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Cong activists in touch with NC
Mufti govt may face crisis
Jammu, July 11
Certain Congress activists are in touch with the National Conference (NC) as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of Mufti Sayeed has launched an attack on the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. Not only the PDP, but Congress leaders also have not spared any opportunity to ridicule Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed and other leaders of his party.

Canadian envoy discusses peace process with Mufti
Srinagar, July 11
Canadian High Commissioner to India Lucic Edwards today called on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and discussed the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan and efforts to restore calm in the militancy-torn state.

A villager walks past the barbed wire fence near the Line of  Control at Jabri, beyond the fence put up by the Army, on Sunday. A villager walks past the barbed wire fence near the Line of Control at Jabri, beyond the fence put up by the Army, on Sunday. — Tribune photo by Amin War



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EARLIER STORIES

 

Lashkar activists being motivated to escalate violence: report
Jammu, July 11
Mohd Azam of Kunya village in Poonch district was the only bread-earner for the family after his father, working in the Public Health Engineering, had been kidnapped by militants and later killed last year on the charge of cooperating with the security forces.

J&K Govt inducts 18 officers in KAS
Srinagar, July 11
Jammu and Kashmir Government has inducted 18 officers of the State Social Welfare Department into the Kashmir Administrative Service, an official announcement said here today.
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Cong activists in touch with NC
Mufti govt may face crisis
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 11
Certain Congress activists are in touch with the National Conference (NC) as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of Mufti Sayeed has launched an attack on the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. Not only the PDP, but Congress leaders also have not spared any opportunity to ridicule Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed and other leaders of his party.

Relations between the Mufti and the Congress started souring particularly following the introduction of the daughters’ Bill that created embarrassed the latter throughout the country.

However, relations between the PDP and the Congress may deteriorate with Finance Minister, Muzaffar Hussain Beig, publicly ridiculing the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre for not extending liberal grants to J&K. Addressing a public meeting at Baramula in Kashmir, he is reported to have praised the previous BJP-led NDA government for taking care of financial needs of the state.

The PDP is in power only because of the support of the Congress that a major partner in the coalition here.

The Mufti is maintaining silence on the issue, but the statement of Mr Beig a confidant of the Mufti and strategist of the PDP, is being read between the lines by political observers.

There were reports that the Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister, Mangat Ram Sharma were not even on talking terms these days as the latter felt offended because of various incidents of the PDP trying to “belittle” the Congress ministers. Efforts for a patch-up between the two parties so far have not yielded results.

Due to strained relations between the two major coalition partners, no meeting of the state Cabinet has been held for the past five months.

The last Cabinet meeting was held on February 13 and a recent proposal to appoint a new chairman of the Public Service Commission was got approved by circulation of the file among the Cabinet ministers.

This was affecting day-to-day functioning of the government and bureaucracy has again started flexing its muscle.

Mr Beig did not attend his office for a couple of days recently following differences with a bureaucrat.

A senior Congress leader disclosed today that the NC was not an “untouchable” for us and other options would be explored in case the PDP leaders continued to ridicule the ministers and senior leaders of the Congress with whose support the PDP was in power.

The Congress leaders “suspect” the hand of the Mufti in the recent denial of a room to the Deputy Chief Minister in the Kashmir House when he visited Delhi and stranding of two ministers and their spouses for a night at Amarnath shrine as the helicopter flew back to Srinagar without carrying them. However, a spokesman of the government denied these allegations and cited technical reasons for this.

The tussle between the two parties had started in Lok Sabha elections when both fielded their candidates for the Baramula seat resulting in the victory of the NC there. Before that, differences between the PDP and the Congress became to public when the Deputy Chief Minister walked out of a Cabinet meeting on the choice of the new chairman of the Public Service Commission.

A minister belonging to Ladakh had wordy duel with a minister of the PDP at another Cabinet meeting.

The Mufti virtually snubbed Mr Sharma at a public function by rejecting his demand to extend the Amarnath pilgrimage to two months.

Thereafter, the Congress openly supported the Governor, Lt Gen S.K. Sinha (retd), on the issue and four ministers belonging to the party submitted resignations to protest against the attitude of the Chief Minister.

The PDP has not reconciled to the situation created following the daughters’ Bill not being passed in the Legislative Council. The NC was trying to take political advantage of this.

The Congress leaders here were also annoyed with the Mufti for not shunting the Panthers Party out of the coalition following Mr Bhim Singh contesting Lok Sabha elections against the Congress candidate in the Udhampur constituency and also making statements against the coalition government.

On the other hand, the NC was also gunning for the Mufti who had initiated take over of the Muslim Auqaf Trust (MAT) and the medical institute by the state government. Both these institutions earlier were controlled by the NC.

NC Chief, Omar Abdullah, said that it was bad for the state even if the PDP, an ally of the Congress, now has started feeling that the UPA government was reducing the financial assistance to J&K that was given liberally by the NDA government.

He said that the Mufti so far had been “dancing to the tunes” of the Congress and had campaigned for Congress candidates during recent Lok Sabha elections.

Mr Abdullah said that the NC was watching the situation and in case of an eventuality would take a collective decision.

Meanwhile, state’s BJP chief, Dr Nirmal Singh, said today that the coalition government that had failed to hold a Cabinet meeting since February 13 to discuss several important issues, has no right to remain in power. Instead of solving problems of the people, coalition partners were fighting among themselves and public money was being squandered.

Another BJP leader, Kashmira Singh alleged that there was no collective functioning of the PDP-Congress government and the ministers were trading charges among themselves.
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Canadian envoy discusses peace process with Mufti

Srinagar, July 11
Canadian High Commissioner to India Lucic Edwards today called on Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and discussed the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan and efforts to restore calm in the militancy-torn state.

According an official spokesman, Sayeed told Edwards that initiation of reconciliation with Pakistan and holding of a dialogue with the people of Kashmir was the national policy on which there was a complete consensus.

Congress-led UPA government was committed to taking forward the process started by the previous National Democratic Alliance government, he told the envoy.

The Chief Minister told Edwards that elections in the state were held in a free and fair atmosphere and despite some incidents of violence people’s participation was at a much higher level than in the electoral exercises held since 1990.

Sayeed said people of both countries had expressly supported peace moves and the normalisation process.

He said people’s determination to bring peace coupled with efforts of the government had started yielding results and the change in the situation was quite discernable. — PTI
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Lashkar activists being motivated to escalate violence: report
M.L. Kak

Jammu, July 11
Mohd Azam of Kunya village in Poonch district was the only bread-earner for the family after his father, working in the Public Health Engineering, had been kidnapped by militants and later killed last year on the charge of cooperating with the security forces.

Azam was working as a special police officer on a monthly salary of Rs 1,500. He recently had been appointed in the PHE.

A group of militants barged into his house last night and abducted him. He was dragged outside the village where he was killed.

The police said the killing of Mohd Azam was part of the plan of rebels who have been directed to eliminate police informers and security personnel.

Report compiled by the intelligence agencies revealed that activists of Lashkar-i-Toiba, operating in Jammu and Kashmir, were being motivated to escalate violence by the taped speeches of the outfit’s chief, Hafiz Mohd Sayeed.

A senior BSF officer said Sayeed’s speeches were transmitted on wireless sets, which Lashkar activists possess.

The officer said the taped speeches were relayed on the wireless sets for 10 to 15 minutes and this exercise was repeated several times a day. The tone of recent speeches lay emphasis on carrying out Fidayeen attacks on the camps and convoys of security forces.

According to the officer, three Lashkar-i-Toiba activists had tried a Fidayeen attack on an Army camp in Poonch on Friday night but failed to strike and were later accounted for by the security forces during an encounter a few furlongs away from the Army camp.

Officers manning different security agencies said that border fencing, which was expected to be completed in September, had raised hurdles for the infiltrators but militants managed to sneak into the Indian territory from across Poonch and Rajouri.

They said in certain cases militants took advantage of absence of a fence in areas where nullahs and rivulets meander through the border belt. For instance, rebels have been found entering into the Poonch sector from Sagra, Saujia and Panjani areas where the fence is yet to be raised because of some problems created by the fast flowing Nullahas.

In other instances infiltrators have used insulated ladders and scissors for snapping the barbed wire fence. The security forces have recovered one such ladder and rubber gloves and scissors from a group of infiltrators who were killed soon after they entered into the Indian territory from across the Poonch sector.

Official sources believe that the level of ingress may further shoot up during the next four months because agencies across the border would like to push into the Indian territory as many rebels as possible before the border became impassable owing to heavy snow.

It is because of this development that the troops, guarding the border, have been asked to step up vigil and prevent infiltration at any cost. So far the soldiers have foiled as many as 48 infiltration bids in the past three months.
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J&K Govt inducts 18 officers in KAS

Srinagar, July 11
Jammu and Kashmir Government has inducted 18 officers of the State Social Welfare Department into the Kashmir Administrative Service, an official announcement said here today.

Of them, 16 are in the general category and two in the reserved category, the announcement added. — PTI
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