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Accidents kill 1749 people, 547 suicides in 2 years in J&K

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JAMMU, Jan 10: Road accidents and suicide deaths have claimed more lives in Jammu and Kashmir in last two years then militancy-related violence, says government report.
As per details tabled in the state legislative assembly, the road accidents killed 958 persons in 2016 and 791 in 2017.
On the road accidents front, the information revealed that the numbers are actually falling from 958 deaths in 2016 to 791 in 2017. Jammu, the winter capital of the state continues to be the capital of road accident deaths too. Against 160 deaths in1275 road accidents in 2016, Jammu recorded 119 deaths in 1038 road accidents in 2017.
The years variation in the number of deaths include 51 deaths in 2016 to 53 in 2017in Srinagar, 9 to 15 in Ganderbal, 7 to 18 in Budgam, 23 to 15 in Anantnag, 15 to 26 in Kulgam, 8 to 7 in Pulwama, 3 to 6 in Shopian, 17 to 12 in Awantipore, 20 to 28 inBaramulla, 15 to 9 in Bandipore, 4 to 15 in Kupwara, 13 to 2 in Handwara and 13 to 5 in Sopore.
Leh witnessed 54 deaths in 2016 and 30 in 2017. Kargil saw a fall from 36 to 12 in two years.
IN Jammu region, it was 68 to 75 in Samba, 74 to 67 in Kathua, 76 to 49 in Udhampur, 53 to 38 in Reasi, 34 to 51 in Doda, 21 to 18 in Kishtwar, 84 to 65 in Ramban, 37 to 20 in Poonch, 63 to 36 in Rajouri.
There were as many as 547 suicide deaths reported across state in last two years. Across the state, there were 272 suicide deaths in 2016 which had a slight increase in 2017 to 275, the information revealed.
Baramulla remains the suicide capital in the state, followed by Handawara district.
In 2016, Baramulla witnessed 23 suicide deaths which increased to 41 in 2017. The police district Handwara reported a jump from 31 cases in 2016 to 57 in 2017.
Anantnag reported 31 such deaths in 2016 which jumped to 33 in 2017.
Kargil is the only district that is free from suicides where not a single case was reported. Even Leh reports two cases each in last two years, the details suggest.
But massive increase in suicides was witnessed in Sopore where the numbers jumped from six cases in 2016 to 16 in 2017. Numbers fell from 8 to 6 in Bandipore, 9 to 4 in Shopian, 30 to 14 in Kupwara, 18 to 5 in Kulgam, and 8 to 1 in Pulwama.
Districts witnessing increase included 7 in 2016 to 8 in 2017 in police district Awantipore, and 20 to 21 in Budgam.
Almost all the Jammu districts that once were the main source of suicide deaths in the state have reported single digit deaths in last two years. Reasi, Doda and Kishtwar have the most modest numbers.
Forces vehicles killed 90: Govt
Monitor News Bureau
Jammu, Jan 10: In the last three years, there were 137 road accidents across the state of Jammu and Kashmir involving the vehicles owned by the government.
In these accidents, 90 persons were killed and more than 175 were injured, the government told the state legislature on Wednesday.
Information revealed in the house said there were 65 cases in which army vehicles were involved and only in 33 cases police vehicles were involved. The data tabled was about three last years ending 2017.
In all the 137 cases the government said the cases were registered and investigations were carried out. The information was tabled in response to a question asked by congress lawmaker Rani Gargi blowria.


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Not holding simultaneous elections will impact voter turnout in LS polls: Experts

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Mar 19: Not holding Assembly and Parliamentary polls together is likely to impact the overall voter turnout in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the valley, claim valley based experts in politics.
This year many new parties have come to the fore and the Centre is likely to enhance its deployment of forces in Kashmir to ensure “violence free elections.”
However with spontaneous disturbance across the valley coupled with delaying of the Assembly elections by the Centre, the experts claim a major proportion of the people are likely to keep away from casting their votes.
“Parliamentary election in Kashmir usually invite low voter turnout. Had it been both Lok Sabha and General Assembly elections held together in the state the voter turnout could be expected higher. As of now, we don’t see chances of any major turn out in voting ahead especially in Kashmir,” said Prof Gul Muhammad Wani who teaches Political Science at Kashmir University.
Wani expressed doubt over the participation of newly formed parties in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“I am not sure if these smaller parties will field their candidates. Even if their leaders file nomination, people won’t vote for them in huge proportion compared to the two main political parties of Kashmir (NC and PDP),” Wani said.
“Many parties will use this election to mobilise people for the upcoming assembly elections,” he said.
In 2014 LS polls, 49.7 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Jammu and Kashmir. Barring Jammu, people mostly in Kashmir prefer to choose boycott over ballot as only 11.46% voter turnout was recorded in summer capital.
In 2017 by-polls, the turnout in Srinagar dipped further to only seven percent as violence and killing gripped the valley on poll day.
Prof Noor Ahmad Baba, another expert in politics, claims the parliamentary elections in Kashmir won’t be a “bigger affair” as he believes that there are less “reaction” votes from the valley.
“In other states people vote to express their dissent, which is not in case of Kashmir. Some people will vote here positively. The turnout is expected to be higher in Assembly polls ahead,” he said.
Prof Baba said the emergence of new parties too won’t woo many people to cast their vote for them.
“These new parties won’t have much impact immediately. Sajad Lone has no appeal outside Baramulla and Shah Faesal too can’t make a bigger difference. However, if NC and Congress form an alliance then some may come out to vote,” he said.

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Slow repair work halts cross-LoC trade in Uri

Traders fear losses in crores

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Mar 19: The Cross-LoC trade in Uri has hugely suffered due to snail-paced repair work on the Kamaan Post Bridge, traders rued on Tuesday.
As per them, around 116 trucks are stuck at Uri road in north Kashmir while 24 others are stranded at Traders Federation Center Salamabad. The stranded trucks are carrying delicate items including fruits and vegetables which cannot be preserved for long course of time.
Aggrieved over the losses, the Cross-LoC Traders Association claimed that the delicate goods in stranded trucks have been damaged due to the delay.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Hilal Turki, chairman, Cross-LoC Traders’ Association, said the items in the trucks have almost “perished” as around two weeks have passed since the repairing work started.
“The losses might be in crores as there are 140 trucks stranded. We have written to the Director General of Police to seek the intervention for speedy repairing of the bridge,” he said.
In a letter to government authorities, the association stated: “Our traders mostly deal with fresh items and the value of those items is in millions of rupees, here we would like to bring in your kind notice that most of the products come from all over the country and as such our loaded fresh trucks remain in transit for a week or more due to this uncomfortable situation our traders are desperately waiting for speedy repairing of Kamaan Pull so that heavy losses can be saved.”
Earlier on March 9, police communicated to the concern authorities that due to the sustained use of Kaman Aman Setu for cross-LoC trade for a long period, the bridge has suffered some damages which requires immediate repair to prevent further deportation.
“Inspection of the bridge was carried out on March 8, 2019, which indicated that the bridge needs urgent repairs and maintenance to ensure its longevity. The repair would require minimum 10-15 days,” he said.
However, around two weeks after, the repair work is still on at a very slow pace.
Riyaz Malik, SDM, Uri told The Kashmir Monitor that the resurfacing work in Kamaan Post bridge is going on. “Trade is suspended since then as work is going on and it will take 10-15 more days to allow traffic on the bridge. We have advised the traders to get the items down some where in Srinagar,” Riyaz said.
Cross-LoC trade and the bus service between India and Pakistan were suspended last month too, in backdrop of the Pulwama suicide attack in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.

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Centre misusing NIA to target Kashmiris: Soz

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Srinagar, Mar 19: Alleging that Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was misusing National Investigation Agency (NIA) to target Kashmiris, senior Congress leader Prof Saifuddin Soz on Tuesday said this will be useless and counter-productive.
The former union minister supported chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who has asked NIA to question him in Srinagar as he cannot travel Delhi for security reasons.
In a statement here this afternoon, Prof Soz said, “I give credence to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s stand that he should be questioned anywhere in Srinagar and not asked to travel to NIA headquarters in Delhi”.

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