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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Nine killed, 40 injured as bus falls into gorge
Srinagar, July 8
Nine passengers were killed and 40 others injured, 16 of them seriously, when a bus carrying them fell into a deep gorge near Baramula, about 70 km north of here today. The accident took place near Sheeri, 4 km from Baramula, when the bus was coming from Tethmulla towards the town.

The damaged bus, which rolled down a gorge, on the banks of the Jhelum in north Kashmir The damaged bus, which rolled down a gorge, on the banks of the Jhelum in north Kashmir on Thursday.
— Tribune photo by Amin War

5 militants, 2 others killed
Srinagar, July 8
At least seven persons, including five militants, were killed in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday, while the security forces busted a hideout and recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition during searches.

85,426 Amarnath pilgrims registered
Srinagar, July 8
The number of intending pilgrims registered by various branches of Jammu and Kashmir Bank for this year’s Amarnath yatra has reached the 85,426 mark during the first three days.



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EARLIER STORIES

 

Fee on registration of yatris flayed
Jammu, July 8
Mr Rajinder Kumar, president of the Amarnath Yatra Welfare Organisation, today criticised the Jammu and Kashmir Government for levying a fee of Rs 15 on registration of each pilgrim by the J&K Bank.

Ansari’s move may not unite separatist
Jammu, July 8
Will Molvi Abbas Ansari’s stepping down as the chairman of the APHC lead to unity among various separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir? If the stance adopted by the rival factions of the APHC is any indication unity among the separatists seems difficult in near future.

A policeman baton charges at Kashmiri women during a demonstration against human rights abuses in Srinagar on Thursday. — A Tribune photograph

A policeman baton charges at Kashmiri women during a demonstration against human rights abuses in Srinagar

25 Geelani supporters held
Srinagar, July 8
Twenty-five activists of Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led breakaway faction of the Hurriyat Conference were today detained by Jammu and Kashmir Police for staging a march in violation of the prohibitory orders here.

Mufti seeks details of road projects
Srinagar, July 8
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has sought details of work on various important roads in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the BRO to take up construction of the Simthan-Kishtwar road on priority.

Cong refutes Vakil’s charges
Srinagar, July 8
The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee has refuted the charges levelled by a senior party leader, Mr Abdul Ghani Vakil, against the Mufti-led coalition government in the state.

Assembly session to begin on August 18
Srinagar, July 8
The Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Lt-Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), has in terms of Sections 53 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, summoned the Legislative Assembly to meet at Srinagar on August 18.
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Nine killed, 40 injured as bus falls into gorge
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 8
Nine passengers were killed and 40 others injured, 16 of them seriously, when a bus carrying them fell into a deep gorge near Baramula, about 70 km north of here today.

The accident took place near Sheeri, 4 km from Baramula, when the bus was coming from Tethmulla towards the town.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma and their ministerial colleagues have expressed shock and grief over the loss of human lives and injuries to over 40 others.

The Finance Minister, Muzaffar Hussain Beigh, representing the Baramula constituency, immediately rushed to the spot and enquired after the welfare of those injured. He announced an ex gratia of Rs 25,000 each to the next of kin of the deceased, Rs 10,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 5,000 for persons with minor injuries.
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5 militants, 2 others killed
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 8
At least seven persons, including five militants, were killed in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday, while the security forces busted a hideout and recovered a large quantity of arms and ammunition during searches.

Three militants of Al-Fateh force and a security force jawan were killed in an encounter with security forces at Rampora in Baramula district today, the police here said. They were identified as Firdous Ahmad Baba, Imtiaz Ahmad Bhat and Mohammad Altaf Tantray. Three AK rifles, 11 magazines, 348 rounds, three hand grenades, one UBGL, eight UBGL grenades and a 60 mm mortar shell were recovered from the slain militants.

Unidentified militants shot dead Bashir Ahmad Khan when they intruded into his house at Neelipora Magam in Hardwara area of Kupwara district last evening. His daughter Hanifa Bano was also injured in the shootout.

An unidentified militant was killed in an encounter with security forces in Sunderbani area of Rajouri district yesterday.

One militant was killed in an encounter with security forces at Afti Wadwan in Kishtwar area of Doda district.

The security forces busted a concrete hideout of militants capable of accommodating about 20 persons at Kashmiri Nar Doba in Surankote area of Poonch district yesterday. The recoveries made from the spot include 45 detonators, six packets of explosive material, three electronic IEDs, 36 metres of fusewire, two 60 mm rockets and IEDs.
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85,426 Amarnath pilgrims registered
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 8
The number of intending pilgrims registered by various branches of Jammu and Kashmir Bank for this year’s Amarnath yatra has reached the 85,426 mark during the first three days.

According to the Deputy General Manager of the bank, Mr N.A. Shah, Nodal Officer for registration, 63,022 pilgrims have been registered for the traditional Pahalgam-Chandanwari route and 22,404 for the Baltal route, an official spokesman said.

The maximum registration of 13,019 has been made in Delhi followed by 11,935 in Punjab, 10705 in Uttar Pradesh and 9,153 in Maharashtra.

In Madhya Pradesh, 8,258 pilgrims have got themselves registered while their number in Gujarat is 7,914 and Haryana 7,082.

In Jammu and Kashmir itself, 3,154 pilgrims have so far themselves registered for the yatra.

The 45-day yatra will commence from July 15 this year and continue till the end of August.
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Fee on registration of yatris flayed
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 8
Mr Rajinder Kumar, president of the Amarnath Yatra Welfare Organisation, today criticised the Jammu and Kashmir Government for levying a fee of Rs 15 on registration of each pilgrim by the J&K Bank.

Mr Rajinder Kumar told The Tribune here that the fee was objectionable as the Amarnath Shrine Board had offered to register the pilgrims free of cost.

He alleged that the government had allowed the bank to undertake risk insurance cover of the pilgrims with a private insurance company at a higher rate, although a nationalised company had offered this at almost half the rate.

He criticised the government for delaying permission to the private parties for setting up “langars” en route to the cave shrine. About 108 free “langars” would be set up on the route, he said.

Mr Rajinder Kumar expressed concern over the “interference” of the state government in the affairs of the Hindu shrine and demanded that the board should be allowed to function freely.
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Ansari’s move may not unite separatist
Our Correspondent

Jammu, July 8
Will Molvi Abbas Ansari’s stepping down as the chairman of the APHC lead to unity among various separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir?

If the stance adopted by the rival factions of the APHC is any indication unity among the separatists seems difficult in near future. In fact Molvi Abbas Ansari had announced on May 21 that he was prepared to step down as the chairman of the conglomerate if that was going to bring about reconciliation among the separatist groups. At that time he had stated that he would vait for a month and for all this time there was no response from his rivals, especially Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

By implementing his commitment the Molvi has played the trump card. According to a senior APHC leader, Prof Abdul Geni Bhat, “Our rivals have no other alternative but to respond to our gesture.”

He told this correspondent today that if the rivals did not return to “our fold” they would get exposed.

However, Prof Bhat’s calculation seems to have gone awry because Syed Ali Shah Geelani has that if the leaders of the Abbas faction had realised their folly of working against the “movement” they could join “my group”.

The Abbas-led APHC leaders were not prepared to join Mr Geelani’s camp. Prof Bhat said, “If Molvi Ansari has stepped down he has not done so to woo Mr Geelani.” He explained, Mr Geelani would not return to our amalgam as an individual. He has to return to the Jamait-e-Islami which had sent him to represent the organisation in the executive committee of the undivided APHC.”

Asked whether Mr Geelani could return to the parent fold as head of the rival faction of the APHC, Prof Bhat said, “We do not recognise that group and under the APHC constitution it is the organisation that is represented in the executive committee.”

Prof Bhat indicated that the main purpose behind Molvi Ansari’s exercise was to woo the JIKF, the People’s League and Jamait-e-Islami back to “our fold.” He said when Mr Geelani quit the APHC the JKLF, the People’s League led by Sheikh Aziz Ahmed and the Jamait-e-Islami remained neutral, neither they stayed in our executive committee nor they joined Mr Geelani-led faction of the APHC.

Another hitch in the unity process is that the People’s League and the JKLF have demanded that the APHC should part company with the People’s Conference headed by Mr Bilal Ahmed Lone, who became a member of the Hurriyat executive committee after his brother Sajjad Lone separated from him.

A number of splinter groups of the People’s League, the Muslim Conference and the Itihadi Musalmeen are with Mr Geelani and even if these groups intend to join the APHC, led by Molvi Ansari they will not be accepted,” Prof Bhat said. He made it clear “we cannot admit leaders of splinter groups of different separatist bodies.”

Asked why Mr Bilal Ahmed Lone was kept in the executive committee when the People’s Conference, which too had split, did not face same treatment, Prof Bhat said. Prior to the split in the People’s Conference Mr Lone represented the party in the APHC executive committee.
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25 Geelani supporters held

Srinagar, July 8
Twenty-five activists of Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led breakaway faction of the Hurriyat Conference were today detained by Jammu and Kashmir Police for staging a march in violation of the prohibitory orders here.

The Hurriyat activists were protesting against the Alleged human rights violations and tried to march to the Local office of the United Nations Military Observers Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to submit a memorandum when they were intercepted by the police and taken into preventive custody, official sources said.

Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar, head of the human rights bureau of the conglomerate, who had organised the protest, was among Those detained, the sources said.

They said the Hurriyat activists, including a group of women, alighted from several vehicles near the exchange road and started marching towards the office of UNMOGIP at Sonawar.

The protesters were stopped by the police near the official residence of the Chief Minister at the Maulana Azad road. During the ensuing scuffle, the police detained 22 of them while chasing away others, the sources said.

Minutes later, Gulzar accompanied by several associates Appeared near the office of the UNMOGIP and tried to submit a memorandum. However, he along with two others were detained by the police, the sources said.

The detainees were lodged in Kothibagh and Ram Munshi Bagh police stations, the sources said. This was the second protest by the Geelani faction within four days. On July 5, Gulzar and his associates were detained After they sat on a day-long hunger strike at Partap Park here to highlight alleged rights violations. — PTI
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Mufti seeks details of road projects
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 8
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has sought details of work on various important roads in Jammu and Kashmir and asked the BRO to take up construction of the Simthan-Kishtwar road on priority.

This, he said, when the Director-General of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), Lt.-Gen. Ranjit Singh, called on him here yesterday to inform the Chief Minister about the several road projects undertaken by the organisation.

He said the road linking the Kashmir valley with Kishtwar was very important for the state and its people, and suggested exploring the feasibility of constructing a tunnel that would reduce the road distance by about 30 km. He said till such time as the metalled road was constructed, a fair-weather communication link be ensured.

The Chief Minister was informed that the road would be completed by 2007. The Chief Minister also instructed improvement of the Srinagar-Sonamarg road on priority and asked the BRO to improve the condition of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway in the stretches running through major towns and cities.
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Cong refutes Vakil’s charges
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 8
The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) has refuted the charges levelled by a senior party leader, Mr Abdul Ghani Vakil, against the Mufti-led coalition government in the state.

Addressing a press conference here today, Mr Muzaffar Parray, spokesman for the PCC, said that the allegations by the senior party leader were baseless. He said that the views expressed by Mr Vakil, senior vice-president of the state unit of the party, were his “personal views”.

Mr Vakil had here on Tuesday alleged that the whole system in the state had gone defunct and may collapse. He said that bureaucrats were running the roost and the views of politicians were not taken into consideration while handling affairs of the state. He had also criticised the police force and blamed it for the violation of human rights without any check.

Refuting such charges, the PCC spokesman also welcomed the UPA initiative on the dialogue process with Pakistan for resolving the Kashmir issue. He said that such moves would help mitigate the problems of the people on both sides. There had been lot of improvement in the situation, he said and referred to the recent visit of the Scouts from Pakistan.
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Assembly session to begin on August 18
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, July 8
The Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Lt-Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), has in terms of Sections 53 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, summoned the Legislative Assembly to meet at Srinagar on August 18.

All the members of the state assembly have been asked to fulfil the formalities prior to the beginning of the session. They have been asked to send five starred and five unstarred questions and two bills in relaxations of Rule 32 and Sub-Rule (3) of Rule 65 of the Procedure and conduct of Business in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly by or before July 22.
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