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370 hindering JK’s development: Modi

‘Kashmir issue limited to just two-an-a-half districts’

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New Delhi, Apr 9: The people of Kashmir ‘want a change, including Article 35A and Article 370’ as they hinder development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

“The problem in Kashmir is largely due to the 50-odd political families there. They have been milking the issue. They don’t want any benefit to be given to the common Kashmiri people. They are using public sentiment for political gains. The income tax department has cracked down on such elements,” Modi said in an interview with News18 Network Group Editor-in-Chief Rahul Joshi.

He said that people of Kashmir “want freedom from political families.”

 

“While stone-throwers are funded by Pakistan to protect militants, when there is crackdown by the NIA on terror operators, people stand outside their homes and clap. People of Kashmir want freedom from such political families who have been preying on their emotions for 50 years. The situation in Kashmir is such that people want change, whether it is about Article 35A or 370,” Prime Minister said.

Modi said it was the former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s policies which were an obstacle for the development in the Valley.

“There must be investment and job opportunities in Jammu and Kashmir. 35A, 370 have been standing in the way of development. No one goes there to invest. We can build IIMs, but professors are not ready to go there as their children don’t get admission in schools. They can’t find homes. This ends up harming the interests of J&K. Pandit Nehru’s policies stand as an obstacle for J&K today. It needs to be reviewed,” the Prime Minister said.

Blaming Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for the crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would have better handled the Kashmir issue and the Valley would not have remained ‘mired in controversy’.

Blaming Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for the crisis in Jammu and Kashmir today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel would have better handled the issue and the Valley would not have remained ‘mired in controversy’.

He added that it was imperative that people in the rest of the country see ‘the progress’ in Kashmir. “Kashmiris have excelled in sports and competitive exams. Any top university today has Kashmiri students. We must encourage this.”

Modi also said the conflict in Kashmir valley “was limited to just ‘dhai’ (two and half) districts”, and the state largely remained stable under the BJP government. “There is no problem in Ladakh and Jammu. It is only two-and-a-half districts in Kashmir valley where there is a problem. We see these districts as the whole of Jammu and Kashmir. This narrative must change,” Modi said.

Modi claimed the BJP government had continued spending on development in the valley and had dealt with the state in a fair manner. “India has not done anything that should make Kashmir feel neglected or ill-treated. But we must treat this issue with sensitivity and understanding.”

In its manifesto, Sankalp Patra, the BJP has promised the abrogation of Article 370 if the party retains power in the Lok Sabha elections.

Targeting the Congress’s manifesto over its proposal of reviewing Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said revoking the Act would be equivalent to sending soldiers to the gallows.

“The government must have the power to protect its armed forces. Only then will they have the morale to fight. Revoking AFSPA would be like sending our soldiers to the gallows. I won’t let this happen,” Modi said.

Emphasising on the need for the Act in a disturbed area such as Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said the government must first create an environment where AFSPA is unnecessary before revoking or diluting it. He also gave the example of Arunachal Pradesh, where the government partially revoked the Act earlier this month.

“First, we revoked it from a few districts in Arunachal. We then revoked it from a few other states. We were the first government to take such a step since 1980. But we have maintained law and order,” Modi said.

The Congress election manifesto, released last week, proposed a review of the AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir. It also promised revocation or amendment of several other laws like sedition and defamation. This led to condemnation from BJP leaders. However, the Congress clarified it only intended to modify AFSPA in instances of human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

Following the release of the grand old party’s manifesto, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the vision document was full of “dangerous ideas” that could lead to the “Balkanisation” of India. Jaitley went on to say that it seemed the Congress manifesto was drafted by the “Tukde Tukde Gang”, an oft-used BJP euphemism for those whom the party felt were working against the integrity of the nation state.

Modi took a similar view on the matter and said the Congress manifesto was ‘soft on terror’. “We are at the crossroads of eliminating militancy. Militants are demoralised and we are winning a psychological war against them,” he said.

Modi also said the Congress party’s views on the army were akin to that of Pakistan. “No patriot will tolerate this language. Their manifesto talks about removing AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir. This amounts to removing weapons from a soldier’s hands,” he added.

The AFSPA provides special powers such as arrest without warrant, fire upon or use force against those acting against law and order, legal immunity, among others, to armed forces in a disturbed area. The Act has come under the scanner for human rights violations in regions of effect.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said there will be no option with the government other than abolishing the special status to Jammu and Kashmir in the Constitution if there is a demand for a separate Prime Minister for the militancy-affected state.

Earlier, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had said that his party would strive for restoring the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir that includes having a ‘Sadar-e-Riyasat’ (President) and ‘Wazir-e-Azam’ (Prime Minister).

“Someone who has been chief minister for a long time has said that there should be a Prime Minister in Jammu and Kashmir. If someone talks like that, we will have no option other than abolishing Article 370 and Article 35A,” Singh said.


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Jaish almost wiped out, no one willing to head it: Army

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Army on Wednesday claimed the government forces have “severely targeted” the militants for the last few months and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant outfit was “almost wiped out with no one willing to take over it”.

Addressing a press conference here, GOC 15 Corps, KJS Dhillon, who was accompanied by Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir SP Pani, and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, said that 69 militants have been killed and 12 of them arrested so far this year.

“Post Pulwama incident, 41 militants have been killed and out of them 25 belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, 13 of them were Pakistanis while 13 were A+ category,” Dhillon said.

 

The GOC 15 Corps claimed that they have targeted JeM leadership.

“The situation now is so that no one is coming forward to take over the leadership of JeM in the valley,” he said.

“Even after Pakistan’s best efforts, we will continue to suppress JeM. The operations against the militants will continue with full vigour and we will not let militancy rise up,” he said, while appealing the local militants to surrender.

“Recruitment of local militants has gone down. In addition, those who surrender, we will take care of their security,” he said.

Dhillon also advised civilians not to rush to the encounter sites.

Asked about the bi-weekly restrictions on civilian traffic on the Highway, he replied, “This is just a temporary measure. There are now relaxations on the civilian traffic.”

On the occasion, the DGP said 272 militants were killed in the state during 2018 and a “large number was apprehended.”

He too claimed that the local recruitment in militant outfits had declined.

“2018 was generally a successful year. There has been less ‘law and order’ problem. We brought many youth (who had joined militancy) back to their homes,” the DGP claimed.

“Elections have been conducted peacefully in the state because of a well-planned security grid. Voter turnover at 13 percent in Anantnag district is not less. People voted despite threats, no one can be forced to vote,” he said.

Asked there were reports that 11 youth had gone missing in south Kashmir during the last one month, the IGP Kashmir said, “Few had gone missing but returned. They had gone missing for other reasons, not to join militancy.”

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Held Pak militant paraded before media

‘Chota Dujana was active in Srinagar for over a year’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday presented a Pakistani militant Mohammad Waqar, alias Chota Dujana before the media, who, they claimed, was arrested from Pattan area in Baramulla on Monday.

During a press conference here, the militant was briefly allowed to respond to media.

“My name is Mohammad Waqar, resident of Miana Mohalla Punjab in Pakistan. I underwent a four-month militant training there,” he said.

 

 “I was told that Kashmiris are harassed, women are assaulted and Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids. But I did not find any such thing here,” he replied when asked why had he picked up arms.

The militant was soon moved away.

SSP Baramulla, Abdul Wahid, said Waqar was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and had arrived in Kashmir in July 2017.

“He was operating in Srinagar for over a year now,” the officer said.

He added that the militant was travelling in a vehicle along with a Kashmiri when they were intercepted by the police near Mirgund, Pattan.

“They were chased and arrested near Chainabal Pattan,” he said.

The SSP said that as per their preliminary investigations, the militant was given shelter in old city as well as uptown areas of Srinagar.

“His plan was to resurrect militancy in Baramulla,” Wahid said.

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Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24

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New Delhi, Apr 24: A Delhi court Wednesday sent the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, arrested in connection with the alleged funding case, to judicial custody till May 24.

The Tihar jail authorities have also moved an application seeking direction to produce Malik through video conferencing due to security concerns.

The family of Yasin Malik, said on Saturday, that the JKLF chief had fallen ill and was shifted to a Delhi hospital after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention.

 

Earlier this month, Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu and was later arrested by NIA in connection with an alleged case related to the funding of militant and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.

Malik was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail after NIA secured his production remand.  The JKLF chief was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.

Malik organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre.

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