Thursday, September 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






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Talks on autonomy soon: Omar
Tribune News Service

SRINAGAR, Sept 13 The Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, Mr Omar Abdullah, here today hinted at the resumption of Centre-State discussion on the autonomy issue soon after the return of the Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, from the USA. Holding that the issue was alive, the MP representing Srinagar constituency in the Lok Sabha said the Centre was constituting a committee for holding a dialogue with the state on this vital issue.

Replying to questions of mediapersons here today, Mr Omar Abdullah refused to agree with the observation that the demand for autonomy had been put on the backburner after it was rejected by the Union Cabinet. He said the issue was alive.

Asked why there was no development on this front for long time, the minister said since many other groups expressed their willingness to enter into a dialogue, the attention was diverted for some time. In this connection he referred to the dialogue offer with the Hurriyat Conference and the ceasefire by the Hizbul Mujahideen. The minister said it was in the interest of the Centre itself to agree to the demand of greater autonomy which was within the ambit of the Constitution.

Mr Omar Abdullah, who is currently on a tour to his home constituency, said the Centre was constituting a committee to discuss the issue with the state committee already announced by the Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah. He said the state government wanted an open-minded person to represent the Centre in talks and a couple of names were being suggested for the Central committee. He said communication was on between the Prime Minister, Home Minister and the Chief Minister.

In reply to a question, Mr Omar Abdullah said the issue of autonomy could be again discussed in the legislature if the need arose.

The minister said there was no reason to doubt the credibility of the ongoing census operations. He said there was no scope for enumeration of non-state subjects as part of the population of Jammu and Kashmir. 
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Sunam DSP shifted
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Sept 13 On the directions of the Election Commission, the Punjab Government has shifted Mr Darshan Singh Mann, DSP, Sunam, following complaints received in the office of the commission.

The commission has also directed the state government to shift Mr Narinder Singh, District Public Relations Officer, Sangrur, forthwith.

Meanwhile, Dr Brajendra Singh, Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, said that to ensure free and fair electioneering, the commission had issued strict instructions not to allow the use of official vehicles in the Sunam constituency by MPs, MLAs and ministers. However, the commission had given relaxation in the case of the Punjab Chief Minister to use an official bullet-proof vehicle due to security reasons on a payment basis.

The commission had also restrained all parties and candidates from using government rest houses or any other government accommodation.
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