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Mufti bows fearing split
Srinagar/Jammu, October 23
In a dramatic turn this morning, the Peopleís Democratic Party (PDP) of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed relented and offered to resume talks with the Congress on the issue of forming a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Powers to bureaucrats 
Srinagar, October 23
The Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Mr Girish Chandra Saxena, has ordered that the powers exercised by ministers shall be exercised by the Chief Secretary, Mr I.S. Malhi, and the Financial Commissioners, Mr K.B. Pillai, Mr J.A. Khan, Mr S.D. Singh and Mr M.S. Pandit.

6 militants among 8 killed in J&K
Mother of slain former militant Muzaffer Khalil BhatSrinagar, October 23
A National Conference worker and six militants were among eight persons killed in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday. 


Mother of slain former militant Muzaffer Khalil Bhat is consoled by a relative as she wails in Srinagar on Wednesday. According to relatives, unidentified militants killed Muzaffar on Tuesday evening on the outskirts of Srinagar.
ó Reuters photo


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Mufti bows fearing split
S.P. Sharma & M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Srinagar/Jammu, October 23
In a dramatic turn this morning, the Peopleís Democratic Party (PDP) of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed relented and offered to resume talks with the Congress on the issue of forming a coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir. The change in the attitude of the PDP leadership is understood to have come because of the pressure of certain newly-elected MLAs of the party who were reportedly annoyed over the stiff posture taken by the Mufti and his daughter, Ms Mehbooba Mufti.

The Mufti will go to Delhi on Friday to resume talks with the Congress.

There had been no breakthrough in the two days of discussions Dr Manmohan Singh had earlier this week with the Mufti and the talks had virtually broken with the latter insisting that he should be made Chief Minister because his party had bagged 14 seats in the Kashmir Valley in the recent Assembly elections. The Congress had reportedly offered that the Chief Minister could be by rotation from the two parties.

However, Ms Mehbooba Mufti is learnt to have telephoned the Congress President, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, and requested her not to take a final decision on the Congress going ahead alone to form a government in the state. The PDP is learnt to have decided to reconsider the proposals offered by Dr Manmohan Singh during his two days of talks with the Mufti.

There were reports that the Muftis gave in because of the rumours that some of the PDP legislators were in contact with the Congress and the party could split in case some corrective measures were not taken immediately. The Congress leaders here were expecting that the CLP leader, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, might return from Delhi to stake the claim of forming the government with the support of some smaller parties and Independents. However, the new development came when Ms Mehbooba Mufti telephoned Mrs Sonia Gandhi while she was holding a meeting with certain senior members of the CWC on the impasse in Kashmir.

One Congress MLA, wishing to remain unidentified, said that Ms Mehbooba Mufti had agreed to be part of the coalition on the terms and conditions put forward by Dr Manmohan Singh, who had two sittings with the Mufti in Srinagar. He said the PDP leadership may demand additional concessions which the Congress could accept in the interest of government formation.

He said the PDP may accept the offer of joining the coalition either on having a Chief Minister by rotation or a Deputy Chief Minister with Home portfolio going to the PDP.

If the Congress and the PDP agree to form a coalition government the combine would require only eight MLAs to demonstrate their majority on the floor of the House. The combine has a strength of 36 and 44 are required to prove its majority. In such a case it need not bank on all Independent candidates.

Sources close to the PDP leadership said the Mufti and his daughter were forced to review their stand following reports that at least six PDP MLAs were ready to either support the Congress or defect to it.

Dr Manmohan Singh had told mediapersons after the failure of his talks with the Mufti that the Congress was by and large agreeable to including the controversial election manifesto of the PDP in the common minimum programme of the coalition government. In its manifesto, the PDP had offered to open a dialogue with the militants after releasing them to enable them to come into the mainstream and disband the Special Operation Group of the police which had firmly dealt with terrorists. But there had been complaints against the SOG of high-handedness with innocent people.

However, the talks had entered a deadlock on the issue of chief ministership. The Congress had projected Mr Azad as the Chief Minister in its election campaign. The Mufti is likely to make his stand clear at a public meeting which he will address at Anantnag tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the Panthers Party with four MLAs has decided to review the situation as it had given support to the alliance with the condition that the Chief Minister should be from Jammu. Mr Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, who is heading the group of seven Independent MLAs, met the Governor along with four legislators and urged him that a duly elected government should be installed at the earliest.

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Powers to bureaucrats 
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 23
The Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Mr Girish Chandra Saxena, has ordered that the powers exercised by ministers shall be exercised by the Chief Secretary, Mr I.S. Malhi, and the Financial Commissioners, Mr K.B. Pillai, Mr J.A. Khan, Mr S.D. Singh and Mr M.S. Pandit.

In a notification issued here yesterday evening, the Governor, in terms of the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Delegation of Powers Act, 2002 (Governorís Act 1 of 2002), assigned departments to the Chief Secretary and the Financial Commissioners, an official spokesman said.

Each officer, by means of standing orders, should arrange with the Secretary of the department what matters were to be brought to his notice. Copies of such standing orders would be sent to the Governor, he said.

As per the SRO 483, the Chief Secretary had been assigned the Departments of General Administration, Health and Medical Education, Planning and Development, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Information, Civil Avitation, Hospitality and Protocol and Election, he said.

Mr K.B. Pillai, Financial Commissioner, Industries and Commerce, had been assigned the Departments of Industries and Commerce, Power Development, Public Works, Science and Technology and Ladakh Affairs, he said.

Mr J.A. Khan, Financial Commissioner, Finance, had been assigned the Departments of Finance, Housing and Urban Development, Rural Development, Education, Tourism and Public Enterprises, he said.

Mr S.D. Singh, Financial Commissioner, Home, had been assigned the Departments of Home, Revenue and Rehabilitation, Food and Supplies, Social Welfare, Transport, Labour and Employment and ARI and Trainings, he said.

Mr M.S. Pandit, Financial Commissioner, Agriculture, had been assigned the Department of Agriculture, Forests, Animal Husbandry, Sheep Husbandry, Cooperatives, Environment and Ecology, Fisheries and Floriculture, he said.

The Secretaries to the government, in charge of various departments, would continue to dispose of cases in terms of any delegation already made to them before the issue of the proclamation No. P-1/2002, dated 18.10.2002, and other such delegations as might be made in their favour in pursuance of the SRO, he said.

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6 militants among 8 killed in J&K
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 23
A National Conference worker and six militants were among eight persons killed in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday. Seven others, including a police constable, were injured in a grenade explosion in Anantnag this afternoon.

The police said seven persons were injured when the militants hurled a grenade at a bus stand in Anantnag at 3 p.m. Four persons have been shifted to Srinagar for treatment.

An activist of the National Conference, Muzaffar Khalil Bhat, was shot dead by the militants at New Theed in the Harwan area of Srinagar yesterday.

Three militants were killed in an encounter with the security forces in the Gool area of Udhampur yesterday.

Two unidentified militants were killed in an encounter with the security forces at Arihal in Pulwama district today. A house was gutted in the exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces.

A foreign militant was killed by the security forces at Hanjipora, Kapran in the Dooru area of Anantnag yesterday. An AK rifle and some ammunition were recovered.

The militants shot dead Mohammad Haq in his house at Kotli Kalaban in Rajouri district last night.

A militant of the Hizbul Mujahideen surrendered before the security forces in Udhampur. He also handed over an AK 47 rifle, four magazines, 115 rounds, two hand grenades, and a wireless set.

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