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

Hurriyat leaders to visit Pakistan soon
Srinagar, October 20
Senior leaders of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are expected to visit Pakistan in the near future for talks with the government there to expedite the dialogue process towards resolution of the Kashmir issue.

Migrants live in tattered tents, face vagaries of elements
Jammu, October 20
For over 100 families of migrants wish to celebrate Divali outside the tented colony has not materialised this time too.

India, Pak should fight poverty, disease, says Sinha
Srinagar, October 20
Jammu and Kashmir Governor S K Sinha has said violence had reduced and the situation was improving fast say compared to peak of militancy.

City goes without water, power for 24 hours
Jammu, October 20

It was a dark Divali eve for people here as electric and water supply remained shut for the past over 24 hours. The city remained in dark last night and power supply was not restored till this evening.


YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar


EARLIER STORIES



Efforts on to merge JSM with BJP
Jammu, October 20
To strengthen to the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir, efforts are on to merge the RSS backed Jammu State Morcha (JSM) with the BJP.

BJP men burn effigies of Afzal
Jammu, October 20
BJP activists today hanged the effigies of Mohammad Afzal Guru at five places in the city to protest against the Congress-led UPA government succumbing to the pressure of the pro-Pakistan elements by not sending him to gallows on the day stipulated by the Supreme Court.

Water supply scheme by Army
Jammu, October 20
The army has installed a drinking water supply scheme in the Kandi area of Devigarh here where the womenfolk had to fetch water from far-off places.




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Hurriyat leaders to visit Pakistan soon
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 20
Senior leaders of the moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are expected to visit Pakistan in the near future for talks with the government there to expedite the dialogue process towards resolution of the Kashmir issue.

This was announced by the Hurriyat Chairman while addressing a largely attended gathering on the occasion of Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid here today.

A large number of devotees offered prayers at the Jamia Masjid, the Hazratbal and other shrines and mosques across the valley on the occasion of the last Friday of the holy month of Ramazan. Mirwaiz Umar also demanded revocation of the death sentence to Afzal Guru convicted in the Parliament attack case.

The Mirwaiz or chief priest of Kashmir expressed satisfaction over the improvement in relations between India and Pakistan and positive steps being taken towards the resolution of the Kashmir issue. He added that unless the Kashmir issue was resolved on priority basis the fluid situation would continue to prevail in the region. Referring to his recent US visit, the separatist APHC Chairman held that there were indications that certain concrete measures would be taken to solve the Kashmir problem in the near future.

He, however, added that there would be no progress unless the Kashmiris, basic party to the dispute, were involved. The Mirwaiz said that a solution with the participation of all the three parties, India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir would only be acceptable to all the three parties.

The APHC Chairman expressed concern over the situation on the ground level in Kashmir despite forward movement in the dialogue process. He sought the government to ensure measures for change in the situation at ground level ahead of the scheduled Foreign Secretary level talks next month.

Umar Farooq sought withdrawal of troops and special powers to the armed forces in Jammu and Kashmir to ensure a change in the situation.

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Migrants live in tattered tents, face vagaries of elements
M. L. Kak

Jammu, October 20
For over 100 families of migrants wish to celebrate Divali outside the tented colony has not materialised this time too.

For the past seven years these families have been living in distress in tattered tents at Palwan camp, 35 km west of Jammu, after they migrated from Chaprial border belt after the 1999 Kargil war.

Kumar and Ashok Kumar, camp inmates, told reporters today “see our condition. we had to spend the night in distress after rain and dustorm lashes the area.” They said “our tattered tents were blown off and our belongings and ration were soiled in rain.”

“Even in distress our children had planned to celebrate Divali but we have neither means nor pleasure for enjoying the festival of lights” said Mohan Lal Sharma. He said “my wife, Soma Devi, is busy after my ailing 95-year old mother, Biro Devi and my only son Rakesh Kumar, a daily wage employee , is the only bread winner for us.”

Mohan and Joginder Lal said, “we have been demanding government help for building small houses in safer areas but despite the fact that the centre released Rs 78 crore for our rehabilitation each family was given Rs 20,000 only.”

They said in the first four years of migration “we used to get some ration and cash assistance from the government and social organisations. But it has been stopped after government directed all migrants to go back to our ancestral villages.” They said while majority of the border migrants returned “we could not because our land is on the other side of the barbed wire fence which the Army had raised for checking infiltration.”

Joginder Lal said, “since our lands were on the other side of the barbed wire fence our movement for carry out farming will be a restricted affair and we do not trust the enemy troops.”

“From the community of farmers, feeding people in the entire belt of Akhnoor, we have been rendered a community of labourers,” lamented Mohan Lal Sharma. He said, “our demands are limited. we want government help to small structures where we can lead hassle-free life and some land for farming practices.”

In front of the tented colony is a primary school for the children of the migrants. The classes are held in a tent. Priyanka Sharma, Shivani Sharma, students of third and second standard said, “we too wish to study in a school building which can face the vagaries of weather. Shivani said, “we undergo severe tribulations in the classes that are held under the tent or in the open.”

Sonia Sharma another student” said, “we have no hope of studying beyond V standard because our parents cannot afford to send us to a higher secondary school.” These students too want the ruling coalition leaders to come to their rescue. They said that “we have been fed with assurances by political leaders only during the time of Assembly or Lok Sabha elections. After elections we do not see their faces.”

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India, Pak should fight poverty, disease, says Sinha
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, October 20
Jammu and Kashmir Governor S K Sinha has said violence had reduced and the situation was improving fast say compared to peak of militancy.

He was interacting with high-ranking Army officers from the three services including officers from the US, the UK and Sri Lanka, attending a course at the National Defence College. The Governor said notwithstanding isolated incidents of violence, there had been a discernible change in the overall scenario in the State, with the government focusing on development and welfare of people.

With situation improving, a message has to the world that Kashmir was not on fire, the Governor said, adding old conception of the overall scenario in the valley was changing.

The Governor said he was of the view that Line of Control should be transformed into Line of Peace and Prosperity and a European Union like set- up, evolved to usher development. He said solution to problems in Kashmir should be a win-win situation for all, India, Pakistan and the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “This will not emerge overnight and is going to take time”, he said, adding that the formation of the European Union too was a long drawn process.

The Governor sought India and Pakistan to fight together common enemy of poverty, ignorance and disease. People of the two countries, he said, were for peace in the region, which was imperative for development. He said both countries had been showing flexibility in approach and President Pervez Musharraf had given up the demand for the implementation of UN resolution on plebiscite. On plebiscite, he elaborated people of Jammu and Kashmir had time and again shown preference for India through elections and the Constituent Assembly ratifying the Instrument of Accession. In the 1965 war, people of Kashmir showed preference for India over Pakistan. General Mohammed Musa, the then Pakistan Army Chief in his book ‘My Version’ has stated that their offensive failed because of lack of support from the people of Kashmir.

Referring to the ongoing proxy war, the Governor said people of Jammu and Kashmir had always rejected the cult of violence, as it goes against their great Sufi traditions which stand for brotherhood, peace and amity.

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City goes without water, power for 24 hours
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 20
It was a dark Divali eve for people here as electric and water supply remained shut for the past over 24 hours. The city remained in dark last night and power supply was not restored till this evening.

This again has exposed insensitivity of the Jammu and Kashmir government towards the problems of people as the authorities remained lukewarm towards restoring electricity and drinking water supply that snapped following a storm yesterday.

It was more than 24 hours residents of the city were without power and water. Senior officers did not answer telephone calls almost throughout the day today as it was a holiday on account of Jamat-ul-Vida (the last Friday of the holy month of Ramazan). Most of the officers had switched off their mobile phones as people tried to establish contact with them.

The situation in the old city was the worst as many areas did not get drinking water for the third consecutive day.

Power supply snapped yesterday around 5 pm when a squall hit the city. This was followed by heavy downpour.

The long power failure during the festival season has irked people. The Divali eve was also being spent in dark as the areas across Tawi were without electricity. Power supply in certain areas of the old city was this afternoon.

Officials of the power department said electric wires had broken at eight places as uprooted trees fell on the poles. It might take more than three to four hours more to restore electricity.

Residents of the city face problem of the electricity supply snapping even if there is some variation in the wind as the lose power lines, that have not been tightened for the past several years, touch each other resulting in a short-circuit. Senior engineers have never addressed this problem for reasons unknown.

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Efforts on to merge JSM with BJP
S.P. Sharma

Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 20
To strengthen to the BJP in Jammu and Kashmir, efforts are on to merge the RSS backed Jammu State Morcha (JSM) with the BJP.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, on his visit here today met the RSS leadership of the state and is learnt to have discussed modalities for the merger. He had a separate meeting with the BJP leaders.

The JSM, set up by certain senior BJP leaders sidelined by the party in the Assembly Elections in 2002, caused much damage to BJP candidates in the Jammu division. The BJP and the JSM won one seat each, while the latter damaged the BJP at least on 12 seats. Leaders of the JSM, including Mr Tilak Raj Sharma, were recently invited by the central BJP leadership to Delhi where they were persuaded to return to the party after winding up the JSM.

Mr Sharma told The Tribune here today that things were moving in this direction and a final outcome is expected in the next few days.

The national-level BJP leadership was keen that the party should regain the lost strength in the strategically important state of J&K where nationalist forces faced the challenge of separatists and fundamentalists.

Besides, Mr Rajnath Singh, BJP president, senior party leaders like Mr L.K. Advani were present at the meeting with the JSM leaders at Delhi.

It is believed that the election for the state chief of the BJP might be delayed for a few days till the merger of the JSM to give representation to certain leaders of the party in the organisation. The election is due early next month.

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BJP men burn effigies of Afzal
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 20
BJP activists today hanged the effigies of Mohammad Afzal Guru at five places in the city to protest against the Congress-led UPA government succumbing to the pressure of the pro-Pakistan elements by not sending him to gallows on the day stipulated by the Supreme Court.

Afzal Guru, who was the mastermind behind the terrorist attack at the Parliament, was ordered to be hanged in the Tihar jail today.

BJP activists took out processions in the town and burnt effigies of Afzal Guru at City Chowk, Purani Mandi, Old Janipura, Maheshpura Chowk and Gangyal.

They alleged that Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Dr Farooq Abdullah, Mufti Sayeed and other valley-based leaders were demanding clemency for Afzal to appease a particular section for political gains.

The demand of these leaders for clemency for the convict showed the respect they have for the Indian Parliament and the judiciary. Grant of clemency would encourage the anti-national and pro-Pakistan elements and demoralize those whose relatives sacrificed their lives for integrity and unity of the country.

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Water supply scheme by Army
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 20
The army has installed a drinking water supply scheme in the Kandi area of Devigarh here where the womenfolk had to fetch water from far-off places.

The pumping station has been built by the Sunjawan brigade of the army at a cost of Rs.3 lakhs.

Major Gen Sanjeev Loomba, GOC, Tiger Division, inaugurated the water supply scheme today. Brig R.S. Jamwal, Commander, Sunjawan Brigade, was present on the occasion.

Several villages in the area will be benefited by the water supply scheme.

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