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Militants kill 12 in J&K ahead of PM’s visit
Tribune News Service and PTI

Srinagar, November 16
Ahead of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Jammu and Kashmir, militants stepped up violence in the state, killing 12 persons, including three of a family and a CRPF jawan.

Three members of a family, including two women, were among six persons killed when unidentified militants opened indiscriminate fire on the inmates of a house at Kawoosa village in Budgam district, near here, last evening.

Elsewhere, six persons, one of them a teenaged boy, were killed and three others were injured in separate incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since yesterday.

The police said six persons, including two women and two activists of Ikhwan or counter-insurgents, were killed by militants at Kawoosa Khalisa village of Budgam district last evening. The incident took place when militants intruded into the house of Abdul Rashid Malik, son of the late Sonaullah Malik, and tried to kidnap two activists of Ikhwan — Farooq Ahmad Bhat and Ghulam Mohiuddin Bhat, alias Deena who had gone there the same evening to see the house owner. The militants resorted to indiscriminate firing upon the inmates when they tried to save the Ikhwan activists, resulting in the death of six persons, the police said.

Those killed have been identified as Farooq Ahmad Bhat and Ghulam Mohiuddin Bhat, activists of Ikhwan, Bashir Ahmad Malik, his mother, Mehtaba, sister Zareefa and Fayaz Ahmad Malik.

A jawan of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a schoolboy were killed and two jawans injured when suspected militants fired upon a patrol party near Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Kachdoora, branch in the Shopian area of Pulwama district this afternoon. Those killed have been identified as C. Mughan of the CRPF and Hilal Ahmad Lone, a student of the Class VIII.

Unidentified militants shot dead two civilians, Sanjeet Singh and Roshan Lal, in the forest area of Tund Patnazi in Doda district of the Jammu region yesterday.

The police recovered the body of Shabir Ahmad Awan from the Harwan Dara area on the outskirts of Srinagar yesterday, after he had been shot dead by unidentified militants.

The body of 80-year old Rol Deen was recovered from the forest area of Sawani in Poonch district yesterday, after he had been kidnapped by militants on August 29, police here said.

The police arrested Mohammad Shafi following the recovery of two hand grenades from his house during search operations at Kathalan village of Pulwama district last night. A suspected militant was apprehended from the Arihal area in the district following the recovery of a grenade from him.



PM to reach out to the hearts of Kashmiris
Rajeev Sharma and Anita Katyal
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 16
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will arrive in Srinagar tomorrow on the first leg of his two-day maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir during which his approach would be of looking at the big picture rather than doling out packages, sources in the Prime Minister’s Office said today.

Meanwhile, there was no official statement from the Government of India today on when the reduction of troops from Jammu and Kashmir is going to start.

A top source in the government, who was present at today’s meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), discounted “rumours” of the CCS deciding to implement the Prime Minister’s November 11 unilateral announcement of troop reduction in J&K from tomorrow.

“It is the prerogative of the Army Chief and the Air Chief when they effect the troop reduction, from where they reduce and how much they reduce. It is to be a structured exercise which will be over a period of time,” the official told The Tribune.

PMO sources said the Prime Minister was going to address one public rally each at Srinagar (November 17) and Jammu (November 18). Interestingly, Dr Manmohan Singh will be addressing the Srinagar rally in Urdu and he has himself written his speech in Urdu. The Prime Minister is more adept in Urdu than in Hindi.

In Srinagar tomorrow, the Prime Minister will meet the entire Council of Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir.

On November 18 in Jammu, his important engagement will be to meet the Unified Command to get a first-hand account of counter-insurgency operations in the state. He is not going to Ladakh but is likely to receive a delegation of Ladakhis during this visit.

The Prime Minister himself, while speaking to a small group of reporters at an Id-Diwali party hosted by Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, said the main objective of his J&K visit was to encourage people to “get out of the old mould."

Asked if he would be talking to Kashmiri separatist leaders in case they wanted to, the PM replied: "We are willing to talk to anybody who believes in peace." When pestered by a reporter on what he would be looking at during his J&K visit, Dr Manmohan Singh said: "We are looking at all that needs to be looked at."

On his part, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad said the main focus of the Prime Minister's J&K visit was reconstruction of the state and putting the state back on track of development.

PMO sources spoke in a similar vein when they said: "The Prime Minister will not be acting as a Santa Claus to announce packages. He will be focussing on a long-term plan for economic reconstruction and development of the state. His main purpose will be to reach out to the minds and hearts of the people."

They said the Prime Minister will be in a listening mode. The Prime Minister has kept J&K topmost in his list of three priority areas : (i) J&K, (ii) north-east, and (iii) infrastructure, in that order.

Among those who will be accompanying the Prime Minister to J&K would be Parliamentary Affairs Minister and former JKPCC chief Ghulam Nabi Azad, AICC General Secretary-incharge of J&K Ambika Soni, Principal Secretary to PM T.K.A. Nair, Centre's interlocutor on J&K N.N. Vohra, PM's Special Adviser on internal security M.K. Narayanan and Union Textile Secretary and an old Kashmir hand Wajahat Habibullah.

National Security Adviser J.N. Dixit also would have accompanied the PM on this visit but he left tonight for China for holding the fourth round of Special Representative-level talks with China.


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