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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Farooq, PDP leader not to attend PM’s conference
Srinagar, February 21
While most of the separatist organisations in Kashmir have decided to stay away from the roundtable conference convened by the Prime Minister in Delhi on Saturday, several mainstream party leaders have also expressed their reservations over participating in the scheduled meeting.

Ex-minister escapes bid on life
Srinagar, February 21
Former Jammu and Kashmir minister and senior leader of the Peoples Democratic Party Abdul Gaffar Sofi today escaped an attempt on life while six persons, including three government officials were injured as militants opened fire on Sofi’s cavalcade in Anantnag district this afternoon, official sources said.

Leh DC shifted following riots
Jammu, February 21
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has removed the Deputy Commissioner of the Leh, Mr Satish Nehru, following the recent communal clashes in the district. Mr Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Director (Education), Jammu, has been appointed as the new DC of Leh.

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Farooq, PDP leader not to attend PM’s conference
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 21
While most of the separatist organisations in Kashmir have decided to stay away from the roundtable conference convened by the Prime Minister in Delhi on Saturday, several mainstream party leaders have also expressed their reservations over participating in the scheduled meeting.

The opposition National Conference patron and former Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, here today expressed his inability to attend the meeting. His son, MP and NC president, Omar Abdullah, however, is going to attend the conference, first of its kind, to discuss Kashmir.

Dr Farooq Abdullah told a press conference here this afternoon that he felt sad about New Delhi’s handling of the Kashmir issue, adding that he was not going to attend. He held that the scheduled conference was being held without any agenda for which no groundwork had been done. Mr Omar Abdullah, with the agenda of internal autonomy of the party, along with some senior functionaries, would be attending the conference. The NC had passed a unanimous resolution on the grant of internal autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir in the Legislative Assembly during its tenure in 2000.

Former minister and senior PDP leader, Ghulam Hassan Mir, who had been denied the berth of Deputy Chief Minister in the Congress-PDP coalition government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad in November last year, has also declined to attend the meeting. Sources said that he had decided to stay away from the scheduled conference due to his “differences” with the party leadership and had earlier made up his mind to attend not as a member of the PDP. He, however, declined to comment and said that his decision not to join the PDP team was on health grounds.

Mir stressed the need for the people of Jammu and Kashmir becoming a bridge between India and Pakistan, and said that it was due to the differences between the two countries that the people of this state suffered the most. He held that it was important that the two countries come closer so that they become interdependent. Mir pointed out that there was a need of a “no-war pact” between the two countries that would “automatically meet the demand of demilitarisation”.

Both the factions of the separatist conglomerate of Hurriyat Conference, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, have already decided not to attend the conference. While the hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani outrightly rejected the proposals like this, the moderate faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq decided after five days’ deliberations not to attend. The APHC had already entered into negotiations with the Central government, having met the top leadership of both the NDA and UPA governments at the Centre. Those outside the two factions of APHC, having declined the fresh offer, included Shabir Ahmad Shah’s Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) and the JKLF. The JKLF chairman, Mohammad Yaseen Malik, and general secretary, Ghulam Rasool Dar, had held a separate meeting with the Prime Minister in New Delhi on February 17 last. 

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Ex-minister escapes bid on life

Srinagar, February 21
Former Jammu and Kashmir minister and senior leader of the Peoples Democratic Party Abdul Gaffar Sofi today escaped an attempt on life while six persons, including three government officials were injured as militants opened fire on Sofi’s cavalcade in Anantnag district this afternoon, official sources said.

Sofi, accompanied by state government officials, was proceeding to Sonigam to take stock of development works when militants at Khudwani, about 60 km from here, opened fire on the cavalcade of the former minister around 2.15 Pm, the sources said.

One of the vehicles of the cavalcade came under fire in which three officials were injured, they said, adding that three civilians who were passing throught the road at the time were also wounded.

Meanwhile, security forces killed two Hizbul Mujahideen encounter at Sagipora in Baramula district of north Kashmir. Two AK rifles, five magazines and two hand grenades were recovered from the slain militants.

He said militants shot dead a numberdar Abdul Najid Bhat, alias Kar at Gurgali Pattan in Baramula district last night.

Pattan, on the Srinagar-Uri observed complete shut down in protest against the killing of Bhat. — PTI, UNI

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Leh DC shifted following riots
Tribune News Service

Jammu, February 21
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has removed the Deputy Commissioner of the Leh, Mr Satish Nehru, following the recent communal clashes in the district. Mr Manoj Kumar Dwivedi, Director (Education), Jammu, has been appointed as the new DC of Leh.

The State Cabinet that met here last night under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad ordered the transfer of some more IAS and KAS officers as well.

Mr Nehru has been posted as Director, Social Welfare, Jammu. However, no action has so far been taken against any officer of the Kargil district from where the communal violence triggered. The crime branch is still investigating into these riots.

The Cabinet, that met primarily to finalise the address of the Governor to the joint session of the Legislature here on February 27, took the opportunity to transfer a couple of officers who were reportedly not pulling on well with their respective ministers or the local legislators.

Mr N.K. Verma, Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla, who was recently reported to have been publicly snubbed by a minister, has been sidelined as a member of the J&K Tribunal. Mr Abdul Hamid, Director Command Area, Kashmir, has been appointed as the new DC of Baramulla.

Mr Parmod Jain, Secretary, Transport, has been appointed Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, in place of Mr B.R. Sharma, who was recently shunted out unceremoniously as Chief Electoral Officer. Mr Sharma was given additional charge of the Transport Department last night.

Mr Shyam Lal, member J&K Tribunal, has been appointed Officer on Special Duty, General Administration Department.

Mr Gowhar Ahmad, Special Secretary, Health, in his fifth transfer in the past three years, has been appointed Managing Director, Agro-Industries Development Corporation.

Mr Sanjeev Verma, Additional DC, Jammu, has been appointed Managing Director of the Transport Corporation, in place of Mr Rohit Kansal, who proceeds on fellowship to London.

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