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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Vajpayee had a clear vision on Kashmir, says Gani Bhat
Accuses UPA government of being insincere
Jammu, August 12
Gradually a feeling that the Congress-led UPA government is not sincere in ensuring resumption of talks with Kashmiri separatists has taken roots in the troubled state. The reason being two successive statements by the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, and his junior, Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal, on the issue.

J&K legislature in for a rocky session
Jammu, August 12
The coming monsoon session of the Jammu and Kashmir legislature is expected to generate many fireworks as the opposition National Conference and the Panthers Party, which is a partner in the coalition government, are planning to put Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed on the mat by raising a number of controversial issues in the two houses.

Three militants among eight killed
Jammu, August 12
Three militants and four jawans were among eight persons killed in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, where troops foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control, official sources said here today.

Pranab visits Siachen
Jammu, August 12
The Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, today visited the Siachen glacier, the highest battlefield in the world. Mr Mukherjee is on two-day visit to Ladakh. He undertook a tour of the glacier sector and met jawans at forward posts.


YOUR TOWN
Jammu


EARLIER STORIES
 
Samia Malik, a singer of Pakistani origin, performs during the show Samia Malik, a singer of Pakistani origin, performs during the show "Colours of the Heart" in Srinagar on Thursday. The show was dedicated to peace and Kashmiri women. — Reuters

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Vajpayee had a clear vision on Kashmir, says Gani Bhat
Accuses UPA government of being insincere
Our Correspondent

Jammu, August 12
Gradually a feeling that the Congress-led UPA government is not sincere in ensuring resumption of talks with Kashmiri separatists has taken roots in the troubled state. The reason being two successive statements by the Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, and his junior, Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal, on the issue.

The APHC, led by Maulvi Umar Farooq, has already rejected talks with pre-conditions after Mr Patil said the parleys would be held within the ambit of the Constitution.

What seemed to have amazed and intrigued separatists and their supporters is the statement of Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal in Jammu on Wednesday. He said the government would hold talks with those groups of separatists that had the support of militants. He even went to the extent of saying that talks would be initiated with those that “have the authority of militants.”

A senior APHC leader, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, said, “After judging the response of the Congress-led UPA government to the resumption of dialogue with us, I can say that former Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had a clear vision on the matter. Had his government been voted to power again, things would have started moving in the right direction by now.

He said, “The new Central Government lacked vision and understanding of the ground realities and complexities in Kashmir.”

Tanveer Ahmed, an intellectual said, “Since the attitude of militants towards a dialogue with the Centre is known for the past over a decade, nobody should expect they would authorise any separatist group to resume talks with the Central Government.”

Mr Abdul Qayoom, a senior official of a public sector undertaking, said, “A former chief commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, Abdul Majid Dar, had, in 2000, decided to enter into a dialogue with the Central Government. The result was that he was thrown out of the outfit and about a year ago he was gunned down by rivals.”

He said, “Under these circumstances, it is improbable that militants will support any separatist group wishing to initiate talks with the Centre.” He referred to the fate of APHC leaders and said militant groups had almost disowned them and attempts were made on the lives of Maulvi Umar Farooq and Maulvi Abbas Ansari after they participated in two rounds of talks.

A retired officer of the rank of Senior Superintendent of Police, wishing to remain unidentified, said soon after the Congress-led coalition assumed power at the Centre, it waited for separatists to come under one umbrella so that the dialogue process could become easier and quicker.

When separatists failed to unite, the Union Ministry circles started imposing pre-conditions. These were neither feasible nor acceptable to the separatists. This had created an impression that the UPA government was neither keen nor sincere on resumption of talks with separatists.

Political observers in the state are of the opinion that abandonment or delay in holding talks is likely to allow Kashmiri separatists to assume added political weight. They referred to the down hill journey of the APHC after it participated in talks with the then Central Government.

Hardliner among the separatists, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, seems to be aware of this predicament. He has been consistent in opposing bilateral talks. While emphasising Delhi-Islamabad talks, he wants them to be backed by trilateral parleys.

With the change in the stand of the UPA government on the nature of talks, as was framed by the BJP-led NDA government, people in the state, especially the separatists, are keeping their fingers crossed over the possibility of resumption of dialogue in the near future.
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J&K legislature in for a rocky session
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 12
The coming monsoon session of the Jammu and Kashmir legislature is expected to generate many fireworks as the opposition National Conference (NC) and the Panthers Party (PP), which is a partner in the coalition government, are planning to put Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed on the mat by raising a number of controversial issues in the two houses.

While the NC is likely to target both Mufti and the Congress, the attack of the PP would mostly be confined towards local leaders of the Congress.

The PP today issued a whip asking its legislators to oppose the controversial Daughters’ Bill that is expected to be introduced in the Assembly during the coming session in Srinagar.

The Chairman of the party, Mr Bhim Singh, today said MLAs of the party had been directed not to join the coalition partner of the Congress in case the latter tried to disassociate from the Bill by staging a walkout. The P P would oppose the Bill on the floor of the House.

He accused the Congress of adopting double standard on the controversial bill that seeks to deny property rights to women who marry outsiders. He said the PDP-Congress combine might move the Bill in an amended form to scuttle the move of the National Conference. The Bill, earlier introduced in the last session, has lapsed, as it could not be passed in the Legislative Council within the prescribed period.

On the other hand, the NC has announced that it would introduce the Bill in the Assembly in its present form.

An awkward situation has emerged for the ruling coalition as the PDP of Mufti Sayeed was in favour of passing the Bill, whereas the Congress leadership in Delhi was annoyed at the stand of the PDP. The NC was trying to pin down the PDP on the issue, particularly in the Kashmir valley, where both these parties have their base. However, the Congress was trying to find a way out of the criticism that has been generated by the Bill in the Jammu region.

The Jammu provincial chief of the NC, Mr Ajay Sadhotra, has accused the Congress of adopting double standard by adopting conflicting stand on certain issues both at the Centre and in the state. He said while the Congress at the national level supported downsizing of ministry, it opposed the move in state. It was also trying to dilute the anti-defection law in the state by planning to introduce a Bill for this purpose.

The NC is expected to raise the issue of failure of the government to tackle unemployment and signing of the MoU with the Centre for freezing all vacancies in government departments.

Mr Sadhotra said the issue of development activity having come to a grinding halt in the state would dominate the proceedings of the House as it would be raised by the NC.

He alleged that the Mufti government was afraid of facing the legislature and as such the session had been curtailed to a week. The Budget session was also cut short and the legislators were unable to raise the problems of the people in the House.

Meanwhile, Mr Bhim Singh said the PP would demand a white paper against tainted ministers in the state. In case the government failed to do so, the PP would highlight the misdeeds of such ministers. He demanded that the Speaker of the Assembly should immediately expel the six Independent legislators who had recently joined the Congress.
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Three militants among eight killed

Jammu, August 12
Three militants and four jawans were among eight persons killed in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir, where troops foiled an infiltration bid along the Line of Control, official sources said here today.

At Rangoor nallah in Khadi Karmara belt in Poonch district, troops challenged militants, who fired on the troops and in the ensuing gunbattle two Pakistani militants were killed.

Two AK rifles, three magazines, seven grenades, 130 rounds, one radio set, two IEDs, 17 detonators, one pistol and some explosive material were seized from the spot, they said.

Another Pakistan militant was killed in the Keri area, near the LoC in Rajouri sector, early today as troops foiled another infiltration bid. One AK rifle and some ammunition was seized from him.

Yesterday, five LeT militants were shot dead by troops near the LoC in the Chingus area of Rajouri sector.

Militants last night attacked a security force vehicle by opening indiscriminate firing on it in the Demburi-Chattru area on the Kishtwar-Paddar road in Doda district. Two jawans were killed and two others injured.

Another jawan was killed and two others were injured in an ambush by militants in Kishtwar forest belt of Doda district last night.

Militants today attacked a police station in the Manjakote area of Rajouri district by opening heavy fire and hurling grenades. No loss of life or injury was reported in the attack.

Two brothers, Sajjad and Mohmmad Hussain, who were close associates of LeT terrorist Mohmmad Sarwer last night entered into the district hospital in Kishtwar tehsil of Doda district and shot a civilian, Gulam Mohmmad.

Elsewhere, BSF troops arrested four Bangladesh nationals near a forward border outpost near international border in the R.S. Pura area of Jammu district when they were trying to cross over to Pakistan last night.

Security forces also busted two hideouts in the Ching-neel area in Doda district and Thananamd area in Rajouri district last night and seized one AK rifle, 217 rounds, 27 pika rounds, two grenades, seven detonators, nine time pencil devices and large quantity of ration. — PTI
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Pranab visits Siachen
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 12
The Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, today visited the Siachen glacier, the highest battlefield in the world. Mr Mukherjee is on two-day visit to Ladakh.

He undertook a tour of the glacier sector and met jawans at forward posts. He lauded jawans for their untiring efforts in safeguarding borders in such harsh and inhospitable terrain.

At the base camp, Mr Mukherjee witnessed jawans undergoing training at Siachen Battle school. He was highly impressed by their high standards in mountaineering skills and ice craft.

He interacted with the troops at the base camp and visited the Medical Air Centre at Hunder which provides crucial life saving medical facilities for jawans deployed at Siachen.

Mr Mukherjee also visited the Kargil and Dras sectors. He was accompanied by the Chief of Army Staff, Gen N.C. Vij, Army Commander, Northern Command, Lieut Gen Hari Prasad and Lieut Gen M.L. Naidu, General Officer Commanding, 14 Corps.
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