu late last night, were reimposed in this morning. The curfew was lifted at 9.30 a.m.

It was after three days that work resumed in business centres, banks and government offices. Transport services on inter-district and inter-state routes also were resumed.

Latest reports said as a result of intervention of senior villagers and political leaders the situation in R.S. Pora was defused and the demonstrators lifted the siege on the police station.


Hizb-Army meeting fails to take off

SRINAGAR, Aug 5 (PTI) — A meeting between Hizbul Mujahideen commanders and Army officers at an undisclosed destination to work out ceasefire modalities failed to take place today as two of the four commanders, who represented the Hizbul Mujahideen in the first round of talks, were not available.

Sources close to the Hizbul Mujahideen said the two had represented the outfit in the first round of talks with the Union Home Secretary Mr Kamal Pande, here on Thursday.

Earlier, Fazal Haq Qureshi, mediator nominated by the Hizbul Mujahideen, said the two sides were meeting today at an undisclosed destination to work out modalities for effective implementation of the ceasefire.


Split Hizb, Lashkar told
From M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, Aug 5 — Pakistani agencies have assigned to Jash-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba outfits the task of causing a split in the Hizbul Mujahideen, which had announced a ceasefire and initiated talks with the Government, so that the pro-talks lobby gets weakened and isolated.

Official sources said that following the ceasefire announcement there has been a flurry of activity in Pakistan and occupied Kashmir, which included mounting pressure on Hizbul Mujahideen leaders in a bid to force them to opt for tripartite talks. Initial indications are that the top leadership of the Hizbul Mujahideen in Pakistan and occupied Kashmir has started wilting under the pressure and begun demanding tripartite talks.

And the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has also adopted the same line by dissociating itself from the first round of talks between the Government and Hizb leaders. The APHC has also announced that it has not given any mandate to Fazl Haq Qureshi to open parleys with the Government on the plea that the Hurriyat was in favour of tripartite talks.

The sources said that soon after the Hizb ceasefire, the ISI top brass held a series of meetings in Islamabad and Muzaffarabad with the senior leaders of Jash-e-Mohammad and Lashkar-e-Toiba, directing them to send their guerrillas to the border for being pushed into Jammu and Kashmir. Right from Sunderbani in Rajouri district up to Uri, more then 4,000 guerrillas have been brought to the LoC for being pushed into the state to cause escalation in violence, thereby dispelling the impression that the Hizb’s ceasefire would ensure peace in Kashmir.

Pakistani agencies have also directed commanders of Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jash-e-Mohammad (Army of the Prophet) to identify poor families in Jammu and Kashmir and submit their list to the agencies concerned in Pakistan. This exercise was being carried out to enable Pakistani agencies to send financial assistance to these poor families and win their sympathy and support for the ongoing “Jehad”. Under the plan, once the funds flowed to these families the militants could recruit their boys in different rebel outfits. Instructions have also been given to the field commanders of these two rebel outfits that they should cultivate renegade militants by giving them huge sums of money so that they rejoined the militant groups for giving teeth to the armed campaign. This plan was being implemented on the pattern Pakistani agencies adopted in Afghanistan during the past several years. In Afghanistan, most of the able bodied youths joined ‘Jehad’ after they received heavy money packets.

The field commanders have been directed to intensify their efforts for sending large groups of Kashmiri youths for arms training to camps in Pakistan and occupied Kashmir.


Talks a lame step: APHC
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Aug 5 — Even as the Panthers Party today questioned the Centre for holding talks with the Hizbul Mujahideen alone, the All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) made a turnabout on Hizbul’s offer of ceasefire, saying it was a “lame step”.

While the Panthers Party president, Prof Bhim Singh, asked the Centre to institute a judicial inquiry into Pahalgam massacre and to hold talks with the APHC, the Hurriyat chairman, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, said the ongoing talks between officials of the Government of India and the Hizbul representatives would be fruitless.

The APHC, had initially called the ceasefire offer as “hasty” but later had supported it. However, now the Hurriyat chairman, has said that the ceasefire cannot take Hizbul “to its destination.”

Talking to mediapersons, Prof Bhim Singh said the state and Central governments had not cared to do their homework to create a conducive environment for talks. It had “jumped into a dialogue” with just one group of militants ignoring their political master — the APHC — which represented all 24 groups of militants operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

Demanding a judicial probe into the Pahalgam killings, the Panthers Party president said political, social and security lapses on the part of the state and the Central agencies had been clearly established. He said if a judicial probe was not instituted, he would file a PIL in the Supreme Court on Monday.

Prof Bhim Singh said the Centre should dismiss the Farooq Abdullah government and set up an all-party government in the state under the Governor.

He said leaders from Ladakh and Jammu should also be included in the talks.

He criticised the Centre saying that while New Delhi was opposed to holding talks with Islamabad, it was prepared to have a dialogue with mercenaries of Pakistan. He said the Hizbul was a terrorist wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami.

The APHC chairman, in his two separate interviews to the Urdu service of the BBC and Radio Zahedan last night, changed his earlier stand on the Hizbul ceasefire offer, saying that they (Hizbul) had not kept in mind certain pitfalls in their willingness to talk to the Indian Government. The pitfalls, according to him, were India’s “political deception”.

According to Prof Bhat, the ceasefire should have been jointly announced by India, Pakistan and the militants.

The Hurriyat’s latest stand on peace talks, which has been changing in the past few days, appears to be influenced by Islamabad-inspired condemnation of the talks by different militant groups.

While in Srinagar talks were held in a cordial atmosphere, in Pakistan Hizbul commander-in-chief Syed Salahuddin tried to derail the talks process by giving an ultimatum to India on inclusion of Pakistan in the talks.

Islamabad’s pressure and desperation to rein in the India-based Hizbul is evident in the remarks of Inter-Services public relations chief, Mr Rashid Quershi, who said during his interview to the BBC that India must talk to Pakistan.


Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
120 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |