Thursday, December 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India




National Capital Region--Delhi

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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Confusion grips separatists
Reports on core group formation
Jammu, December 12
Confusion seems to have gripped separatists in the Kashmir valley following reports that the Indian Government is contemplating setting up a core group for holding talks with them. As a result of this confusion the tone and tenor of statements from separatists leaders keep on changing. The Democratic Freedom Party chief, Mr Shabi Ahmed Shah, has said he will accept the invitation for talks provided Delhi accept some of his suggestions.

Involve Kashmiris in talks: JKLF chief
Srinagar, December 12
Claiming that global perception favoured the resolution of all pending issues, a senior Hurriyat Conference leader, Mohammad Yasin Malik, today urged India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue by involving Kashmiris for permanent peace in South Asia.

In video: Executive member of the APHC (Freedom) Yasin Malik finds atmosphere conducive for resolving the Kashmir issue.
(28k, 56k)

JKLF Chairman Mohd Yasin Malik and Hurriyat Chairman Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat address a Press conference in Srinagar on Wednesday. 
— Photo Amin War

 

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Jammu
Srinagar



EARLIER STORIES
 

2 top HUJI ultras shot
Jammu, December 12
Troops eliminated two dreaded terrorists of the Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami, Gulzar Ahmed and Abdul Rashid, this morning while the Jammu police recovered large quantities of arms and ammunition which the militants had planned to use during their strikes in the winter capital.

Tycoons’ release: J&K police under pressure
Jammu, December 12
The police authorities “are under tremendous pressure” to release several business tycoons who were taken into custody in connection with their involvement in the hawala racket which was unearthed in Srinagar recently. The police had intercepted a taxi and seized Rs 40 lakh from a militant belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen.

Steps to promote pisciculture
Kathua, December 12
To promote pisciculture, 69 community ponds have been established in the district till October this year stocking nearly 1.75 lakh fish seeds. Also 10 private ponds were set up in the district during the period in which nearly 60,000 seeds have been stocked.
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Confusion grips separatists
Reports on core group formation
M. L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 12
Confusion seems to have gripped separatists in the Kashmir valley following reports that the Indian Government is contemplating setting up a core group for holding talks with them.

As a result of this confusion the tone and tenor of statements from separatists leaders keep on changing. The Democratic Freedom Party (DEP) chief, Mr Shabi Ahmed Shah, has said he will accept the invitation for talks provided Delhi accept some of his suggestions. Two months ago he had announced that he would no longer meet Mr K.C. Pant, government’s chief negotiator, on the plea that his demand which had been put forth during their first meeting in Srinagar, had not been conceded.

Mr Shah told TNS that he had demanded that the government took some steps which created a conducive atmosphere for talks. He had suggested an end to custodial killings and the release of those detained without any serious crime. Instead of promoting a right atmosphere the government had extended the Disturbed Area Act and Armed Forces Special Powers Act to the Jammu region and there was no let-up in custodial killings.

The DFP chief, who has advised the Hurriyat leaders to accept an invitation for talks, said he would meet the government negotiators provided Delhi was sincere in resolving the Kashmir issue. He lamented that so far Delhi had been not only inconsistent in its approach towards the Kashmir problem, but was not sincere also. On the other hand Chairman, All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, said he had no knowledge about any core group having been constituted by the government. He seemed to be pessimistic about the utility of the group on the plea that negotiations between Delhi and leaders of the valley would not lead to the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

“Those in Delhi who are for resuming talks have no agenda,” he said adding that “if we have to talk we must address the issue that has soiled the relations between India and Pakistan.”

“We are not supposed to discuss with Mr Pant or anybody else from Delhi the Dal Lake and the art of catching the fish,” he said. Prof Bhat made it clear that “internal track diplomacy will not lead us anywhere. It has to be a comprehensive dialogue involving Pakistan, India and Kashmiris.”

Asked if a dialogue with Delhi could be the first step he said “Why take a first step which is wrong.” Citing the Delhi Agreement of 1952 and the Sheikh-Indira Accord of 1975 he said the internal arrangements did not result in the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The APHC chairman wanted Pakistan and India to rise above petty national interests and show a sense of “accommodation and vision.”

In reply to a question, Prof Bhat said, “Let the people of Kashmir be allowed to exercise their right of self-determination.” He was candid while favouring a plebiscite for determining the wishes of the people. To him there was no other solution to the problem.
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Involve Kashmiris in talks: JKLF chief
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 12
Claiming that global perception favoured the resolution of all pending issues, a senior Hurriyat Conference leader, Mohammad Yasin Malik, today urged India and Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue by involving Kashmiris for permanent peace in South Asia.

Addressing a press conference, here, the first after his three-month tour of the USA, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman, Mohammad Yasin Malik, reiterated the APHC stand that the resolution of the Kashmir issue was the “direct and clear path towards permanent peace and stability” in South Asia.

He supported the involvement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in a meaningful and effective way. Mr Malik said the expenditure on military build-up in the region could be utilised for improving the conditions of the people in both countries. The APHC chairman, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, and an executive member, Moulvi Abbas Ansari, were also present at the press conference held at the Hurriyat Conference headquarters.

The JKLF leader said the USA had a role to play in solving the Kashmir issue, since it was for the first time in its history that it was having good relations with both India and Pakistan. He added that the USA could help in bringing all three parties — India, Pakistan and Kashmiris — to the negotiating table. “While the dust is settling in Afghanistan, there also seems to be positive changes in Pakistan which will help resolve the Kashmir issue soon”, Mr Malik said.

Giving details of his meetings with people from different walks of life during his stay in the USA, where he had gone for treatment, Mr Malik said the September 11 attacks had changed the whole scenario. Claiming that there were favourable perceptions in the USA on Kashmir, the JKLF chief pointed out that the international community would “broker peace in Kashmir”.

Replying to questions, the JKLF leader and Mr Abdul Ghani Bhat said some important events would follow shortly for a change viz-a-viz the resolution of the Kashmir issue. They, however, evaded further queries on the issue.

“I am quite encouraged by the direction the international community seems to be heading for on Kashmir. I think the visit of Mr Collin Powell, statements of a number of Heads of State like Germany and Japan and statements of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson have all focused attention, on the need to resolve the Kashmir issue, Mr Malik said.
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2 top HUJI ultras shot
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 12
Troops eliminated two dreaded terrorists of the Harkat-ul-Jehadi Islami (HUJI), Gulzar Ahmed and Abdul Rashid, this morning while the Jammu police recovered large quantities of arms and ammunition which the militants had planned to use during their strikes in the winter capital.

According to a Defence Ministry spokesman, the Rashtriya Rifles raided a militant hideout at Chanjlu in the Banihar area of Doda district. The militants opened fire which was retaliated resulting in the killing of both rebels on the spot.

The spokesman said Gulzar Ahmed was the supreme commander of HUJI and hailed from Doda district while Abdul Rasid, deputy commander of the same outfit, belonged to Anantnag district. Both of them were trained in Pakistan and were active since 1993. Large quantities of arms and ammunition were recovered from the slain militants.

The Jammu police achieved a major breakthrough by seizing a big haul of arms and ammunition from Malpur in the Kanachak area on the outskirts of the winter capital.

A police party under the supervision of the DIG, Mr Dilbagh Singh, and the Senior Superintendent Police, Mr Farooq Khan, raided a militant hideout. However, before the police could strike the militants escaped leaving behind two assault rifles, eight magazines, seven grenades, 10 kg of RDX, 30 rifle grenades, 232 rounds of ammunition and other explosives.

Briefing newspersons, Mr Farooq Khan and Mr Dilbagh Singh said the arms and ammunition were to be used for destabilising peace in Jammu city by striking crowded places and key installations.

Meanwhile, a PTI report said militants shot dead a surrendered militant, Firdos Ahmed, alias Kumbbkaran, in Shinal Mohalla in Doda district last night.

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Tycoons’ release: J&K police under pressure
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 12
The police authorities “are under tremendous pressure” to release several business tycoons who were taken into custody in connection with their involvement in the hawala racket which was unearthed in Srinagar recently. The police had intercepted a taxi and seized Rs 40 lakh from a militant belonging to Hizbul Mujahideen.

The interrogation of Rashid Lone, who was carrying Rs 40 lakh for distribution among activists of his outfits, led to the arrest of 11 businessmen. During the past four days, three top business tycoons have been released.

The Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir Range, Mr K. Rajindra, told TNS that the three persons were released when their involvement in the hawala racket could not be established, however, highly placed sources said the investigating authorities were forced to release the three businessmen.

According to the sources, the police authorities were directed to release the businessmen and one of them was even berated for having leaked their names. The sources recalled that one of the businessmen had purchased a palatial house on the Bundh in Srinagar three years ago. The then Urban Development Minister, Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari, had refused him permission for the construction of a new bungalow on the site. But the authority higher than Moulvi Ansari granted the permission when the minister was out of Kashmir on a foreign tour. This, according to the sources, indicated close equation between the ruling National Conference and the business tycoons.

Mr Rajindra said it was wrong to presume that the police would release all 10 businessmen one by one. He said, “Investigations are on and it will take time to establish their involvement or lack of it.” He admitted that the recent seizure of Rs 10 lakh and arrest of some businessmen were a tip of the iceberg.

In reply to a demand that the case be handed over to the CBI, Mr Rajindra said, “We have no objection. Even the CBI sleuths will need time to go deep into the matter.”

Another police officer said it was the duty of the police to pick up anyone for questioning.

But some say it was unethical on the part of the police.

It is widely believed that the police had definite proof of their involvement but released them under pressure from the National Conference circles which bank on the financial support from these business tycoons. The financial support was needed to enable the ruling party to contest the next Assembly elections with “inflated coffers.”

But one thing is definite that the image of the police has been rattled by the incident and the dread of POTO has vanished. It is believed that since mainstream political parties too bank on hawala money, there was some sort of uneasiness among political leaders shared by separatists because of the sudden check on hawala operators. If the case is not carried to its logical conclusion, the hawala operators may be encouraged to fund militants and their patrons in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Steps to promote pisciculture
Our Correspondent

Kathua, December 12
To promote pisciculture, 69 community ponds have been established in the district till October this year stocking nearly 1.75 lakh fish seeds. Also 10 private ponds were set up in the district during the period in which nearly 60,000 seeds have been stocked.

The Fisheries Department distributed 1.64 lakh fish seeds among private farmers and nearly 10 lakh fish seeds among departmental units. The department established 27 ponds over 18 hectares for developing seeds of different varieties of carp fish.

Under the welfare of fishermen scheme, five houses each in Bani block and Hiranagar block are under construction at a cost of Rs 3.50 lakh.

The department issued 593 licences during the first seven months of the current financial year and earned a revenue of nearly Rs 1.20 lakh. Under the special package programme for drought affected areas six tubewells are being redeveloped in the district.

This information was given to the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Mr Anil Goswami, during his visit to the Hiranagar, Billawar and Kathua areas today to assess the progress of work under the special package programmes. Mr Grewal was informed that 93 hand pumps had been installed in the district till November at a cost of Rs 1 crore.

The Divisional Commissioner exhorted the officers to make efforts to speedily complete the portable drinking water schemes for people of Kandi and Hilly areas.

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