Sunday, October 14, 2001, Chandigarh, India





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APHC hardliners in catch-22 situation
Jammu, October 13
Anti-India forces in the Kashmir valley stand totally confused over Pakistan’s alignment with the US Government which is engaged in fighting global terrorism in Afghanistan. These forces are neither prepared to denigrade the Pakistan Government nor disown the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. This confusion was manifest during a series of anti-America demonstrations in several parts of the Kashmir valley.

Plucking of apples this autumn is in full swing in Kashmir. Plucking of apples this autumn is in full swing in Kashmir, where a majority of rural people are engaged in the trade and business of the world famous fruit. 
— Photo Amin War.

‘Ban’ book distorting Sikh history
Jammu, October 13
Supporters of various Sikh organisations organised a demonstration and protest march here today and condemned the desecration of place of worship in Punjab and against distortion of history in NCERT books which had hurt Sikhs’ feelings.

Narrow escape for 150 plane passengers
Srinagar, October 13
As many as 150 passengers, including two Jammu and Kashmir ministers, on board a Jet Airways plane flying the Srinagar-Jammu route had a narrow escape after one of its engines was damaged in a bird-hit.


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APHC hardliners in catch-22 situation
M. L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 13
Anti-India forces in the Kashmir valley stand totally confused over Pakistan’s alignment with the US Government which is engaged in fighting global terrorism in Afghanistan. These forces are neither prepared to denigrade the Pakistan Government nor disown the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

This confusion was manifest during a series of anti-America demonstrations in several parts of the Kashmir valley. The slogans they raised clearly indicated that these forces were trying to keep both Pakistan and the Taliban in good humour. “Osama, Osama, bismillah, superpower Allah, America ki kabar banega Afghanistan, jeevay, jeevay Pakistan.” (Start the name with Osama, superpower is God, Afghanistan will become the graveyard of America, long live Pakistan).

According to eyewitness accounts, there was no massive people’s participation in the anti-American and anti-Pakistan demonstrations. Groups of youths in educational institutions and in interiors of Srinagar took to the streets and forced closure of shops and passenger transport services.

When a senior police officer was asked to comment on the matter, he said: “They may in one breath be with the Taliban and the other with Pakistan. What exactly binds them together is anti-India feelings.”

Field reports indicate that a majority of Kashmiris have realised that the decision of General Musharraf to align with the American Government is right and in the interests of the integrity and survival of Pakistan. It is this realisation that has allowed a chance to the moderates in the All-Party Hurriyat Conference to enjoy the upper hand over the hardliners.

These moderates, too, have started doing a balancing act so as to keep pro-Taliban forces within the valley with them and avoid distancing Islamabad. The recent Executive Committee meeting also discussed the American strikes in Afghanistan. The statement issued after the end of the meeting was couched with diplomatic phraseology, allowing itself to be in favour of General Musharraf while pleading with the American Government to spare innocent civilians in Afghanistan from missile and bomb attacks.

Even though Syed Ali Shah Geelani did not attend the meeting because he did not want to confront the moderates when he had a day earlier issued a strongly worded statement denouncing the American attack on Afghanistan, the moderates did not want to annoy him further by coming out openly in support of America and the Pakistan Government.

Moderates in the APHC, including Molvi Umar Farooq, Chairman, Awami Action Committee and Mr Abdul Gani Lone, Chairman, Peoples’ Conference, have openly called for an end to the cult of violence in Kashmir.

While the Molvi has argued that civil strife and starvation may become a reality if the militants do not pay heed to the Pakistan Government and to the APHC, Mr Lone has stated that it is wrong to criticise the American Government which has always supported “our cause” in Kashmir.

Both leaders want an early end to the ongoing armed campaign launched by the militants and allow the parties concerned to resolve the Kashmir issue through a dialogue.

Analysts ascribe this to the anxiety among separatists over the possible American strike on terrorist bases in other areas which may prevent them from securing American support for forcing India either to settle the Kashmir issue through talks or implement the UN Resolution on Kashmir which provides for right to self-determination.

Though it may be a temporary phase, the hardliners in the APHC and in other rebel groups find themselves in a catch-22 situation. By announcing their support to the Taliban and Bin Laden they may annoy Islamabad and the US Government and by favouring the American action in Afghanistan they fear they may be accused of being American stooges and enemies of Islam.

A senior separatist leader said if the gamble of General Musharraf proves fruitful and the American strikes yield positive results, the anti-India forces may rally round General Musharraf once again.
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‘Ban’ book distorting Sikh history
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 13
Supporters of various Sikh organisations organised a demonstration and protest march here today and condemned the desecration of place of worship in Punjab and against distortion of history in NCERT books which had hurt Sikhs’ feelings.

Men, women and children from different Sikh organisations, including the Gurdwara Parbandhak Board, the State Akali Dal, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Bhai Kanahiya Ji Nishkam Seva Society, the Istri Akali Dal and the AISSF marched from various areas of the city and assembled at Maharani Chand Kaur Gurdwara from where they went to the Divisional Commissioner’s office raising slogans against those who committed sacrilege in Punjab.

The demonstrators carried pla-cards and banners with slogans pasted thereon.

The protesters also demanded ban on the NCERT books wherein history relating to a Sikh guru had been distorted.

The demonstrators submitted a memorandum to the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, for passing it to the Union Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani and Punjab Chief Minister Prakash Singh Badal.

Several Sikh leaders, including Mr Narender Singh Khalsa and Mr Surjit Singh addressed the Sikh gathering and declared that the agitation would continue till the demands were conceded.

The memorandum urged the Union Home Minister and the Punjab Chief Minister to book under Section 302 of the IPC those who were behind the sacrilege and confiscate their properties.

The memorandum also demanded action against Satish Chander who had distorted Sikh history in NCERT books. The books should be banned and withdrawn from the market. The Union Home Minister was urged to enact laws under which hurting sentiments of people should invite severe punishment.
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Narrow escape for 150 plane passengers

Srinagar, October 13
As many as 150 passengers, including two Jammu and Kashmir ministers, on board a Jet Airways plane flying the Srinagar-Jammu route had a narrow escape after one of its engines was damaged in a bird-hit.

The plane, which took the hit mid-air shortly after leaving the Srinagar airport at 2.30 p.m., flew back from near Banihal, official sources said. They said one of the engines was badly damaged.

Works Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister of State for Home Khalid Najeeb Soharwardy and Director of Information K.B. Jandial were among the passengers. UNI
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