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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

Shabir to hold debate on Kashmir today
Jammu, December 24
The separatist Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP) headed by Shabir Shah has initiated a public contact campaign to generate a consensus on various options, including self-determination and joint control of India and Pakistan over the state.

234 youths join J&K Light Infantry
Srinagar, December 24
As many as 234 young soliders took part in the Armyís Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry passing out parade here today at the Bana Singh parade ground.

FLASHBACK 2005
A historic year

JAMMU: Restoration of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, opening of the LoC at five places 57 years after Partition, and return of the Congress to power after 30 years in the state, are among the events that made the year historic in Jammu and Kashmir.

Governor visits Forward Areas
Jammu, December 24
The Governor, Lt-Gen S. K. Sinha (retd), yesterday visited the forward areas along the LoC in Poonch and took stock of the measures taken for the rehabilitation of victims of the October 8 earthquake.


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Shabir to hold debate on Kashmir today
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 24
The separatist Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP) headed by Shabir Shah has initiated a public contact campaign to generate a consensus on various options, including self-determination and joint control of India and Pakistan over the state.

Shabir Shah would hold the first such debate here tomorrow in a bid to find a solution to the Kashmir problem.

In a statement here today, he said the purpose behind the debate was to evolve a social consensus on various issues pertaining to the movement launched by the JKDFP.

He said the JKDFP held that self-determination was the cure of all ills in so far as the resolution of the Kashmir issue was concerned. 

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234 youths join J&K Light Infantry

Srinagar, December 24
As many as 234 young soliders took part in the Armyís Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry passing out parade here today at the Bana Singh parade ground.

The Sword of Honour for best all round soldier was presented to Rakesh Kumar and Farooq Ahmad while Jiwan Sharma commanded the parade.

Chief Guest Col N.M. Shankar, Commandant JAK LI Regimental Centre, reviewed the parade and congratulated the young soldiers. The Kashmir valley accounts for 64 of the recruits while the rest are from the other partts of the state. ó UNI

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FLASHBACK 2005
A historic year
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

JAMMU: Restoration of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road, opening of the LoC at five places 57 years after Partition, and return of the Congress to power after 30 years in the state, are among the events that made the year historic in Jammu and Kashmir.

It was a historic occasion when the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, flagged off the bus to Muzaffarabad PoK in April. The bus service has provided an opportunity to divided families to meet again.

The bus service, however, had to be suspended in October because of the devastation caused by the earthquake. The road link was recently restored when Army engineers rebuilt the Aman Setu connecting both sides of Kashmir.

The earthquake made India and Pakistan soften their stand on the Kashmir issue and open the LoC at five places to enable the exchange fo relief material for victims. Rotational opening of these points has now become an ongoing process as victims on both sides are being allowed to cross-over to meet their relatives.

The year brought cheers for the Congress that returned to power in Jammu and Kashmir after 30 years. This was one of the most significant political events of the year that also witnessed the breaking of ice between the Prime Minister and the APHC.

Amid uncertainty over the change of guard in the state, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, resigned from the Union Cabinet and became Chief Minister of the Congress-led coalition on November 2. Throughout the year speculations were rife whether PDP leader Mufti Sayeed would step down to pave the way for a smooth transfer of power on the completion of his three-year term as was provided in an agreement between the two parties.

Initially, there were reports of Mr Azad being reluctant to shift here but he was asked by the Congress leadership to take over the reins of the state.

However, the changeover left some ministers high and dry as they could not get a berth. The Panthers Party was on the verge of a split on the issue of its chairman, Mr Bhim Singh, deciding to support the Azad government from outside. But damage control is being undertaken.

It was a set-back for the APHC that suffered a split with Syed Ali Shah Geelani parting ways. The Hurriyat leadership held a successful round of talks with the Prime Minister.

The Hurriyat leaders were given the green light to visit Pakistan and other countries without any precondition by the Centre.

The BJP saw a split with the breakaway group reviving the Praja Parishad.

The National Conference also did not remain immune to dissidence as its two senior MLAs, Moulvi Iftikhar Ansari and Mr Dillawar Mir, left the party to join the PDP.

The PDP also faced dissidence with one of its senior leaders, Mr Ghulam Hassan Mir, having differences with party chief Mehbooba Mufti.

Because of security threat, the state government could not filfil its commitment of shifting back the first batch of Kashmiri Pandis to Kashmir where flats have been built for them.

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Governor visits Forward Areas
Tribune News service

Jammu, December 24
The Governor, Lt-Gen S. K. Sinha (retd), yesterday visited the forward areas along the LoC in Poonch and took stock of the measures taken for the rehabilitation of victims of the October 8 earthquake.

He said the state government wanted the devastated villages should be rebuilt better than before.

He expressed happiness over the adoption of the worst-hit villages of Khari and Karmada by the Army and hoped these would emerge as model villages. He called for a synergy between various agencies and NGOs in this direction.

The Poonch Deputy Commissioner apprised the Governor of the relief and rehabilitation measures undertaken by the district administration.

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