SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
image
J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Three Army men among 14 killed
Srinagar, August 7
In stepped-up violence ahead of Independence Day celebrations, at least 14 persons, including six militants, were killed in separate incidents in the valley since yesterday.

A woman consoles her children after their house was damaged in a gunbattle between militants and security forces in Pampore, 20 km south of Srinagar on Saturday. A woman consoles her children after their house was damaged in a gunbattle between militants and security forces in Pampore, 20 km south of Srinagar on Saturday. — Photo by Amin War

Azad to continue as state Congress president
Jammu, August 7
For the time being, the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, has decided to retain Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, as President of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee.

CRPF’s deployment put on hold
Jammu, August 7
The decision of the Centre to put on hold further deployment of CRPF for anti-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir has come late, but is expected to yield the desired results.



YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar




EARLIER STORIES

 
Geelani floats party
Srinagar, August 7
Setting at rest all speculations, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the breakaway faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, today floated Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Kashmir. It follows ending of differences with his parent organisation, the Jamaat-e-Islami, and disbanding of the pressure group or the united force after over nine months’ efforts to forge unity between the two factions of the Hurriyat Conference.
In video (28k, 56k)

Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Syed  Geelani

Five more Amarnath yatris die
Srinagar, August 7
With the death of five more pilgrims, the toll in the Amarnath pilgrimage has risen to 46. Meanwhile, a record number of pilgrims are expected to perform ‘pooja’ at the cave shrine this year as more than three lakh ‘yatris’ have already visited the shrine.

Kargil road to remain open for one more hour
Srinagar, August 7
The Army has agreed to open the Srinagar-Kargil road for one hour more for the convenience of civil traffic. It will be opened from 5 am to 8 am at Gumri and 1 p.m to 3.30 pm at Sonamarg.

Man gets life term in dowry death case
Jammu, August 7
A local court today awarded life imprisonment to a man convicted of killing his wife as she had brought insufficient dowry in Jammu.

Allow Kashmiris to visit shrines in Pak, says Mehbooba
Srinagar, August 7
Peoples Democratic Party president and MP Ms Mehbooba Mufti has urged India and Pakistan to allow people from Pakistan to visit shrines in Kashmir and Kashmiris shrines in Pakistan.

50 kg of poppy husk seized, 2 held
Jammu, August 7
The Police today arrested two and seized 50 kg of poppy husk from their possession on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway, official sources said.


Top








 

Three Army men among 14 killed
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 7
In stepped-up violence ahead of Independence Day celebrations, at least 14 persons, including six militants, were killed in separate incidents in the valley since yesterday.

Militants also fired on the house of Mr Ghulam Ahmad Bhat, block secretary of the National Conference at Bugam, Chadoora in Budgam district yesterday. No damage was, however, caused, the police said. In another incident, the militants lobbed a grenade on the premises of the house of a counter-insurgent-turned politician, Mr Ghulam Mohammad, at Pampore, near here.

Three Armymen, three militants and a woman were killed and a jawan injured in an encounter between the militants and the security forces at Arigoripora in the Kangan area of Srinagar district, about 40 km from here, late last night.

Two foreign militants of the Jaish-e-Mohammad, two personnel of the SOG and a jawan were killed in an encounter at Konibal, Pampore, about 15 km south of here in Pulwama district in a night-long operation.

A militant was killed in an encounter with the security forces at Ratsun, Shikargah in Pulwama district yesterday.
Top

 

Azad to continue as state Congress president
Our Correspondent

Jammu, August 7
For the time being, the AICC President, Ms Sonia Gandhi, has decided to retain Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, as President of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee.

In fact, a majority of the senior Congress leaders and those in the working committee of the PCC had conveyed to Ms Sonia Gandhi that since there was nobody suitable for replacing Mr Azad as PCC President at this juncture, he (Mr Azad) should be retained.

A month ago, the AICC leadership explored the possibility of installing a Congress leader from the Kashmir valley as PCC President and in this connection the names of Prof Saifuddin Soz, member, Rajya Sabha, Mr Ghulam Rasool Kar, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed and Mr Abdul Gani Vakil were considered.

The idea of replacing Mr Azad by another party leader as PCC President was to have a person as the party’s head in Jammu and Kashmir who could devote full time to the affairs of the organisation. Mr Azad had conveyed to Ms Sonia Gandhi his desire to quit the PCC President’s post as he could not spend enough time in the state.

Party leaders ultimately decided that in the interests of the organisation the continuance of Mr Azad as PCC President was necessary. Mr Azad’s suggestion that a senior party leader be installed as working president to look after the affairs of the organisation has not yet been given any weightage because several Congress leaders in the state are not in favour of it.

Another factor that forced the AICC leadership to drop the plan of giving the PCC President’s post to a new Kashmiri leader was the quantum of understanding between Mr Azad and the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Mr Azad has been invariably seen talking to the Mufti from a position of strength, which neither Prof Saifuddin Soz, nor Mr Vakil, nor Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed and Mr Kar could do.
Top

 

CRPF’s deployment put on hold
S. P. Sharma

Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 7
The decision of the Centre to put on hold further deployment of CRPF for anti-insurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir has come late, but is expected to yield the desired results.

The BSF will now continue to be the main force for counter-terrorist operations. This decision was taken at a high-level meeting that was presided over by the Home Minister, Mr Shiv Raj Patil, in Delhi yesterday.

The Home Secretary and the Director-General, CRPF, have reached Srinagar to assess the situation following a spurt in terrorist attacks, particularly on the CRPF camps.

The decision of the previous NDA government to pull out the BSF and deploy the CRPF for counter-terrorist operations was ill-timed. Replacement of the force had started last year amid doubts whether it would be fruitful.

The BSF has been fighting terrorism for the past 15 years and had developed its own intelligence network that had led to the elimination of certain top terrorists. The recent arrest of about 20 top militants leaders was one of the successes of the force.

However, questions were raised when the pull out of the BSF started at a time when there were signs of a decline in terrorist activities in the valley and a clear change in the scenario was visible on the streets. The CRPF was new to the situation and had to build up its own intelligence network here.

The replacement of the BSF with the CRPF was started on the basis of a report of a group of ministers that had decided in 2000, after the Kargil conflict that there should be a single force on each border of the country. The BSF was assigned the task of guarding the Indo-Pakistan and Indo-Bangladesh borders, while the ITBP was to take care of the Indo-China and Indo-Tibet borders. The SSB was deployed along the Indo-Nepal border.
Top

 

Geelani floats party
Tribune News service

Srinagar, August 7
Setting at rest all speculations, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, chairman of the breakaway faction of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, today floated Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Kashmir (Kashmir Freedom Movement). It follows ending of differences with his parent organisation, the Jamaat-e-Islami, and disbanding of the pressure group or the united force after over nine months’ efforts to forge unity between the two factions of the Hurriyat Conference.

Announcing the decision to float his own party at the Hyderpora residence here today, Mr Geelani disclosed that he would be the chairman of the new organisation while his close associate, Mohammad Ashraf Sahrai, would be its general secretary. There would be 12 basic members of the new party, one of the constituents of separatist Hurriyat Conference led by the firebrand leader.

While Mr Geelani floated the Tehreek-e-Hurrityat Kashmir, the Abbas-led faction of the APHC held its executive and general council meeting at its Raj Bagh headquarters. Leaders met for the first time after Moulvi Abbas Ansari stepped down from the chairmanship of the APHC, asking its founder chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, to initiate fresh unity efforts. The meeting held under the chairmanship of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq authorised him to head the conglomeration, while continuing the unity efforts. It sought cooperation from all units, within and outside, by adopting a “positive approach”.

Others who attended the meeting included Moulvi Abbas Ansari, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, Khalil Mohammad Khalil of the People’s Conference in the absence of Bilal Lone). The special invitees at the meeting included Fazal-ul-Haq Qureshi, Abdul Hameed Deewani, Saleem Geelani, Mohammad Abdullah Mannan and Bashir Ahmad Kanth.

The Jamaat-e-Islami, which earlier this week allowed him to float the new party, would also extend its support to the Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference. Before parting ways from the Abbas-led APHC last year, Mr Geelani had been Jamaat’s representative in the Hurriyat Conference. It has now made it clear not to depute its representative to the Abbas-led APHC by extending full support to Mr Geelani.

Commenting on the new party, Mr Geelani said it was the result of year-long deliberations with his parent party. He held that the aims and objectives of his new party were in accordance with those of the Jamaat-e-Islami. He reiterated his stand on the right to self-determination and said the party would accept the verdict of the people in that case. He asked India to accept Kashmir as a disputed territory. Referring to the ongoing talks at various levels between India and Pakistan, Mr Geelani said there was no relief to the people of Kashmir.
Top

 

Five more Amarnath yatris die

Srinagar, August 7
With the death of five more pilgrims, the toll in the Amarnath pilgrimage has risen to 46.

Meanwhile, a record number of pilgrims are expected to perform ‘pooja’ at the cave shrine this year as more than three lakh ‘yatris’ have already visited the shrine.

Official sources said Megnath of West Bengal and Ram Nath of Uttar Pradesh died of cardiac arrest on way to the cave shrine while another pilgrim, who was admitted to a hospital here, died last night.

Two more unidentified pilgrims died at Sheshnag and Panjtrni yesterday.

The last darshan will be on August 31, Raksha Bandhan day.

Jammu: Despite inclement weather and landslides on the Jammu-Srinagar highway, another batch of pilgrims left here today for the Amarnath shrine.

The batch comprising 1,606 men, 452 women, 46 children and 156 sadhus left the base camp at M A M stadium here around 6 am in 90 vehicles under the proper security escort, an official spokesman said here.

The spokesman said though landslides had occurred near Ramban on the highway due to overnight rain, yet the road was open for one-way traffic and the vehicles of Amarnath pilgrims would be allowed to proceed for their onward journey.

With today’s batch, more than 70,000 pilgrims have left here for the shrine since the commencement of the pilgrimage on July 14. — UNI, PTI
Top

 

Kargil road to remain open for one more hour
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 7
The Army has agreed to open the Srinagar-Kargil road for one hour more for the convenience of civil traffic. It will be opened from 5 am to 8 am at Gumri and 1 p.m to 3.30 pm at Sonamarg.

The additional one hour would allow 400 more vehicles to move per day one way, including light vehicles. This, according to an official spokesman, was conveyed to Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma by the GoC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt-Gen Hari Prasad, here yesterday. The issue had been taken up on the request of transporters and tour operators.

On the request of the Deputy Chief Minister, Gen Prasad has also agreed to create temporary toilet facilities at Sonamarg, Gumri and Minamarg but their upkeep and maintenance would be undertaken by the civil administration. Mr Sharma has asked the Deputy Commissioners of Srinagar and Kargil to discuss the matter with the local Army units.

The Army has also assured the Deputy Chief Minister of all possible assistance in case of emergency and disaster but asked the civil administration to construct shelter sheds, huts etc. at appropriate places enroute Leh. It has, however, indicated that it has formulated detailed plan for disaster management along Zojila axis. The Deputy Chief Minister has agreed to the Army’s proposal for setting up two standing groups for coordination. One would be the Apex Committee while the other would be the Working Committee. These committees would comprise senior officers of the Jammu and Kashmir Government, Army, Traffic police and BEACON. These groups would ensure effective coordination between all agencies for better management of Srinagar-Kargil-Leh.
Top

 

Man gets life term in dowry death case

Jammu, August 7
A local court today awarded life imprisonment to a man convicted of killing his wife as she had brought insufficient dowry in Jammu.

The First Additional Sessions Judge, Jammu, Justice Bansi Lal Bhat, today awarded life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000 to Gharu Ram of Chatha Mill here for murdering his wife.

According to the prosecution, on September 28, 2000, the accused had allegedly poured kerosene on his wife Gita Devi and set her ablaze.

He even gagged her so that she could not cry for help.

Gita was admitted to the Medical College Hospital with multiple burn injuries that day.

In her dying statement on the next day, the victim had stated that after her wedding in April 1999, she was subjected to harassment by her husband and her in-laws for bringing less dowry.

Gita said the family had threatened to eliminate her if she failed to bring certain goods such as refrigerator and cooler. But since her father was poor she was unable to fulfil their demand. — PTI
Top

 

Allow Kashmiris to visit shrines in Pak,
says Mehbooba
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 7
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and MP Ms Mehbooba Mufti has urged India and Pakistan to allow people from Pakistan to visit shrines in Kashmir and Kashmiris shrines in Pakistan.

Addressing party workers here on Thursday Ms Mufti welcomed the Indo-Pakistan talks over allowing people from both countries to visit shrines in the other country. She added that besides Wagah and Attari, pilgrims should be allowed to drive via the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road. She welcomed confidence building measures between New Delhi and Islamabad to promote amity and business between two countries. She, however, stressed the Kashmir issue — main issue between two countries, should not be put on the backburner. Ms Mufti said that the visit of the artists, cricket teams, pilgrims and parliamentarians should not be restricted between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Top

 

50 kg of poppy husk seized, 2 held

Jammu, August 7
The Police today arrested two and seized 50 kg of poppy husk from their possession on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway, official sources said.

A police team intercepted a Punjab bound truck coming from Kashmir at Jajjar Kotli on the highway this morning, and on search recovered 50 kg of poppy husk packed in several bags from it, the sources said.

Two persons Chand Singh and Jagpal, both residents of Punjab were arrested, they said adding they were smuggling the contraband from Srinagar to Punjab.

A case was registered against them, they said. — PTI
Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |