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Hurriyat to decide on PMs offer tomorrow
Jammu, February 18
Although certain constituents of the Hurriyat Conference have decided to ask the leadership of the conglomerate of 23 parties not to participate in the round table conference of mainstream parties and separatists convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on February 25, a final decision on the issue would be taken on Monday.

Concern over "miseries" of undertrials
Srinagar, February 18
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association has expressed concern over the "miseries and sufferings" of undertrial prisoners and detenues from the state in Tihar and Jammu jails and sought attention of the global human rights bodies.

Move politically motivated: BJP
Jammu, February, 18
Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, a former minister and a BJP stalwart, has strongly denounced the head count in the Army on communal and caste basis. Mr Gupta said here today that the Congress has not learnt any lessons from its past mistakes and was now bent upon head count of Muslims in the Army.

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Hurriyat to decide on PMs offer tomorrow
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 18
Although certain constituents of the Hurriyat Conference have decided to ask the leadership of the conglomerate of 23 parties not to participate in the round table conference of mainstream parties and separatists convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on February 25, a final decision on the issue would be taken on Monday.

A joint meeting of the executive council, working committee and the general council of the Hurriyat Conference has been convened on Monday at Srinagar in which leaders of all the 23 parties would participate to decide whether to accept the invitation of the prime minister or spurn it.

The hardliner, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, has already said that he would not participate in any such meeting. The general body of the Peoples' Conference led by Mr Bilal Lone, that met today, has decided to persuade the Hurriyat leadership to turn down the invitation for talks on the plea that it was against the ethos of tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and Kashmiris.

Interestingly, the working committee of individual constituents of the Hurriyat Conference are holding their respective meetings today and tomorrow to discuss the issue. These parties would put forth their viewpoint in the meeting of the Hurriyat on Monday.

Awami Action Committee led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who is chairman of the Hurriyat, will meet tomorrow to discuss the issue of participating in the PM's meeting.

Mr Shabir Shah, chairman of the Democratic Freedom Party, which is not a member of the conglomerate, told the TNS here today that his party would not participate in the round table conference that has been convened by the Prime Minister without doing any spade work. Moreover, the time was not opportune for holding such a meeting.

He said that how could all the parties that have conflicting views on the Kashmir issue could suddenly be asked to sit together with the Prime Minister and discuss the vexed problem.

Mr Omar Abdullah, president of the National Conference, said that the Prime Minister should have invited leaders of the mainstream and separatist parties in groups first.

He said that he would seek a clarification from the Prime Minister why certain Kashmir leaders were invited individually for talks and others have been asked to come in the round table conference.

The CPM has also said that the PM should have first invited smaller groups and then held a meeting of all parties.

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Concern over "miseries" of undertrials
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 18
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association has expressed concern over the "miseries and sufferings" of undertrial prisoners and detenues from the state in Tihar and Jammu jails and sought attention of the global human rights bodies.

A five-member team headed by the Bar president, Mian Abdul Qayoom, that visited the Tihar and Jammu jails for four days in January, has submitted its report to the High Court here.

Following recent court orders, a five-member team led by Mian Abdul Qayoom visited the two jails along with Mohammad Maqbool Pandit, Aijaz Bedar, Bashir Sidiqui and Mohammad Yusuf Dar.

Giving details of the visits here today, Mian Abdul Qayoom, president of the High Court Bar Association, said that the prisoners in Tihar jail were living in miserable condition. "They have been tortured during interrogation brutally and the treatment meted out to them is barbaric. No Kashmiri is safe in Delhi", he stated.

Though the jail staff was not harsh to them, there was no medical facility available to them in jail or outside and the cases pending against them in courts were dragged on denying them the fair and speedy trial.

Regarding the condition of those in Kot Balwal jail in Jammu, the Bar team observed that there were 275 prisoners detained under Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, who included some foreigners apart from some old persons and minors. No proper legal facilities were being given to the prisoners, the team observed.

The team, which also visited the District jail, Jammu stated that there were long pending cases like one for the past eight years. The members observed that the lack of legal services, was mainly because most of the detenues belonged to Kashmir province, and therefore, it was difficult for them to pursue the legal formalities.

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Move politically motivated: BJP
Tribune News Service

Jammu, February, 18
Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, a former minister and a BJP stalwart, has strongly denounced the head count in the Army on communal and caste basis.

Mr Gupta said here today that the Congress has not learnt any lessons from its past mistakes and was now bent upon head count of Muslims in the Army.

Mr Gupta, who was Minister of State for Defence during the NDA regime, said that the Indian Army is an example of unity and harmony where the soldiers are committed to the motherland without any communal and caste considerations.

He alleged that the Congress with an eye on Muslim votes was out to damage the fabric of unity in the Army. The vote politics of the Congress and certain other pseudo-secular forces has already divided the people and polluted nationalist outlook.

The BJP leader said that in case the Congress and its allies were so concerned about the head count of Muslims, then why were they discriminating with the Hindu majority Jammu region in the grant of due representation in the state Assembly, Lok Sabha and other spheres.

The geographical area of Jammu was almost double than that of the Kashmir valley and the number of voters in Jammu was also more than in Kashmir, but Jammu has only 37 Assembly seats against 46 of the Kashmir valley.

Although the Congress had promised to set up a delimitation commission to do away with this discrepancy, nothing has been done so far.

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