SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


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

Villagers refuse to return from HP
Jammu, October 7
The migration of 64 persons for safety to Himachal Pradesh from a village in Doda, which is the home constituency of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, has come as an embarrassment to him.

Army chief dedicates model village to quake-hit
Srinagar, October 7
The Chief of the Army Staff, Gen J.J. Singh, yesterday inaugurated a model village, Churunda, close to the LoC in Uri sector of Baramula district, which had suffered the maximum damage in the earthquake on October 8 last year.

Govt undecided on vacant Cabinet seats
Jammu, October 7
The Congress-PDP ruling coalition has yet to decide whether four vacant seats in the Council of Ministers are to be filled in the near future or the aspirants be kept guessing. In fact, the matter has not figured in discussions between PDP and Congress leaders.

Protest against excesses by security forces
Baramula, October 7
Life was disrupted due to spontaneous strike in protest against the alleged excesses by the security forces. Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the road in the town and adjoining villages.




YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar


EARLIER STORIES



People differ over mercy to Afzal
Jammu, October 7
Not only the mainstream parties, but also the common people in Jammu and the valley are divided on the issue of clemency to Mohd Afzal Guru, who has been awarded death penalty for attack on Parliament.

2 killed by militants
Srinagar, October 7
The mutilated bodies of two persons, suspected to have been killed by militants, were found in Baramula and Anantnag districts today.

 




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Villagers refuse to return from HP
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 7
The migration of 64 persons for safety to Himachal Pradesh from a village in Doda, which is the home constituency of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, has come as an embarrassment to him.

The group, including women and children, has taken shelter in Tissa block of Chamba district following terrorist threats.

A team of police and revenue officers, accompanied by some locals, went to persuade the villagers to return to their homes, but came back without any success yesterday.

One of the team members, Mr Dalip Singh, said the migrants were reluctant to return as they were not only threatened by terrorists but also by some police personnel of the area.

These people have refused to return until the particular police official was not shifted from there and a picket of the Army established in the village.

Interestingly, the exodus came at a time when Mr Mohammad Sharief Niaz, a first cousin of Mr Azad who recently vacated the Assembly seat for the latter, was touring the area and trying to convince residents of the area that the situation had improved under the new regime in the state.

While a senior police officer claimed that the group had migrated fearing arrest in the case relating to killing of an innocent person by village defence committee (VDC) members about four months ago, the villagers point out that none of the persons allegedly involved in the incident had migrated. Only innocent persons who feared terrorist strike in the area had escaped to Himachal Pradesh, they said.

Dalip Singh said there was scare among residents of the area when the police started taking back the arms and ammunition that was issued to the VDC members by the district authorities for the protection of the villagers.

This is not for the first time that migration of Hindus from the villages in Doda has been reported. However, this time residents of the district were confident that with Mr Azad becoming the Chief Minister, the terrorism-related situation would improve there.

A large number of Hindus had trooped towards Jammu following the massacre of 22 persons by terrorists in May.

Mr Chaman Lal Gupta, former Union Minister of State for Defence, who represented the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency for five terms, regretted that a sense of insecurity had crept into the minds of the minority community in Doda district following removal of several pickets of the Army and paramilitary forces.

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Army chief dedicates model village to quake-hit
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 7
The Chief of the Army Staff, Gen J.J. Singh, yesterday inaugurated a model village, Churunda, close to the LoC in Uri sector of Baramula district, which had suffered the maximum damage in the earthquake on October 8 last year.

Apart from the total destruction of houses and the existing infrastructure, 31 persons had died, 12 were seriously injured and 62 livestock perished due to the fury of the nature. Owing to its isolated location, its integration with the Army’s deployment and its close proximity to the LoC, the Army was at the forefront of the rescue and relief operation in the village in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, a defence spokesman here said.

General Singh had during his visit to the Uri area on November 21 last year assured that Churunda would be a model village within one year with a model of rehabilitated prosperity, a model of organised development and a model for others to look in wonder and emulate.

He inaugurated and dedicated the model village to the local populace, about 120 km north of here, this morning.

The Army has met the aspirations of the locals by constructing 230 new houses, creating a road link to this remote village and the construction of a bus stand, a grain store, a veterinary centre, tiled pathways inside the village, school building, a modern four-bed dispensary, a vocational training centre for empowerment of women and for training the youth, development of modern recreational assets like amphitheatre, provision for a water supply scheme, provision for electricity and street lighting.

Apart from Churunda, similar projects are nearing completion in adjoining villages of Batgran and Thajal. Dedication of this model infrastructure culminated the massive rehabilitation and reconstruction drive undertaken by the Army under Operation Sadhbhavna.

Addressing the locals after the inauguration, General Singh stressed on the basic ingredients for improving the living standards of people in the rural areas by providing quality education, healthcare, clean drinking water, empowerment of women, clean environment and basic infrastructure.

Apart from physical construction of infrastructure, the Army has initiated various projects for women empowerment and youth development. The significant amongst them are sewing, knitting, weaving, embroidery, pickle and jam-making carpentry and training on computers.

During the inauguration ceremony, the Army chief told mediapersons that all possible measures had been taken to defeat the designs of infiltration and exfiltration by militants across the LoC. He said the Army had geared up its efforts to rehabilitate villages devastated during the earthquake in October 2005.

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Govt undecided on vacant Cabinet seats
Our Correspondent

Jammu, October 7
The Congress-PDP ruling coalition has yet to decide whether four vacant seats in the Council of Ministers are to be filled in the near future or the aspirants be kept guessing. In fact, the matter has not figured in discussions between PDP and Congress leaders.

Even the PDP has not till date staked its claim for elevation of one of its ministers to the rank of Deputy Chief Minister and for filling one Cabinet post that fell vacant after Mr Muzaffar Hussain Baig resigned on September 3.

When the Chief Minister, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, expanded the Council of Ministers on August 29, he had hinted that three more seats were to be filled. And the fourth seat fell vacant when Mr Baig resigned. He was the Deputy Chief Minister and the PDP is yet to press for elevation of one of its ministers to the post of Deputy Chief Minister.

Sources said Mr Azad wanted to induct one of the four MLAs belonging to the Panthers Party in the Cabinet but he could not decide on the issue due to continued rift between Prof Bhim Singh, chief of the Panthers Party, and Mr Harsh Dev Singh, a former Education Minister.

Prof Bhim Singh is said to have expressed his wish of getting inducted in the Cabinet if the Chief Minister desired to give a berth to one of the legislators in the Council of Ministers.

According to the PDP general secretary, Mr Nizamuddin Bhat, the party’s share in the Council of Ministers is short by one.

He said there were 10 vacant posts of chairmen of public corporations and boards in the state. “We have conveyed to the Chief Minister that PDP nominees should be given an opportunity to occupy four of these 10 posts,” he said.

Mr Bhat said the exercise of choosing the right persons for heading these corporations and boards had been started. “I expect the vacant posts to be filled within one month,” he added.

In reply to a question, he said the members of the committee constituted to draft the document on self-rule would have another meeting in Srinagar on October 17 after the party patron, Mufti Mohd Sayeed, returned from Delhi.

He said the broad contours of the document had been prepared and it needed final touches. 

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Protest against excesses by security forces

Baramula, October 7
Life was disrupted due to spontaneous strike in protest against the alleged excesses by the security forces.

Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the road in the town and adjoining villages.

Work in government offices and other commercial establishments was affected due to strike.

Thousands of people took to streets last night raising anti security force and anti government slogans. The demonstration continued till mid-night.

People took to streets again this morning protesting against the security forces. The demonstrators alleged that the security forces were harassing people and were not allowing them to offer prayers in the mosque. — UNI

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People differ over mercy to Afzal
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 7
Not only the mainstream parties, but also the common people in Jammu and the valley are divided on the issue of clemency to Mohd Afzal Guru, who has been awarded death penalty for attack on Parliament.

While the demonstrators in Jammu have been demanding that no leniency should be shown to Guru, the protests in the valley have been becoming violent in favour of clemency. Guru’s execution has been ordered on October 20.

The mainstream political parties are also divided on the issue. While Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has joined those seeking mercy for Guru, a senior minister in his Cabinet, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, wants the verdict of the court to be implemented.

The PDP, a coalition partner of the Congress, is in the forefront of the demonstrations in the valley.

Congress activists here find themselves caught between the devil and the deep sea following Mr Azad’s demand for clemency to Guru as they are unable to either support his stand or join the demonstrators in the streets in favour of the hanging.

Similar is the position of the Jammu-based activists of the PDP, who are shying away from the mercy demand of their leaders, Mufti Sayeed and Ms Mehbooba Mufti.

The BJP, the Shiv Sena, the ABVP, the VHP, the BSP and several other parties here have been organising demonstrations every day against the stand taken by Mr Azad. They are not only demanding resignation of Mr Azad, but also accusing him of taking a “U-turn” on the issue of terrorism by first advocating “bullet-for-bullet” policy and now suddenly jumping into the bandwagon of those seeking clemency for Guru.

The separatists and the National Conference (NC) have warned that the situation will worsen in the valley incase Guru is hanged as happened after the execution of Maqbool Bhat in 1980s.

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2 killed by militants

Srinagar, October 7
The mutilated bodies of two persons, suspected to have been killed by militants, were found in Baramula and Anantnag districts today.

Official sources said the decapitated body of counter-insurgent Mohammed Shafi Mir, a resident of Gundbrad who was abducted by gunmen from his house yesterday, was found in the Shalipora area while his head was found at the main Sopore chowk, the sources said.

The body of another man, Rasool Ganai, was found by police in the Achabal area of Anantnag district, they added. — PTI

 

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