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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

Pak Scouts find their way to Indian hearts
Srinagar, July 6
It was a unique experience on the green slopes of Gulmarg where a participant from Pakistan in a SAARC Scouts meet enthralled those present by singing a Kashmiri song. It was the concluding function of the first five-day SAARC National Integration Scouts and Guides Camp, in which Tariq from Pakistan presented the popular Kashmiri song, “Kateu chhukh nundbanay walo mashoq-e-mianay (Oh! where are you beautiful, come my beloved).”
Munna Khan, a Scout from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, hugs a relative living in the Indian part of Kashmir
Munna Khan (left), a Scout from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, hugs a relative living in the Indian part of Kashmir, at Hazratbal in Srinagar on Tuesday. — Reuters photo

Govt told to take up aid to militants with Pak
Jammu, July 6
Security agencies operating in Jammu and Kashmir have suggested to the Union Home Ministry to take up with Islamabad the issue of the Pakistan army’s assistance to groups of militants in reaching the zero line of the LoC for the purpose of sneaking into Indian territory.

6 militants among 9 killed in J&K
Srinagar, July 6
At least nine persons, including six militants, were killed in separate incidents in the Kashmir valley since yesterday.





YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar



EARLIER STORIES

 

Funds crunch hits Bhaderwah- Chamba road project
Jammu, July 6
Work on the Bhaderwah-Chamba road to link terrorist-hit areas of Jammu and Kashmir with Himachal Pradesh has virtually been stopped because of paucity of funds with the government.

Minister returns to work
Srinagar, July 6
Jammu and Kashmir Minister of State for Tourism Jugal Kishore, who had quit over the Amarnath Yatra extension issue, today returned to work a week after the state government increased the duration of the annual pilgrimage by 15 days.

PM urged to raise tax exemption limit
Jammu, July 6
Mr Subhash Shastri, president of the National Mazdoor Conference, has urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to set up the sixth pay commission.

Hurriyat meet postponed
Srinagar, July 6
The crucial meeting of the Hurriyat Conference led by Maulana Mohammad Abbas Ansari to decide on holding the third round of talks with Centre, rescheduled for today, has been postponed to tomorrow.

Three killed in road accident
Jammu, July 6
Three persons including a traffic policeman, died on the spot when a truck skidded off the road near Ramban, around 160 km from here, on the Jammu-Srinagar road today.
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Pak Scouts find their way to Indian hearts
Tribune News Service

Pakistani scouts interact with their counterparts from Nepal in Gulmarg
Pakistani scouts interact with their counterparts from Nepal in Gulmarg on Monday. — PTI photo

Srinagar, July 6
It was a unique experience on the green slopes of Gulmarg where a participant from Pakistan in a SAARC Scouts meet enthralled those present by singing a Kashmiri song. It was the concluding function of the first five-day SAARC National Integration Scouts and Guides Camp, in which Tariq from Pakistan presented the popular Kashmiri song, “Kateu chhukh nundbanay walo mashoq-e-mianay (Oh! where are you beautiful, come my beloved).”

The highest foreign contingent of 15 scouts from Pakistan had the distinction of the first such participation from the neighbouring country. Last month, a three-member batch of Pakistani tourists attended the Sindhu Darshan festival in Leh last month. The SAARC Scouts event was the second such occasion, the first one having been held in Bhutan.

The participants from Pakistan had to travel via Dubai and Nepal to attend the first camp due to strained relations between the two countries at the time, observed Mr L.M. Jain, National Commissioner, Bharat Scouts and Guides. This time, the Pak contingent came via Attari. The other participating countries were Bhutan and Bangladesh.

The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Mr Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in his address at the concluding function yesterday, called upon the youth of the subcontinent to pull down the walls of hatred and build a neighbourhood of peace, amity and friendship. He said unlike the older people, the youth did not suffer from hangover of Partition and were free from the rancour that had widened the gulf between the peoples of India and Pakistan. He said the present generation was psychologically better placed in building bridges and creating a new regime of reconciliation and hope in the two countries.

Mufti Sayeed said the message of friendship going out from Kashmir would have a positive effect across the border. He said for the first time such a delegation from the neighbouring country had been officially received here, and was bound to make positive impact on bilateral relations. He said by allowing the contingent to visit Kashmir, both India and Pakistan had demonstrated their commitment to the ongoing process of reconciliation.

The participants were presented gifts of exquisite handicrafts by the Chief Minister. Mufti Sayeed also presented mementoes to the National Commissioners of the three countries. The National Commissioner of Pakistan, Qazi Zhoor-ul-Hasan, reciprocated the gesture to the Chief Minister, his wife, and daughter and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti. The Bhutan and Bangladesh contingents were led by their respective National Commissioners, Mr Kinley Dorjey and Mr Maqbul Hasan.

As many as 733 Scouts and Guides from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan and various states of India participated in the camp organised by the Bharat Scouts and Guides. The largest domestic contingent of 153 was from the host state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Govt told to take up aid to militants with Pak
Our Correspondent

Jammu, July 6
Security agencies operating in Jammu and Kashmir have suggested to the Union Home Ministry to take up with Islamabad the issue of the Pakistan army’s assistance to groups of militants in reaching the zero line of the LoC for the purpose of sneaking into Indian territory.

These agencies have, in their reports to the Union Home Ministry,conveyed that without the assistance of the troops across the border, militants could have not been able to come to the launching pads across the LoC.

The agencies, according to official sources, have also brought to the notice of the Government of India a disturbing development, in which men of the Pakistan artillery have been assigned the task of imparting arms training to the militants in different camps in Pakistan and occupied Kashmir.

As per the reports from across the border, men of the Pakistan artillery were sent to these camps after the ceasefire was enforced on the LoC.

The Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, confirmed during his recent two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, that groups of militants had been brought to the launching pads across Kupwara, Poonch and Rajouri.

A senior BSF officer told this correspondent today that as a result of the step-up in the level of infiltration in recent weeks the number of militants had increased in Surankote the Poonch sector, in Tral in Pulwama district and Rajwar in Kupwara district.

He said after the activists of the Lashkar-i-Toiba and the Hizbul Mujahideen decided to carry out joint operations, the incidence of militancy related violence in different parts of the state had gone up in recent weeks.

The officer said despite a pronouncement from a Lashkar-i-Toiba spokesman that tourists would not be attacked in Kashmir, “we have to take in hand adequate measures for preventing rebels from attacking pilgrims to the Amarnath cave.” He stated that the entire route from Jammu to the holy cave had been divided into several zones, with each zone under the police and paramilitary forces, and with the troops maintaining a vigil on highly sensitive areas between Batote and Pahalgam.

Based on interception of wireless messages, the officer said Pakistan-based leaders of the Lashkar-i-Toiba had felt demoralised after 20 activists of the outfit, including a few field commanders, were arrested in Kashmir recently. These leaders had been sending messages to Lashkar men in Jammu and Kashmir to step up the level of violence as more boys were being sent to “assist you” shortly.

He explained that the main purpose of enhancing the level of violence in Jammu and Kashmir was to force New Delhi to negotiate with Islamabad on Kashmir and demoralise Kashmiri separatist groups, which had agreed to continue their dialogue with the Government of India.

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6 militants among 9 killed in J&K
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 6
At least nine persons, including six militants, were killed in separate incidents in the Kashmir valley since yesterday.

With the death of two more militants in an encounter with security forces at Vessu in Anantnag district, the toll went up to five. Two militants and a security forces jawan were killed and four civilians injured in the incident yesterday.

The militants killed were identified as Sardar Gulfaraz Khan and Gulzar Khalid of Pakistan, and Mushtaq Ahmad Kutay and Sajad Bhat of the Kulgam area in Anantnag district. Three AK rifles, 12 magazines, one pistol, two wireless sets and a huge quantity of ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.

A civilian, Hassan Ali Shah, injured in an exchange of fire between militants and security forces at Aishmuqam in Anantnag district, succumbed to his injuries while being shifted to hospital yesterday.

An unidentified militant was killed in an encounter with security forces at Pathribahak Boniyar in the Uri area of Baramula district today. One AK rifle, six magazines, 170 rounds, one wireless set, six hand grenades and Rs 25,000 in Indian currency were recovered from the site of the encounter.

The police today recovered the body of Shabir Ahmad Zargar of Kreeri Pattan in Baramula district. He was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen yesterday.

A delayed report said three militants and a security forces jawan were killed in an encounter at Lashidat, Haihama near the LoC in Kupwara district on Saturday last. Two AK rifles, six magazines, 125 rounds, one pistol, one wireless set, six hand grenades, five UBGL grenades and Rs 10,000 in Indian currency were recovered from the spot.

The security forces recovered 1029 AK rounds from the outskirts of Bonahar, Chrar-e-Sharief in Budgam district yesterday.

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Funds crunch hits Bhaderwah-Chamba road project
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 6
Work on the Bhaderwah-Chamba road to link terrorist-hit areas of Jammu and Kashmir with Himachal Pradesh has virtually been stopped because of paucity of funds with the government.

A lot of work has to be done on the 79-km stretch falling on the Jammu side, while the road in Himachal territory is complete, without black topping, up to Khundi Maral, the last point on that side.

The road is considered strategic as security forces will be able to reach inaccessible areas in the interior mountainous on its completion.

Work on a stretch of 43 km on the J&K side remains to be done. Work on the road was stopped a few years ago as terrorists killed some labourers. Construction was resumed recently, but stopped due to lack of funds.

Minister for Roads and Bridges, G.A. Mir, said today that the J&K Government would seek funds from the Central Government for the road — an inter-state project.

He said that the road project would also be discussed with the Asian Development Bank for funds.

The minister said that the first 36 km stretch of the road beyond Bhaderwah had been opened to traffic, but work on the remaining 43 km was going on slowly.

Work on the road started 20 years ago, but was stopped due to terrorism and lack of funds.

The road passes through Satrundi and Kalaban areas in Himachal Pradesh where terrorists killed 36 persons a couple of years ago.

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has already constructed the other strategic road linking Kishtwar with the tribal area of Pangi in the Lahaul-Spiti district in Himachal.

A network of roads in the Kishtwar and Bhaderwah areas of the Doda district will provide better mobility to security forces to reach interior places that have become a heaven for terrorists. The militants have been shifting to the Chamba areas whenever the army and paramilitary forces in the J&K territory mounted pressure on them.

The J&K Government was persuading the Centre to allow it to resume the construction of the Moughal road to link the Poonch district of Jammu with the Kashmir valley. Work on the road has been stopped due to security concerns.

A meeting to discuss the project was scheduled to be held today at Delhi. The Army is learnt to have raised objections to the construction of the road as the Poonch district was infested with terrorists who might get better mobility after the road was completed.

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Minister returns to work

Srinagar, July 6
Jammu and Kashmir Minister of State for Tourism Jugal Kishore, who had quit over the Amarnath Yatra extension issue, today returned to work a week after the state government increased the duration of the annual pilgrimage by 15 days.

He had resigned along with three other Congress ministers two days after he was shifted to tourism from public heath engineering on June 22 protesting against the rejection of demands for extension of the Amarnath Yatra from one month to two months. However, state Congress chief Ghulam Nabi Azad had rejected their resignations.

The extension of the yatra announced last week had ended the stand-off between the ruling coalition partners, the PDP and the Congress. The other three minister had then returned to work. — PTI

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PM urged to raise tax exemption limit
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 6
Mr Subhash Shastri, president of the National Mazdoor Conference, has urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to set up the sixth pay commission.

Addressing a rally of workers at Ranbirsinghpura today, Mr Shastri also demanded that the income tax exemption limit should be increased to Rs 2 lakh to benefit the lower and the middle classes.

He demanded that 12 per cent interest on provident fund should be restored.

Mr Shastri urged the state government to merge 50 per cent DA in basic pay of the employees and release 2 per cent DA in their favour that was due since January.

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Hurriyat meet postponed

Srinagar, July 6
The crucial meeting of the Hurriyat Conference led by Maulana Mohammad Abbas Ansari to decide on holding the third round of talks with Centre, rescheduled for today, has been postponed to tomorrow.

The meeting could not be held even today due to pre-occupation of senior leader Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Ansari, who had assembled alongwith other executive members of the Amalgam at Mirwaiz’s residence, said.

He said Mirwaiz had been taken busy as many of his followers and supporters from distant parts of the valley were visiting him to condole the loss of century-old Islamia High School which was gutted in a mysterious fire yesterday.

The meeting was originally scheduled for yesterday but was postponed to today.
— PTI

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Three killed in road accident

Jammu, July 6
Three persons including a traffic policeman, died on the spot when a truck skidded off the road near Ramban, around 160 km from here, on the Jammu-Srinagar road today.

The police said the mishap took place when the driver of a Jammu bound truck failed to negotiate a sharp curve and plunged into a 100-metre-deep gorge at Magarkote. Three persons, including the driver, died instantly, the police added.

The dead driver has been identified as Jasbir Singh of Gangyal and the police personnel as Abdul Salam. The identity of the dead conductor has not been ascertained as yet. — UNI

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