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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

Soz’s induction creates another power centre in state
Jammu, January 29
Another power centre was created on the political horizon of Jammu and Kashmir with the induction of Mr Saifuddin Soz in the Central Cabinet today.

Militant’s diary sends alarm bells ringing
Srinagar, January 29
Startling revelations about the amount of money being pushed for sustaining militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and the nexus between militants and traders have come to the fore after a diary was seized from the hideout of a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, official sources said today.

HC directive to police in forgery case
Srinagar, January 29
Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked the police to complete the investigation into forgery of documents regarding a piece of land in the heart of the city in two months.

Rape attempt foiled, four arrested
Jammu, January 29
The police foiled a rape attempt by four youths by rescuing a kidnapped girl from them in Rajauri district of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said today.


YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar


EARLIER STORIES

 

SPO, militants killed in J&K
Srinagar, January 29
An encounter is on between militants and the Army at Laddi village near a tourist resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir today. Defence spokesman Lt Col V.K. Batra told UNI that the encounter started between militants and the Army at Laddi in Pahalgam area today.

Air Sahara airliner grazes AI plane
Srinagar, January 29
Passengers on board a 180-seater Delhi-Srinagar Air Sahara airliner had a narrow escape when the plane’s wing grazed a parked Air-India aircraft after landing at the International airport here today, airport authorities said.

5 die in accidents
Jammu, January 29
Five persons were killed and six injured in separate mishaps in Jammu division, official sources said today.

3 truckloads of bovines seized, 3 held
Jammu, January 29
The police seized three truckloads of bovines and arrested three persons in this connection here today, official sources said.

16 kg of IED seized
Jammu, January 29
Security forces seized a huge haul of arms and ammunition, including 16 kg of improvised explosive devices, in Rajouri district, official sources said today.

Two labourers run over by truck
Jammu, January 29
Two labourers were killed and four injured after a truck rammed into a group of people on the premises of J.P. Industries at Chanderkote near Ramban here today.

200 passengers remain stranded
Srinagar, January 29
Around 200 passengers, including many Haj pilgrims, from Kargil and Leh districts continue to be stranded here for the past several days following cancellation of flights due to bad weather conditions prevailing in the entire region.

BSNL officer held for graft
Jammu, January 29
An officer of the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited has been arrested by the CBI for accepting a bribe from a villager in Jammu, sources of the investigating agency said today.


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Soz’s induction creates another power centre in state
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, January 29
Another power centre was created on the political horizon of Jammu and Kashmir with the induction of Mr Saifuddin Soz in the Central Cabinet today.

Mr Soz, who was Environment Minister earlier in the NDA ministry as a nominee of the National Conference, had toppled the Vajpayee government in 1999 with a single vote by going against the confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.

So far, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Chief Minister, was the only centre of power in the Congress here, as there was no one in the state to match his clout in the party high command.

The induction of Mr Soz in the UPA ministry headed by Dr Manmohan Singh has reportedly come as yet another set back to the camp of Mr Azad. Mr Soz had recently been made a member of the Congress Working Committee (CWC).

A senior Congress leader said all that indicated that Mr Soz enjoyed the blessings of Mrs Sonia Gandhi. Those sidelined by Mr Azad were expected to find a grazing ground in the Soz camp, he added.

Although Dr Karan Singh was also a prominent contender for the ministerial berth, what political observers believe went against him was that he had himself shunned the political contacts here after his defeat in the elections and switched over to Delhi from where already a number of ministers had been inducted. Moreover, his “disloyalty” to Mrs Gandhi at the time of crisis had always come as an obstruction for him although the Congress recently gave him a seat in the Rajya Sabha.

The PDP leader and former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, declined the offer of a ministerial berth at the Centre. It paved the way for the induction of Mr Soz into the Union Cabinet.

Another Congress activist said although Mr Soz was new to the Congress, his induction was an important development. While Mr Azad did not find a place in the CWC, he was also made a member of the top policy-making body of the Congress.

A senior party leader said the induction of Mr Soz would hardly make any impact on the political scene as he had yet to make roots in the state party.

Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah, president of the National Conference, while welcoming the induction of Mr Soz, said he was the first Kashmiri to head the crucial water Resource Ministry.

Mr Abdullah hoped that Mr Soz would be able to undo the injustice done to the state in its share of water resources because of the Indus Water Treaty.

He urged the newly appointed minister to either re-negotiate the treaty and bring justice to the people of the state or ensure due compensation for the state in lieu of the losses incurred due to the lopsided treaty.

He said the entire state was looking up to Mr Soz to correct the historical mistake and hoped that he would live up to the aspirations of the people of the state on the issue.

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Militant’s diary sends alarm bells ringing

Srinagar, January 29
Startling revelations about the amount of money being pushed for sustaining militancy in Jammu and Kashmir and the nexus between militants and traders have come to the fore after a diary was seized from the hideout of a top Hizbul Mujahideen commander, official sources said today.

During the past two years, the sources said militants had spent over Rs 38 lakh on buying explosives of various nature. The amount spent on militants was almost Rs 3 crore.

The sources said the diary had revealed that militants had bought over 10 tonnes of explosives during the past two years in the Kashmir valley alone, a fact that had sent alarm bells ringing in the security and intelligence set-up.

The explosives are enough to blow up almost all buildings in Srinagar city, which has a population of more than 10 lakh, they added.

Payments were made through various intermediaries just before or after some of the sensational car bomb attacks in which many civilians and security forces personnel were killed.

The diary was seized from the hideout of Hizb militant incharge of accounts, Sohail Faisal, following information provided by another arrested militant of the outfit last week.

A payment of Rs 1 lakh was made to Imdad Watchi as a reward for carrying out an IED explosion, targeting a vehicle carrying Army personnel at Arawani in Anantnag district in December, 2004. Nine army jawans and a civilian driver were killed in the attack.

The militants had distributed nearly 3.9 tonnes of explosives in the south Kashmir districts of Anantnag and Pulwama in one month before the attack, the diary revealed.

An amount of Rs 6.5 lakh was paid to one Gowhar in Srinagar on June 16, three days after the massive car bomb explosion in Pulwama town in which 14 persons, including three security jawans, were killed and hundreds of others wounded.

The same person, according to the diary, received another payment of Rs 40,000 on June 25 and another Rs 50,000 four days later last year. On June 24, a car bomb killed nine soldiers at Nishat on the city outskirts.

The sources said Rs 5 lakh was paid to several conduits of the outfit before and after the July 20 blast in the high security Church Lane area of the city which killed four Army personnel and a civilian.

Gowhar, who does not have his last name or any other information about him listed in the diary, seems to be the main channel for procuring the explosives as there were 14 entries amounting to Rs 19 lakh against his name, they added.

Army officials believe that there might be a nexus between militants and traders for explosive materials as huge quantities were purchased by the militants.

The diary speaks about compensation paid to militants, sympathisers who had suffered losses during any operation by the security forces.

The outfit has also been lavish in giving out “allowances” to its cadres on special occasions like Id or marriage. — UNI

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HC directive to police in forgery case

Srinagar, January 29
Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked the police to complete the investigation into forgery of documents regarding a piece of land in the heart of the city in two months.

Passing strictures against the government and its agencies for being “nonchalant” towards state land at prime locations, the court directed states revenue secretary to take a decision regarding granting lease rights for a shopping complex on the piece of land at Lal Chowk.

Mr Justice Bashir A. Kirmani passed the directions yesterday on a writ petition filed by Raman Seth.

Despite such a serious matter involving fudging of government order and rights of the government over a sizeable plot - that too in heart of the city - has been left totally unattended by agencies, concerned which speaks volumes about their indifference and apathy, he said.

“If after lapse of five years no progress has been made in the investigation, it means the agencies concerned appear to be suffering from unexplained inertia,” the court held.

The petitioner had stated that he inherited two kanals, 15 marlas and 56 sq ft of land situated at Maisuma in the heart of the city. They had been granted the leasehold rights of the land for 40 years by the then government and the same expired on February 13, 1975.

On this land, a commercial building was constructed and shops were rented out to people including a person who conducted the business under the name of ‘Fancy Fabrics.

Fancy Fabrics acquired a portion of the land and claimed leasehold rights over it under a government order in 1999.

However, the petitioner said the order was fake and a government inquiry had already proved it. — PTI, UNI

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Rape attempt foiled, four arrested

Jammu, January 29
The police foiled a rape attempt by four youths by rescuing a kidnapped girl from them in Rajauri district of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said today.

After receiving a complaint from some people who heard the cries of a girl from a moving vehicle on the Nowshera-Lamberi road in Rajauri district last evening, the police alerted all check points on the road, they told reporters.

When they tried to intercept the vehicle at some distance on the road, two youths started throwing stones at the police party, they said.

However, all four identified as Jitender, Balwinder, Dheeraj and Dheeraj, all from Nowshera town, were caught and the girl rescued from them.

Dheeraj alias Jeeta, who owned the vehicle, had given a lift to the girl assuring her that he was also proceeding towards Lamberi where she was wanting to go.

After some time, he also took in three of his friends.

Sensing trouble, the girl asked to be dropped but youths caught hold of her and drove away.

Some passers-by heard cries of the girl and informed the police. A case was registered against the youths and the vehicle seized. — PTI

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SPO, militants killed in J&K

Srinagar, January 29
An encounter is on between militants and the Army at Laddi village near a tourist resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir today. Defence spokesman Lt Col V.K. Batra told UNI that the encounter started between militants and the Army at Laddi in Pahalgam area today.

The gunfight ensued after the security forces launched a search at the village following an information, he added. The search party was attacked by the militants. The troops returned the fire. A house was damaged in the gunfight, he said

An SPO and a Hizbul militant were killed while security forces apprehended four militants and seized arms and ammunition across Jammu and Kashmir in the past 24 hours, an official spokesman said today. The police today recovered the body of SPO Shabir Ahmad from Kanjikula Yaripora in Anantnag district of south Kashmir, the spokesman said. Shabir was on leave. Security forces shot dead a Hizb militant during an encounter at Chandyal in Rajouri district of Jammu region early today. An AK rifle and three magazines were seized from him, he added.

In a joint search operation, security forces and the Jammu and Kashmir Police apprehended two Hizb militants at Tral along with two hand grenades, one pistol magazine, four rounds and some incriminating documents. — PTI, UNI

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Air Sahara airliner grazes AI plane

Srinagar, January 29
Passengers on board a 180-seater Delhi-Srinagar Air Sahara airliner had a narrow escape when the plane’s wing grazed a parked Air-India aircraft after landing at the International airport here today, airport authorities said.

Although both planes shook under the impact, all passengers were safe and there was no report of any injury, they said.

The incident occurred at the apron of the airport as the Air Sahara Boeing from Delhi, which was almost full, was taxiing in. The aircraft’s wing brushed past the wing of a parked Air-India plane that had returned with Haj pilgrims from Saudi Arabia, they said, adding that it had no passengers.

The authorities, however, refused to divulge the exact number of passengers on board the Sahara flight, but said the 180-seater aircraft was almost full. The incident occurred as the parking space at the airport, which is undergoing renovation and construction, was not adequate, airport sources said. — PTI

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5 die in accidents

Jammu, January 29
Five persons were killed and six injured in separate mishaps in Jammu division, official sources said today.

A truck loaded with sand overturned near the site of the Baglihar hydro electric power project in Ramban belt of Doda district today, killing two labourers and injuring five others.

In another accident, two persons were crushed to death by an Army vehicle on its way to the Kandi area in Rajauri district last night, they said.

In another mishap, one person was killed and another injured after their motorcycle skidded at Ramkote area of Samba tehsil in Jammu district last evening, they said.

The deceased has been identified as Mohan Lal of Samba. The injured has been identified as Ravi Kumar of Ramkote. — PTI

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3 truckloads of bovines seized, 3 held

Jammu, January 29
The police seized three truckloads of bovines and arrested three persons in this connection here today, official sources said.

A Srinagar-bound truck and two jeeps carrying 23 animals were seized at Sarore Morh in Baribrahaman belt of the district early today, they said.

Three smugglers Lukhvidner Singh, Ali Hussain and Mohammad Hussain, who were driving these vehicles were arrested and a case registered against them.

They were smuggling these bovines from R S Pura border belt of Jammu district to the Kashmir valley, they said. — PTI

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16 kg of IED seized

Jammu, January 29
Security forces seized a huge haul of arms and ammunition, including 16 kg of improvised explosive devices (IED), in Rajouri district, official sources said today.

The troops launched a search operation in Mora Daraj area in Bhudal tehsil of Rajouri district last night where some militants were reportedly operating.

On being challenged, the militants fled the hide-out leaving behind 16 kg of IED, 55 rounds of AK rifle, 45 pika rounds, a radio set and some publicity material. — PTI

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Two labourers run over by truck

Jammu, January 29
Two labourers were killed and four injured after a truck rammed into a group of people on the premises of J.P. Industries at Chanderkote near Ramban here today.

Police sources said a truck rammed into a group of people inside J.P. industries, resulting in the instant death of a labourer and injuries to five others.

The injured were admitted to a local hospital, where one of them later died

The dead were identified as Mohammad Yousaf and Lal Din. The injured included truck driver Abdul Qayum. — UNI

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200 passengers remain stranded

Srinagar, January 29
Around 200 passengers, including many Haj pilgrims, from Kargil and Leh districts continue to be stranded here for the past several days following cancellation of flights due to bad weather conditions prevailing in the entire region.

Twentyseven Haj pilgrims, including 16 from the Kargil district, are stranded since last Sunday after their arrival here from the capital of Saudi Arabia Jeddah.

There is no other means for them to return to their homes as the 434-km Srinagar-Kargil-Leh national highway is closed for six winter months.

“The authorities have failed to arrange an helicopter to airlift the passengers stranded here since the first snowfall on January 1,” said Abdul Rehman, a Kargil-bound passenger. — UNI

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BSNL officer held for graft

Jammu, January 29
An officer of the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has been arrested by the CBI for accepting a bribe from a villager in Jammu, sources of the investigating agency said today.

Sub-Divisional Engineer (SDE) Chuni Lal was arrested last evening while accepting Rs 1,000 from an unemployed youth, Vinod Kumar, to issue a feasibility report for an STD PCO booth in the city.

Lal was arrested by a CBI team as soon as he accepted the money from Kumar, the sources said, adding that the arrest was made in the presence of a magistrate. A case has been registered against the engineer, they said, adding that scrutiny of documents and his bank pass books showed that he had recently paid Rs 3 lakh for a flat in NOIDA. — PTI

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