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After 2 year delay, Panchyat polls in J&K in Feb

Ending the long wait and suspense, Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to hold the panchayat elections from February 15, in the strife-torn state.The decision to hold the panchayat polls after a gap of two years was made in the cabinet meeting chaired by J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti a few days ago.Mehbooba, on Monday, drove to Raj Bhavan to inform Governor NN Vohra about the dates for the panchayat elections. “During their half hour meeting, the Chief Minister informed the Governor about several important matters with regard to which the Cabinet had taken decisions a few days ago. She also informed about her Government’s decision to commence the panchayat polls from February 15, 2018,” said an official spokesman.The Governor, the official spokesman said, reiterated his concern about the vital importance of ensuring prompt redressal of public grievances and for the entire administrative system to function in a truly transparent and accountable manner, to promote public welfare.Seen as one of the biggest achievements of the Omar Abdullah government, the panchayat elections were last held in 2011, after a 33 year hiatus in Jammu and Kashmir.More than 80 per cent people had defied the terrorists and cast their votes in the panchayat elections in 2011. More than 33,000 panchayat representatives were elected in the 2011 polls.The panchayat elections were due last year, but due to the post-Burhan Wani killing unrest, they got postponed indefinitely.Last month, Vohra had set the ball rolling for holding the elections in the winter of 2017-18.Since the Assembly was not in session, Vohra had promulgated the ordinance, so that no time is lost in commencing preparations for the conduct of the pending elections.Considering the time-frame for the forthcoming elections, the Governor issued the J&K Panchayati Raj (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017, to empower the State Chief Electoral Officer to determine and delimit Halqa (block) panchayats and conduct panchayat polls.

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CRPF hails amnesty scheme for stone-pelters

Giving a thumbs up to the amnesty scheme for first-time stone-pelters, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Saturday said that the large-hearted approach will help to encourage more people to shun the path of violenceLast month, the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti announced a major amnesty scheme and ordered the withdrawal of cases against 4,327 youth involved in 744 incidents of stone pelting and other law and order problems.”The amnesty given to first-time stone pelters is a good step. It will encourage people to shun the path of violence. These people should now take advantage of the large-hearted approach (of the government) and channelise their energy in a positive way”, said Ravideep Sahi, Inspector General of CRPF Srinagar.Most of the stone pelters, who were granted amnesty, were involved in the cases of 2016 unrest. More than 90 people have been killed and over 13000 people injured in the unrest, which began after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016. Over 1,100 people, mostly teenagers, have suffered injuries in their eyes in incidents where security forces fired pellet munitions to quell the mobs across Kashmir.Officially, the state government said only 76 people including two cops, have died in the summer unrest. More than 4,113 policemen got injured in the four months of unrest last year. Around 2,371 law and order incidents were reported since the killing of Burhan Wani on July 8, 2016, till November 2016.Meanwhile, the homecoming policy of the security forces for the local militants has yielded positive results. “We have got successes and many people have left violence. It is an opportunity for the youth to rectify their mistakes and rejoin the mainstream”, said Sahi.

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Jammu and Kashmir | Education gets mega boost, 16 new colleges, 400 upgraded govt schools to come up next year

Forget 2016 unrest; the students of Jammu and Kashmir have all the reasons to look forward to 2017.The education sector in the state is all set for a major boost to offset the losses it suffered in the turmoil.More than 400 government schools will be upgraded and 16 new government degree colleges will be established in Jammu and Kashmir.Of the schools to be upgraded, 200 will be promoted from middle to higher and rest 200 from higher to the higher secondary level.The fresh steps to boost education comes a year after education became the prime casualty of the separatist-sponsored civil unrest in Kashmir.Official figures reveal that 34 schools were burnt by attackers during the 2016 unrest. Around 14 incidents of the school burning were timely addressed and property saved.More than 12 lakh students were sitting home as the schools and educational institutions in the valley remained shut for five months following the unrest.“Teachers both in government and private sector deserve all praise for their commitment towards their noble profession. The state is indebted to them. Present government led by Mehbooba Mufti is committed to take education sector to a new high”, said Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari, Jammu and Kashmir Minister for Education.Economic Survey Report presented by the Jammu and Kashmir government in the Legislative Assembly few months ago has depicted a grim picture of the education scenario in the valley in 2016.According to the report, normal schooling could be conducted only for a period of four months in the Kashmir valley last year due to the unrest which started after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter in Bamdoora village on July 8 2016.“No one can dispute the fact that the young generation of technocrats and officers serving the state at present are the lot which was educated by the teachers in the times of turbulence. Both public and private sector institutions are contributing to raise the education standard in their own ways”, said Bukhari.

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It’s raining govt jobs for pellet victims

Pellet victims have a reason to smile after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti provided government jobs to a group of victims, who lost their eyesight in the pellet gun firing in 2016 unrest.The face of the pellet horror Insha Mushtaq, who lost her eyes to pellet guns at Sadew village, however, has reportedly been promised the gas agency by the chief minister.The fresh reach-out comes days after Mehbooba ordered to withdraw cases of 4,327 stone-pelters in a bid to give them an opportunity to rebuild their lives afresh in the restive Kashmir valley.An official spokesman said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti distributed orders of appointment among a group of victims who lost their eyesight due to pellet injuries during the law and order situations in the Valley last year.”This is in continuation of her earlier measures taken for the rehabilitation of the victims of violence during the unrest of last year,” he said. It may be recalled that on September 14 and 28 the Chief Minister had also disbursed financial assistance among two groups of pellet victims.”Mehbooba Mufti, has initiated a series of measures for the rehabilitation, social integration and empowerment of youth of the State. Recently the Chief Minister directed withdrawal of cases against more than four thousand youth involved in various cases of law and order nature,” said the spokesman.
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Omar Abdullah greets Mehbooba Mufti on sixth term as PDP prez

Leaving their political bitterness behind, former Chief Minister and National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah went into an overdrive to greet Mehbooba Mufti for being elected People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president for the sixth time, evoking a quick and positive response from the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister.”Congratulations to Mehbooba Mufti on being re-elected as President of PDP. We may not agree on much these days but I wish you well”, Omar tweeted.Hours later Mehbooba too took to Twitter to return the favour. “Thanks for the wishes, Omar. Debate is the essence of democracy so we can agree to disagree on certain issues”, she said.For two bitter political rivals, the camaraderie was like a breeze as both Mehbooba and Omar have been slugging it out almost daily. From accusations to counter accusations, the two leaders have been at loggerheads on varied issues. Be it the state subject law under Article 35A or dealing with the unrest, the two leaders have been fighting it out openly.Political slugfest notwithstanding, Mehbooba Mufti has even silenced critics and detractors within her party by winning the election for president unopposed.Mehbooba has been facing criticism from within the party, particularly about dealing with the 2016 unrest. In fact senior leader Tariq Karra quit the party post as well as the MP from Srinagar constituency last year over differences with Mehbooba over with unrest. The party ultimately lost the bye-polls for the seat to National Conference President Farooq Abdullah in April.A hesitant politician initially, she plunged into the electoral fray in 1996 from her home constituency Bijbhera on the insistence of her father late Mufti Mohommad Sayeed, who was then the tallest Congress leader in J&K.It was sheer luck for Mehbooba to plunge into politics as her father wanted his son Mufti Tasaduq Hussain to contest the polls. Since he was underage, Mufti picked Mehbooba from Bijbhera seat while his wife Gulshan was nominated from Pahalgam constituency.A law graduate Mehbooba holds the record of not losing any election from the traditional pocket borough of south Kashmir either in the Assembly or the parliament. She however lost the parliamentary election once from Srinagar when she contested against Omar Abdullah in 1999.Last year Mehbooba became the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir after the demise of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
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Mehbooba Mufti elected PDP president for 6th consecutive term

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was today re-elected the president of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the next three years.Mehbooba’s election for the sixth consecutive term was unanimous, party leaders said.She thanked party leaders for “reposing their trust and electing me as their president”.”Will work tirelessly to fulfil our shared vision of development, inclusiveness and reconciliation in J&K,” she wrote on Twitter.The PDP leadership met at the official residence of the chief minister here for the election of the party president.Also readMehbooba Mufti set to be PDP prez for 6th termA law graduate, 57-year-old Mehbooba took the plunge into mainstream politics of the state in 1996 by joining the Congress, along with her father, at a time when militancy was at its peak in the state.She emerged from the shadow of her illustrious father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who founded the PDP in 1999, to head Jammu and Kashmir as the first woman chief minister of the state last year.Also readMehbooba Mufti orders withdrawal of cases against 4,327 stone-pelters “Under @MehboobaMufti’s leadership, the party strives to carry forward its mission of holistic development and stability in Jammu and Kashmir,” senior PDP leader and sports minister Imran Raza Ansari said.The party’s Twitter handle posted, “From grassroots politics to emergence as a beacon of hope for young & dis- empowered, your dynamism & all inclusive politics have set new benchmarks & changed the course of polity in subcontinent. May your leadership continue to steer us to newer heights.”
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Govt’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma all set to kick-start ‘Mission Kashmir’ 2.0

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A day after Mehbooba Mufti government announced amnesty to first time stone throwers, centre’s Special Representative Dineshwar Sharma is all set to kick-start `Mission Kashmir’ 2.0 and meet the cross sections of society in strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir.Unlike his previous visit last month, Sharma is starting his tour from the winter capital city Jammu on Friday. Sharma will be visiting the migrant pandit camps and meet the representatives of the community to discuss their problems.During his last visit he had met the delegation of Panun Kashmir, an apex body of Kashmir migrant pandits in Jammu. This time around he is touring their camps in Jagti and take on the spot view of their problems.Official figures reveal that around 41,117 migrant families from Kashmir are registered in Jammu and 21,000 others in Delhi and other states. Of the total migrant families living in Jammu, 37,128 are Hindus, 2,246 Muslims, and 1,758 Sikhs.Figures released by Kashmir Pandit Sangrash Simiti (KPSS), an apex body of non-migrant pandits, reveal that 677 Kashmiri pandits have been killed by the militants since 1990. The figures include the mass massacres of Kashmiri Pandits at different places at different times. However, the state government figures reveal that only 219 Kashmiri Pandits were killed in the state since 1989.“From day one we have been saying pandit townships in Kashmir are not alternative to our miseries. We believe that homeland for pandits in the valley with Union territory status is the only solution”, said Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, president of Panun Kashmir.In a resolution passed by Panun Kashmir in December 1991, Kashmiri Pandits demanded that the Centre create a homeland comprising the regions of the valley to the East and North of river Jhelum. The homeland, according to Panun Kashmir, should have a union territory status where the Constitution of India is made applicable in letter and spirit to ensure a right to life, liberty, freedom of expression and faith, equality and rule of law.“We have met Sharma last time and we do not have any problem in meeting him again if he desires so this time around. We will be pressing for a homeland. We also want to reiterate that the sovereignty of the country is non-negotiable. It is the bottom-line and government should make it clear during discussions”, said Chrungoo.

Mehbooba Mufti kicks off process of withdrawing cases against stone-pelters

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehbooba Mufti government has formally kicked off the process of withdrawing cases against stone-pelters in Kashmir. “It gives me immense satisfaction to restart the process of withdrawing FIRs against first time offenders of stone pelting. My government had initiated the process in May 2016 but it was unfortunately stalled due to the unrest later that year”, tweeted Mehbooba.Chief minister said this confidence building measure reaffirms the Central government’s commitment towards changing the narrative in J&K and creating a reconciliatory atmosphere for sustained dialogue.”It is encouraging that the interlocutor has started on a positive note. His recommendations are being taken seriously by both the Central & State government”, she said. Mehbooba said it is a ray of hope for these young boys and their families. “This initiative will provide them an opportunity to rebuild their lives”, she added

Politics peaks as states spar over movie

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court rejected a petition against ‘Padmavati’, but politics over the movie escalated as the BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh said they would not allow its screening till “the controversial scenes” are deleted. Even the Congress government in Punjab backed protesters who say any depiction of romance between legendary Hindu queen Padmini and Delhi Sultnate ruler Alauddin Khilji is wrong and insults the Rajput community.West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC head Mamata Banerjee, however, termed the controversy a calculated plan to destroy the freedom to expression and condemned “this super emergency.” J&K’s main opposition National Conference also wrote to CM Mehbooba Mufti to ban the release in Jammu.Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has asked his Haryana counterpart Manohar Lal Khattar to act against those threatening actor Deepika Padukone for her portrayal of Padmini. Padukone and director Sanjay Bhansali have received threats. Bhansali was also attacked on set in January by a Rajput organisation.MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan told delegations of the Rajput community that his government will not tolerate any distortion of history. “Even if passed by the censor board, the movie wouldn’t be released in the state,” he said.UP’s Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya said that the state government will not allow ‘Padmavati’ to be released in the state till filmmakers delete all controversial scenes and objectionable portions. The film’s makers have already deferred the movie’s release. It was release on December 1.Punjab CM Amarinder Singh became the first Congress leader to speak against the Rs 190-crore film when he said, “Nobody will accept the distortion of history and those who are protesting are rightly doing so.Rajasthan has already asked for removal of the “objectionable” parts of the film based on a 16th century poem, ‘Padmavat’. Historians have been divided over whether the queen ever existed. The film’s makers have been denying allegations of any distortion of history.

All Indian citizens in JK are stakeholders: Special rep Dineshwar Sharma

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Centre’s special representative for Kashmir, today said all Indian citizens in Jammu and Kashmir were “stakeholders” in the dialogue process and that he would keep coming to the state in the future.Sharma, who arrived here last evening on the second leg of his visit to J&K, said the Centre had given him the task to restore peace in Kashmir and find some solution.Asked whether he considered the Hurriyat Conference a stakeholder in the dialogue process, he said, “All Indian citizens in Jammu and Kashmir are stakeholders.” Sharma, who was appointed the Centre’s special representative last month for consultations with various groups and political parties, called on state governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti here last night and discussed the ways to reach out to the stakeholders, officials said.On the issue of a meeting with Hurriyat leaders, he said, “Let us see.”Asked further, the former Intelligence Bureau chief said, “I am going to visit Jammu and Kashmir again and again.” Replying to a question, he said his visit to the state had been “successful”.He had arrived here yesterday after spending four days in the Valley, during which he met various delegations and political leaders which included former chief minister Omar Abdullah, state Congress chief G A Mir and CPM leaders among others.He also met a BJP delegation, led by the party’s state president Sat Sharma, here yesterday. Sharma is scheduled to return to the national capital tomorrow. PTI AB SC

Mehbooba Mufti needs to go back to school and learn the law: Subramanian Swamy hits out at J&K CM’s Article 370 statement

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Sunday lashed out at Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti over her demand for Article 370 to the people of the state, stating that the latter needs to go back to school and learn some law.Swamy’s statement comes a day after Mehbooba Mufti said that Article 370 of the Constitution, which guarantees special status to the state, is the nation’s commitment to the people of J-K and should be honoured.Speaking to ANI, Swamy said, “I urge that Article 370 is totally made irrelevant. It is responsible for more than 5,000 Kashmiri pandits getting driven out of the state and not being allowed to return . So why does Mehbooba Mufti want 370? Is it for the protection of Muslims and not Hindus. Mufti needs to go back to school and learn law.””As far as Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly is concerned, the Centre has finished their work and given a Kashmir constitution in which the first line is- ‘Kashmir is an integral part of India’. Where is Article 370 in this? There is no mention of 370 in the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. Also in the Indian Constitution it is only mentioned as a temporary provision so where is the guarantee of the people,” he said.Mehbooba Mufti also said that dialogue is the only way forward to resolve the Kashmir issue and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has a huge mandate, can create history by changing the narrative on Jammu and Kashmir.The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Chief on Saturday had taken to to Twitter to say ‘Article 370 is the nation’s commitment to the people of J-K and therefore should be honoured.”

J&K: Separatist’s pic turns up in Beti Bachao campaign, officer supended and probe ordered

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir government today suspended an officer and ordered a probe in connection with a picture of jailed separatist leader Asiya Andrabi appearing along with Indian women achievers in a banner on ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign.Shamima, the Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) of Breng block in Anantnag district, has been placed under suspension and an inquiry has been ordered into the incident, Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag Mohammad Yunus Malik told PTI.”The CDPO in question has committed a grievous error of judgement by including Asiya Andrabi in the list of distinguished women achievers of the country.”The person responsible for this goof up has been immediately placed under suspension and an inquiry has been ordered against her for the conduct,” said Social Welfare Minister Sajad Lone.
ALSO READ Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti order probe after Kashmir separatist leader Asiya Andrabi features on Beti Bachao posterThe state government yesterday faced a major embarrassment after the picture of Andrabi, the pro-Pakistan chief of ‘Dukhtaran-e-Millat’ (daughters of the nation) organisation, appeared in the banner along with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, Lata Mangeshkar, tennis star Sania Mirza and Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi.The poster, aimed at highlighting the women achievers of the country, was hoisted at a function held to promote girl education in south Kashmir’s Kokernag area yesterday.
ALSO READ J&K govt left red-faced after jailed separatist leader Asiya Andrabi turns up on Beti Bachao poster! Lone said Andrabi was not a role model for women in Jammu and Kashmir or anywhere else in the world.”The department unambiguously states that Ms Asiya Andrabi is not a role model — neither for women of Jammu and Kashmir nor elsewhere in the world. She at best is an aberration, representing the aimless fringe afflicting societies across the world,” the minister said in a statement posted on his Twitter handle.Lone said the publicity wing of the department works in a decentralised format and CDPOs devise their own publicity, which does not require approval of higher authorities.Andrabi, who is currently detained under Public Safety Act, openly advocates for merger of Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan.She has several cases registered against her including some for hoisting Pakistani flag on August 14 and March 23 — the Independence Day and National Day of Pakistan, respectively.Opposition Congress slammed the Mehbooba Mufti government over the development.”This is total failure of the PDP-BJP government and it should apologise for hurting the nationalist and religious sentiments of the countrymen and insulting our national leaders besides taking stern action to check such incidents,” State Congress spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said.Sharma wondered if the act was a part of deliberate attempts to appease the separatist element in the state.Panthers Party also criticised the government over it.

Govt denies rumours on power for Mehbooba Mufti

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jammu and Kashmir government has strongly refuted reports circulating on social media that power supply has been cut off in 30 villages to provide electricity to the guest house that is housing Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in Budgam district.Social media was abuzz with reports that the Power Development Department (PDD) had cut off power supply to 30 villages to ensure uninterrupted power supply to Budgam Dak Bungalow where Mufti is staying for the night.Taking her public outreach further, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti had convened a public grievances redressal camp at Budgam on Sunday where she interacted with hundreds of people and deputation.Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah was quick to jump on the bandwagon asking Mehbooba to go home to allow resumption of power supply to villages. “If this is true Mehbooba Mufti, Budgam is only 40-45 minutes from Fairview can you please go home & let these villages have electricity? (sic)” he tweetedThe government, however, did not take it lying down and came out strongly against the reports.”It is a small guest house. We have a generator for the guest house. How can we cut off power of 30 villages just to provide electricity to this small guest house? I am sorry to say that it is a big lie,” Mohommad Harun Malik, deputy commissioner of Budgam, told DNA. Malik said there was a snag that had caused the outage in few habitations which was later sorted out.”To link this with the CM is unfortunate and a mockery of sorts,” he said.

Rajnath Singh to visit J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh is likely to visit Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) next week and meet stakeholders in an effort to reach out to people in the conflict-hit state. The three-day trip is likely to be scheduled between September 9 and 11.Singh’s visit may overlap with the Congress delegation’s trip, led by former prime minister Manmohan Singh and including party leaders such as P Chidambaram, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Ambika Soni.Singh’s visit gains significance in the wake of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments on the Independence Day that hugs, and not bullets or abuses, are the solution to the Kashmir problem. The Home Minister will visit Jammu, Srinagar, and Leh, and meet with civil society members, leaders of political and social organisations and business leaders, sources said.Singh will also receive people’s representation on how to bring peace in the region. The minister will also meet Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, and civil and security officials. Singh had said on August 19 that a solution to the Kashmir problem will be found before 2022.

Hope rekindles after PM’s outreach to J&K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hopes for a thaw rekindled after Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached out to the people of restive Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) from the ramparts of Red Fort on the 70th Independence Day on Tuesday.During his speech, Modi tried to heal wounds of Kashmiris by saying that neither ‘goli’ (bullets) nor ‘gaali’ (abuses) can solve the Kashmir issue and it can only be addressed by embracing Kashmiris.From Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq to chief minister Mehbooba Mufti to former chief minister Omar Abdullah, leaders cutting across political divide welcomed Modi’s outreach to Jammu and Kashmir.“Welcome @narendramodi also believes ‘Goli & Gaali’ will not help resolve Kashmir. If insaniyat (humanity) and insaaf (justice) replace them Resolution can become a Reality,” Mirwaiz tweeted soon after Modi reached out to the people.J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was quick and welcomed the Prime Minister’s remarks. Mufti said she has always believed that only dialogue and peaceful means can help resolve issues as the futility of violence has been established all around.“The slogan Bandook say na goli say… Baat banay gi boli say (Neither by guns nor by bullets, the issues can be solved only through dialogue) coined by the PDP (her party) some 15 years ago is as relevant today as it was then,” said Mehbooba.Former chief minister and J&K National Conference working president Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to convey that Prime Minister’s remarks have been received well, but at the same time expressed apprehensions about inaction.“PM Modi’s words for Kashmir have been very well received by people here but everyone here is weary of more talk & no concrete action…The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We look forward to being embraced in the warm grip of understanding, acceptance & respect,” Omar said.

Article 35A likely to be heard by five-judge bench

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Supreme Court on Monday indicated that matters challenging the validity of Article 35A is an issue that should be decided by a five-judge bench.Justices Dipak Misra and AM Khanwilkar then tagged a matter that highlighted the gender inequality in Article 35A to other matters that are already being heard by a bench led by the Chief Justice of India.After six weeks, the apex court will finally decide whether this issue, along with the challenge to the constitutional validity of Article 35A under Article 370, should be heard by a five-judge bench.The apex court’s observations were made in response to a petition filed by a Kashmiri woman Dr Charu Wali Khanna, who married outside her caste and has settled outside the state of Jammu & Kashmir.Meanwhile, records related to inserting Article 35 A in the Constitution in 1954 through a Presidential order are not traceable in the Ministry of Home Affairs, government sources said.The Home Ministry has not filed an affidavit in SC but sources say at some point it will take a stand on the contentious issue. J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti was in Delhi last week rallying support from the BJP — her ally in the state government.

Take Centre’s help in Article 35A case, NC tells Mehbooba

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir’s main opposition National Conference has advised the government to seek the help of its ally BJP and the Centre in forging a common stand against attempts to alter the Constitutional provisions that give the state its special status, political sources said today. This was conveyed to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti when she paid a surprise visit to National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah at his residence last evening, amid a debate on Article 35A of the Constitution that grants special privileges to the state. The provision, which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define the state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges, has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The sources said Mehbooba was asked to rope in the state government’s alliance partner BJP as well as the Centre to step in in the Supreme Court and take a stand in favour of the people of the state. Mehbooba was asked to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all important central ministers besides asking the BJP to convince the Sangh Parivar. Two Kashmiri women recently approached the Supreme Court challenging the Article — added to the Constitution through a presidential order of 1954 — as they contended that it had disenfranchised their children. Mehbooba had said at a recent event in Delhi that there would be no one in Kashmir to uphold the national flag if Article 35A was tinkered with.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mehbooba Mufti faces flak for ‘cross-border trade’ remark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti?s appeal to the Centre to not block trade routes with Pakistan has not gone down well with many, as experts have pointed out that Separatists are the only beneficiaries from such a trade. Defence Expert, P.K. Sehgal, while speaking to ANI criticized the use of cross-border trade in the valley and said that only the separatists are the beneficiaries from such a trade. ?Money is created for separatists and it?s used for anti-India motives. It?s used for narco-terrorism, ammunition etc,? he said, adding that vote bank politics continue to get the better of Mufti and that she is pursuing with the cross-border trade because her constituency is mainly occupied by separatists. He also said that in order for the cross-border trade to continue, a number of checks and balances need to be kept in place so that nothing works in favor of the separatists. Speaking on the same, senior journalist Rahul Jalali pointed to the civil unrest in the valley ever since Mehbooba Mufti took office. He also criticized her for not commenting on any of the issues in the valley before the arrest of the separatist leaders. He spoke of a Coordination committee which was present during her father, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed?s regime and said that she should have revived the committee and held talks within her ambit. Speaking on her cross-border trade comment, he said, ?She speaks beyond her jurisdiction. These are international matters with another country and she could have taken this up in the agenda of alliance through the coordination committee.? The flurry of criticism comes after Mufti on Saturday appealed to the Centre to revive the Lahore Declaration for restoring peace in the Valley, and not block trade routes with Pakistan. The Lahore Declaration is a bilateral agreement and governance treaty between India and Pakistan which was signed in 1999 before the Kargil war. Her statement came a day after she had warned the Central Government against diluting Article 370, which grants special status to the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Either Mehbooba hasn’t bothered to look at GST Bill or she is trying to befool Kashmiris: Farooq Abdullah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Opposition NC president Farooq Abdullah today criticised Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s pitch for GST exemption to Jammu and Kashmir’s handicraft, dry fruits, and tourism industries.Abdullah said Mehbooba’s meeting with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was an attempt to hoodwink the Kashmiri people.”Either Mehbooba Mufti had not even bothered to look at GST Bill before giving it a go-ahead in the state Cabinet or she is clearly trying to befool Kashmiris. Asking for GST exemption now after passing the bill is mere drama,” Abdullah, Lok Sabha member from Srinagar constituency, said at a workers’ meeting at Ganderbal.The former chief minister said it was beyond comprehension that a bill just passed by her government needs her to engage in parleys now.When the whole state particularly the trading fraternity was worried that GST would not augur well with small and medium scale industries in the state, Mufti was the biggest proponent of the law, Abdullah said.He expressed dismay over what he called a “deaf and blind government” ignorant to the needs and aspirations of the trader community in particular and people in general.”Which chief minister will bat for GST one day and the next day come out and say ‘We are at loss because of GST?'” he asked.He said the conduct of the PDP-BJP alliance has always been incoherent and confusing.”They run around like headless chickens and the state is suffering because of Mehbooba Mufti’s inept handling of the CM’s office and her Cabinet,” he said.Reiterating his stance on resumption of the dialogue process between India and Pakistan, Abdullah said, until and unless Kashmir issue is resolved, there would be no peace in the state.”I appeal to both the countries to understand the gravity of the situation and initiate dialogue process immediately.And in that process all the stakeholders in the state must be taken on board,” he said. He said the central government must follow the policies of ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was a strong votary of dialogue.”It was he who said that friends can be changed but not your neighbors, in direct reference to Pakistan,” Abdullah said.

Tricolour sacrosanct to us: Jitendra on Mehbooba’s flag remark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union minister Jitendra Singh today said the tricolour is “sacrosanct” and termed as “shocking and ridiculous” Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks that no one in Jammu and Kashmir would be there to hold the flag if their special rights are tinkered with. Mehbooba Mufti yesterday said at a function in New Delhi “Who is doing it? Why are they doing it? (challenging Article 35-A). Let me tell you that my party and other parties who carry the national flag there (in Jammu and Kashmir) despite all risks…. I have no doubt in saying that there will be no one to hold it (national flag) (if it is tinkered).” Singh said the tricolour would fly as high in Jammu and Kashmir as in the other parts of the country. “As far as we are concerned, the tricolour is sacrosanct to us.” Terming Mehbooba’s statement as shocking and ridiculous, Singh said “Jammu and Kashmir is as much part of India as any other state of India. That is also the official stand.” “If at all there is an issue pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, it is only of how to retrieve the part of the state that remains under the illegal occupation of Pakistan,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

If Article 35A tinkered with, there would be no one in Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If special rights and privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir are tinkered with, then there would be no one in the state to hold the tricolour, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today warned. She said, on the one hand, “we talk about resolving the Kashmir issue under the framework of the Constitution and on the other hand we flog it”. “Who is doing it? Why are they doing it? (challenging the Article 35A). Let me tell you that my party and other parties who carry the national flag there (in Jammu and Kashmir) despite all risks… I have no doubt in saying that there will be no one to hold it (national flag) (if it is tinkered),” she said at an event here. Mehbooba went on to add, “Let me be very clear. By doing all this (challenging Article 35A), you are not targeting the separatists. Their (separatists) agenda is different and it is totally secessionist.” “But, you are weakening those powers which are Indian and trust India and participate in elections and who fight to live a life honourably in Jammu and Kashmir. This is one of the problem,” she said. In 2014, an NGO had filed a writ petition seeking the striking down of Article 35 A. The case is pending in the Supreme Court. Mehbooba said Kashmir is an idea of India. “The basic question is how much is the idea of India ready to accommodate the idea of Kashmir? This is the basic crux,” she said. She recounted how during Partition, Kashmir, even being a Muslim majority state defied the two-nation theory and the divisive separation on grounds of religion and aligned with India. “There have been special provisions in the Constitution of India for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately, with the passage of time something happened somewhere that both sides started doing dishonesty.” Both the sides, she said while indicating towards the Centre and the state, may be became more greedy and the state had to suffer for the last 70 years. “Rather than addressing the problem, we took administrative measures like dismissal of government or making charges of conspiracy, sedition…we had all these things against separatists which at times led to their hangings, weapons exclusive to Kashmir and more security measures and increasing number of security people. “These administrative measures have not helped us to address the idea of Kashmir…,” Mufti said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

16 Amarnath pilgrims killed, 31 injured as bus falls into

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sixteen Amarnath pilgrims were killed and around 31 were injured, when a bus skidded off the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and rolled into a deep nullah in the Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir today, officials said. The deceased included two women and belonged to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, and Madhya Pradesh, they said. Sixteen of the injured persons were critical, the officials added. A J&K State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) bus carrying pilgrims skidded off the road, turned turtle and rolled down into the nullah at Nachlana belt of Ramban late this afternoon, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ramban, Mohan Lal said. The bus was part of a convoy carrying 3,603 pilgrims from Jammu to the twin base-camps of Baltal and Pahalgam for the pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed pain at the loss of lives and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the next of kin of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured. According to police officials, 16 persons were killed and around 31 were injured in the accident. Out of them 21 were airlifted in a chopper to Jammu for specialised treatment and 10 were shifted to a Srinagar hospital. Police, Army and CRPF, with help from locals, launched rescue operation and brought out the dead and injured from the nullah, they said. The JKSRTC ordered an in-house inquiry into the road accident. “An in-house inquiry committee has been constituted to look into the circumstances that led to this tragic accident involving an SRTC bus carrying the Amarnath yatris,” its Managing Director Mir Afroz Ahmad said. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed condolences at the loss of lives. Home Minister Singh spoke to Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mufti and took stock of the situation, officials said. This is the second major tragedy to affect the Amarnath yatris this year. Earlier, on July 10, militants attacked a bus carrying pilgrims in which eight persons lost their lives. A woman devotee, who was injured in the attack, succumbed at a hospital early today. Lalita, 47, succumbed to injuries at the SKIMS Hospital at Srinagar, a police official said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J-K: Bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims falls into gorge, 11 killed

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Another tragedy struck on the Amarnath pilgrims on Sunday when a bus, enroute Pahalgam, carrying them fell into a deep gorge. Reportedly, as many as 11 people have been killed and more than 30 injured. A rescue operation by the Army is underway. Further details are awaited. This incident comes days after as many as seven people were killed and fifteen others injured after a group of terrorists opened fire on a bus carrying 17 pilgrims from Baltal to Mir Bazar earlier last week. The 90th and 40th battalions of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) were deployed at the spot to prevent further untoward incidents thereafter. Only this morning one of the injured succumbed to her injuries taking the death toll to eight. The brutal attack on the innocent pilgrims invited the wrath of all political parties, even as the entire world jointly condemned the incident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee also strongly condemned the incident. J-K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti summoned an emergency meeting of her cabinet to review the security situation across the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Central team to submit report on Kashmir to Rajnath

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A central team, visiting Jammu and Kashmir to assess security measures for Amarnath pilgrims in the wake of a terrorist attack, will submit its report to Home Minister Rajnath Singh after returning to Delhi, official sources said today. Union ministers Hansraj Ahir and Jitendra Singh and other members of the team attended a security review meeting with top civil and security officials here. They also assessed the steps taken for the security of Amarnath pilgrims, the sources said. The Union ministers also held discussions with Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, were killed and 19 injured when terrorists attacked a bus in Kashmir’s Anantnag district last evening. The attack took place when they were returning to Jammu from Srinagar in a bus, after visiting the cave shrine of Lord Shiva, located in the Himalayas at an altitude of 12,756 feet.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Attack on Amarnath pilgrims result of Modi govt’s failure: VHP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Vishwa Hindu Parishad today trained its guns on the Modi government and said the terror attack on Amarnath yatris was a result of its failure to end terrorism in Kashmir in its three years of rule. The VHP’s international working president, Praveen Togadia, demanded dismissal of the Mehbooba Mufti led Jammu and Kashmir government, which he alleged was a supporter of terrorism. He also demanded that the Valley be handed over to the Army to deal with terrorists and their alleged sympathisers. Mufti is in power in alliance with the BJP. Addressing a press conference, Togadia said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should appoint a full time defence minister and added sarcastically that there must be some competent person for the job among 125 crore Indians. Terrorists yesterday killed seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others as they struck at a bus in Kashmir’s Anantnag district. The terror attack had again “proved” that Hindus are not safe as they cannot safely go on a pilgrimage to Amarnath, he said. “This government could not ensure a safe pilgrimage for Amarnath yatris. It is its failure. It could not finish off terrorism in its three years of rule and this attack is an outcome of this. “I want to know what is the BJP’s compulsion that it continues to tolerate Mehbooba. Sack her and hand over the valley to the Army. Allow the forces to use bullets and bomb…,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Wani anniv: Army reviews security situation in Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Top Army officials today reviewed security situation in the Kashmir Valley, a day ahead of the first death anniversary of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani. Army’s Northern Command chief Lt. Gen D Anbu, accompanied by Chinar Corps Commander Lt. Gen J S Sandhu, visited areas in North and South Kashmir to review the security situation and measures put in place for ensuring peace and calm in the Valley, a defence spokesperson said here. He said Lt. Gen Anbu interacted with the troops on ground and complimented them for their dedication and highest standard of professionalism. The two officers also called on Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and briefed her about the prevailing security situation in the Valley. Authorities have imposed restrictions in parts of Kashmir to maintain law and order as the Valley braces for Wani’s first death anniversary tomorrow. In Srinagar, restrictions have been imposed on movement of people in five police station areas, officials said. They said the curbs have been imposed in the police station areas of Nowhatta, M R Gunj, Rainawari, Khanyar and Safakadal. The officials said similar restrictions have been imposed in Anantnag town in south Kashmir. Curbs on the assembly of people under Section 144 CrPc have been imposed in Pulwama and Shopian districts in south Kashmir and in Baramulla district in north, they said. The officials said the restrictions in these areas have been imposed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident. They however, said life was going on normally in the rest of the valley. Wani’s killing in an encounter with security forces on July 8 last year, triggered massive protests and prolonged period of curfews and shutdowns across the Valley. As many as 85 persons were killed and thousands others were injured in daily clashes between security forces and protesters for a period of over four months. Separatist groups have called for a strike tomorrow.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Prabhu’s ‘Eid gift’ to the Valley- Vistadome train

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Aiming to provide a delightful travelling experience to the picturesque Kashmir valley here, the Railways today announced a Vistadome train which would also serve the famous Kashmiri ‘Wazwan’ to the tourists. “Tourists need to enjoy the beauty of the Valley,” Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said here. He also stated that the Kashmiri cuisine would make it to the catering list of the railways. “The chief minister (Mehbooba Mufti) and I have talked about how to increase tourism by virtue of railways. So, we will soon start a Vistadome train because I do not think there is any other place in the whole world like Kashmir,” he said. “When people come to see the beauty of Kashmir, how will they see it sitting inside a train? So, we will launch it here. We have placed an order with our coach factories for the Vistadome train,” he said. The union minister was speaking at a function, after remotely laying foundation stones of five new halt railway stations on Baramulla-Qazigund rail section, at SKICC here. The new halt points are at Sangdan, Monghall, Ratnipora, Naidgam and Razwan. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed that Kashmir is very important for the government. So, this is a small gift from the railways to provide “succour” to the people of Kashmir, he said. The CM pointed out that five stations were needed. “I had nothing else to give on Eid, so I thought let’s make a start by these stations. Though late, I wish you Eid Mubarak and with these stations, more people will be connected. It is the start of a new life and start of a new era of development here,” he added. Prabhu said the railways would start serving Kashmiri food as well as the handicrafts from the valley in the trains soon. “The food here tastes so well and I think we cannot find it anywhere else. To let the people have the taste of the Kashmiri food, we will start serving Kashmiri food via e- catering through IRCTC,” he said. Similarly, the Kashmiri handicrafts, which are famous world over, will be e-marketed through IRCTC so that people here get employment, he said. He said railways would help in the development and prosperity of the state. “The biggest worry of our countrymen, Modi-led government and the state government is how to provide jobs to the people here, how to make people prosper and flourish the tourism sector in the state. “For all this, connectivity is a must. I remember the former chief minister (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) asked me to connect Kashmir with Delhi. “I told him that we will not only connect Kashmir with Delhi, but also with our hearts,” Prabhu said. On the occasion, Chief Minister Mehbooba requested Prabhu to provide a halt station at Naina Batpora area in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district, the demand made by the locals present at the function. The union minister assured the people that the halt station would be provided. Prabhu earlier paid obeisance at the Amarnath Cave shrine and prayed for the peace in the state. “I paid obeisance at the Amarnath Cave shrine (this morning) and prayed for the peace of the people and for the strength to the central as well as the state government to work for the betterment of the people so that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh becomes the best developed region in the country,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Prez post above party politics: Kovind after filing nomination

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Reaching out to opposition parties, NDA’s presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind today said the post of president is above party politics and he will strive to maintain its dignity. The 71-year-old said after filing his nomination papers that he had ceased to belong to any political party after he became governor of Bihar in 2015. “Ever since I became governor, I don’t belong to any political party. The post of president is above party politics. I am thankful to everybody for their support,” he told reporters. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a battery of NDA chief ministers and party leaders accompanied Kovind as he filed his papers for the July 17 presidential election in which his victory appears to be almost certain. “I will do my best to maintain dignity of the high office of the president,” he said. Referring to national security, Kovind said, “The president is also the supreme commander of all three forces. It is our responsibility to keep our border secure.” BJP president Amit Shah and party veterans L K Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were present on the occasion as were all chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and its allies, except Manohar Parrikar of Goa and Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami also attended the event. Besides NDA constituents, which comprise over 48.6 per cent of votes in the electoral college that will elect the next president, regional parties such as the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD(U) have also announced their support to the Dalit leader, making his win a foregone conclusion unless there’s a drastic change in the situation. With the support of these parties, Kovind is set to get more than 61 per cent of votes in the electoral college.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kovind files nomination in presence of PM, NDA CMs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NDA’s presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind today filed his nomination papers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a battery of NDA chief ministers and party leaders. BJP President Amit Shah and party veterans LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi were present during the filing of nominatons. All chief ministers of BJP-ruled states and its allies except Manohar Parrikar of Goa and Mehbooba Mufti of Jammu and Kashmir were present. Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao and Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami were among those present. Besides NDA constituents, which comprise over 48.6 per cent of votes in the electoral college that will elect the next president, regional parties such as the AIADMK, BJD, TRS and JD(U) have announced their support to the Dalit leader, making his win an almost foregone conclusion. Kovind is guaranteed to get more than 61 per cent of votes, and the finally tally depends on how some still- undecided regional parties vote, BJP source said. A group of opposition parties had yesterday announced that former Speaker Meira Kumar, also a Dalit leader, would be their joint candidate against Kovind. The election is scheduled for July 17 and the counting of votes will take place on July 20. The term of President Pranab Mukherjee ends on July 24. Once elected, Kovind will be the second Dalit to occupy the highest constitutional office. The first was K R Narayanan, who was in the Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1997-2002. A low-profile Dalit leader who held various organisational positions in the BJP, Kovind, 71, was made the Bihar Governor in 2015 after the NDA came to power in May 2014. The name of the two-term Rajya Sabha member did not figure among the probables but his nomination by the BJP is now being seen as a “political masterstroke”. He enjoys a clean reputation and has steered clear of any controversy in his over 26-year-old political career. His Dalit background makes him a sound political choice for the saffron party working overtime to woo Dalits.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mohammed Ayub Pandith lynching: 2 arrested; CM Mufti warns mob, says police exercising maximum restraint

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday condemned the lynching of a top police office and warned violent mobs, saying police were exercising maximum restraint.A deputy superintendent of police was stripped naked and stoned to death by an irate mob after he allegedly opened fire at a group of people, who caught him clicking pictures near a mosque in downtown area of Srinagar.The police officer identified as Mohammed Ayub Pandith was on duty when the mob attacked him.Speaking to media after his wreath laying ceremony, Mehbooba Mufti said, “Our police is one of the best police force in the country. They are courageous, but showing maximum restraint because they feel they are dealing with their own people.”Mufti also warned mobs that the day police lose their patience, it will become difficult. “The police officer had not gone for his work, he had gone to protect the lives of people,” she said.The Chief Minister also said that if they (security forces) are treated like this, the old days may return when people will have to run seeing security force vehicles.Meanwhile, DGP SP Vaid termed the killing as sad and unfortunate. He said that two people have been arrested and a third person has been identified. “They will have to face the law,” he said.Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah also condemned the killing of the police officer, calling the manner of his death a travesty.Pandit belonged to Khanyar area which is adjacent to Nowhatta where he was killed.Muslims across Kashmir are observing Shab-e-Qadr (the night of power) with night-long prayers and supplications being made inside the mosques and shrines of the valley.The authorities have already announced restrictions on movement of people in seven police station areas of the city as a precautionary measure.

Review policy and scale of help provided to those killed in

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Jammu and Kashmir governor N N Vohra today asked the state government to review the existing policy and the scale of help provided to the next of kin of those killed in the line of duty. Vohra said this in a meeting during which Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti briefed him about the consultations and the action under way to finalise the GST framework. Pointing to the consequences of delay in this regard, the Governor advised that timely decisions should be taken in the interest of safeguarding J&K’s economy and welfare of the people, an official spokesperson said. The governor also discussed with the chief minister the continuing terrorist attacks on Police personnel and urged her to review the existing policy and the scale of help provided to the next of kin of those killed in the line of duty, the spokesperson said. Vohra said he would also take up this matter with the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, the spokesperson added. The other matters discussed by the Governor and Chief Minister included the recent allegations about the functioning of the State Public Service Commission, the time frame of elections to panchayats and urban local bodies and filling up of vacancies in the State level Commissions.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shiv Sena attacks BJP over Kashmir and West Bengal

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A day after Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah met in Mumbai, the former launched a fresh attack on the latter over grim situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir and West Bengal, in an editorial in party mouthpiece ?Saamana?. In the editorial the Shiv Sena said that while the BJP may win in case of snap polls in Maharashtra and also get its presidential nominee elected, but wondered whether it would be able to save the valley. ?Amit Shah and his party?s eyes are on mid-term polls in Maharashtra. But instead of mid-term poll results, we are worried about what will happen in Kashmir and in violence-hit Darjeeling,? the Sena said in Saamna. It said the biggest question today was till when we should keep counting the number of martyred security personnel. ?Amit Shah says Maharashtra Government will last its five-year term. But will our Kashmir remain on India?s map?? it questioned. The Sena said that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was openly supporting ?youth attacking? soldiers and was blaming jawans for the present situation in Kashmir. ?When the Sena talks about farmers and takes a nationalist stand over issues, attempts are made to teach us a lesson. But not a word is spoken against Mehbooba Mufti by the BJP. On the contrary they are supporting it,? it said. ?Maharashtra shouldn?t be a priority. The situation has gone out of hand in Kashmir and Darjeeling where innocents are being killed. One may have political differences with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee but nobody should try to take political advantage of the situation there,? it added. ?Whatever has to happen in Maharashtra mid-term polls will happen. Amit Shah says they will form the government. You will get their president elected. You will win all elections. But will you be able to save Kashmir?? it asked. The Sena further said that it appears that organisations like Islamic State, Lashkar e Taiba, Al-Qaeda and ISI have already wrested control over the critical border state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J-K Govt. has zero tolerance towards terror, separatism BJP

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Hitting back at Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal for alleging Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of being ‘hand in glove with terrorists’, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday said that Jammu and Kashmir Government has zero tolerance towards terror and separatism. BJP leader Ravinder Raina told ANI that Naresh Agarwal and all the leaders of the Samajwadi Party must take care of their leaders like Azam Khan, who have created an atmosphere of hatred in Uttar Pradesh. “We have seen how situation in Uttar Pradesh is deteriorating day by day. As far as our government is concerned, we have neutralised more than 60 terrorists in last 10 days and a massive hunt operation is being carried out in the Kashmir Valley by our security forces, Indian Army, CRPF, J-K Police. We are hitting hard. We will never spare anyone be it terrorist or separatist we will hit them hard.,? he added. Reacting to the continuing spree of violence in Kashmir, Naresh Agarwal earlier in the day levelled serious allegations against the Mehbooba Mufti of being related to terrorists. Naresh Agarwal also said people cannot expect peace in the Valley till Mehbooba Mufti is the Chief Minister in Jammu and Kashmir. ?We cannot expect peace in the Valley till Mehbooba Mufti is the Chief Minister. She herself is hand in glove with the terrorists. So many Jawans have lost their lives, she haven?t even visited them. Not even ministers from her government have visited,? he said. He further asked the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to withdraw support to the state government. Agarwal’s statement came after Mehbooba said neither guns nor the Army could bring peace to troubled Kashmir. Under attack from the Opposition for ?shelving the promise of dialogue with the separatists?, Mehbooba yesterday told the Assembly that there was “no other way but talks” for the resolution of the Kashmir issue. “Our soldiers are being martyred (in Jammu and Kashmir). Neither guns nor the Army can bring peace to troubled Kashmir,” Mehbooba said while addressing the Assembly.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J&K politicians have no time for martyrs

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as terrorists and their sympathisers came out in large numbers to attend the funeral of three terrorists killed by security forces on Friday, the political class in Jammu and Kashmir was united — in not attending the wreath-laying ceremonies for the six J&K Police bravehearts martyred over the past two days.And, to make matters worse, while leaders of the ruling PDP-BJP combine took recourse to lame excuses to explain why none of its front-ranking leaders, including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, didn’t attend the ceremony, terrorists who attended the funeral of the dead terrorists fired guns in the air to show their defiance.While the wreath-laying ceremony of the five cops, including the Station House Officer (SHO) of Achabal Police Station Feroz Ahmad Dar, was held in south Kashmir late on Friday evening, the same for constable Tasveer Ahmad was held in the District Police Lines, Srinagar, on Saturday. Incidentally, the District Police Lines, Srinagar, is just 200 metres away from the Legislative Assembly, where all leaders, including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, were present for the special session.At both places, no politician bothered to turn up for the ceremonies.”The Assembly is in session. Politicians must have been there. We were in the Assembly. Definitely these people will go to the families and offer condolences on the deaths. But some people should have been there,” said Deputy CM Singh.State BJP president Sat Sharma, who is also an MLA, said his party had paid tributes to all the fallen soldiers and cops in the Assembly. “We were in the Assembly. We paid tributes in both Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council,” he said.Facing flak for skipping the wreath-laying ceremony, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chose to speak in the Legislative Assembly, blamed the rigged Assembly elections of 1987 for the ongoing turmoil.”We see policemen getting killed. The young and smart SHO and five others were killed. The basic reason for this is that democracy was denied here. The way the democracy was throttled in the elections of 1987. Syed Salahudin (Hizbul Mujahedeen chief), who gives directions from Pakistan, and Yasin Malik (JKLF chief) are the same people who went to Pakistan (for arms training) after democracy was throttled in 1987 elections,” Mehbooba claimed.Building a fresh case for holding talks, Mehbooba said guns couldn’t solve any issue. “Talks are the only way forward. Whether you get fighter jets or other things, unless we talk, the issue cannot be resolved. Let us work together, find a common cause and take it forward,” she said.The National Conference, however, lambasted Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh for disrespecting the martyred policemen by not participating in the wreath laying ceremony held by J&K Police.”It was shameful the Chief Minister, who also happens to be the Home Minister, didn’t not participate in the wreath laying ceremony. Nobody from the State Government participated in the ceremony and this shows the duplicity and utter lack of empathy that this Government is now identified with,” said Junaid Azim Mattu, National Conference spokesperson.On the other hand, terrorists appeared at three different places and offered gun salutes to Lashkar-e-Toiba militants – Junaid Matoo, Nasir Wani and Adil Mushtaq – during their funeral. The trio were killed in a fierce encounter with security forces at Arwani village on Friday.”Junaid was district commander and involved in a number of terror activities. Nasir Wani had joined the militancy last year and was involved in terrorist activities in the area. Adil had also joined the militancy last year,” said a police spokesman.

J-K govt forms 5-member group to prepare policies to ensure

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jammu and Kashmir government has constituted a five-member working group to work out modalities for operationalisation of ‘knowledge initiative’ for students in the state. Amitabh Mattoo, advisor to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, is heading the group which has been directed to submit a time-bound report within 12 months, an official spokesman said today. He said Education minister Altaf Bukhari will function as co-chairman of the group which has secretary higher education department Asgar Hassan as member secretary, financial commissioner (coordination), K B Agarwal and principal secretary to chief minister, Rohit Kansal, as members. “The working group has been constituted to prepare a vision document for interventions in skills, teaching, learning, research and innovation and has been tasked to prepare a blueprint for information and communication technology initiatives that can harness the human resources talent in the state,” the spokesman said. Quoting a government order, the spokesman said the group would also prepare policies, guidelines and schemes to ensure full literacy and competitive employability through an optimal use of existing infrastructure and human resources available in the state. Besides co-opting experts and members for the initiative as deemed appropriate in order to produce a time-bound report within 12 months, the group would submit report to the chief minister and will work in close co-ordination with the relevant departments of the state government, the spokesman said. He said the working group would be serviced by the higher education department.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Thousands of Pandits throng Kheer Bhawani temple in Kashmir,

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits today thronged the Kheer Bhawani temple here for the annual Zeshta Ashtami festival and were joined by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who prayed for a “dignified” return of the displaced people to the valley. The festival, an annual mela marking the hindu-muslim amity, was celebrated with religious fervour at the famous temple of Ragnya Devi in central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, about 30 kms from Srinagar. Chanting religious hymns, the devotees congregated at the temple and paid their obeisance, with the local muslims making all the arrangements like providing the material for offerings. The state government had made elaborate security arrangements for the festival. It is believed that the colour of the sacred spring water which flows through the temple premises is an indicator of the situation in the valley. While most of the colours do not have any particular significance, black or darkish colour of the water is believed to be an indication of inauspicious times for Kashmir. Like last year, the water in the spring was clean and pure which the devotees believe is a good omen for the valley. Nana Ji, a devotee, lauded the government for the arrangements at the shrine this year. “This year, the arrangements are much better than the last year. We appreciate the government. Even the security is very strict,” he said. Mehbooba, her cabinet colleagues, leaders of her coalition party BJP and opposition parties joined the pandits in paying their obeisance at the revered temple. The visit of the chief minister evoked mixed response at the shrine. Many devotees praised the government, with many youngsters jostling to get photographed with her, while a few protested by raising slogans like “we want justice”, apparently referring to the exodus of the Pandits from the valley in early 1990s with the onset of militancy. Speaking to reporters, Mehbooba said she wants a dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley. “This day is very revered for our Kashmiri Pandit brethren and they have come here in thousands today. We pray to God for their dignified return to the valley so that they live in their own homes,” she said. “I saw that there were many children who had not seen Kashmir and know nothing about it as they have not lived here. So, on this occasion, I pray that Jammu and Kashmir is bestowed with peace and happiness and that situation gets better here so that all Kashmiri Pandits return to their homes and live their lives together with us happily,” she said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J&K govt to introduce disaster management as full-time subject

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Jammu and Kashmir government will introduce disaster management as a full-time subject in schools and colleges of the state. The announcement was made by state Education Minister Altaf Bukhari during a meeting with a delegation of students pursuing post-graduation in disaster management at the University of Kashmir, an official spokesman said. He said the students informed the minister about the need to introduce disaster management as a subject in the state. “There is a need to educate people about disaster management as the state of Jammu and Kashmir falls in high seismic zone and teaching the subject at the University of Kashmir alone cannot cater to the need of raising awareness among the people,” the students said. The minister while appreciating the students’ suggestion, said these kind of recommendations from the students are always welcome. “I assure you my full support. Separate posts of teachers for this particular subject will be referred to the Public Service Commission,” the minister said, adding the government led by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti will provide full support to such innovative ideas and suggestions. He also asked the students to hold a week-long awareness programme after fasting month of Ramzan in Amira Kadal constituency on the cause of 2014 floods in Kashmir and steps that can be taken to avoid flood threats in future.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mission Kashmir 2.0: Another attempt at peace in the Valley

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha’s track II initiative, it is now the turn of Congress leader and former union minister Mani Shankar Aiyer-led team to embark on Mission Kashmir 2.0 and engage with the separatists and mainstream leaders in Kashmir.Aiyer led five member team of Centre for Peace and Progress on Thursday called on Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani and moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq at their residences and discussed Kashmir with the two separatist leaders. Later, the team held separate meetings with Jammu & Kashmir governor NN Vohra and CM Mehbooba Mufti.Mirwaiz told the delegation that the valley has been turned into a garrison of military, paramilitary and police force, where the civilians are held hostage by them and at are at their mercy. He added that these forces enjoy complete immunity from prosecution by law.He also noted the recent incident of using a Kashmiri youth as human shield and honouring the army officer clearly defines the GOI’s perspective on Kashmir and how to deal with it.Mirwaiz said Hurriyat believes an alternative way to resolve the dispute is through negotiations between India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir.The delegation also met Geelani at his residence. Geelani highlighted the incidents of human rights violations in Kashmir valley and pressed for giving people the right to chose their destiny.Later in the evening the delegation met CM Mehbooba Mufti. “Mehbooba appreciated the initiative and informed them that she has been advocating that dialogue and peaceful means of engagement are the only way ahead to get the issues resolved,” an official spokesman said.During the meeting with governor NN Vohra, the delegation urged that a meaningful and uninterrupted dialogue with all stakeholders must be initiated without any further delay to bring about sustained normalcy in the Valley.”Governor appreciated the initiatives of the Centre for Peace and Progress, and thanked the delegation for their valuable contribution towards the restoration of normalcy in the State,” an official spokesman said.AnalysisThis project comes as a result of the ongoing situation of violence that prevails in the Kashmir valley. This is the second effort at controlling the situation in the Valley. Though, both CM, Governor and separatists leaders have been approached, it is yet to see whether they will agree to see eye-to-eye.

Students should focus on studies, let elders deal with bigger

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The people of Jammu and Kashmir have to choose between peace and violence, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said today as she asked students to focus on their education by letting the elders address bigger issues. “The people here need to decide…they need to think what they want and how they want it. (Whether) by pelting stones, by killing bright children like (young army officer) Ummer Fayaz or a bank employee or a youth working in police (who work hard for earning their livelihood) or by resorting to looting banks and weapons? “Are we not, God forbid, strangulating Kashmiriyat (by such acts)? I am hopeful that people here are fundamentally peace-loving and prefer brotherhood and would not forget the teachings of Kashmiriyat or co-existence with every religion,” she said. The chief minister was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function in her home constituency of Anantnag in south Kashmir. On being asked about the student protests across the valley, Mehbooba said the students should focus on their education and leave the bigger issues to the elders. “They all are our children whether they study in schools or not. I think our children are intelligent and I have said it time and again that wherever our children go, whether in sports or education or KAS and IAS examinations or out of the country, they excel. “But unfortunately, I think someone has cast an evil eye on their intelligence, on the people of Kashmir and this beautiful valley. I feel the children should study and the bigger issues should be addressed by the elders, she said. She also appealed the parents and teachers to help the children focus on their studies. Incidentally, the chief minister had yesterday met 21-year-old football coach Afshan Ashiq. A photograph that captured her hurling stones in rage at policemen has become the new defining image of stone pelters in the valley. The PDP leader also raised the issue of corruption and how it takes a backseat when the valley witnesses law and order situation. “Corruption is a big issue. Unfortunately when the situation deteriorates here, all our attention shifts towards maintaining law and order. All other issues like of development and corruption remain somewhere behind,” she added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mehbooba flays protestors, says their number is small

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said there are more youth who are working for the development of the state in comparison to those who are out on the streets. She was referring to Kashmiri protestors who have been creating trouble on the streets by pelting stones at the security forces and to those who have been instigating them. Mehbooba made these comments at a youth exchange programme of Entrepreneurship Development Institute (JKEDI) here in which youths from Jammu, Srinagar and Leh participated. Jammu and Kashmir has been witnessing violence, unrest on the Kashmir Valley streets. Some youths and students have been clashing with the security forces and hitting them with the stones. Many people have died in the retaliatory action by the security forces. There are reports that these miscreants also pelt stones at the security forces during anti-terror operations in order to help terrorists to escape. Mufti told the budding entrepreneurs that ?you are our golden hands?. The chief minister also exhorted the students to become entrepreneurs as ?earning for oneself and providing jobs to others is a noble in Islam and as well as in other religions also?. She promised to solve all the problems and issues of the JKEDI students. While praising the hard work of JKEDI students, Mehbooba termed them as the real sculptors of the state. She equated the politicians like her who run the government as players of ?musical chair? game. ?People like us are players of the musical chair game wherein the person sitting on the chair keeps on changing,? said Mufti.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pandits raise security, Kashmir employees’ issue with CM

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An organisation of displaced Kashmiri Pandits today raised the issue of security of its employees serving in Kashmir and places of worships with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. “We have met Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today and raised the issues of concern to the community. We have raised with her issues of security of employees serving in Kashmir and places of worship as well,” All Party Migrant Coordination Committee (APMCC) Chairman Vinod Pandita. Pandita said that employees who have been posted under Prime Minister’s Employment Package in Kashmir have developed fear psychosis in view of the recent increase of violent incidents in the Kashmir Valley. He said employees posted in Kashmir should be called back to the valley only when the situation becomes conducive. “We have also raised the issue of release of their salaries with the CM and demanded that till the security situation becomes conducive, they should be allowed to stay back (outside the valley),” he said. 1,700 Pandit employees fled the valley following violent protests after Hizb terrorist Burhan Wani’s killing in an encounter last year and employees’ colonies were targeted by stone-pelters.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Home Secretary Mehrishi to visit Kashmir, to meet Governor, chief minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi will visit Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday to take stock of the situation in the Kashmir Valley. Mehrishi is expected to call on the state?s Governor N N Vohra and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. He is likely to discuss the prevailing situation in the state and also hold security-related meetings with top civil, police and army officers. The home secretary?s visit comes a day after a young Kashmiri army officer, Lt. Ummer Fayaz, was killed by militants in Shopian district. The state has experienced a fresh bout of violence in which eight people lost their lives in more than 200 incidents. The violence has forced the Election Commission to cancel the May 25 bye-poll to the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat. The valley has been witness to a series of protests by students against alleged police excesses. There have also been incidents of stone pelting necessitating firm responses from the security forces. (ANI with inputs) Ends AD NNNN ANI(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Not all students pelt stones, CM says; Kids clash with forces

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As school students clashed with security forces in Pulwama district today, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti stressed that not every young Kashmiri was a stone pelter. Kashmir once again stood at the crossroads, she said, but added peace would return to the troubled valley which has been seeing protests, mostly by students, over the last two months. “There are some who pelt stones, but not all the youth from Kashmir do so,” she said, urging the national media not to highlight discussions that “developed hatred” against the people of the state. Kashmiri students were “angry and disillusioned”, she told reporters at a brief interaction at the opening of the Civil Secretariat here, referring to the ongoing protests. In Pulwama, the anger was visible as school students marched against what they described as police highhandedness, clashing with security forces. Police said the students threw stones at the security personnel, who baton charged them. The students were demanding action against security personnel who had allegedly roughed students up during the ongoing protests and demanded the release of those who had been arrested. The chief minister believed that some students were being “provoked”. “Some are being provoked. I think we should all work together to resolve this situation,” she said. The situation was “serious”, she added. “But I do not think it is something which cannot be resolved,” she added. Kashmir, the CM said, had seen far worse. “Since 1947, there have been many occasions when J-K has gone through bad times. Today we are again at the crossroads,” she said. The movement for a plebiscite for the status of Kashmir in the 1950s carried on for 22 years, she pointed out, but the leadership understood that the issue could not be resolved through violence. “The Indira-Sheikh accord happened. Then the situation turned grim again after 1990. Sometimes militancy increased and sometimes it decreased,” she said. The chief minister held that Jammu and Kashmir was the “soul” of India, and urged the people of the state to claim India as their own. “When there is J-K, there is India. The people of J-K not only have a right over J-K, but on each part of the country and they should assert it,” she said. Mufti noted that the state’s youth had been excelling in national-level examinations and in sports. “They have so much potential that they can prove themselves anywhere in the country,” she said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

BJP takes dig at JK CM, DyCM for poor ranking in Swachh Bharat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Criticising its own government in Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP today took a dig at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh for “worst ranking” of the twin capital cities of the state under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. In the ‘Swachh Bharat’ 2017 survey conducted by the Centre, Jammu was ranked at 251st place while Srinagar stood at 241st position. “The people at the helm of affairs in the state, including the chief minister, other ministers (deputy CM), heads of state departments, vice-chairman of Development Authorities, commissioners of corporations etc need to introspect,” BJP state spokesperson Prof Virender Gupta said here. He said the people of the state had pinned their hopes on the PDP-BJP government which had promised to make the cities of Jammu and Srinagar the model cities of the country. “It seems the authorities concerned had not made efforts that were needed and remained sluggish in the operation and implementation of projects,” he said. The BJP spokesperson said more than 10 years have passed since the sewerage project was initiated in Jammu, but “it has not achieved even 20 per cent of its target.” “The projects under the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) are also moving at a slow pace…the municipal corporation is known for its inefficiency…there are garbage dumps lying throughout the cities and no regularity is maintained in cleaning drains and streets of the cities,” he said. The BJP leader further alleged that no special efforts were being made to make river Tawi pollution-free and that “at present more than 80 per cent of the city drainage flows into the Tawi river.” Gupta also highlighted the “non-availability of parking slots” in Jammu, adding “common citizens are facing great difficulty due to a Jammu and Kashmir High Court order and unrealistic pro-activeness on part of traffic police.” He asked the state government to appeal the High Court for reconsideration of its order directing police to seize all vehicles parked illegally on the roads.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Sports Minister Goel interacts with youth of J & K

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sports Minister Vijay Goel today interacted with youngsters from Jammu and Kashmir in a programme called “Samvad”. The objective of the interactive session was to initiate a conversation on a host of issues ranging from culture, sports, youth affairs, to various other social issues. The students got a unique platform to share their thoughts and ideas directly with the minister. Goel said the youngsters of the J & K were multi-talented and must use their skills to gain maximum exposure to gather knowledge and work for nation-building, a release from the ministry said. The students shared their views on various issues in terms of social problems, issues pertaining to sports and education. Goel promised them full support and said that the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi believes in the mantra of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”. The minister added that the youngsters were welcome to participate in any activity, be it sports or youth affairs and the ministry will ensure that they get the best facilities. He said a Rs 200 crore package has already been sanctioned for the Valley and as per his interaction with J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, it will be utilised to create better sporting facilities and infrastructure, so that more players from the Valley come to the mainstream.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

While Mehbooba goes door to door, J&K teetering on brink: Omar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Conference leader Omar Abdullah today said while Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was going “door to door” in Delhi to save her job, Jammu and Kashmir was teetering on the brink with student protests a new cause of worry. Omar was reacting to the events of the day which saw Mehbooba call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh in the national capital. Students of two prestigious colleges here also took to the streets against the alleged high-handedness of security forces. “While Mehbooba Mufti goes door to door in Delhi to save her job, the state teeters on the brink – student protests are the new worry,” Omar, the working president of the NC, wrote in a series of tweets. “The CM has managed to get herself a reprieve from the PM and secured her job for 3 more months. Sadly nothing will improve with her in office,” the former chief minister said. In a direct attack on the chief minister, Omar said she needs to wake up to the reality of her leadership as she was unable to hold by-elections in the very Lok Sabha constituency which she had won in 2014 general elections. “Madam, you are UNABLE to hold elections to the Parliament seat you vacated. Please wake up & smell the reality of your leadership. “Before @MehboobaMufti goes about inviting other CMs to organise events in J&K how about getting her government to organise Anantnag LS poll,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Mamata, Kejriwal skip PM led meet of NITI Aayog

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Politics came to play out in the NITI Aayog on Sunday with two most vocal critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi — West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal — opting out from the meeting of its governing council.While Kejriwal may have Delhi civic body elections as an alibi for not attending the meeting and sending Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia instead, the West Bengal CM did not even bother to mention any reason for not attending the meet chaired by PM Modi.Mamata has been an open critic of NITI Aayog for not being a participatory forum unlike its predecessor — the Planning Commission. She had opted out even from the earlier NITI Aayog meetings as well.Most chief ministers attended the meeting as Modi had refused to allow their official representatives to participate in the deliberations. Modi had made it clear that only the CM or the Deputy Chief Minister will represent their states and no other official will be allowed to participate in the meeting.West Bengal’s finance and industries minister, Amit Mitra, who was supposed to attend the meeting in place of Mamata, could not attend it just because of this reason, sources said.Among the opposition ruled states, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Tripura CM Manik Sarkar, Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah and Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami attended the meeting.Paying heed to Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti’s observation, PM Modi urged all the state governments to reach out to the students of J&K in their respective states.The Prime Minister “urged states to reach out to these students (of J&K) from time to time,” said a statement by the PMO.Six Kashmiri students of Mewar University in Rajasthan were recently thrashed by some locals, while, in Meerut, a hoarding had been put up asking Kashmiris to leave Uttar Pradesh.Taking note of the invitation extended by Mehbooba to various state governments to organise events in J&K “the Prime Minister suggested that states could organise events there,” the statement said.MODI ON KASHMIR STUDENTS’ ISSUEPaying heed to Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti’s observation, PM Modi urged all the state governments to reach out to the students of J&K in their states.Six Kashmiri students of Mewar University in Rajasthan were recently thrashed by some locals, while, in Meerut, a hoarding had been put up asking Kashmiris to leave Uttar Pradesh.

J&K minister calls for stone-pelters to be shot

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the day the state Cabinet asked the security forces to exercise restraint to avoid casualties, Jammu and Kashmir Industries Minister Chander Prakash Ganga stirred a hornet’s nest by calling for shooting “stone-pelters and traitors” in an apparent bid to bring about peace in the restive Valley.”They are the traitors. Whether they live in the country or come from Pakistan, they can only be treated by bullets. If bullets are not there at least they should be punished, like beating them by canes. Mark my words and see whether they will pelt stones again. What ‘azaadi’ are they demanding?” Ganga told reporters.Industries minister, who is a senior BJP leader, said the people who resort to “devilish activities”, should be hit by shoes. “You saw the video which became viral in which they were shouting `Death to Pakistan’. They are the same people who pelt stones. Hitting them with shoes is their treatment”, said Ganga.The diatribe comes at a time when Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet directed the police and security agencies to exercise maximum restraint to avoid loss of human lives in the state.The state cabinet which met here on Tuesday with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in chair expressed deep anguish over the loss of lives in the Kashmir valley during the prevailing law and order situation.”Cabinet while reviewing the security and law and order situation in the state directed the Police and security agencies to exercise maximum restraint while handling law and order situations to prevent loss of human lives,” an official spokesman said after the Cabinet meeting.At least 14 people including a former counter insurgent leader were killed while more than 250 including 100 students were injured since April 9 in the Valley. Latest being the youth of Kulgam, who was injured in clashes on April 9 at Ganderbal, and succumbed to death on Wednesday.Opposition party, National Conference reacted strongly against Ganga’s remarks and said he is setting a very dangerous trend. “We are seeing the situation that is worse than nineties. It is very dangerous. It shows that the Cabinet is nothing. The Chief Minister has completely given up,” said Aga Ruhullah, chief spokesman of National Conference.Meanwhile, suspected terrorists looted over Rs 11 lakh from J&K bank in Harmain branch in Shopian district in south Kashmir.

J&K Cabinet urges parents to counsel youth to stay away from protests

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Jammu and Kashmir State Cabinet met here today under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and expressed deep anguish over the recent loss of lives in the Kashmir valley during the prevailing law and order situation. The Cabinet made a fervent appeal to all shades of political opinion to help restore peace and normalcy in the valley. While reviewing the security and law and order situation in the State, the Cabinet directed the Police and security agencies to exercise maximum restraint while handling Law and Order situations to prevent loss of human lives. The Cabinet also urged the civil society and parents to counsel the youth to stay away from violent protests which, in spite of maximum restraint, can at times lead to fatal consequences. The State administration has also been directed to take all required measures to tackle the situation effectively and at the same time ensure that the general public is not put to any inconvenience and their grievances are addressed.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kashmir today: Students vs security forces

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hundreds of students in school uniforms clashed with the security forces in Kashmir on Monday protesting police action in a Pulwama college. Around 65 students were reportedly injured in the clashes. 3G and 4G internet services on mobile phones have been suspended across the Valley.The violence that began Pulwama spread to other parts of Kashmir within hours after young men and women chanting pro-freedom slogans and throwing stones joined the protesters. The clashes were to protest the alleged violence against students of Government Degree College (GDC) in Pulwama on Saturday. At least 55 GDC students were injured. The call for protest was given by the banned Kashmir University Students Union in all colleges and universities. The forces are not supposed to enter college or university premises without special permission, say students.By mid-morning on Monday, violence was reported in all major colleges in the Valley — including the Kashmir University and the Women’s College in Srinagar and colleges in Tral and Sopore.Protesters turned violent in Srinagar, south and north Kashmir after police disallowed their marches. Masked students pelted stones on the police posse at a number of places in the Valley, triggering clashes between the two sides. Police used tear gas shells and sprinkled coloured water to disperse mobs.Students in SP College, Srinagar confined themselves inside the campus and pelted stones at the police.Police said that the Station House Officer of Kothibagh police station and four other policemen were injured at MA Road in Srinagar while tackling the protesters.“I hope Mehbooba Mufti has thought through the implications of mass student protests across the Valley. This is a deeply worrying situation… Why could all colleges/universities not have been closed for a few days after the Pulwama clashes? Is Mehbooba Mufti not alert to the situation?” tweeted Omar Abdullah, former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir.Sensing trouble, J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) demanded immediate probe and stern action against the policemen involved in the Pulwama College incident.PDP convened an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the ongoing clashes between the students and the security forces.

PDP pushed J&K into darkness, impose governor’s rule: Omar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>NC leader Omar Abdullah today demanded dismissal of the state government and imposition of governor’s rules in the state, while attacking the PDP-BJP regime for pushing Jammu and Kashmir into “darkness” and Mehbooba Mufti for sticking to the CM’s chair. “In the present situation, there is only darkness around, nothing else. Situation is totally out of control. Despite such a situation in Kashmir valley, Mehbooba is sticking to the chief ministerial chair. Nothing is more shameless for her than this,” Omar told reporters here. He further said “the present government has failed to control the situation and till they (PDP-BJP) remain in power, the state will witness only destruction”. Omar batted strongly for imposition of governor’s rule in the state in this situation. The former chief minister said “soon after Srinagar Lok Sabha polls results were announced, Farooq (Abdullah) Sahib demanded that either Mehbooba should resign or her government should be dismissed. The Governor should intervene”. “Governor should take reigns of the state in his hands and bring betterment in security situation. It is beyond government’s competence (to bring normalcy now)”, he added. Expressing concern over the gravity of the situation in Kashmir, Omar said “for the first time in 27 years (of terrorism), police comes out with an advisory telling its men and officers not to visit their homes. They can’t go to their homes, can’t meet their families”. “Elections to the parliamentary seat (Anantnag), which Mehbooba Mufti had left, can’t be held. What more evidence is needed about deteriorated law and order situation,” Omar said while taking at dig at the government. He was replying to a volley of questions on the sidelines of the legislative council biennial elections at the state legislature here. To PDP’s oft-repeated charge that NC was instigating stone throwers in Valley, Omar said, “Had it been so then where are the cases and FIRs registered against NC workers, who had been instigating?” On a question that government has blamed the National Conference for the prevailing turmoil, Omar said, “The constituencies dominated by the National Conference like Chadoora or Charar-e-Sharief…we got less votes there. “From Eidgah we got less than 400 votes. If we had created disturbance, we would have done it in PDP dominated areas, not those where NC has its hold,” he said. “These allegations are only excuses, but the truth is that situation has gone out of government’s control,” he said adding “they have failed on all fronts”. He said while reacting to a question on the killing of political leader in Shopian said, there is nothing new in attacks on political workers as it is going on since 1990.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J&K: Now, 2 videos of youths allegedly being beaten by soldiers surface

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two videos, showing military personnel beating up youth and forcing them to shout anti- Pakistan slogans, are doing rounds on social media after which army said that it would ascertain the veracity of the footage and take appropriate action.The purported videos emerged just a day after another video in which army personnel were seen having tied a youth to the fender of their jeep and parading him through villages in Budgam district to bring stone-pelting under control.In one of the videos that emerged on Sunday, four army personnel are seen catching hold of student from Pulwama degree college, pin him to the ground and thrash him with a cane.In the second video, three youth who seem to be under army custody in a vehicle are forced by a soldier to abuse Pakistan and shout slogans like “Pakistan murdabad”.”Azaadi chahiyay tum ko (do you want freedom)?” the soldier is seen asking the youth before slapping them and hitting them with a stick.Blood is seen oozing from the forehead of one of the youths in the army vehicle.Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the veracity of the videos is being ascertained.”Action will be taken against those found guilty of misconduct,” Col Kalia said.It is not yet clear who shot the videos but they are being circulated across social media platforms, leading to condemnation from netizens of Kashmir.”This is complete impunity. Yesterday human shield. Today breaking into a government college in the daylight and these brutal incidents,” a Facebook user commented on the video.On Saturday, a video emerged in which army personnel had tied a youth to fender of their jeep and paraded him through several villages in Budgam district to bring stone-pelting under control.The video drew widespread condemnation, prompting Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to seek a detailed report from the state police. Army also began an internal investigation into the incident.

Army chief briefs NSA on Kashmir situation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat met National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Sunday to discuss the current situation in Kashmir Valley. The visit comes amidst surfacing of a number of videos on social media which has heightened tensions in the Valley.Sources said that the Army chief, during the 30-minute-long meeting, apprised Doval of the situation in the Valley besides briefing him about the overall security scenario in the state.The meeting took place amidst reports that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who heads the PDP-BJP coalition government, was not happy at the Army’s actions and warned of “serious repercussions”.Earlier, the Army chief had on Saturday evening, soon after returning from Jammu, called on Mehbooba in the Capital, promising to inquire into a recent video showing a man tied up to an army jeep. The man was allegedly being used as a “human shield” against stone-pelters.The chief minister has also asked the security forces to exercise maximum restraint while performing their duties in provocative situations and strictly follow the standard operation procedures (SOPs) in such cases. It is believed that after Mehbooba’s meeting with the Army chief, security agencies have been asked to reformulate SOPs.The chief minister has also sought a report from the police about the surfacing of videos on social media which are showing alleged atrocities committed by security forces against. She termed the acts as “unacceptable” and “atrocious.”The video “war” is heating up in the Valley with security agencies and separatist crowds, armed with videos, are doing their best to show each other up in the virtual world. It started with a video clip showing some youths beating up a CRPF personnel during the bypoll to the Srinagar parliamentary constituency on April 9.Following an FIR lodged by the CRPF, the Jammu and Kashmir police have arrested the three youths.Soon after this incident though, four videos surfaced and were circulated widely. The first, a high definition capsule, showed a group of soldiers ruthlessly beating a young man. The second capsule, almost accompanying the first one, shows youth in an armoured Casper vehicle – being marshalled by soldiers. The third video shows a couple of young men without their attire being beaten by soldiers. And the fourth one, which caused mass outrage, shows a youth tied to an Army vehicle.Two more videos then surfaced on Sunday morning. Recorded with a cell phone, they show gunmen threatening two political activists forcing them to denounce their party affiliations. With guns pointed their chest, the activists are shown as being forced to shout anti-India slogans. One is said to be a panchayat member and the other, a trade leader.Another video — shared on Twitter by National Conference spokesman Junaid Matoo — show security forces allegedly shoot a stone-pelter in the head during a stone pelting incident. The video claims he was shot without any warning. The police have been asked to conduct a probe.Meanwhile, Farooq Ahmad Dar, the man who was tied in front of the Army vehicle in Budgam, said he would not file any formal complaint against the Army. Police sources say that in the absence of a formal complaint by Dar, they would not be able to refer the case to the Army for investigation.

Videos of personnel beating youth emerge, army says will

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two videos, showing military personnel beating up youth and forcing them to shout anti- Pakistan slogans, are doing rounds on social media after which army said that it would ascertain the veracity of the footage and take appropriate action. The purported videos emerged just a day after another video in which army personnel were seen having tied a youth to the fender of their jeep and parading him through villages in Budgam district to bring stone-pelting under control. In one of the videos that emerged today, four army personnel are seen catching hold of student from Pulwama degree college, pin him to the ground and thrash him with a cane. In the second video, three youth who seem to be under army custody in a vehicle are forced by a soldier to abuse Pakistan and shout slogans like “Pakistan murdabad”. “Azaadi chahiyay tum ko (do you want freedom)?” the soldier is seen asking the youth before slapping them and hitting them with a stick. Blood is seen oozing from the forehead of one of the youths in the army vehicle. Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said the veracity of the videos is being ascertained. “Action will be taken against those found guilty of misconduct,” Col Kalia said. It is not yet clear who shot the videos but they are being circulated across social media platforms, leading to condemnation from netizens of Kashmir. “This is complete impunity. Yesterday human shield. Today breaking into a government college in the daylight and these brutal incidents,” a Facebook user commented on the video. Yesterday, a video emerged in which army personnel had tied a youth to fender of their jeep and paraded him through several villages in Budgam district to bring stone-pelting under control. The video drew widespread condemnation, prompting Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to seek a detailed report from the state police. Army also began an internal investigation into the incident.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Dismiss Mufti govt, impose Guv rule in J&K :Abdullah after

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah today demanded the dismissal of PDP-BJP government and sought Governor’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir claiming that the Mehbooba Mufti led regime had failed to conduct a peaceful election. Abdullah, who won the Srinagar seat bypoll results of which were announced today, said the election was the “bloodiest” that Jammu and Kashmir had known and witnessed the lowest ever turnout. The state government completely failed to give security to the people so that they could cast their vote in peace and in harmony, Abdullah said. “As president of NC, I demand and I request the government of India and the President of India that this government should be dismissed right away so that the Governor’s Rule comes into play and people can have some peace,” he said. Talking to reporters at National Conference (NC) headquarters here, he said that while the election had been held, let us not forget that a number of young people have died. Nearly eight young people laid their lives and many were injured, he said. He alleged that people who are not involved in any stone throwing or anything are being arrested or taken out from their homes and that process continues even today. It shows that this government has completely failed in giving peace and tranquillity to the state, he said. The NC president demanded that the bypolls in Anantnag Parliamentary constituency in south Kashmir, which were deferred till May 25, should be held under the Governor’s rule. I will also say that the election in Anantnag should happen under the Governor s Rule and without that we cannot see whether they (state government) will do justice with the people, he said, adding the “government was sure that their candidate was going to lose, which is why they postponed the election”. Abdullah trashed the rumours that he would resign from Lok Sabha after today s win. Reacting to the video of a youth tied up to an army vehicle, Abdullah termed the action as unfortunate and a human rights violation. I request them not to do such things which will add to the fire and render it uncontrollable, he said. He batted for resumption of Indo-Pak talks and dialogue with all stakeholders including separatist Hurriyat Conference. Asked about the dismal poll percentage in the bypolls, Abdullah said “How does it matter? We have seen polls before also where hardly any percentage was there. It does not make any difference. Democracy has been there. What do you say to the people who have voted, even if it may be seven per cent with all the pressures on them?” Responding to a question on the NC stand on Article 370, Abdullah said our stand has always been that the Article has to be restored to 1953 level. “We have not changed on that,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

2 videos of youths allegedly being beaten by soldiers surface

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Two videos, purportedly showing army soldiers beating youths and forcing them to chant anti- Pakistan slogans, are doing rounds on the social media here, amid allegations of human rights violation by the security forces in Kashmir. In one of the videos, a student of Pulwama Degree College is purportedly seen pinned to the ground by four army personnel and being thrashed with a cane. In the second video, three youths are purportedly seen in an army vehicle and being forced by a soldier to abuse Pakistan and chant slogan “Pakistan murdabad”. “Azaadi chahiyay tumko? (Do you want freedom?)” the soldier is seen asking the youths before slapping them and hitting them with a stick. One of the youths in the army vehicle seems to be injured as blood is seen oozing from his forehead in the video. It is not yet clear who shot the videos but they are being circulated across the social media platforms, leading to condemnation from the netizens of Kashmir. Yesterday, a video went viral on social media in which a youth was seen allegedly tied to an army jeep as a human shield against stone pelting and paraded through several villages in Budgam district. The video drew widespread condemnation, with former chief minister Omar Abdullah terming it as “shocking” and prompting Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to seek a detailed report from the state police. Army also began an internal investigation into the incident. No army or defence officials were available for a comment on today’s videos.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Video of man tied to jeep as ‘human shield’ in restive Kashmir

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The man, who was seen tied to an army jeep in a shocking video shot during the poll-day violence in Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency on April 9, apparently as a shield against stone-pelting protesters, has been identified as Farooq Dar. Officials investigating the matter under instructions from Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said Dar is a resident of Sitaharaan village in Khag tehsil of Budgam district in central Kashmir and the army unit involved is 53 Rashtriya Rifles. The video, which triggered a public outcry in the restive Kashmir valley, prompted the civil and army authorities to launch separate investigations. During the investigation, Dar was claimed to have said he was picked up when he was on way to his sister’s house, where a bereavement had occurred, after casting his vote. He alleged he was picked up by an army contingent that wanted to enter Beerwah village with the polling staff and tied with ropes to the front of the vehicle, officials said. The video showed the thickset man sporting a beard strapped to the bonnet while seated on the stepney affixed to the bumper of the jeep. Dar claimed he was moved around 10-12 villages at the head of the convoy, which included vehicles with security personnel and polling staff, before being let off. Sources in the army claimed Dar was picked up from a “trouble spot” and was tied up for barely 100 metres before being released.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

NDA top guns to meet tomorrow to formulate future strategy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A key meeting of the ruling NDA’s top leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, heads of BJP allies and its chief Amit Shah, will be held tomorrow to take stock of the political situation and decide on future strategy. This will be the second such after the BJP was voted to power in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N Chandrababu Naidu, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti are among the top BJP allies’ leaders who may attend the meeting, BJP sources said. Besides, a number of Union ministers will be present at the meeting, they said. Sources said representatives of all the allies of the BJP across the country will participate in the meeting during the evening, followed by dinner.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Poor 6.5 per cent voter turnout in Srinagar LS bypoll

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An abysmally low 6.5 per cent polling was recorded in the bypoll for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat from where Jammu and Kashmir’s former chief minister Farooq Abdullah is contesting. Amid large scale violence, which claimed the lives of six civilians, the prestigious seat recorded a turnout at 6.5 per cent, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer Shantanu told journalists. He said more than 100 security personnel were also injured in the violence. When asked as to how many polling stations he expected repoll to be ordered, the officer said it could be anywhere between 50 and 100 booths or maybe more. Shantanu said Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in south Kashmir, where bypoll is scheduled for April 12, would pose a “bigger challenge”. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s younger brother Tasaduq Mufti is making his electoral debut from Anantnag.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Pak should stop backing militancy and enable restoration of

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Ahead of the Jammu and Kashmir elections, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday asked Pakistan to stop backing militancy in the state and enable restoration of peace between the two countries. “It is my appeal to those across (the border) that they should renew the policy of not supporting militancy or the gun that they had adopted during (Prime Minister A B) Vajpayee’s time. Help us restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir and then talks will take place here and across (PoK) as well,” Mehbooba said while addressing an election meeting in Anantnag constituency. She further asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Pakistan in December 2015 had rekindled hopes of improving relations between New Delhi and Islamabad. “Narendra Modi went on his own to Lahore to meet Nawaz Sharif. A new hope was attached to it but unfortunately Pathankot (terror attack) happened,” she added. Mehbooba later added that these (tense) times will not last forever. ?Vajpayeeji used to say that you can change friends but not the neighbours. We have to live with each other cordially,? she added. Earlier this week, ahead of the by-polls for Anantnag parliamentary seat, the Jammu and Kashmir Police arrested 18 persons on stone pelting charges. The police have launched a massive crackdown against the youth in South Kashmir by arresting at least 135 youth in the past two weeks. The arrested youth were wanted for disrupting law and order in the district by resorting to violence, the police officials said. Though the situation has improved gradually after the five-month unrest in 2016, South Kashmir remains charged as there are gun battles between militants and security forces and stone-pelting protests near encounter sites have become a routine in the last few months.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

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