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    E D I T I O N

High Court pulls up development authority over land encroachment
Jammu, March 21
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has pulled up the Jammu Development Authority for failing to check encroachments on prime land and directed it remove unauthorised occupation from plots worth Rs 150 crore in the city.

Poll officials submit report to ECI over code violation by NC
Srinagar, March 21
The District Election authorities in Srinagar have submitted a detailed report to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on allegations that the ruling National Conference used a police vehicle and personnel to ferry ‘wazwan’ (Kashmiri cuisine) for the party’s provisional meeting last week.

PDP for special Parliament session to discuss Kashmir
Srinagar, March 21
While praising the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, the patron of People's Democratic Party (PDP) and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said today the party would seek a special session of Parliament to discuss the Kashmir issue and also demand a separate ministry for J&K affairs.
People’s Democratic Party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at a press conference at his residence in Srinagar on Friday People’s Democratic Party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at a press conference at his residence in Srinagar on Friday. Tribune photo: Amin War


YOUR TOWN
Jammu
Srinagar


EARLIER STORIES


Pak prisoner Sanaullah’s death
Govt forms panel to take over suspended jail supdt’s residence
Jammu, March 21
Over 10 months on and after ordering a third probe into Pakistan prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay’s death recently, the state government, in violation of law, on March 18 ordered to form a panel to take over the possession of the official residence of the then Jail Superintendent, Rajni Sehgal, currently placed under suspension.

BJP’s Jitendra Singh to file nomination papers today
Jammu, March 21
The BJP today said the wounds of Kishtwar riots were still fresh in the minds of people and if voted to power in the Centre, it would order an impartial inquiry into the case and bring the culprits to book.

Azad to file papers on March 25
Jammu, March 21
After the Congress party high command convinced Ghulam Nabi Azad to contest the Lok Sabha elections from his home constituency - Udhampour-Doda - he will file his nomination papers on March 25 in Kathua.

BJP represents policy of disunity: AMM
Srinagar, March 21
The Awami Mutahida Mahaz (AMM), an amalgam of several political parties of the Kashmir region, today accused the BJP of representing an ideology which spells “divisiveness, disunity and communal disharmony” and threatens to “endanger the secular-democratic fabric” of the country.

NC cadre told to redouble efforts to ensure victory
Jammu, March 21
National Conference (NC) leader Devender Singh Rana today told the party cadre to redouble its efforts to facilitate the victory of the coalition candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.

PDP statements contradictory to its policy: NC
Srinagar, March 21
The ruling National Conference (NC) today accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of issuing statements that were contradictory to the role played by its patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in the state’s “troubled history”.

14th anniversary of Chattisinghpora killings
Sikhs hold prayer meetings, demand judicial inquiry
Anantnag, March 21
Residents of Chattisinghpora village in Anantnag district of south Kashmir today held prayer meetings to commemorate the killing of 35 Sikhs on the evening of March 20, 2000.

Doda roads a shambles after recent rain, snow fury
Jammu, March 21
People walk on the damaged Doda-Bharat road Some important roads in erstwhile Doda district have been opened after the recent rain and snow but they are in a bad condition and commuters fear threat of landslides.

Election work reviewed in Doda

People walk on the damaged Doda-Bharat road. A Tribune Photograph

AAP against extension of Tosamaidan lease to Army
Srinagar, March 21
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has vowed to fight against granting of further extension of lease to the Artillery unit of the Army for using the Tosamaidan pasture in Budgam as a filed-firing range.

A roadside vendor sells garlands after the demand witnessed a spurt following poll announcement Flower growers cash in on poll fever
Jammu, March 21
The election time has come as a boon for more than 900 flower growers in the state, as they are hopeful of making quick money. As it is customary for supporters to greet candidates with garlands, distributors are expecting good returns for their investment, who are always worried during April and May, which are otherwise considered a lean period for business.
A roadside vendor sells garlands after the demand witnessed a spurt following poll announcement. Tribune photo: Inderjeet Singh

Vote for deserving candidates, youth told
Jammu, March 21
Launching a scathing attack on sitting MPs in Jammu division, the National Secular Forum (NSF) today made a fervent appeal to the general masses, especially the youth, to vote in favour of deserving candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.

Now, highway updates through Facebook
Jammu, March 21
To help passengers in keeping up to date with the current position of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the traffic police have started a web page “Highway Traffic Police” on Facebook.

Shareholders allege irregularities in bank functioning
Jammu, March 21
The Citizen Cooperative Bank Shareholders Association (CCBSA) alleged irregularities and mismanagement in the functioning of the bank.

Guv reiterates need for developing excellence in teaching, research
Governor NN Vohra chairs an executive council meeting of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University at Kakryal on Friday Jammu, March 21
Governor NN Vohra today emphasised the need for preparing a revised master plan of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University campus which adequately meets the existing and the emerging requirements in the next 25 to 30 years.
Governor NN Vohra chairs an executive council meeting of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University at Kakryal on Friday. A Tribune Photograph

Jammu churns out more revenue, gets lesser share in development
Jammu, March 21
The Jammu region gets lesser funds for development projects than the Kashmir region, despite contributing for nearly three quarters of the state revenue, as per the Finance Department records.
A boatman rows his boat on the Dal Lake in Srinagar
serene view: A boatman rows his boat on the Dal Lake in Srinagar. Tribune photo: Yawar Kabli

Over 1 lakh in Srinagar sans voter ID cards
Srinagar, March 21
Over 1 lakh voters in Srinagar district are yet without the voter ID cards as per the official report of the District Election Office (DEO) , Srinagar. The total number of voters in Srinagar district comprising eight Assembly constituencies as per the report is 5, 91, 977.

Sikh body threatens to boycott elections
Srinagar, March 21
Accusing the state government of discrimination with the Sikh community, the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) today threatened to boycott the upcoming elections.

Volunteers to help in traffic management
Srinagar, March 21
With insufficient traffic cops in the Valley to manage lakhs of vehicles on roads, the traffic police department has roped in volunteers from a private construction company to help in managing the traffic.

Employees resent delay in resolving issues
Jammu, March 21
The Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) has expressed resentment over alleged delay in resolving the issues of state employees by the government.

Annual rath yatra on April 8
Jammu, March 21
The annual rath yatra will be taken from historic Raghunath temple on April 8 during Navratras, in which thousands of people are expected to take part.

DIG inaugurates playway school
Jammu, March 21
DIG Crime, Jammu, Johnny William, elected member of the Cantonment Board Rajesh Bakshi and Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Cathedral Rev Fr Kuriakose TK inaugurated St Mary’s Infant Pre-School (SMIPS) at Narwal Pain in Jammu today.

Red Cross releases Citizens’ Charter
Jammu, March 21
General secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir chapter of Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) today called upon people to support the organisation to extend humanitarian work in the state during man-made or natural disasters.

Book fair concludes
Jammu, March 21
The two-day annual book fair, organised by the State Institute of Education (SIE) in collaboration with the Directorate of School Education (DSE), concluded at SRML Higher Secondary School here.
Water drained out from a residential complex by Fire Department inundated the gate of the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, causing inconvenience to people
official apathy: Water drained out from a residential complex by Fire Department inundated the gate of the National Institute of Technology, Srinagar, causing inconvenience to people. Tribune photo: Yawar Kabli

City gets Internet radio
Srinagar, March 21
The city got a new Internet radio, City FM Radio, which was inaugurated by Congress leader Farooq Renzu Shah.

Navroz celebrated with fervour
Srinagar, March 21
'Navroz', the beginning of the New Year of the Persian calendar, was celebrated with fervour by the Shiite community in Kashmir valley today.

Spain envoy calls on Governor
Jammu, March 21
Ambassador of Spain to India Gustavo de Aristegui called on Governor NN Vohra at Raj Bhawan here yesterday.

CRPF holds cultural programme
Pulwama, March 21
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 182 Battalion organised a cultural programme at the Police Lines here today. A local band of Kashmiri boys enthralled the audience.

Friend held for Budgam youth’s murder
Srinagar, March 21
The police today claimed to have solved the blind murder case of a youth, who was found dead in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, and arrested a friend of the deceased.








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High Court pulls up development authority over land encroachment

Jammu, March 21
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has pulled up the Jammu Development Authority for failing to check encroachments on prime land and directed it remove unauthorised occupation from plots worth Rs 150 crore in the city.

A division bench comprising justices Virender Singh and Muzaffar Hussain Attar directed the officials presently working in the JDA to disclose their movable and immovable properties within a week, saying "strong eyebrows of suspicions are raised about the integrity" of the authorities and officials.

The court directed JDA vice-chairperson Sushma Chouhan to immediately initiate steps for evicting encroachers from the 169 kanal land belonging to the Authority in Gole village and said: "it is appalling that the JDA authorities have failed to take possession of the huge chunk of the land from the unauthorised occupants".

The officials, including chief khilafwarzi officers posted in JDA for the past 10 years, who have been asked to declare assets have also been restrained from creating any third party interest in their properties.

"The JDA has admitted that 169 kanal and 7 marla land is under unauthorised occupation of locals and nomad Gujjars. This doesn't not only make functioning of the authorities of the JDA doubtful, but strong eyebrows of suspicions are also raised about the integrity of the authorities, officers, who have manned important positions, posts in the JDA from time to time" the court said yesterday.

Locals had staged protests over the land grabbing in Gole Gojral area and had threatened to go for major agitation if the government failed to remove the encroachments forthwith.

After perusal of the status report filed by the JDA and hearing advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad appearing for the petitioner, the court observed: "We are prima facie of the view that the failure of the JDA authorities in retrieving the huge chunk of the land from the possession of the unauthorised occupants is a matter of serious concern."

“The JDA authorities shall have to explain their conduct and position for not initiating steps for evicting encroachers from the JDA land. The failure of the JDA authorities to perform their duties would require initiation of disciplinary action as warranted in the facts of this case," the high court said.

It said: "JDA vice-chairman, who has complete statutory back up and paraphernalia available, shall immediately initiate steps for evicting the encroachers from the JDA land".

Pointing towards the status report, which indicates that four chief khilafwarzi officers have been posted in the JDA for the past 10 years, the court directed that all authorities and officials whose names have been reflected in the report, shall, within a week, file affidavits before the registrar, judicial, giving details about movable and immovable properties in their names and also in the names of their spouses and children.

"Likewise, information shall also be given about their bank accounts, shares, debentures and in the affidavit they shall also indicate that till further orders from the court, they will not create any third party interest in their immovable and movable properties," the court said. — PTI

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Poll officials submit report to ECI over code violation by NC
Majid Jahangir
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 21
The District Election authorities in Srinagar have submitted a detailed report to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on allegations that the ruling National Conference used a police vehicle and personnel to ferry ‘wazwan’ (Kashmiri cuisine) for the party’s provisional meeting last week.

Sources said the report was immediately sought from the District Election Officer, Srinagar, after a complaint by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on March 17, with the Chief Election Commissioner of India saying the Model Code of Conduct was violated by the National Conference (NC) by using the official machinery and resources for carrying out party activities.

District Election Officer, Srinagar, Farooq Ahmed Shah subsequently sought a report from the Senior Superintendent of Police, Srinagar, over the issue.

Sources said the police had sought an explanation from one of its officers posted at the Khanyar police station who had arranged a vehicle for ferrying wazwan from the old city.

“There was a law and order problem on March 15 in the old city and restrictions were in place in the wake of the killing of a youth in north Kashmir. A well-known local chef from the area approached the police and sought our help to ferry wazwan to Tourist Reception Centre. He said he will have to face losses, if he was not able to ferry wazwan. On his request, a vehicle was arranged,” said the source privy to the investigation.

“The chef never said wazwan was to be ferried to any political party office.”

The District Election officer was also informed that an explanation had been sought from the police officer over the issue.

The PDP had written to the Election Commission of India, claiming that police vehicles and personnel were used to ferry wazwan for the participants of the NC’s provincial meeting held at its headquarters on March 15.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is the working president of the party, ministers and legislators attended the Working Committee meeting of Kashmir province.

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PDP for special Parliament session to discuss Kashmir
Mufti praises Vajpayee, but rules out poll alliance with the BJP
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 21
While praising the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government, the patron of People's Democratic Party (PDP) and former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said today the party would seek a special session of Parliament to discuss the Kashmir issue and also demand a separate ministry for J&K affairs.

"Our party will propose, discuss and debate in Parliament the creation of new Ministry for Affairs of J&K," Mufti said while addressing a press conference in Srinagar. "We will seek parliamentary approval for upgrading the existing department of J&K Affairs which is currently a part of the Home Ministry. The idea is to give it a development focus and not an overtly security angle," he added.

Mufti, who introduced his party candidates for the four parliamentary constituencies and also released party’s election manifesto, said that all the parties should formalise a basic Kashmir policy.

"Our mission in Parliament will be to drive, persuade and convince all the parties to formalise a basic Kashmir policy, a kind of Common Minimum Programme of all the political parties on J&K and our party will take the lead. Jammu & Kashmir is not just the question of six parliamentary seats. It is a human issue which needs to be addressed by all the parties at the national level. To build a momentum on Kashmir issue, which we had in 2002 after we came to power, it shall be our endeavour to have a special session of Parliament on J&K," Mufti said, adding that the PDP had put in poll fray best of its candidates to change the national mindset on Kashmir.

The PDP patron also said that politics was a battle of ideologies and the new government at the Centre should engage Pakistan and the separatists to resolve the Kashmir issue.

"There is no alternative. The new government will also have to engage with all shades of opinion, including Hurriyat," Mufti said.

"Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held two round-table conferences and working groups were formed. One of the working groups headed by Hamid Ansari (now Vice President) recommended repeal of the AFSPA. However, these initiatives were not taken to logical conclusion," he said.

He said many initiatives were taken by former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, but they could not be institutionalised.

"Vajpayee understood our healing touch policy and he took many initiatives during his government," Mufti said. The PDP patron, however, said that the PDP would have no poll alliance with the BJP. "But the PDP will work with anyone who works on the resolution of Kashmir issue," Mufti said.

Mufti also condemned Omar Abdullah for being responsible in the hanging of Afzal Guru. "Omar Abdullah is responsible for the hanging of Afzal," he said, adding that Afzal could have not be hanged without the consent of J&K Chief Minister.

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Pak prisoner Sanaullah’s death
Govt forms panel to take over suspended jail supdt’s residence
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
Over 10 months on and after ordering a third probe into Pakistan prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay’s death recently, the state government, in violation of law, on March 18 ordered to form a panel to take over the possession of the official residence of the then Jail Superintendent, Rajni Sehgal, currently placed under suspension.

The residence is on the premises of high-security Kot Bhalwal Prison near here.

The present Jail Superintendent of the Kot Bhalwal Central Jail, Dinesh Sharma, while complying with Director General, Prisons, PL Gupta’s order, has constituted a four-member panel comprising Assistant Superintendent (Estate Officer) Panjaboo Ram, Head Warder Naresh Kumar, Female Head Warder Susheela Raina and Junior Assistant (store keeper) Vikas Sharma.

The Jail Superintendent in his official letter dated March 20 has directed the panel to take over the possession of the official residence immediately and make proper and detailed inventory of all material keeping the same in store and submit a report to him.

The ordeal for the suspended Jail Superintendent, who had 25 years of unblemished service, started soon after the attack on Sanaullah inside the Kot Bhalwal Prison on May 3 last year - the day she along with five other officials were placed under suspension.

On May 9 last, the Pakistani ultra had died at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.

On March 12 this year, after a period of over 10 months of the incident, when the government marked the third inquiry into the case, the Director General, Prisons, ordered the present Jail Superintendent to take over the possession of the suspended Jail Superintendent’s quarter, said an official source.

The third probe is to be conducted by ADG, Home Guards, DR Dolley.

Source said the present Superintendent already had an accommodation on the jail premises, while Gupta’s predecessor K Rajendra, currently Special DGP, had clearly told the suspended official that she need not vacate her official residence.

“Rules also don’t allow any suspended official to vacate the official residence because he/she is considered in service. Further, unless and until suspended official is tried, proved guilty and convicted, the government can’t take autocratic decisions like this,” source said.

Former president of the J&K High Court Bar Association, Jammu, and practicing High Court lawyer BS Salathia said, “A suspended official gets 50 per cent of his salary and if suspension gets prolonged he gets 75 per cent of it, but no way his official residence can be taken away unless and until proved guilty, convicted and terminated from the service. Such a order is illegal and can be challenged in the court of law.”

Despite repeated attempts, the Director General, Prisons, was not available for comment.

In violation of law

Rules also don’t allow any suspended official to vacate the official residence because he/she is considered in service. Further, unless and until suspended official is tried, proved guilty and convicted, the government can't take autocratic decisions like this.

An official spokesman

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BJP’s Jitendra Singh to file nomination papers today
Says if voted to power at Centre, the party will order probe into Kishtwar riots
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
The BJP today said the wounds of Kishtwar riots were still fresh in the minds of people and if voted to power in the Centre, it would order an impartial inquiry into the case and bring the culprits to book.

“The Congress which is in power both at the Centre and the state had connived with communal forces to frighten and attack the minority community in Kishtwar last year,” Jitendra Singh, BJP candidate for the Kathua-Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat, told mediapersons in Kathua.

He announced that he would file his nomination papers at the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Kathua, tomorrow. He said after filing the nomination papers, he would tour the erstwhile Doda district and reassure the locals of the BJP’s commitment “to protecting the interests of minorities” and getting justice for the Village Defence Committees and Special Police Officers.

Jitendra Singh claimed that overwhelming response to the BJP campaign had sent shivers in the Congress camp and it was now struggling for “tags and cosmetic options” to revive itself.

He said the recent Roshni scam of Rs 25,000 crore and the Amarnath land row of 2008 were not forgotten or forgiven by people and the Congress which was allegedly primarily responsible for it would be taught a befitting lesson at the hustings.

“The Narendra Modi government which is going to take over in May will order a thorough probe into the Rs 25,000-crore Roshni scam,” he said.

Accusing the Congress of pursuing a separatist-friendly and anti-Jammu policy to stay in power, Singh said the BJP was committed to struggling for self-respect and justice for the region unlike the Congress which had always betrayed the cause of Jammu from time to time.

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Azad to file papers on March 25
Amir Karim Tantray
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
After the Congress party high command convinced Ghulam Nabi Azad to contest the Lok Sabha elections from his home constituency - Udhampour-Doda - he will file his nomination papers on March 25 in Kathua.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Azad will address a rally on the same day in Kathua and on March 26 he will move to Udhampur to address another rally.

It was after immense pressure from state Congress leaders and the party high command that Azad agreed to contest to the Lok Sabha elections. Earlier, during his tour to Rajouri district a few days ago he had showed reluctance to contest the elections citing other responsibilities towards the party.

Azad is contesting the Lok Sabha elections for the first time from any seat in Jammu and Kashmir, whereas he has successfully contested two parliamentary elections from Maharashtra’s Washim Lok Sabha segment in 1980 and 1984. He also won two Assembly elections from Bhaderwah Assembly segment in J&K and remained Chief Minister from November 2005 to July 2008.

Azad’s close aides of erstwhile Doda district are on the job to seek vote and support for him in Chenab basin from where they are expecting to get maximum number of votes.

“We have to work hard in Udhampur and Kathua district and Azad will be addressing rallies first in these districts only,” said a senior Congress leader and close aide of Azad.

The BJP on the other hand is trying to consolidate the Narendra Modi wave in the Jammu region as well, but Azad’s candidature may shatter their dreams in this part of Himalayas, where the track record of Azad with respect to development is commendable.

On March 26, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, is also expected to address rallies in the Jammu region.

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BJP represents policy of disunity: AMM
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 21
The Awami Mutahida Mahaz (AMM), an amalgam of several political parties of the Kashmir region, today accused the BJP of representing an ideology which spells “divisiveness, disunity and communal disharmony” and threatens to “endanger the secular-democratic fabric” of the country.

The amalgam led by CPM’s state secretary Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Peoples Democratic Front chairman Hakim Mohammad Yasin, former Member of Parliament Abdul Rashid Kabuli and Samajwadi Party’s state president Sheikh Abdul Rehman today held a meeting wherein the emerging political situation in the country and the state were discussed, a statement issued by the AMM said.

“The meeting expressed disappointment over the recent statements from certain leaders belonging to different shades of political opinion in Kashmir on the BJP and its prime ministerial candidate,” the statement said. “While we believe that the corruption-ridden UPA government in the country has failed miserably on all fronts, including Kashmir issue, we take the remarks made on the BJP and Modi as disappointing and illusionary,” it said.

The AMM said it was of the firm opinion that creating an “illusion vis-ŕ-vis a possible breakthrough on Kashmir issue if Modi becomes the Prime Minister is bereft of any substance and logic”.

“The BJP, which claims to be the alternative, has no policies different from that of the Congress. Moreover, the BJP represents an ideology which spells divisiveness, disunity and communal disharmony which will endanger the secular-democratic fabric,” it said.

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NC cadre told to redouble efforts to ensure victory
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
National Conference (NC) leader Devender Singh Rana today told the party cadre to redouble its efforts to facilitate the victory of the coalition candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.

Rana said the grass-roots level units of the party had been converted into election offices, with senior leaders supervising the campaigning.

“National Conference activists have plunged into electioneering with a missionary spirit as the ensuing elections are a direct fight between divisive elements and uniting forces,” the National Conference leader said while addressing workers at several places in the Nagrota constituency.

Rana, National Conference provincial president for Jammu province, reminded workers of their crucial role, especially in a situation where opponents were using unethical tactics by exploiting regional and religious sentiments to incite passions.

He said the National Conference believed in homogeneity of society where all segments of people, irrespective of their religions or political affiliations, could live with a sense of dignity and honour.

“This is the spirit and legacy bequeathed to the foot soldiers of the party who have always remained in the forefront to preserve unity and promote harmony in society,” Rana said.

He exuded confidence on the victory of Congress candidates Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and Madan Lal Sharma from the Udhampur and Jammu parliamentary constituencies, respectively.

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PDP statements contradictory to its policy: NC
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 21
The ruling National Conference (NC) today accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of issuing statements that were contradictory to the role played by its patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in the state’s “troubled history”.

In a joint statement issued by senior party leaders and parliamentarians Mehboob Beigh and Sharffuddin Shariq and state legislator Mohammad Akbar Lone, the party alleged that the PDP had a policy of “deceit and contradictions”.

“If Mufti (Sayeed) and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti were so concerned about Afzal Guru, what did they do while charges against Afzal Guru were filed during their tenure,” the ruling party leaders said.

The war of words between the two parties has intensified in the past few days as the state inches closer to the parliamentary elections.

“Wasn’t it Muzaffar Beigh, PDP’s candidate from Baramulla parliamentary seat, who was engaged to defend Maqbool Bhat in the Supreme Court and ended up absconding and leaving Bhat without a defense counsel even after receiving the due counsel fee and retainership? There are serious apprehensions and theories that this was done deliberately against the interests of Bhat, who was later hanged,” the ruling party said.

The NC leaders also accused the PDP patron of remaining “conveniently docile” on the issue of AFSPA revocation during his tenure.

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14th anniversary of Chattisinghpora killings
Sikhs hold prayer meetings, demand judicial inquiry
Suhail A Shah

Anantnag, March 21
Residents of Chattisinghpora village in Anantnag district of south Kashmir today held prayer meetings to commemorate the killing of 35 Sikhs on the evening of March 20, 2000.

The Sikhs were killed by men in Army fatigues after telling the villagers to assemble outside their houses.

The killings coincided with the visit of former US President Bill Clinton to India and was followed by the Pathribal fake encounter and the Brakpora killings.

The families of the victims today held day-long prayer meetings at a local Gurdwara and talked to mediapersons, narrating the horrors of the night to them.

The families expressed their disappointment at the way the government had handled the case.

“I have been traumatised and am living in agony,” said Narender Kaur, 55. All three men in Kaur's family were also killed.

Meanwhile, various Sikh bodies in Kashmir have appealed to the government that the case be probed afresh by setting up a judicial inquiry and the guilty be brought to book.

The Sikh bodies have maintained that the Chattisinghpora killings, Pathribal fake encounter and the Brakpora killings could not be seen in isolation.

“All three cases are interlinked and should be probed thoroughly to bring the guilty to justice,” said Jagmohan Raina, president of the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee.

Raina condemned the Army for closing the Pathribal fake encounter case and maintained that the case be probed afresh.

“The Pandian Commission interlinked the cases as well and maintained that they be probed together,” he said.

The local Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee has also demanded a fresh probe into the Sikh killings.

Head of the Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee Gyani Rajinder Singh said: “Lack of efforts by the government to identify the culprits have dejected us.” “The government should take steps to ensure justice. This is the least it can do,” he said.

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Doda roads a shambles after recent rain, snow fury
Amir Karim Tantray
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
Some important roads in erstwhile Doda district have been opened after the recent rain and snow but they are in a bad condition and commuters fear threat of landslides.

The Batote-Doda national highway was thrown open to traffic by the authorities but boulders and mud have narrowed the road, causing inconvenience to drivers.

“The entire Batote-Doda national highway has been damaged and landslides have occurred almost at every place. At many places, the road has caved in and vehicles move at their own risk,” said Nasir Hussain, a resident of Doda.

All major roads in Doda, Pul-Doda-Bhaderwah, Pul-Doda-Thathri, Thatri-Gundoh and many internal roads have suffered huge damage due to landslides and caving in of portions of roads.

“The Doda-Bharat road has suffered huge damage and remained closed for many days. It was thrown open but it’s condition is bad. We are facing acute shortage of ration as people have to travel on foot to get foodgrains from the Doda district headquarters,” said Waseem Ahmad, a resident of the Udyanpur area of Doda.

“Work is going on a war footing and we have managed to open roads for traffic. But still many roads are in a bad shape and we are on the job to address the issue,” said Mubarak Singh, Doda Deputy Commissioner.

Singh said it would take time to bring the roads in good shape. “I have written to the Border Roads Organisation in this regard and they are on the job,” he said.

Election work reviewed in Doda

Doda: Expenditure Observer BK Panday yesterday convened a meeting of Nodal Officers and other officials concerned in Doda to review the election preparedness in the district.

Panday has been appointed to monitor the election expenses of political parties and candidates.

District Election Officer (Deputy Commissioner), Doda, Mubarak Singh, Superintendent of Police MS Chouhan and other senior officials attended the meeting.

Panday underlined the need for surveillance and effective monitoring of the Election Commission of India guidelines to regulate the expenditure made by the political parties in the General Election.

He said adequate number of paramilitary forces and police personnel should be deployed in sensitive areas to restrict movement of illegal liquor and cash.

He also stressed coordination between various teams constituted for expenditure observance and directed them to maintain proper record which would serve as an evidence. — OC

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AAP against extension of Tosamaidan lease to Army
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 21
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has vowed to fight against granting of further extension of lease to the Artillery unit of the Army for using the Tosamaidan pasture in Budgam as a filed-firing range.

If lease agreement is extended, the party would hold state-wide agitation over the issue. “I have already filed a petition in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) regarding Tosamaidan issue last year and hope that the NHRC will deliver justice and direct the Defence Ministry not to extend the lease agreement,” AAP leader and Lok Sabha candidate for the Srinagar parliamentary seat Raja Muzaffar Bhat said.

He said the AAP would resist any move of the government for granting further extension in the lease agreement post April 2014 as the party believed that granting extension would “directly affect the local population which had suffered tremendous losses from the last more than six decades”.

“Tosamaidan is a huge pasture which is spread over hundreds of acres of land and the area has a great potential to be developed as a tourist destination. Dozens of people have been killed and same number of people became disabled due to bursting of unexploded shells which remain scattered in the area. If further lease is extended, it will clearly indicate that the government is least bothered about the basic human rights of the citizens. We hope that a high-level committee constituted few months back under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary would look into the human aspect first and ensure that the field-firing range is shifted from Tosamaidan to some uninhabited area of the state,” said Muzaffar Bhat.

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Flower growers cash in on poll fever
Sumit Hakhoo
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
The election time has come as a boon for more than 900 flower growers in the state, as they are hopeful of making quick money.

As it is customary for supporters to greet candidates with garlands, distributors are expecting good returns for their investment, who are always worried during April and May, which are otherwise considered a lean period for business.

Villagers in RS Pura, Marh, Nagrota, Katal-Batal and Dhok Wazira in Jammu region have started shifting towards floriculture keeping in view the demand for marigold, rose and tuberose.

“Flowers are an integral part of Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Roughly, 3 lakh kg flowers will be used during the elections. If all goes well, a farmer can earn a profit ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000,” said Tejinder Singh, president of the Flower Growers’ Association. At present nearly 400 hectare land is under cultivation in J&K, where different varieties of flowers particularly marigold, jasmine, aster, rose, chrysanthemum and tuberose have been planted. The area is likely to increase as more and more people are interested in cultivating flowers.

Puja Devi, a flower grower from Kattal-Battal village, Nagrota said: "This is the best time for us to make money. Supporters garland politicians and this way we earn our livelihood. After the elections get over, we will sell flowers around temples or during marriages.”

A national party worker said: "Flowers keep a leader fresh and people can easily spot him in a huge crowd. The order is placed as per the need and type of a leader.”

The state exports around Rs 2 crore product annually. But, flower growers face a peculiar problem of shortage of infrastructure for processing, as the state still does not have a cold-storage facility.

This is making it difficult for people associated with the business in reaching out to the international market.

The state has a favorable agro-climate condition for growing flowers or taking up floriculture and the Agriculture Department too is trying to capitalise on the interest shown by farmers in this sector under the technology mission, but nothing concrete has come out so far.

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Vote for deserving candidates, youth told

Jammu, March 21
Launching a scathing attack on sitting MPs in Jammu division, the National Secular Forum (NSF) today made a fervent appeal to the general masses, especially the youth, to vote in favour of deserving candidates in the Lok Sabha elections.

The forum, which organised a day-long convention for activists on the Jammu University campus here, noticed that the youth was facing a lot of problems, while the sitting Congress MPs-Madan Lal Sharma representing Jammu-Poonch seat and Lal Singh representing Kathua-Udhampur-Doda Parliamentary constituency-had done nothing to help them.

Addressing the convention, NSF president Sukhdev Singh questioned the working of both MPs hailing from Jammu province and exposed their double standards and lip-service attitude.

“Before elections, these MPs claimed that they would try to make all-out efforts to end discrimination and help in the development of Jammu region. But after getting elected, they were least bothered,” he said.

He said the MPs did nothing to promote tourism in Jammu province. “The business community in Jammu city is already apprehending a decline in trade after the rail link to Katra was started. It is important to develop Jammu as an independent tourist destination to save the business of Jammu city.”

“The work on Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex and establishment of much-hyped artificial lake on Tawi River is moving at a snail’s pace. But these MPs never spared a single word for these vital projects,” he said. — TNS

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Now, highway updates through Facebook
Amit Khajuria
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
To help passengers in keeping up to date with the current position of the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, the traffic police have started a web page “Highway Traffic Police” on Facebook.

All updates about the 300 km national highway, which mostly remains closed due to unexpected rain or snow, would be available on the web page, through which passengers can check whether the highway is open or not.

Haseeb Mughal, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), National Highway (NH), said: “The idea is to help people travelling to or from the Valley via NH-44. Initially they used to get stuck on the highway because they had no information about its status. But now, Facebook users can check the status of the highway before using it.”

“People use smartphones and tablets these days and most of them have facebook accounts. Hence, it will be of immense help to passengers,” he added.

So far, more than 2,700 people have liked the page, which would be updated from time to time.

He claimed that they were regularly updating all activities on the highway, adding that several notices and information about the traffic movement were also being posted.

The Traffic Department claimed that no vehicle stranded on the highway in the past one month after the web page was started.

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Shareholders allege irregularities in bank functioning
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
The Citizen Cooperative Bank Shareholders Association (CCBSA) alleged irregularities and mismanagement in the functioning of the bank.

CCBSA president Praveen Chowdhary, while addressing a press conference here today, alleged that the bank was doing extravagance/ wasteful expenditure.

He said despite laying two stones in 1997 and in 2007-08, no building had been constructed at the Rail head complex.

They said the bank under the chairmanship of Dinesh Gupta was running in huge loss and the board of directors, managing director and chairman were planning to sell the land owned by the bank at Narwal and Bahu plaza to balance the loss.

The members further alleged that the bank had not conducted the annual general meeting (AGM) for the past six years, which otherwise had to be conducted on a yearly basis. “We appeal the government to take strict steps against the present board,” Chowdhary said.

“Not only this, the authorities do not reply to shareholders’ queries also,” he added.

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Guv reiterates need for developing excellence in teaching, research
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
Governor NN Vohra today emphasised the need for preparing a revised master plan of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University campus which adequately meets the existing and the emerging requirements in the next 25 to 30 years.

He observed that the revised master plan, besides providing for new hostels for boys and girls, residential accommodation for faculty and staff, and meeting other arising needs would also need to take care of the requirements arising from the introduction of new academic programmes and the admission of an increased number of students.

The Governor, who is Chancellor of SMVDU, was chairing the 21st meeting of the executive council of the university at Kakryal near Katra today.

The Governor emphasised the need to ensure timely completion of all ongoing infrastructure development works, particularly the boys and girls hostels. He asked Prof Sudhir K Jain, Vice Chancellor of the university, to draw up calendar of the important events of the varsity during academic year 2014-15 and see that dates are fixed for the meetings of the various bodies, including the executive council.

The council took a number of important decisions for developing the university as a centre of excellence in teaching, research and co-curricular activities.

The executive council approved introduction of new academic programmes in a phased manner in the next five years; maintenance of a corpus fund of Rs 20 crore and the interest accrued thereon to be utilised for providing scholarships to the meritorious students of the varsity.

The council also approved the award of post-doctoral fellowships of Rs 35,000 per month and a contingency grant of Rs 50,000 per annum in various schools of study in the university with the objective of enhancing research activities and capacities of the schools.

The council approved the institution of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board medals to be awarded every year to the best students and a medal for the best girl student of the year.

Prof Sudhir K Jain, Vice Chancellor of the university, in his presentation, gave details of the academic and extra-curricular achievements of the university. He dwelt on the efforts being made to improve the existing infrastructure and the initiatives taken in the fields of teaching and research and the future action plan.

The members of the executive council put forth several suggestions for the growth of the University.

Earlier, the Governor planted a sapling of Putaranjeeva in the university campus.

The Governor also inspected an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) which had been designed and fabricated by the Team Mechanix of the School of Mechanical Engineering under the supervision of Dr Ankush Anand and Varun Datta, Assistant Professors, School of Mechanical Engineering, SMVDU.

The Governor lauded the initiative of Team Mechanix and suggested bringing about further refinements in the design of ATV.

The executive council meeting was attended by Prof Talat Ahmad, Vice Chancellor, University of Kashmir; R S Pawar, chairman, NIIT Ltd; Prof Vinayshil Gautam, former Director IIT; Prof D Mukhopadhyay, Dean, Faculty of Management, SMVDU; Prof V Verma, Dean, Faculty of Engineering, SMVDU; Prof V K Bhat, Director, School of Mathematics, SMVDU; Dr Yugal Khajuria, In charge Dean of Students, SMVDU; Navin K Choudhary, Principal Secretary to the Governor; Dr Mandeep K Bhandari, Chief Executive Officer of the Shrine Board, and Ajay Khajuria, Registrar of the University.

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Jammu churns out more revenue, gets lesser share in development
Arteev Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
The Jammu region gets lesser funds for development projects than the Kashmir region, despite contributing for nearly three quarters of the state revenue, as per the Finance Department records.

The Jammu region contributed nearly 74 per cent of the total tax collection during the last two fiscals, but got lesser share in allocation of funds and additionalities for development projects, the records suggested.

The state government realised Rs 9,624.62 crore from the Jammu region as excise and commercial taxes during the last two financial years, while the Kashmir region contributed for Rs 1,729.23 crore.

A sum of Rs 7,895.39 was generated from Jammu only, the records stated.

An amount of Rs 761.74 crore was collected as excise duty, toll tax and entertainment tax from the Jammu region during 2011-12, while the revenue of Rs 858.87 crore was collected through these taxes in the region during 2012-13.

Comparatively, the Kashmir division generated Rs 517.90 crore as excise duty and toll tax in 2011-12 while the revenue collected through these taxes during 2012-13 was Rs 568.20 crore.

Similarly, a whopping Rs 2,426.52 crore was collected through commercial taxes, including Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Value Added Tax (VAT), entry tax, motor spirit tax, stamps and registration and passenger tax in the Jammu division during 2011-12.

The amount generated on account of commercial taxes in the region during 2012-13 was Rs 3,070.47 crore.

The Kashmir division, on the other hand, generated Rs 1,120.26 crore in 2011-12 as commercial taxes, while a sum of Rs 1,278.12 crore was realised on account of these taxes during 2012-13.

Sources in the Finance Department, however, said the Jammu region was allocated a lesser share under the State Plan and additionalities for various development projects during the last two financial years.

“The state government allocated Rs 3,505.96 crore, including Rs 1,780.63 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 1,725.33 crore in 2013-14, for the Jammu region. It also included Rs 150 crore provided on the recommendations of the Special Task Force for Jammu. In the Kashmir division, the government allocated Rs 3,632.16 crore, including Rs 1,836.55 crore in 2012-13 and Rs 1,795.61 crore in 2013-14 under the state plan,” a source said.

Interestingly, the Kashmir region has not generated even a single penny on account of entertainment tax in the last two financial years while Rs 97.59 crore were collected from Jammu for the corresponding period.

As far as additionalities provided to both the regions are concerned, the Kashmir division got Rs 109.70 crore, while the Jammu region was given Rs 92.50 crore, Rs 17.20 crore less than what Kashmir was provided, the records suggested.

The Jammu-based political parties have been raising the issue of “discrimination” against the region vis-ŕ-vis collection of revenue and allocation of funds for development activities since long.

They have been pleading that the state government was collecting taxes from Jammu, but spending the same in the Valley.

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Over 1 lakh in Srinagar sans voter ID cards
Bismah Malik
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 21
Over 1 lakh voters in Srinagar district are yet without the voter ID cards as per the official report of the District Election Office (DEO) , Srinagar. The total number of voters in Srinagar district comprising eight Assembly constituencies as per the report is 5, 91, 977.

A total of 10,9,227 voters in Srinagar district are still without the EPICs / voter IDs, the official figures reveal.

Srinagar constituency comprising Srinagar, Budgam and Ganderbal districts is slated to go for Lok Sabha polls on April 30.

The District Election Office, Srinagar, officials stated that approximately 45, 000 voter ID cards would be issued for the Srinagar district alone in next few days.

The voter registration campaign as per the report was carried out at 804 polling stations set up across Srinagar district.

"The Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers (AEROs) are involved in registering the voters as well as issuing the voter IDs. The action has been taken against the booth level officers found absent from the duty," an official in the DEO said.

"The plan is to generate at least 45,000 cards which is still half of the required number. The Deputy Commissioner’s office (Municipal Office), post offices, revenue divisional officer, Tehsildar office have received the applications for issuance of Voter IDs,” the official stated.

Meanwhile, new eligible voters are facing difficulties like the sluggish pace of the issuance of voter ID cards and inadequate online and telephone communication with the registration offices from where they could enquire the status of their in process voter IDs.

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Sikh body threatens to boycott elections

Srinagar, March 21
Accusing the state government of discrimination with the Sikh community, the All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) today threatened to boycott the upcoming elections.

In a statement, All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina urged members of the community to hold their votes and said they should not fall prey to the hoax promises of the leaders of political parties, especially the National Conference and the Congress. He said the coalition partners had failed to fulfil the long-pending demands of the community.

“One wonders on what agenda the leaders of the ruling alliance in the state would come before the Sikh voters and seek their votes. The present coalition dispensation has miserably failed to solve the genuine problems of the Sikh community. As such these people don’t have moral or ethical authority to seek votes from the Sikhs living across the state,” said Raina. Raina said that the Sikhs constituted an important component of the electorate in the majority of the Lok Sabha seats. He said members of the community would ensure that exploitative? elements were not allowed to enter the Parliament.

“Under the mass contact programme, we have already educated Sikh voters in both rural and urban areas not to vote for people who have deceived them over the past many years. We have also told the members of community to be vigilant from various agents within the community since they are hell-bent on causing harm to the common good of the community,” Raina added.

Stating that the problems being faced by the community were being “deliberately kept un-attended under a plan thereby causing numerous problems to the people”, he said the state government had “miserably failed” in extending the National Minorities Act to the state. — TNS

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Volunteers to help in traffic management
Our Correspondent

Srinagar, March 21
With insufficient traffic cops in the Valley to manage lakhs of vehicles on roads, the traffic police department has roped in volunteers from a private construction company to help in managing the traffic.

The step has been taken in the wake of the flyover construction in Srinagar due to which most of the traffic has been diverted to alternative routes.

Several youth in civil clothes are seen blowing whistles and showing directions to vehicles at Jawahar Nagar and Gogji Bagh.

Officials of the traffic police department while admitting the lack of staff strength in the department said more than 20 volunteers from a private construction company –Simplex Company - that is handling the flyover construction from Jehangir Chowk to the Natipora flyover had been called in to help the traffic department.

“For now, we have got some volunteers from a construction company that is involved in building the flyover to help in managing traffic on roads,” said a senior official in the traffic department.

The officials said they were planning to get some additional traffic cops from the winter capital of the state - Jammu - as well.

“We are also getting some more cops from Jammu and have already requested for that. We have been saying that there is insufficient staff in the department, but at the end the blame of traffic chaos comes on the traffic department. We are doing best with the available resources. Even our men are working for additional hours,” said the Superintendent of Traffic Police in Srinagar.

It has been a week since traffic has been diverted from Solina and Rambagh to Jawahar Nagar and Gogji Bagh, but the whole week witnessed huge traffic jams, adding to the commuters’ woes. “Despite deploying some additional volunteers and cops on the said routes, there is hardly any respite from long traffic jams, especially during peak hours,” he added.

“I am trying to do my best with the available staff to manage the traffic. It is a big task,” the official added.

Though the “Darbar move” has not happened yet, there is a fear among observers about worst traffic snarls. “This is the situation when most of the government offices are functional from Jammu. I wonder what will happen when more vehicles will be added to the present chaos,” said a civil society member, Abdul Ahad.

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Employees resent delay in resolving issues
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
The Employees Joint Action Committee (EJAC) has expressed resentment over alleged delay in resolving the issues of state employees by the government.

A session of EJAC was held under its president Abdul Qayoom Wani wherein various issues related to employees' problems were discussed. Wani said, “On the one hand, the government assured that the issues of employees will be resolved and on the other hand anti-employees and cruel laws are being imposed. Hence, the committee has decided to hold a protest against the state government in Srinagar.” Fayaz Ahmad Shabnam, Farooq Ahmad Trali, Khursheed Ahmad Bhat, Haji Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Ghulam Rasool Bhat, Mohammad Afzal Bhat, Shabir Ahmad Bhat, Peer Nisar Ahmad, Mir Shabir Hussain, Malik Fayaz and Tariq Ahmad Sofi were also present.

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Annual rath yatra on April 8
Tribune News Service

Jammu, March 21
The annual rath yatra will be taken from historic Raghunath temple on April 8 during Navratras, in which thousands of people are expected to take part.

The rich cultural heritage of Jammu region would be showcased during the nine-day festival, beginning from March 31.

Additional Deputy Commissioner KS Parihar has directed the civic bodies and the police to ensure proper arrangements for the smooth conduct of the festival.

Parihar directed the Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) to ensure sanitation in and around the temples, while the PHE Department had been asked to make adequate water supply particularly at the main venues, where a large number of devotees were expected to participate.

A special control room would be set up to ensure that people don’t face any inconvenience. A toll free number would be circulated in the public.

The administration had stressed upon different agencies involved in the festival arrangements to work in close coordination.

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DIG inaugurates playway school
Tribune News Service


DIG Crime, Jammu, Johnny William inaugurates St Mary's Infant Pre-School in Jammu on Friday
DIG Crime, Jammu, Johnny William inaugurates St Mary's Infant Pre-School in Jammu on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Jammu, March 21
DIG Crime, Jammu, Johnny William, elected member of the Cantonment Board Rajesh Bakshi and Parish Priest of St. Mary’s Cathedral Rev Fr Kuriakose TK inaugurated St Mary’s Infant Pre-School (SMIPS) at Narwal Pain in Jammu today.

Esther William, Principal of Alexander Memorial School, Jammu was also present.

Chief Guest Johnny William praised Anna Mary, the Principal of the school, for opening the pre-school. Rajesh Bakshi, an active political worker, was the guest of honour. The tiny-tots also performed a couple of songs on the occasion.

Anna Mary has nearly 38 years teaching experience with kindergarten children. The play way provides quality education in a friendly environment based on interactive international curriculum. The infant section (kindergarten) offers an attractive English medium curriculum for children. 

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Red Cross releases Citizens’ Charter

Jammu, March 21
General secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir chapter of Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS) today called upon people to support the organisation to extend humanitarian work in the state during man-made or natural disasters.

Addressing a press conference after releasing Citizens’ Charter, Roma Wani said: “Excellent cooperation of civil society and organisations throughout the state has enabled the Red Cross to develop a strategy and funds, which can genuinely meet the needs of local requirements.”

She said IRCS was a citizen-centric organisation working in J&K since 1948, helping humans in the difficult terrains of the state in collaboration with individual volunteers, national and international organisations.

“The organisation strives to provide assistance to those affected by disasters without any discrimination through two Regional and 22 District Red Cross Committees having deep reach in every corner of the state,” Wani said.

She said: “We have all been moved by the terrible suffering of the people in the state and need support of the community to raise funds for relief efforts.” — TNS 

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Book fair concludes

Jammu, March 21
The two-day annual book fair, organised by the State Institute of Education (SIE) in collaboration with the Directorate of School Education (DSE), concluded at SRML Higher Secondary School here.

Hirdesh Kumar Singh, Secretary, School Education Department, visited various stalls.

Ajmer Singh Manhas and Suresh Kumar Gouria, Research Officers, SIE, Jammu, provided the logistic support for organising the event. Different panels of subject experts for selecting various subject-specific and general books were formed who selected the subject-specific and general books with quality and good content. —TNS

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City gets Internet radio

Srinagar, March 21
The city got a new Internet radio, City FM Radio, which was inaugurated by Congress leader Farooq Renzu Shah.

The Internet radio will be first of its kind round-the-clock radio FM in Srinagar.

“The radio will function through sophisticated web lines and shall be available in all parts of the world. All subjects, particularly historical and social, with regard to the state will be broadcast by professional anchors. The broadcast will be available on hand phones as well as mobile sets. Various incentives will be available to listeners to score their points by recording their live voices,” an official handout of the City FM said. — TNS

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Navroz celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 21
'Navroz', the beginning of the New Year of the Persian calendar, was celebrated with fervour by the Shiite community in Kashmir valley today.

On Navroz, which literally means a new day, Shias hold special prayers and prepare delicacies.

Besides reminding of the central Asian influence on Kashmir’s culture and way of life, Navroz also marks the beginning of farming and plantation period in the Valley. According to local traditions, farmers believe that a seed sown on Navroz blooms into a healthy plant.

Shiites also believe that Hazrat Ali received “khilafat” on Navroz day.

Plantation activities were carried out at several places in the Valley and people were seen receiving leech therapy at several places, including Hazratbal. People believe that the therapy is all the more effective on Navroz day. Meanwhile, the Fisheries Department had set up counters selling trout and carp fish at Zadibal, Alamgari Bazar, Baghwanpora Lal Bazar, Mir Behari Dal and other Shia-dominated areas. The government had also passed directions to the departments concerned to ensure uninterrupted water and power supply in the Shia dominated areas of the Valley, besides ensuring cleanliness in and around Imam Dargahs.

Both Governor NN Vohra and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah yesterday extended greetings on Navroz, which is a state holiday in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Spain envoy calls on Governor
Tribune News Service


Ambassador of Spain to India Gustavo de Aristegui with Governor NN Vohra at Raj Bhawan in Jammu on Thursday
Ambassador of Spain to India Gustavo de Aristegui with Governor NN Vohra at Raj Bhawan in Jammu on Thursday. A Tribune photograph

Jammu, March 21
Ambassador of Spain to India Gustavo de Aristegui called on Governor NN Vohra at Raj Bhawan here yesterday.

The Governor and the Ambassador discussed various matters related to furthering the ties and establishing wide ranging understandings between the two countries.

They also discussed various possibilities of investors from Spain assisting the establishment of business and commercial ventures for the rapid economic growth of J&K, particularly in the areas in which both the sides are keen to collaborate.

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CRPF holds cultural programme
Our Correspondent

Pulwama, March 21
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) 182 Battalion organised a cultural programme at the Police Lines here today. A local band of Kashmiri boys enthralled the audience.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG), CRPF, OS Charak said the culture of Kashmir was inferior to none. More efforts were needed to spread the richness of this culture in the world.

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Friend held for Budgam youth’s murder
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, March 21
The police today claimed to have solved the blind murder case of a youth, who was found dead in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, and arrested a friend of the deceased.

The cause behind the crime, the police said, was a paltry amount of Rs 25,000.

“The accused, a close friend of the victim, has been arrested. Besides, the crime weapon along with cash and mobile phone of the victim was recovered from his home,” a police spokesman quoted Superintendent of Police, Budgam district, Mohammad Irshad.

The youth, identified as Mudasir Ahmad Rather, a resident of Hardu Dalwan village of Budgam, was found dead at Dharmwari near Chadoora area on Monday. During investigations, the police zeroed in on Mohammad Yaseen Yatoo, a resident of Chadoora. “Yatoo happened to be a close friend of the deceased and it was established that he was the last one to be seen in the company of the victim,” the police official said. On his sustained questioning, Yatoo revealed that the victim had Rs 25,000 and he wanted to grab the money.

“He lured the victim to a secluded place and killed him with a knife. The accused also stole the mobile phone of the deceased besides the cash amount of Rs 25,000,” the official said.

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