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NC ex-minister’s house attacked; 4 militants held
Srinagar, August 2
Militants attacked the house of a former National Conference minister Sakeena Itoo in South Kashmir injuring a security guard last night and also shot at and wounded two police constables at historic Lal Chowk near here this afternoon.

A cop and paramedics carry an injured policeman for treatment inside a local hospital after militants shot at him at Lal Chowk, Srinagar, on Monday. A cop and paramedics carry an injured policeman for treatment inside a local hospital after militants shot at him at Lal Chowk, Srinagar, on Monday. — A Tribune photograph

Gulmarg to have world’s highest ropeway
Gulmarg: When work on the second phase of the Gondola cable car project in the upper reaches of this picnic spot is completed within a month, it will become the world’s highest and Asia’s longest ropeway. A view of the tent colony set up at Gulbagh resort in Gulmarg to attract tourists to the valley by the state Tourism Department.
A view of the tent colony set up at Gulbagh resort in Gulmarg to attract tourists to the valley by the state Tourism Department. —  Tribune photo by Amin War







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Geelani may float separate organisation
Srinagar, August 2
A day after appointing Syed Ali Shah Geelani as chief of the political bureau of the Jamaat-e-Islami, its decision making body, the Majlis-e-Shoura here, today paved the way for Geelani to float a separate organisation.

Javid Ahmed MirFormer vice-chief of JKLF floats party
Srinagar, August 2
Former vice-chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Javid Ahmed Mir today floated a party, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Forum. Announcing its formation, Mir said the Mujahideen outfit appeared in Darhal market in Rajouri, warning people not to help the security forces in their drive against militancy sources said.

3,500 pilgrims leave for Amarnath
Jammu, August 2
A fresh batch of nearly 3500 pilgrims today left from here along with a security escort for their onward journey to the Amarnath shrine in the Kashmir valley.

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NC ex-minister’s house attacked; 4 militants held

Srinagar, August 2
Militants attacked the house of a former National Conference minister Sakeena Itoo in South Kashmir injuring a security guard last night and also shot at and wounded two police constables at historic Lal Chowk near here this afternoon.

Elsewhere in the valley, seven persons were injured while the security forces arrested a militant overnight.

Panic gripped historic Lal Chowk, in the heart of the city this afternoon when militants shot at and critically wounded constables Farooq Ahmad and Mohammad Sadiq. Militants later escaped despite the presence of large number of security personnel in the area.

The injured were admitted to a hospital.

Militants hurled a hand grenade towards the house of former minister Ms Itoo at Damhal Hanjipora in the Anantnag district of South Kashmir last night. The grenade exploded within the premises causing injuries to a security jawan who was hospitalised.

He said militants also lobbed a hand grenade towards the house of Nazir Ahmad Ahanger at Azadgund, Baramula in north Kashmir last night, causing injuries to six persons, including the son of the house owner. The injured were hospitalised, he said.

Militants shot at and critically wounded Farooq Ahmad Ganai near middle school Karhama Kunzer in Baramula today.

The security forces arrested a militant and seized one grenade at Kokernag last night.

JAMMU: Following a militant plan to strike in Jammu city during the Amarnath Yatra, the security forces have busted a terror module and arrested four top ultras, including a Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba “commander” Abu Saaf, in Jammu and Kashmir last night, official sources said.

Acting on intelligence inputs, the security forces raided a hideout in Iqbal Chowk area in Gujjar Nagar in Jammu city yesterday and arrested three top ultras, sources said.

Following interrogation of the trio, the security forces arrested one more top ranking militant from the Mahore area of Udhampur district, they said, adding with this security forces have busted a full-fledged terror module from Jammu city.

Those arrested from the city included Pak militant ‘commander’ of LeT, Abu Saaf, alias Gulzar Hussain of Abutab village of Gujranwala district, Pakistan, local militants Abdul Qayoom, alias Abu Rakha and Abdul Gani, alias Hansa of Mahore Tehsil of Udhampur district, they said.

Top hit man and Hizb militant, Rasool Hajam code named Al-Tehira was arrested from Mahore, they said, adding that a huge cache of arms, ammunition and explosive material was recovered from Mahore.

The cache was meant to be used for the strike in Jammu city, they said, adding that it was recovered by the Army.

Meanwhile, an improvised explosive device today exploded at a roadside in Bata Duri village of Poonch district without causing any damage, official sources said here.

The IED, planted by ultras, in Bata Duri village in Harni sub-sector of Poonch district, was detected by Road Opening (RO) this morning, the sources said, adding it exploded before experts could defuse it.

However, no damage or casualty was caused, the sources said.

Meanwhile, in Rajouri district some posters issued by Hizbul Mujaheedin outfit appeared in Darhal market, warning people not to help the security forces in their drive against ultras, they said.

Some of these posters were pasted yesterday on shops and places of worship, the sources said adding they have been removed by the authorities. — Agencies
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Gulmarg to have world’s highest ropeway
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Gulmarg: When work on the second phase of the Gondola cable car project in the upper reaches of this picnic spot is completed within a month, it will become the world’s highest and Asia’s longest ropeway.

The completion of work on the second phase of the cable car project connecting Kongdori, the last terminal of the first phase, with Affarwat, around the snow slopes of Khilanmarg, has been delayed for various reasons. “There is a limited working period”, said the Managing Director of the Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA), Mr Farooq Ahmad Shah, as there is sub-zero temperature for most months every year. The work went on low pace due to heavy rain during May and June this year, preceded by heavy snowfall in April-end.

At least eight lakh tourists, including two lakh domestic tourists, have visited the spot so far this year, according to Mr Farooq Ahmad Shah. Everyday there are at least 3,000 local tourists visiting this spot while it crosses over 20,000 on Sundays.

“This tourist spot gives new looks as several measures have been undertaken by the GDA for its beautification” said an official here. Efforts were also on to preserve the scenic beauty and environment of the area, without erecting any concrete structures. One of the measures initiated by the government is the introduction of a tent village, which provides all facilities to the tourists without harming environment.

Other measures taken to beautify the area include fencing of the highest 18-hole golf course at a height of 35,000 ft. Shops have been shifted to one area, parking lots have been created and entry beyond a certain point has been restricted to keep the area pollution free. Mr Abid Maqbool, Assistant Director of the GDA, said a water body was also being set up in the area of old Gulmarg to add to the beauty of the area for attracting tourists. A children’s park was also coming up. A Botanical garden was being raised in the area under the aegis of the University of Kashmir over an area of 220 kanals, the GDA Managing Director informed. Tourism Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir, who represents the constituency said flourishing tourism would help strengthen the economy of the state, which suffered a lot during the past 15 years of militancy. He expressed the hope that time was not far when the tourist inflow would overtake the 1988 figure of over seven lakh.
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Geelani may float separate organisation

Srinagar, August 2
A day after appointing Syed Ali Shah Geelani as chief of the political bureau of the Jamaat-e-Islami, its decision making body, the Majlis-e-Shoura here, today paved the way for Geelani to float a separate organisation. The Jamaat will support his move by constituting its new political affairs committee and depute a representative in the separatist Hurriyat Conference led by Geelani instead of the Abbas-led APHC.

According to a spokesman of the Jamaat-e-Islami here this evening, the Majlis-e-Shoura here today discussed various issues of the party and support to Geelani. The Jamaat has also decided to snap ties with the United Force, constituted recently to forge unity between hardline and moderate leaders of the organisation. The Jamaat had been faced with precarious situation over the past several days following Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s decision to float his own separatist organisation with Jamaat ideology. There were differences between Geelani, who parted ways with the Abbas-led Hurriyat Conference last year, and the Jamaat leadership. While some of the top members other than the chief, Nazir Ahmad Kashani, extended support to Geelani, the majority of the members sought unity among the groups.

The Abbas-led Hurriyat Conference has since been left with only four-member executive committee, while Syed Ali Shah Geelani, with five decades long association with the Jamaat-e-Islami, has been claiming a majority support. A former chairman of the united Hurriyat Conference, Geelani was its executive member as a representative of the Jamaat-e-Islami. Before the split last year, separatist the Hurriyat Conference had an executive committee of seven members. After Geelani parted ways, two other members, Mohammad Yaseen Malik of the JKLF and Sheikh Abdul Aziz of the Peoples League also separated from both factions of the APHC. The Abbas-led faction remained with only four of the seven members including Chairman, Moulvi Abbas Ansari, Abdul Ghani Bhat, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Bilal Ghani Lone.

The Jamaat-s-Islami did not send its representative to APHC after Geelani’s withdrawal, as then Jamaat chief, G.M. Bhat, wanted to withdraw from the APHC. Later when the present chief (Ameer-e-Jamaat), Nazir Ahmad Kashani took over, he opined that the Jamaat-e-Islami would concentrate on religion rather than politics. There was no change in its stand on the Kashmir issue, but it decided not to extend its support by deputing its representative to the Hurriyat Conference.

Amid these developments, however, Kashani did not extend support to Geelani. But some top executive members including Mohammad Ashraf Sahrai and Qazi Ahdullah supported Geelani, and stayed away from important meetings of the Jamaat-e-Islami in the past one year. — TNS
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Former vice-chief of JKLF floats party

Srinagar, August 2
Former vice-chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Javid Ahmed Mir today floated a party, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Forum (JKLF).

Announcing its formation, Mir said the Mujahideen outfit appeared in Darhal market in Rajouri, warning people not to help the security forces in their drive against militancy sources said.

Some of these posters were pasted yesterday outside shops and places of worship, the sources said and added that these were removed by the authorities.

On his resignation from the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Mir said, “I have no differences as such with Chairman Mohammad Yaseen Malik. Our friendship of 20 years was for a cause and it shall remain so. The only difference is that earlier we worked together and now we shall work separately.”

Meanwhile, a formidable Shia organisation, Anjuman-e-Moieen-ul-Islam (AMI) today formulated a 12-member Majlis-e-Shoura (advisory council) and decided to work for peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The main aim of our organisation was to work for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the state, AMI president Aga Syed Mohammad Sibtain said.

He said his organisation would not join any separatist grouping, including the two factions of the Hurriyat Conference, for the time being. “We will monitor the situation and accordingly decide our future course of action.” — PTI 
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3,500 pilgrims leave for Amarnath

Jammu, August 2
A fresh batch of nearly 3500 pilgrims today left from here along with a security escort for their onward journey to the Amarnath shrine in the Kashmir valley.

The devotees comprising 2,236 men, 823 women, 85 children and over 300 sadhus, left in a fleet of 137 buses and light motor vehicles along with security personnel from the base camp of M A M Stadium around 6.20 a.m., officials said here.

In Jammu city the rush of pilgrims had increased with the arrival of devotees from different parts of the country. Some of them have also visited Mata Vaishnodevi shrine before joining the Amarnath yatra officials said.

With today’s batch, over 5,5000 devotees have so far left from here for onward journey to the cave shrine since its commencement on July 14. — PTI
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