THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

British envoy, US Gen visit valley
Jammu, March 24
The British High Commissioner, Sir Michael Arthur, called on the Governor, Leut-Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed here today and discussed the situation on the Indo-Pakistan border and steps that have been taken to restore peace in J&K.

Bhim Singh to contest from Udhampur
Jammu, March 24
Softening his stand on the Panthers Party fielding its candidates against the coalition nominees on five of the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Bhim Singh, Chairman of the Party, today fixed a deadline of 24 hours for the Congress to withdraw Mr Lal Singh, Health Minister, from the Udhampur seat.

Top Jaish commander among 10 killed
Srinagar, March 24
A top Jaish-e-Mohammad commander and seven militants were among nine persons killed in the Kashmir valley overnight.
A senior police officer said a blast took place in a house at Sogam in the frontier district of Kupwara late last night when some militants were making an improvised explosive device.

Jammu-Udhampur rail line to be operational soon
Jammu, March 24
Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, Minister of State for Defence and BJP candidate for the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat, today said that the Mufti-led coalition government had become a laughing stock as all its partners were publicly quarrelling over the sharing of seats.



YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar



EARLIER STORIES

Panthers to contest 5 LS seats in J&K
March 24, 2004
Militants blast house, 2 children killed
March 23, 2004
PDP launches poll campaign, promises all-round development
March 22, 2004
Hurriyat team to take part in talks with Advani
March 21, 2004
PDP, Cong lock horns over Baramula seat
March 20, 2004
Hurriyat faction to meet ahead of talks
March 19, 2004
Congress denies PDP claim on seat sharing
March 18, 2004
Militants attack houses of politicians
March 17, 2004
Security forces’ new strategy towards militants pays off
March 16, 2004
NC panel to decide about candidates today
March 15, 2004
 
People listen to radio commentary of the last ODI between India and Pakistan
People listen to radio commentary of the last ODI between India and Pakistan, in Srinagar on Wednesday. — Reuters

BJP to file plea against barring orders
Jammu, March 24
The order of the Srinagar High Court barring Mr Nirmal Singh, BJP candidate for the Jammu Lok Sabha seat and president of the state unit of the party, from taking part in the election process has surprised the party.

Election process for Jammu, Baramula begins
Jammu, March 24
The election process for the Jammu and Baramula Lok Sabha seats started today with the Election Commission issuing a notification for poll on April 20.

Kidnapped villager returns from Pak
Jammu, March 24
A year after his abduction from a hamlet along the Indo-Pak border, 41-year-old Devi Singh, who was allegedly taken to Pakistan, was found by troops of the Border Security Force and taken into custody for interrogation, official sources said today.

R.K. Talib award for G.H. Zia
Jammu, March 24
Mr G.H. Zia, Station Director, Commercial Broadcasting Service, Srinagar, has been awarded the R.K. Talib award for 2002.
The award was instituted in 1991 for the best commercial broadcasting service centre of the country to encourage the spirit of competition and boost revenue.
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British envoy, US Gen visit valley
Tribune News Service and UNI

Jammu, March 24
The British High Commissioner, Sir Michael Arthur, called on the Governor, Leut-Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), and Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed here today and discussed the situation on the Indo-Pakistan border and steps that have been taken to restore peace in J&K.

On his maiden three-day visit to the state, the British envoy is accompanied by the Defence Adviser, Brig Ian Rees, first secretary Sarah Lampert, political analyst Sushil Aaron and press and public affairs adviser Ravi Datta. The team will leave for Srinagar tomorrow.

During the 45-minute meeting the Governor gave an overview of the changing scenario in the state.

Mufti in his 35-minute meeting appraised Sir Arthur of the measures taken by the government to restore peace.

Terming the current phase of Indo-Pak relations as a movement forward, the Mufti said on either side there was realisation that peace and friendship had no alternative for resolving mutual problems.

Srinagar: In a sign of increased military-to-military cooperation US General Kevin P. Byrnes and a team of senior US army officers visited Badami Bagh Cantt on Wednesday.

The General held discussions with Lieut-Gen Nirbhay Sharma, GOC, 15 Corps.

He was also briefed on the current situation. Later, General Byrnes and his team visited the Corps battle school at Khrew.
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Bhim Singh to contest from Udhampur
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 24
Softening his stand on the Panthers Party fielding its candidates against the coalition nominees on five of the six Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Bhim Singh, Chairman of the Party, today fixed a deadline of 24 hours for the Congress to withdraw Mr Lal Singh, Health Minister, from the Udhampur seat failing which the Panthers Party would field Mr Yashpal Kaundal, Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, against Mr Madan Lal Sharma, Public Works Minister, on the Jammu seat.

Mr Bhim Singh, who was talking to mediapersons here, said the coalition had almost collapsed as the ruling PDP and the Congress had pitted their candidates against each other, particularly in Baramula. As such, there was no harm in the Panthers Party also fielding its minister against a minister of the Congress here.

Mr Bhim Singh has announced the decision of field himself against Mr Lal Singh from the Udhampur constituency.

He said Mr Faqir Nath, MLA, would be the covering candidate for Mr Kaundal.

Mr Bhim Singh said the Mufti-led coalition government was surviving with difficulty and the rousing reception that Mr Ghulam Rasool Kar, Congress nominee for Baramula, received at Srinagar yesterday indicated the extent of hatred against the PDP among the Congress activists.

He said in case the Congress wanted to save itself from extinction, it should immediately withdraw from the coalition.
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Top Jaish commander among 10 killed

Srinagar, March 24
A top Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) commander and seven militants were among nine persons killed in the Kashmir valley overnight.

A senior police officer said a blast took place in a house at Sogam in the frontier district of Kupwara late last night when some militants were making an improvised explosive device (IED).

A JeM district commander, Abu Usman, a resident of Pakistan, and an ex-serviceman, Ghulam Ahmad Lone, were killed in the blast, he said.

Later one AK rifle, two magazines, one wireless set and two grenades were seized from the house which was also damaged in the blast.

Security forces killed two militants in an encounter at Sogam in the frontier district of Kupwara last night.

The encounter ensued after a search party was attacked by the militants. Two AK rifles and other arms and ammunition were seized from the slain militants.

Official sources said security forces, acting on a tip-off, conducted a search operation in a village at Bandipora last evening. When the troops were cordoning off the village, militants fired upon them and later took shelter in a house.

The security forces surrounded the house and repeatedly asked the militants to surrender, who continued to fire from inside.

The forces retaliated and in the night-long encounter, the militants were killed. Two bodies were recovered from the house. Two jawans were also injured and admitted to hospital.

An official spokesman said security forces gunned down one militant each at Chak Rajwali and Langnal Dhok Pahalgam in south Kashmir district of Anantnag today. Three AK rifles and other arms and ammunition were seized from the slain militants.

He said the body of a 70-year-old man, Noor Mohammad, was recovered at Masan Budhan in Doda district of Jammu region today.

Jammu: A 15-year-old girl was killed and her mother injured seriously in an improvised explosive device (IED) explosion in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said on Wednesday.

The mishap took place on Tuesday evening when Arifa and her mother, Lala Begum, were grazing cattle in the Maradotote area, the sources said here.

The woman has been hospitalised in Rajouri and doctors attending on her termed her condition as critical. — UNI, PTI
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Jammu-Udhampur rail line to be operational soon
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 24
Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, Minister of State for Defence and BJP candidate for the Udhampur Lok Sabha seat, today said that the Mufti-led coalition government had become a laughing stock as all its partners were publicly quarrelling over the sharing of seats.

Mr Gupta, who was talking to mediapersons here, said the Congress and the PDP had locked horns over the Baramula seat.

He said the daughters’ Bill passed by the Congress, the PDP, the NC and the Panthers Party in the Assembly had proved detrimental to the coalition partners which would meet their waterloo in the elections. He said the BJP would repeat its performance of 1999 when the party polled highest vote percentage of 31.54.

He said the performance of the BJP-led NDA government in the past five years had been far better than that of the Congress during its 47-year rule. The Vajpayee government had managed to remove the tension on the borders and the work of fencing on the international border and the Line of Control was progressing speedily. Of the 650 km-long LoC, about 550 km had been fenced.

He said work on development schemes had been accelerated and the Jammu-Udhampur rail line would be made operational within a few days. Work on the rail link was being done at a snail’s pace during the Congress regime and only Rs 38 crore was spent till 1996. Thereafter, the NDA government pumped in Rs 600 crore to complete the project within seven years.

Mr Gupta said the BJP respected the sentiments of the people of Jammu and the Centre included the Dogri language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

The medical college hospital here was being upgraded to the level of the AIIMS.
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BJP to file plea against barring orders
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 24
The order of the Srinagar High Court barring Mr Nirmal Singh, BJP candidate for the Jammu Lok Sabha seat and president of the state unit of the party, from taking part in the election process has surprised the party.

The order has come at a time when he was campaigning in the remote areas of the border districts of Poonch and Rajouri.

The BJP has decided to file an appeal before a division Bench of the high court against the order.

The court has also barred Mr Hari Om, vice-president and spokesman of the BJP, and Dr Verinder Gupta, a teacher in Jammu University and president of the Jammu Mukti Morcha, from taking part in the election process.

Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, Minister of State for Defence, said the BJP would face the problem legally. But Mr Nirmal Singh would contest the election, he added.

Mr Hari Om described it as a conspiracy.
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Election process for Jammu, Baramula begins
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 24
The election process for the Jammu and Baramula Lok Sabha seats started today with the Election Commission issuing a notification for poll on April 20.

The nomination papers for the two constituencies can be filed till March 31 and the scrutiny would take place on April 1. The last date for withdrawal is April 3.

In the first phase, an electorate of 27,93,165 in 35 Assembly segments, falling in these two constituencies, would exercise franchise. These constituencies include the districts of Jammu, Rajouri, Poonch, Baramula and Kupwara.
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Kidnapped villager returns from Pak

Jammu, March 24
A year after his abduction from a hamlet along the Indo-Pak border, 41-year-old Devi Singh, who was allegedly taken to Pakistan, was found by troops of the Border Security Force and taken into custody for interrogation, official sources said today.

Devi Singh, who was arrested in the Paharpur border area, 80 km from here last night, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen on March 8 last year, and reportedly taken to Pakistan, the sources said adding that a manhunt was launched to trace him, but in vain.

The sources said Devi Singh, a resident of Mini Pansar village situated on International Border in the Hiranagar belt of Kathua district, was blindfolded and pushed to the Indian side of the border from the Pakistan’s Sialkote area last night.

The BSF troops detected him while he was entering the Indian territory and arrested him, the sources said adding that he had been taken to the interrogation centre to get details. — PTI
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R.K. Talib award for G.H. Zia
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 24
Mr G.H. Zia, Station Director, Commercial Broadcasting Service, Srinagar, has been awarded the R.K. Talib award for 2002.

The award was instituted in 1991 for the best commercial broadcasting service centre of the country to encourage the spirit of competition and boost revenue.

The award was given at a function organised by the Prasar Bharti at Mumbai. Cine star Amitabh Bachchan was the chief guest.
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