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Terrorist outfits using boys for infiltration
Jammu, July 28
Pakistan-based terrorist outfits are using young boys as guinea pigs by making them infiltrate into Indian territory to find loopholes in the security arrangements.

Tent village set up to attract tourists
Gulmarg, July 28
As part of its efforts to promote tourism in Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Government today set up unique tent village in this health resort, commonly known as the valley of flowers.

Woman battles to restore lost dignity
Chandigarh, July 28
For four years now, Jammu-based Poonam Parihar has been battling for justice and to restore her lost dignity.

Rukun-e-Jamaat meeting on Aug 5 to discuss Geelani, Kashani
Jammu, July 28
Mr Muzaffar Jan, a supporter of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has called a meeting of the Rukun-e-Jamaat on August 5 to discuss whether Mr Geelani be brought back to the parent organisation and replacement of Mr Kashani by a hardliner as Amir of the Jamait-e-Islami.

Yatra death toll 17
Srinagar, July 28
With the death of three more pilgrims to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in Kashmir, the toll in this year’s pilgrimage has gone up to 17, official sources said here today.

 

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Terrorist outfits using boys for infiltration
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 28
Pakistan-based terrorist outfits are using young boys as guinea pigs by making them infiltrate into Indian territory to find loopholes in the security arrangements.

The security forces during the past few days have arrested a number of infiltrators and eliminated the militant groups that had entered various border villages carrying a good quantity of remote-control explosive devices and grenades.

At least seven Pakistani nationals have been arrested during the current month at different places along the international border in Jammu district where they infiltrated from Pakistan. They were in the age group of 15 to 25 years. They have been sent to the joint interrogation centre of the BSF, state police and other central intelligence agencies.

A senior security officer today said that they were not taking the risk of handing back these persons to their Pakistani counterparts as it could lead to a breach of the security of the pilgrims. Although these persons have claimed that they inadvertently crossed the border, the BSF and other security agencies do not believe them and have pointed out that such a high number of infiltration during the “yatra” smells foul.

A top security officer suspected that these boys were being used as guinea pigs by the mentors of terrorism in Pakistan to find new routes for infiltrating the trained ultras. He said that such probing missions by the young Pakistani boys have increased eversince the Amarnath pilgrimage began.

A retired soldier of the Pakistani Army was arrested recently when he intruded into the Chicken Neck area of Akhnoor. It was being verified whether he was working for the Pakistani ISI that was spreading terrorism here.

During a meeting of officers of the BSF and Pakistani Rangers at Wagah in June, it was decided that both sides would immediately return those persons who inadvertently crossed the border. However, in this case the BSF was not taking any risk and would return these persons only after the Amarnath pilgrimage if they were found innocent.

The terrorists have been targeting the Amarnath pilgrimage almost every year. A number of persons were killed three years ago when the ultras attacked the base camp of the pilgrimage at Pahalgam. They made another attempt the very next year. The Vaishno Devi pilgrims were also attacked by terrorists at Katra, resulting in the death of eight of them.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made this time for the pilgrimage by deploying the Army, the BSF and the CRPF in strength. The convoy carrying the pilgrims is every day escorted by the BSF and the CRPF from here.

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Tent village set up to attract tourists
Tribune News Service

Gulmarg, July 28
As part of its efforts to promote tourism in Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Government today set up unique tent village in this health resort, commonly known as the valley of flowers. The Tourism Minister, Ghulam Hassan Mir formally inaugurated Gulbagh Resort, a cluster of 10 tents with de luxe facilities for tourists overlooking the green slopes of the picnic spot, describing it as a significant development in the history of tourism in the state.

“It may look small, but has great significance in tourism”, said Mr Mir in his inaugural address adding that “new things are coming up for the tourists” aspiring to visit Kashmir. He, however, lamented that while a large number of tourists were visiting the valley over the past couple of years, militancy continued to be at the centrestage. He however, reiterated that tourism activities were going on normally.

It is for the first time that such a step has been taken by the Jammu and Kashmir Government to overcome the lack of proper accommodation in this tourist resort. Other tourist spots including Pahalgam and Gulmarg, have also been facing similar problems in the peak of tourist season, over the past couple of years. The Mufti-led coalition government has been making efforts to boost tourism.

The unique Gulbagh Resort or the garden of flowers in Gulmarg, the valley of flowers, has been set up on the remains of old Rani Mahal in the vicinity of Maharaja Mahal that used to be the resort of kings over 150 years ago.

On the idea to set up the colony, Syed Muzaffar Andrabi, a renowned figure in the tourist trade, who has been entrusted with the job, said for there was need to provide special facilities to the tourists apart from the traditional system of hotels and huts, so that “something attractive” is offered to the tourists. “We are trying to create a history”, Andrabi said as he referred to the idea of tented accommodation which came from the Mughals and was adopted by the British. While Mughals used it during war times while on their conquering spree, the British used these for hunting purposes.

The Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) set up by the state government to develop tourist spot like other places of Pahalgam, Sonmarg and Patni Top, has made various changes in this tourist spot over the past one year. “The aim is to attract more and more tourists”, said Mr Farooq Ahmad Shah, Managing Director of the GDA. He said the second phase of Gulmarg Gondola cable car project was underway. With its completion from Kongdori to Affarwat, at a height of 13500 feet, it would become Asia’s longest and world’s highest ropeway.

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Woman battles to restore lost dignity
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 28
For four years now, Jammu-based Poonam Parihar has been battling for justice and to restore her lost dignity.

Terminated from service allegedly for refusing to grant sexual favours to the Vice-Chancellor, of Sher-e-Kashmir University for Agriculture, Science and Technology, Jammu, Mr H.U. Khan, Mrs Poonam Parihar has been fighting a lone battle, knowing well that chances of victory are grim.

But her hope has been partially restored after the Supreme Court came to her help in the case pertaining to alleged sexual harassment at the hands of Mr Khan and a demand for CBI inquiry into the matter.

While issuing notices to the respondents, including the VC, the Chancellor and Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pro VC, and the Chief Minister of the State, the apex court expressed concern over the failure of the authorities in constituting an “in-house” committee to inquire into the allegations of sexual harassment. The case will come up for hearing on September 13.

Although notices have been personally served on the respondents, Mrs Parihar is apprehensive on account of the clout the VC enjoys. To ensure fair play, she has even dared to take the lie detector test, generally meant for the accused, not victims.

While the case awaits a hearing, Mrs Parihar has been trying to put her derailed life back on the track. She recalls how it all started in 1999 when Mr Khan charge-sheeted her for “unauthorised absence” from duty. “He began targeting me from the day he joined in 1999. I was on official leave to acquire a postgraduate degree from Agra University. This was within the knowledge of the previous VC, Dr M.Y. Kamal. But I was charge-sheeted and my services were terminated in July, 2001, on the same charge.

“This happened because I did not encourage the sexual advances of Mr Khan. I complained formally against his conduct. No inquiry was held into the matter. Rather, I was terminated from service without being given a hearing. That he was ill-intentioned is clear from the fact that he asked me to join duty at his office rather than at RS Pora, where I was earlier posted.”

Her complaint was not even received formally by the University Registrar. She had to post it. The authorities also violated the Supreme Court judgement in Vishakha and others versus the State of Rajasthan, in which it clearly held that an inquiry into a case of sexual molestation was a must. The matter did not end here.

Mrs Parihar’s case was taken up later by the J&K State Commission for Women. The commission found the case fit enough to be referred to the Lok Adalat. It was, however, never disposed of in her favour. She holds Mr Khan’s clout responsible for the miscarriage of justice. “Even the High Court dismissed my case, terming my allegations of sexual molestation as an “after thought,”.

It was after a three-year struggle that Mrs Parihar approached the apex court. She had little idea about who would be defending the respondents. “Mr P. Chidambaram appeared for them. But we were lucky because the SC pulled up the university for failing to investigate the charges against the VC.”

Determined to secure justice, Mrs Parihar adds: “The laws favour us but the system does not. I would long have given up had it not been for my husband.” Posted as an Inspector of Police with the CBI in Chandigarh, her husband, Mr Ashok Kalra, has been solidly behind her. “The law of the land is supreme and no one, not even Mr Khan, is above it,” he says.

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Rukun-e-Jamaat meeting on Aug 5
to discuss Geelani, Kashani
Our Correspondent

Jammu, July 28
Mr Muzaffar Jan, a supporter of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has called a meeting of the Rukun-e-Jamaat on August 5 to discuss whether Mr Geelani be brought back to the parent organisation and replacement of Mr Kashani by a hardliner as Amir of the Jamait-e-Islami.

Sources said that a sizeable number of members of the Rukun-e-Jamaat and those belonging to the Majlis Shoura (apex body) of the organisation persuaded Mr Geelani not to float new organisation parallel of the APHC.

Mr Kashani told mediamen that only the Amir was authorised by the party constitution to convene a meeting of the Rukun-e-Jamaat. He also made it clear that he was elected by the members of the Majlis Shoura for five years so he could not be impeached.

Hardliners may adopt a vote of no-confidence against Mr Nazir Ahmed Kashani to install Mr Geelani or his confidant installed as Chief of the jamait-e-Islami.

Jamaat sources said that Mr Geelani accepted the plan of Mr Jan because if Mr Geelani floated new organisation he would not be able to retain his house at Hyderpora, because the house is Jamait-e-Islami property. Jamaat leadership did not ask Geelani to vacate the house after he (Geelani) announced retirement from the Jamait-e-Islami a year ago.

Mr Geelani also has realised that after split in the APHC he had not been able to keep bigger groups of separatists in his fold. He, therefore, would like to return to the Jamait-e-Islami, his parent organisation.

There are over 1800 Rukun-e-Jamaat and 200 members of the Majlis Soura. The Geelani-Jan camp claims the support of 150 members of the Majlis Shoura and support of militants could force the segment led by Mr Kashani to adopt defensive posture.

Mr Kashani refuses to accept the new leadership split in the organisation may be a reality.

To avert the split senior members of the Kashmir Bar Association and fundamentalists have started mediation between the groups.

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Yatra death toll 17

Srinagar, July 28
With the death of three more pilgrims to the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in Kashmir, the toll in this year’s pilgrimage has gone up to 17, official sources said here today.

The deceased identified as Ari Nath Singh (65) of Boonia in Uttar Pradesh, Mathoo Ram (60) of Madhya Pradesh and Vijay Singh (66) of Amjeer, Rajasthan. They died of heart failure at Chandanwari, Sheshnag and the cave shrine, respectively.

With this, the number of pilgrims who died natural death during the yatra so far has gone up to 17, the sources said.

The annual 45-day-long yatra commenced officially on July 15. — PTI

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