Thursday, October 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Farooq survives J&K odds
Completes 5 eventful years in office
Jammu, October 10
When Dr Farooq Abdullah assumed office as Chief Minister of the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir on October 9, 1996, many political leaders and experts had doubts over the ability of the National Conference government to complete its six-year tenure.

Survival of Musharraf in India’s interest: experts
Jammu, October 10
Defence analysts in the Northern Command are of the opinion that survival of General Pervez Musharraf as the Army Chief and President of Pakistan “is in the interest of India.”

6 militants killed, 7 held
Srinagar, October 10
The security forces killed six militants and nabbed seven others while militants killed three persons, including a police constable, and carried out a blast near a school in Jammu and Kashmir during the past 24 hours.

J & K DGP inaugurates martyrs’ gallery
Kathua, October 10
Jammu and Kashmir Director-General of Police A.K. Suri inaugurated martyrs’ gallery in Police Lines here. He was accompanied by Mr R.V. Raju IGP Jammu Zone, Mr S.P. Vaid DIG of Police, Jammu Range.


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Farooq survives J&K odds
Completes 5 eventful years in office
M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 10
When Dr Farooq Abdullah assumed office as Chief Minister of the troubled state of Jammu and Kashmir on October 9, 1996, many political leaders and experts had doubts over the ability of the National Conference government to complete its six-year tenure.

However, Dr Abdullah seems to have proved them wrong as his government completed five years today and has one year more to go. Militancy, during these five years, survived and assumed new dimensions with fidayeen strikes, but the Farooq regime, too, has survived, despite severe odds.

When he took over five years ago he had inherited several problems which included umemployment, a demoralised police force, collapse of state administration, damaged infrastructure and alienation of the people. With fragile internal resources and cash crunch the Chief Minister has severe odds to face in tackling these problems.

Despite allegations of corrupt practices in providing jobs to the unemployed youth, the National Conference government set a new record by giving jobs to over 1.50 lakh educated youth during the past five years. It did not resolve the problem of unemployment because the avenues remain limited in the mountain-locked state which has a weak industrial base.

The government deserves credit for having rebuilt 227 bridges, 24 major trunk roads which had been damaged in militancy-related violence. With loans from financial institutions, especially Nabard, the government launched 330 schemes relating to upgradation of water supply projects and development of roads. The result was that over 200 million gallons of water was added to the existing daily output in Srinagar and Jammu.

One of the major achievements was the reorganisation and modernisation of the state police. Mr Gurbachan Jagat, former Director-General of Police, was instrumental in bringing the police out of chaos and confusion, but his efforts bore fruit only when he had the full backing of the Chief Minister.

In the education sector, health services, agriculture, afforestation, horticulture and industry the National Conference government did a commendable job in putting these institutions back on the rails.

For all these years the attention of the ruling party remained engaged towards security-related matters. As compared to other National Conference leaders the Chief Minister launched a bigger political offensive against militants and their patrons across the border. With the police back on the job and the government providing assistance to other security agencies as many as 7,500 militants were killed, including 1,850 foreign mercenaries, during the past five years against 6,400 during seven years between 1989 and 1996.

With the restoration of democracy to the state after the 1996 Assembly poll not only others mainstream political organisations but even the separatists felt encouraged to carry out their activities. However, this has not ended political vacuum and the reason is that major mainstream political parties, the Congress and the BJP, have been plagued by internal dissensions.

The Farooq regime had to face the problem of migration of people from border areas in the wake of the Kargil conflict. The regime has had to grapple with enormous problem facing the migrants across Jammu and in other areas. Financial crunch restricted the government’s move to carry out rehabilitation of these migrants.

Another major achievement has been the holding of panchayat and cooperative elections in the state after a gap of 23 years. But the power has not flowed from the civil secretariat or from the district headquarters to the panchayats yet.

Regional passions assumed new dimensions with a section of Jammuites demanding trifurcation of the state. The Chief Minister has boldly opposed the demand and succeeded in convincing the Central Government about the serious ramifications it can have.

If the government has bungled in any major sector it is the power sector. Though several schemes were launched for increasing the local generation but mismanagement of the distribution system has earned a bad name for the government.

A senior National Conference leader, while referring to reports on erosion in the party strength in the state, said, “You cannot please everybody when our resources are limited and the Centre having refused to be liberal in releasing additional funds needed for tackling multinational problems.”

Under the given situations, Dr Abdullah has become “indispensable” for India as far as the Kashmir affairs are concerned. This is his biggest achievement. He has, thus, survived the campaign launched against him by opposition parties and by some dissidents within the National Conference. Though he has lost some political lustre, he is still a big crowd-puller in the state.
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Survival of Musharraf in India’s interest: experts
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 10
Defence analysts in the Northern Command are of the opinion that survival of General Pervez Musharraf as the Army Chief and President of Pakistan “is in the interest of India.”

These analysts and experts have, after weighing political and security situation in Pakistan in the wake of the US bombing on Afghanistan, come to the conclusion that India too should initiate moves to ensure the survival of General Musharraf. They argue that under the given situation the Pakistan President has turned a moderate and has launched a campaign, though half-heartedly, against fundamentalists and hardliners. According to these analysts, the US Government has to befriend either Afghanistan or Pakistan. Since the Taliban have refused to cooperate with the USA the Bush administration cannot afford to lose the support of Pakistan, which has become available right now.

These experts envisage trouble for India on different levels in case General Musharraf was dislodged by the radicals. Once the power flowed from the moderates to the hardliners in the army the possibility of a new equation emerging between Pakistan and the Taliban could not be ruled out.

The analysts argue that in that case the chances of the LoC being flooded by Afghan militiamen and other guerrillas become more likely. Under instructions from General Pervez Musharraf the Pakistan border with Afghanistan has been sealed and the troops have been deployed to check infiltration of Afghans, whether refugees or the Taliban militiamen, into Pakistan. Yesterday’s exchange of fire between a group of Taliban forces and the Pakistan Rangers on the NWFP border, in which five Pakistan soldiers were wounded, has not surprised the defence analysts in the Northern Command.

Since General Musharraf is expected to remain engaged in containing fundamentalists and hardliners in the army, he may not find it prudent and convenient to open another front against India. He has placed his trusted Generals on key posts and removed the ISI Chief. But these cosmetic changes have not insulated him against the moves of the radicals in the defence forces to overthrow his regime.

Any Pakistani ruler who is free from internal turmoil can pose bigger problems for India than the one who is enchained by serious threats from the hardliners.

It is in this context that these analysts have suggested to the Central Government to avoid causing embarrassment to General Musharraf because any move that weakens his position can prove counterproductive for India.

The experts are of the opinion that India may not be in a position to force a solution on Kashmir to its satisfaction by taking advantage of the soup in which the Pakistan President finds himself in by supporting the US strike against the terrorist bases in Afghanistan. General Musharraf has to play the Kashmir card which is the only weapon available to him, at present, to fight against the radicals in Pakistan.

As such it would be against the interests of India to allow the leadership in Pakistan pass into the hands of the hardliners, who may not hesitate providing moral and material assistance to the Taliban.

What worries these analysts is that at no stage a situation should arise in which the Taliban get a chance to direct their guns towards Kashmir. They say the security forces have not been able to check infiltration when small groups have attempted to cross into the state from time to time during the past 12 years.

If there is a flood of infiltrators the Indian troops do not have the means to check it. Hence General Musharraf, who has become a moderate in present circumstances, may not pose as much threat to India as any other hardliner General could do.
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6 militants killed, 7 held

Srinagar, October 10
The security forces killed six militants and nabbed seven others while militants killed three persons, including a police constable, and carried out a blast near a school in Jammu and Kashmir during the past 24 hours.

An official spokesman said the security forces gunned down one militant each at Maldera Shopian, Hamzawaz forest Bazipora and Tumina Dagerpora during overnight operations. Three AK rifles, two grenades and six magazines were recovered from the slain militants.

An encounter took place between militants and the security forces at Rangpath Handwara in north Kashmir last night during which two ultras were killed. Four civilians were also injured and six houses and three cowsheds were damaged in the exchange.

The police today recovered bodies of Devi Lal and Kalyan Singh from the Damsali area. They were kidnapped by militants from Dhosa recently.

Meanwhile, a police constable, Nazir Ahmad, who was injured in a grenade blast at Anantnag bus stand on October 6, died in the hospital this morning.

In another incident the security forces gunned down a Hizb-ul Mujahideen militant at Cheerpora Nasu in South Kashmir late last night. A blast took place in the office of the Principal of the Government Higher Secondary School, Chhatral Mendhar, causing damage to the building. However, no one was hurt.

The security forces apprehended seven militants, five of them belonging to Hizb-ul Mujahideen during overnight operations across the valley. UNI
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J & K DGP inaugurates martyrs’ gallery
Our Correspondent

Kathua, October 10
Jammu and Kashmir Director-General of Police A.K. Suri inaugurated martyrs’ gallery in Police Lines here. He was accompanied by Mr R.V. Raju IGP Jammu Zone, Mr S.P. Vaid DIG of Police, Jammu Range. Photographs of 21 police personnel who sacrificed their lives while fighting militants in the past more than one decades were displayed. The Director-General of Police also attended a function organised by the Kathua Industrial Unit Association at SICOP Complex Kathua to honour families of the martyr. President of the Association Mr Surinder Singh appreciated the role of police personnel in fighting insurgency and dealing with crime and law order.

The Director-General of Police appreciated initiative of the association and Kathua District Police for encouraging families of martyrs’. He appealed to people to support fight against insurgency by providing information to the police and security forces in their areas.
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