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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Highway blues continue, kerosene price up
Srinagar, December 26
Kashmir valley was cut off from rest of the country by road surface this afternoon, following snowfall in upper reaches and heavy rain in the planes blocking the 300-km-long Srinagar Jammu road due shooting stones and snow at places.

341 trainee cops pass out
Srinagar, December 26
A fresh batch of 341 trainees, including 10 women, passed out at the Constable Recruit Training Course at Police Training School, Manigam, near here, today.

Pak may hand me over to India: Salahuddin
Jammu, December 26
Chief of the Muzaffarabad-based United Jehad Council Syed Salahuddin, has fears that Pakistan may hand him over to the Government of India.

Race for DGP’s post hots up
Jammu, December 26
With the date of retirement of Mr A.K. Suri as DG RPF approaching, two senior police officers, Mr P.S. Gill and Mr Kuldeep Khuda, are again in the race for elevation to the post of the Director General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir.


YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar


EARLIER STORIES



Glacial melting ‘not’ @ global warming
Jammu, December 26
Mr V.K. Raina, an expert on glacier studies, today pooh-poohed claims that glaciers on the Himalayas were receding at an alarming rate.

6 engineers booked
Jammu, December 26
The State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) today registered cases against six engineers for allegedly swindling about Rs 17 lakh while constructing an electric receiving station in Bhaderwah tehsil which is the home constituency of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

2 LeT militants arrested
Jammu, December 26
The security forces arrested two militants of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit from Rajouri and Doda districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the police said here today.



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Highway blues continue, kerosene price up
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 26
Kashmir valley was cut off from rest of the country by road surface this afternoon, following snowfall in upper reaches and heavy rain in the planes blocking the 300-km-long Srinagar Jammu road due shooting stones and snow at places.

The road was blocked at Panthihal on the Ramban-Batote sector after shooting stones hampered traffic this afternoon. Many vehicles and truckloads of essential commodities were stranded. There were also reports of snow fall in the Jawahar tunnel area making the road slippery and forcing stopping of vehicles.

After a few days of dry weather conditions coupled with biting cold with the onset of Chillai Kalan, the 40-day long coldest part of winter beginning on December 22, the valley witnessed heavy downpour since this afternoon. Snowfall was reported from tourist resorts of Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and the Amarnath cave shrine area. Heavy rains lashed the city and major towns across the valley since this afternoon after it remained cloudy since last night. There was fall in temperature due to bad weather.

This is the fourth time the only surface link was closed to traffic in December this year. First it was blocked for eight days from the first week of this month, followed by a blockade of two days and later for more than 12 hours due to bad weather. Trouble spot on the highway is 200 metre-long stretch at Panthihal, which triggers shooting stones and landslides blocking movement of vehicles.

While the high officials have already shifted base to Jammu, Kashmiris face hardships following frequent blockade of the Srinagar-Jammu highway, life line to the valley, leading to shortage of essential commodities. Power supply with decline in water level in sources to hydro-electric power stations in over past two months has also been playing truant with consumers in the valley.

Truckloads of goods including LPG, kerosene, rice, foodgrains and other commodities were frequently stranded on the highway this month leading to rise in the prices of commodities and scarcity of LPG in particular. Long queues of consumers have been spending several hours waiting for the delivery of refills at LPG outlets. Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Taj Mohiuddin said there was no scarcity of essential commodities saying stocks kerosene and other commodities were sufficient at least for one month in the valley.

Severe cold conditions this month forced the government to advance winter vacations, which normally start from mid December to the end of February every winter. All government and private schools have been closed for winter vacations from December 6 and re-open in February instead of March next year.

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341 trainee cops pass out
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, December 26
A fresh batch of 341 trainees, including 10 women, passed out at the Constable Recruit Training Course at Police Training School, Manigam, near here, today.

Speaking on the occasion, the Inspector-General of Police, Kashmir, Mr S.M. Sahai, urged the policemen to work with zeal in service of people and eradication of militancy. He complimented the trainees on the completion of their training and asked them to work for eradiction of militancy and elimination of crime from society.

Mr Sahai said that in the times ahead, the police had a greater role to play — one to tackle militants and, secondly, to keep an eye on anti-social activities and keep crime in check.

The Principal of the school, Mr Mubarak Ganie, said this was the sixth batch of the school. Constable Ranjit Kumar was given one-rank promotion for being declared as the allround best trainee. He also stood first in outdoor test and received a reward of Rs 4,000, besides additional Rs 3,000 for coming first in range classification also. Constable Bal Krishan stood the second best in training and was awarded Rs 5,000, while Constable Gulzar Ahmed remained third and received an award of Rs 3,000. Mohammed Ishtiyaq stood first in indoor test and fourth overall and was awarded Rs 4,000.

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Pak may hand me over to India: Salahuddin
Our Correspondent

Jammu, December 26
Chief of the Muzaffarabad-based United Jehad Council Syed Salahuddin, has fears that Pakistan may hand him over to the Government of India.

Salahuddin in a recent interview to a TV news channel expressed these fears. He said, “I hope Pakistan does not hand me over to the Government of India.” In fact the council chief has been camping in occupied Kashmir for the past 16 years. Salahuddin has intensified efforts to persuade Islamabad to abandon any plan of handing him over to India. In the same interview he declared ongoing Jehad in Jammu and Kashmir will continue and a ceasefire was out of question. The council chief also denied he had sent feelers regarding his willingness to declare conditional ceasefire. He stated the ceasefire could be considered only after tripartite dialogue on the settlement of the Kashmir issue was initiated. Political observers in the state are of the view Syed Salahuddin has hardened postures after he found no response from Delhi to his earlier offer for conditional ceasefire. Also, by now he had realised that his ceasefire offer could be a meaningless exercise unless it was supported by the Lashkar-i-Toiba, the Jaish-e-Mohammad, the Al Badr, the Al Mansoorian and other outfits.

A DIG rank police officer said today recent incident of violence triggered by activists of the Lashkar and the Al Mansoorian indicated the outfits dominated by foreign mercenaries were trying to re-establish bases in Srinagar and Budgam districts where their hideouts had been demolished in the past two years.

The officer said after the security forces eliminated over 12 field commanders of the Hizbul Mujahideen in the Kashmir valley in the past over one year writ of Syed Salahuddin and his associates failed to run because of the activities of the Lashkar, the Jaish and the Al Mansoorian which are not constituents of the United Jehad Council.

To register his presence Syed Salahuddin has also criticised the APHC leaders for having entered into a dialogue with the Government of India. Following in the footsteps of his mentor. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Salahuddin has also accused the APHC leadership of having harmed the ongoing ‘freedom struggle’.

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Race for DGP’s post hots up
Our Correspondent

Jammu, December 26
With the date of retirement of Mr A.K. Suri as DG RPF approaching, two senior police officers, Mr P.S. Gill and Mr Kuldeep Khuda, are again in the race for elevation to the post of the Director General of Police in Jammu and Kashmir.

Both Mr Gill and Mr Khuda are at present holding the rank of Additional DG and seem to be keen to get elevated to the post of DG so that one of them could replace the DGP, Mr Gopal Sharma, who might replace Mr Suri.

Though the ruling coalition, especially the Chief Minister, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, is not yet inclined to opt for a change as Mr Sharma is viewed as the most non-controversial police chief, Mr Gill and Mr Khuda are said to have stepped up efforts for securing the seat.

Police sources said in case the state government yielded to the pressure, Mr Sharma might be appointed as DG RPF which is to fall vacant by January 31, 2007.

The sources said in view of his delayed promotion, Mr Khuda had applied for deputation to the Centre and the state government had already recommended him to be posted in the central services.

A section in the ruling coalition supported Mr Ashok Bhan, Vigilance Commissioner, and favoured his elevation to the post of DGP, the sources added.

Meanwhile, over 60 police officers of the rank of DSP are yet to find the places of their postings. These posts are lying vacant after 57 DSPs got elevated to the posts of SP recently. 

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Glacial melting ‘not’ @ global warming
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, December 26
Mr V.K. Raina, an expert on glacier studies, today pooh-poohed claims that glaciers on the Himalayas were receding at an alarming rate.

He described such reports as more of scientific fiction than fact, wondering whether global warming had anything to do with melting of glaciers.

Mr Raina was among the 60 scientists who assembled for the national conference of the Indian Institute of Geomorphologists, which was inaugurated by Prof Amitabh Mattoo, vice-chancellor of the Jammu University, here today. Mr Raina said glaciers in India had not shown much retreat, as hyped by some scientists, adding that melting of glaciers was a natural phenomenon.

He said 9575 big and small glaciers had been identified in Uttranchal, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Not a single glacier had vanished in the past about 150 years since scientific spotting of glaciers was started, he stated. Mr Raina, who had visited many glaciers, pointed out that India had the weakness to follow the US on whatever was said about the environment.

He said the rate at which the glaciers had been melting now was the same as it had been about a century ago.

He clarified that water requirements were being met with the melting of winter snow, that had shown a shift in the past few years.

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6 engineers booked

Jammu, December 26
The State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) today registered cases against six engineers for allegedly swindling about Rs 17 lakh while constructing an electric receiving station in Bhaderwah tehsil which is the home constituency of Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

A spokesman of the SVO said that cases have been registered against an Executive Engineer, three Assistant Executive Engineers and two Junior Engineers of the sub-transmission division, Power Development Department, Udhampur.

During investigations men of the SVO observed that Rs 17 lakh had been withdrawn against un-executed works. The receiving station was to be constructed at a cost of Rs 31 lakh and only Rs 14 lakh had been spent. — TNS

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2 LeT militants arrested

Jammu, December 26
The security forces arrested two militants of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) outfit from Rajouri and Doda districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the police said here today.

While one militant was arrested from the periphery of Doda town this morning, the other was nabbed at Dargai in the border district of Rajouri last evening, senior police officials said.

Doda Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Manohar Singh said an LeT militant, Mohammad Iqbal, alias Abu Sohail, of Bharat village was arrested this morning.

Earlier, Rajouri SSP Farooq Khan said a Lashkar militant, Mushtaq Shah, alias Abu Harera, was nabbed last evening in a joint operation of the security forces. — UNI

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