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Tough fight on cards between PDP, NC
Rafiabad (Baramula), April 19
It is going to be tough fight between the ruling coalition and opposition candidates, the two main contestants in Rafiabad constituency of Baramula district where two other candidates are also in the fray for the coming byelections to be held on April 24.

Infighting in Jamait-e-Islami
Jammu, April 19
With organisational elections on the cards, the right wing Jamait-e-Islami is locked in a pre-poll tussle between the faction led by Amir of the party, Mr Nazir Ahmed Kashani, and the other headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.


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BJP decries separatists’ demand
Jammu, April 19
Reacting sharply to separatists’ demand for demilitarisation in Kashmir, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, a senior BJP leader and former Minister of State for Defence, has said no nationalist can think of such a step while Pakistan-sponsored terrorists are indulging in violence.

Two soldiers, militant killed  in valley
Srinagar, April 19
Two soldiers and a militant of the Lashker-e-Toiba were killed and three militants arrested in the Kashmir valley overnight, a Defence Ministry spokesman said.


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Tough fight on cards between PDP, NC
Tribune News Service

Rafiabad (Baramula), April 19
It is going to be tough fight between the ruling coalition and opposition candidates, the two main contestants in Rafiabad constituency of Baramula district where two other candidates are also in the fray for the coming byelections to be held on April 24.

The main contest is between the coalition candidate, Mr Dilawar Mir of the PDP, and Mohammad Maqbool Mir of the opposition National Conference, while two others, Abdul Khaliq Sheikh of the Panthers Party and Mohammad Maqbool War of the BJP, are also in the fray.

Rafiabad, with 67011 voters, is one of the three constituencies apart from Pattan and Sangrama in Baramula district going to the polls next week.

This time it seems to be a different ground for the coalition candidate, Mr Dilawar Mir, who has been elected from this constituency four times earlier in 1977 and 1983 as an NC candidate, 1996 as Janata Dal candidate and from the NC in 2002.

Mir had resigned from the NC and Assembly last year leaving the seat vacant necessitating the byelection here. “He is being looked as an individual and supported as a candidate of the ruling coalition” in view of his frequent shifts, said a resident here. “Many people are not happy with Mr Dilawar Mir for frequently changing his party”, said a peasant, Nazir Ahmad Dar.

Mir has also earned displeasure of people in part of the area for shifting the newly designated tehsil headquarters, while earning support in another area. Except for the 1967 elections, the seat has been the stronghold of the National Conference.

The opposition in support of its candidate organised a two-day road show led by party president and MP Omar Abdullah on Sunday and Monday. The clashes took place between supporters of the two parties during the road show.

Though the main coalition partner, the Congress, has not as forcefully campaigned for Dilawar Mir but it has asked its cadres to support him. “That is going to be the deciding factor”, said another resident while the vote bank has been divided into three different groups — the NC, the PDP and the Congress.

While a war of nerves is going on in this constituency between the mainstream political parties, separatists have also been here for “election boycott campaign”. The JKLF chairman, Mohammad Yaseen Malik, who launched his anti-election campaign last week, has also visited area and urged the people to boycott poll as it was a “futile exercise”.

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Infighting in Jamait-e-Islami
Our Correspondent

Jammu, April 19
With organisational elections on the cards, the right wing Jamait-e-Islami is locked in a pre-poll tussle between the faction led by Amir of the party, Mr Nazir Ahmed Kashani, and the other headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Relations between Mr Geelani and Mr Kashani remained sour during the last year after the latter suspended the former and three of his associates, including Mr Mohd. Ashraf Sehrai, from the organisation on the charge that they were running a separate organisation, Tehrik Hurriyat Conference.

With the election of the members of the Majlis Shoura and the Amir having been scheduled for August, Mr Geelani is said to have started anti-Kashani campaign with the sole purpose of seeing that he did not get re-elected as the Amir.

To counter it, Jamait-e-Islami leadership has sent a letter to Mr Geelani and his associates that in case they want to contest the organisational election, they will have to quit the posts they hold in the Tehrik Hurriyat Conference.

They have also been asked to resign from those posts by the end of June, failing which they will not be eligible to contest election for any post in the organisation.

Mr Geelani enjoys the support of a majority of grassroot Jamait workers whereas the majority of members of the Majlis Shoura, apex policy-making body of the Jamait-e-Islami, support Mr Kashani. It is in this context that Mr Kashani plans to make Mr Geelani and his associates ineligible for taking part in the organisational election.

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BJP decries separatists’ demand
Tribune News Service

Jammu, April 19
Reacting sharply to separatists’ demand for demilitarisation in Kashmir, Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, a senior BJP leader and former Minister of State for Defence, has said no nationalist can think of such a step while Pakistan-sponsored terrorists are indulging in violence.

Prof Gupta said today that such ridiculous demands were being made and confusion had been created in the state eversince the Congress-led UPA government came into power at the Centre.

He said the demand for demilitarisation was part of a design to malign the security forces that were fighting terrorism and the proxy war launched by Pakistan. Secondly, the withdrawal of troops would result in mass exodus of the minorities from the remote areas.

He warned that having hounded out the minorities from the valley, the fundamentalists were now targeting the hilly and remote areas of the Jammu division. A large number of families had already migrated from Udhampur, Doda, Poonch and Rajouri districts. The state government had failed to take care of migrants of these areas.

He said while a cache of arms and ammunition and also the deadly RDX and TNT was frequently being seized by the Army from terrorist hideouts, it would be a mistake to consider reducing troops in the state.

The BJP leader accused the UPA government of having miserably failed to control the unprecedented rise in prices of foodgrains and essential commodities.

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Two soldiers, militant killed in valley

Srinagar, April 19
Two soldiers and a militant of the Lashker-e-Toiba (LeT) were killed and three militants arrested in the Kashmir valley overnight, a Defence Ministry spokesman said.

He said troops of 47 Rashtriya Rifles (RR) searched Kandi village in Kupwara district today after receiving information that militants were hiding there.

When the area was being sealed, militants opened fire. The fire was returned and LeT militant Abu Khafa, of Pakistan, was killed. One AK rifle, one magazine and 10 cartridges, one pouch and one wireless set were recovered from the slain militant. One soldier was also injured in the incident.

Later, troops also unearthed a hideout and recovered arms and ammunition.

He said militants shot dead two soldiers of 161 Battalion Territorial Army (TA) Azad Ahmad War and Altaf Hussain Wani at Handwara in north Kashmir district of Kupwara late last night. Both soldiers were on leave, he said.

Both the Al-Badr and the Al-Mansoorain militant outfits have claimed responsibility of the killing.

An official spokesman said militants hurled a hand grenade towards security forces near a school at Doda today causing injuries to two soldiers. The injured were hospitalised.

Defence spokesman said troops of 46 RR arrested three militants of the Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) Nissar Ahmad Dar, Jahangir Ahmad Khan alias Kinga and Mehraj Ahmad Rather at Nadihal in Baramula district last night. Three hand grenades, one pistol with one magazine and five rounds and a wireless set were recovered from their possession.

With this, 14 militants of the HM were arrested by troops in the Kashmir valley in the past two days. — UNI

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