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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

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

Cong, PDP vote against reintroduction of Daughters’ Bill
Srinagar, August 25
The battle lines between main alliance partners, the Congress and the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir were clearly drawn today as the two parties voted against each other in the Legislative Assembly on the issue of the reintroduction of the controversial Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill, 2004.

Members of the National Conference argue for the reintroduction of the controversial Permanent Resident Bill, 2004, in the Legislative Assembly in Srinagar Members of the National Conference argue for the reintroduction of the controversial Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill, 2004, in the Legislative Assembly in Srinagar on Wednesday. — Tribune photo by Amin War

BJP’s dharna on Daughters’ Bill
Jammu, August 25
Top BJP leaders of J&K sat on dharna here today to protest against the move of the government to reintroduce the controversial daughters Bill in the Assembly to snatch the citizenship rights of women marrying outside the state.


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Jammu
Srinagar


EARLIER STORIES

 

Permanent Resident Bill to be poll plank
Jammu, August 25
Both the Congress and the BJP plan to use the controversial Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill, which is awaiting adoption by the Assembly now in session in Srinagar, as the main poll plank during the byelection in the two constituencies of Akhnoor and Basholi on October 13.

APHC ready for talks without preconditions
Srinagar, August 25
The All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is ready to hold a “serious and sincere” dialogue with the Central Government without any preconditions to resolve the long-pending Kashmir issue and restore an everlasting peace in the region.

Byelections to be no cakewalk for PDP, Cong
Jammu, August 25
The coming byelections for the four assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir are being seen as a mini referendum for the Mufti-led PDP-Congress coalition government that has come under a cloud on various controversial issues.

Two kids killed in RPG attack in Doda
Jammu, August 25
Two children were killed and their parents wounded critically in an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) attack by militants on a house at Karara in Doda district last night, the police said today.

Amarnath pilgrim dies
Srinagar, August 25
One more pilgrim died en route to the cave shrine of Amarnath, raising the death toll in this year’s annual pilgrimage to 60, an official spokesman said today.

Video
Pilgrims carry 'Chari Mubarak' on foot to Amarnath cave shrine.
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Cong, PDP vote against reintroduction of Daughters’ Bill
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 25
The battle lines between main alliance partners, the Congress and the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir were clearly drawn today as the two parties voted against each other in the Legislative Assembly on the issue of the reintroduction of the controversial Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill, 2004. The Bill which could not be passed by the Legislative Council due to repeated adjournments of the two Houses during the past four days, would be put to vote in the Assembly on Friday, as the government proposes to pass it again.

After adjourning the proceedings of the Assembly twice today due to persistent demand of the opposition National Conference to hold a discussion, the Speaker Mr Tara Chand adjourned the House till Friday. Later the Speaker told newsmen that the Bill would be put to vote on Friday after a day’s consultations with all political parties concerned. He added that the Bill had lapsed but was put to vote by the House today, which would be held again on August 27. He regretted that due to the controversy over the Bill normal business of the House suffered. Mr Tara Chand added that there was no possibility of more discussions on the Bill, as it had already been discussed before being sent to the Upper House. He held that he had allowed the National Conference’s demand to reintroduce the Bill in relaxation of the rules. Replying to a question, he said he was not “helpless or under pressure”, being a member of the Congress. He held that he would continue to maintain the sanctity of the House with his impartial approach. He said measures had been taken over the past few days to resolve the issue in the interest of public matters.

Today’s business of the House apart from question hour, included a calling attention motion, four private members’ bills. It had also listed a motion by Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Muzaffar Hussain Beigh to the effect that “the Jammu and Kashmir Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill, 2004 (LA Bill No 9 of 2004)” as originally passed by the House be passed again.

The issue continued to rock the House that was adjourned twice. Earlier when the proceedings started, National Conference members rose with their demand to hold discussion on the Bill, and question hour began with an assurance from the Speaker that the bill would be taken up later.

The trouble started when Mr Rather moved the bill for introduction. This was resented by Congress members. Some of them went to the Well demanding voting in the House. They raised slogans like “We want voting” and kaala Bill naheen chalega”.

Senior Congress leader and Deputy Chief Minister, Mangat Ram Sharma said, the “bill has to fall. We will not allow it to pass, but let us discuss it”, he said. The Rural Development Minister and newly appointed Chief of the Pradesh Congress Committee Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed told the House that the Bill, not passed by the Upper House, concerned all. “It is a constitutional amendment.

There should be voting at the time of its introduction”, he added. when the Speaker sought voting on the introduction of the Bill, National Conference and ruling PDP members favoured it.

The main ally, the Congress opposed it amid raising of slogans, as the Law Minister blamed several members for resorting to communal politics.

However, the move could not be made today following National Conference leader, Abdul Rahim Rather seeking a discussion on the Bill “to provide for disqualification from being a permanent resident of the state on marriage of a woman permanent resident with a non-permanent resident.”

He argued that the introduction of the Bill followed by discussion was necessary in case of the bill of urgent nature. Later talking to mediapersons, he alleged that the government with the Congress as one of its main allies had been acting on the directives of the Central Government.

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BJP’s dharna on Daughters’ Bill
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 25
Top BJP leaders of J&K sat on dharna here today to protest against the move of the government to reintroduce the controversial daughters Bill in the Assembly to snatch the citizenship rights of women marrying outside the state.

Prominent among those who sat on dharna outside the office of the Divisional Commissioner were Dr Nirmal Singh, state BJP chief, and Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, former Union minister.

The BJP leaders alleged that the Mufti-PDP-Congress coalition government was bent upon depriving the womenfolk of their constitutional rights in the state.

They accused Ms Sonia Gandhi, Congress President, of trying to trample the rights of women in the country.

The agitating leaders accused the Mufti government of having miserably failed to solve the problem of erratic electricity and water supply here.

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Permanent Resident Bill to be poll plank
Our Correspondent

Jammu, August 25
Both the Congress and the BJP plan to use the controversial Permanent Resident (Disqualification) Bill, which is awaiting adoption by the Assembly now in session in Srinagar, as the main poll plank during the byelection in the two constituencies of Akhnoor and Basholi on October 13.

The two Assembly seats fell vacant after the sitting Congress candidates, Mr Madan Lal Sharma and Mr Lal Singh, were elected to the Lok Sabha.

The state unit of the BJP has already fired its first salvo against the Bill by staging a day-long dharna in front of the office of the Divisional Commissioner here today.

Though the BJP’s anti-Bill furore, which it raised in March-April last, did not help it in the Lok Sabha poll, against eight the party leadership has decided to cash in on the issue, whether the bill is adopted or not by the state legislature.

If the Bill is adopted it will definitely give “teeth” to the BJP campaign against the PDP-led government during the ensuing Assembly byelection. If the Bill falls the BJP leadership would like to convince the voters in the two Assembly constituencies, that had the Bill been adopted it could have further widened the political and cultural gap between the Jammu region and the Kashmir valley besides enhancing the level of discrimination of people of the Jammu province.

The state unit of the Congress, on the other hand, has decided to oppose the adoption of the Bill with a loud voice in order to compensate for its blunder which its MLAs committed by voting in favour of the Bill in the lower House in March last.

A senior Congress leader told this correspondent today “whether the Bill is introduced in an amended form or is tabled in its original form we will oppose it even if it further strains the alliance with the PDP.”

The Congress does not want to lose Akhnoor and Basholi Assembly seats because its leaders feel that out of four Assembly constituencies only Basholi and Akhnoor could be regained. The bypoll in Pahalgam and Batamaloo had been necessitated following Ms Mehbooba Mufti election to the Lok Sabha and on account of the demise of Mr Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah.

Present indications are that the PDP will leave Akhnoor and Basholi constituencies to the congress to contest and field its candidates from Pahalgam and Srinagar segments. Hence the stakes for the Congress are high in Akhnoor and Basholi as the ruling party is keen to raise the number of party members in the Assembly. In the 2002 Assembly poll the Congress had won 20 seats. At present it has 18 after two members were elected to the Lok Sabha.

However, by allowing six Independent MLAs to join the party as associate members its strength in the House is 24. In case it wins the Akhnoor and the Basholi seats its strength will touch 26 allowing it to play the role of a big brother in the ruling alliance.

For the BJP the importance of the byelections in Akhnoor and Basholi constituencies is equally high as the poll results will determine whether the BJP has regained its lost ground under the new leadership or not. Hence its clamour over the Bill will not die even if the Bill does not become law.

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APHC ready for talks without preconditions
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 25
The All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is ready to hold a “serious and sincere” dialogue with the Central Government without any preconditions to resolve the long-pending Kashmir issue and restore an everlasting peace in the region.

“We have made our stand very clear that the talks should be unconditional, Kashmir-specific and with the involvement of Pakistan”, said acting chairman of the APHC, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

He said the APHC had also made its point clear that it would like to visit Pakistan after the third round of talks with the Government of India to exchange views with the political and militant leadership there.

The Mirwaiz was talking to Tribune News Service after a four-hour-long meeting of the general council, the executive council and the working committee at the party headquarters here yesterday.

The inconclusive meeting had been called to discuss the administrative and other internal matters to make working of the APHC more effective. The meeting would be resumed later this week, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said.

The Mirwaiz held that the APHC was clear on its approach to take forward the dialogue process initiated with the NDA government earlier this year. He, however, lamented that there was “no clarity” from the Central Government in this direction. The Mirwaiz reiterated that the APHC had already rejected the dialogue within the ambit of the Constitution as stated by the Union Home Minister, Mr Shiv Raj Patil earlier, this month.

Referring to the issues discussed at yesterday’s meeting, the Mirwaiz held that there was an update on the unity efforts between the two factions of the Hurriyat Conference, apart from the ongoing Indo-Pak dialogue. The Mirwaiz had been entrusted the task of reuniting the two factions of the APHC and also rope in other like-minded parties and leaders outside the fold of two APHC factions.

The chief of the breakaway faction, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has already floated his separate political organisation, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir with the consent of his parent organisation, Jamaat-e-Islami, while the Jamaat has joined the APHC led by Geelani. The Jamaat-e-Islami, the Peoples League and the JKLF remained out of the two factions after the split. 

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Byelections to be no cakewalk for PDP, Cong
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, August 25
The coming byelections for the four assembly seats in Jammu and Kashmir are being seen as a mini referendum for the Mufti-led PDP-Congress coalition government that has come under a cloud on various controversial issues.

Two seats each in the Jammu region and the Kashmir valley will go to the polls in October along with Maharashtra. The seats are Akhnoor and Basohli in Jammu and Pahalgam and Batmaloo in the valley. Two seats have been vacated by the Congress and one each by the PDP and the National Conference (NC).

While the two seats of Akhnoor and Basohli were held by Mr Madan Lal and Mr Lal Singh (both Congress), respectively, Ms Mehbooba Mufti, president of the PDP resigned from the Pahalgam seat. All these legislators were elected to the Lok Sabha. The Batmaloo seat in the Srinagar town fell vacant due to the death of Mr Mohiuddin Shah of the NC.

The coalition partners will have to strive hard to retain the three seats that were held by them earlier. The PDP is expected to make all-out efforts to grab the Batmaloo seat as the election is a question of prestige for it. However, the constituency has been a stronghold of the NC in the past. The PDP had for the first time won the Pahalgam seat from the NC.

The BJP, which faced humiliation in the Jammu division where it won only one eat in the last assembly elections, is expected to spare no efforts to make its presence felt here.

Various Congress activists have started lobbying for the party ticket for Akhnoor and Basohli seats. Mr Dharampal Sharma, an old Congressman, is in the forefront for the ticket for the Akhnoor constituency. He represented the constituency for four terms from 1967 to 1988 and is at present vice-president of the PCC.

There are reports that Mr Madan Lal, a former PWD Minister, who has vacated the seat, is not in the favour of Mr Sharma being given the party mandate.

It is being said that two defectors, Mr Govind Ram and Mr Ajat Shatru, who is a son of Dr Karan Singh, who were earlier in the NC, are also in the race for the Congress ticket for Akhnoor. However, the rank and file of the party here is against the ticket being given to the defectors.

On the other hand, the Congress has to find a promising candidate for the Basohli seat that was represented by Mr Lal Singh twice.

It would be a testing time for the NC in the Kashmir valley also, which has been its stronghold for all these years.

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Two kids killed in RPG attack in Doda

Jammu, August 25
Two children were killed and their parents wounded critically in an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) attack by militants on a house at Karara in Doda district last night, the police said today.

The RPG was fired by militants at a Central Reserve Police Force camp at Karara, but it missed the target and exploded in the nearby house of Mohammad Hanief.

In the blast, Hanief’s one-and-a-half-year-old daughter Nasira Bano and nine-year-old son Babar were killed, while he and his wife, Shahida Bano, survived with serious injuries.

The injured were admitted to the district hospital, Doda, where their condition was stated to be critical. Hanief’s house was damaged badly in the explosion, sources said.

Soon after the attack the security forces launched a ‘’seek-and-destroy’’ operation in the Karara forests. but the militants could not be traced, sources added.

SRINAGAR: Militants killed two people, including a woman as the security forces apprehended three militants and recovered arms and ammunition in the Kashmir Valley overnight, an official spokesman said.

He said militants shot dead Zubeda in Dkai Kulgam village in the South Kashmir district of Anantnag last evening.

The security forces recovered the dead body of Manzoor Ahmad Mir from Hafrada in the frontier district of Kupwara today.

He said the security forces apprehended two ultras of the Al Badr outfit from Bandipora in North Kashmir and recovered one pistol, one magazine, seven rounds and seven hand grenades from them.

Another militant was captured along with one had grenade at Mattan Chown in South Kashmir today. — UNI

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Amarnath pilgrim dies

Srinagar, August 25
One more pilgrim died en route to the cave shrine of Amarnath, raising the death toll in this year’s annual pilgrimage to 60, an official spokesman said today.

A yatri identified as Sita Ram Dass of Maharashtra died at Sheshnag, near the 3,880 metre high holy cave, due to cardiac arrest yesterday, the spokesman said.

He said as many as 2,82,390 pilgrims had darshan at the holy cave till last evening since the commencement of the yatra on July 15. — PTI

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