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Amarnath Yatra: Politicians question highway, train suspension

Monitor News Bureau

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Srinagar, Jul 3: The decisions to impose restrictions on highway and partly suspend train services in Kashmir during the ongoing Amarnath Yatra have triggered strong reaction from the mainstream politicians of J&K.

J&K Government recently decided to ban civilian traffic movement for five hours daily between Qazigund to Nashri on the highway for 46-days during Amarnath yatra.

Northern Railways too decided to suspend train services between Qazigund and Banihal from 10 am to 3 pm, starting July 3 till completion of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra.

 

Politicians and people in Kashmir questioned the decisions saying they will cause inconvenience to the locals.

Bureaucrat-turned-politician, Shah Faesal said that in last 30 years for the first time the highway was closed for civilian movement for the annual yatra.

“First time in last 30 years SXR-JMU NH was closed to civilian traffic during elections. Now closed again for Yatra. Those signing orders to stop movement of locals must remembr that there wl b a day of reckoning. We welcome Yatris to land of Shiva. But this curfew must end (sic),” he tweeted.

National Conference (NC) general secretary and former minister Ali Muhammad Sagar while decrying the restrictions said the measure is “regressive and will put the people to undue duress.”

While calling for an early revocation of the reckless diktat, he said: “The frequent restrictions on the sole national highway connecting Kashmir with the rest of the country on one pretext or the other causes unimaginable loses to the business community apart from severe inconvenience to the general public including patients and students.”

CPM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami while demanding the review of the order said, “No doubt security of Amarnath pilgrims is important and the decision must have been taken by the Government as a security issue. But why should be the issues of patients, students, employees, businessmen, and others who will suffer hugely due to this order left unattended?”

The Kashmir High Court Bar Association in a statement described the ban unjustified and unwarranted and sought its immediate removal. “It is going to cause unnecessary restrictions to the civilians travelling from Srinagar to Jammu and vice-versa,” the statement said.

Peoples Conference on Wednesday slammed the state government’s decision to restrict civilian traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway and suspend train services during the Amarnath Yatra and urged the Governor administration to revoke the order at the earliest.

“The decision to impose restrictions upon the movement of civilian traffic on the 97-km stretch from Qazigund to Nashri and suspend train services between Qazigund to Banihal is unprecedented and unjustified. While the safety and security of Yatris is paramount, it cannot be at the cost of making the lives of people miserable”, PC spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said in a statement issued.

A similar ban was imposed on civilian traffic from early April along the national highway between Baramulla in Kashmir and Udhampur in Jammu for two days a week to ensure safe movement of security convoys during the parliamentary elections. The ban was ordered following the February 14 car bomb blast along the highway in Pulwama in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers were killed. The ban triggered protests and was eased later before it was completely lifted on May 21.

He further said that apart from disrupting and inconveniencing lives of common people, the restriction will also derail the economy of Kashmiri, especially fruit & vegetable industry.

“The ban will affect movement of fruit and vegetables trucks during Yatra movements which will disrupt the horticulture industry. The government must allow transportation of fruit trucks and other perishable items failing which the growers and dealers may face heavy losses”, he added.

Urging the governor administration to address heightened concerns on the traffic restrictions, Adnan said that “imposition of these restrictions is an anti-people step and must be revoked immediately to save further hassle to the people of Kashmir.”

13,835 pilgrims pay obeisance

Srinagar, Jul 3:  On the 3rd day of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra, 13,835 Yatris paid obeisance at the Holy Cave.

Till date, 33,694 Yatris paid obeisance of the Shivling at the Holy Cave.

Meanwhile, on the directions of Governor Satya Pal Malik, Chairman Amarnath Shrine Board, four pilgrims were evacuated by air.

One yatri namely, Pawan Kumar Gupta, resident of Fatehpur, UP was airlifted from Panjtarni and referred to Medical Hospital Pahalgam for treatment while as three others, namely Prabhu Kumar, resident of Ludhiana , Balwinder Singh, resident of Chandigarh and Diksha Arora, resident of Moga were airlifted from Sheshnag.

Governor has directed the authorities to provide best medical facilities to the sick pilgrims.


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3 aides of Junaid Sehrai arrested in Srinagar

‘Trio responsible for Jammu blast, firing at SPO’

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jul 23:  Family’s efforts and timely intervention has paid off after three youth who had recently joined militant ranks were arrested in Srinagar, police said on Tuesday.

Asif Iqbal Dar, Shahid Hassan Dar both from Soura, and Rasheed Latief Mir from Barzulla were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen (HM).

Addressing media persons, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Srinagar, Dr Haseeb Mughal said Asif was on their radar for a long time.

 

“We have been following him for a long time. He has been sharing incriminating material on social media to inspire youth to join militant ranks. One fine day, he went missing and reached Pulwama following which parents lodged an FIR in police station Soura,” Mughal said.

City police chief noted that efforts were made to trace the trio. “Help from other agencies was also sought. Ultimately all three of them reached their homes,” he said.

Mughal said that their questioning revealed how youth are being recruited into the militant ranks.

“All the three were in close contact with Junaid Sehrai, a militant from Srinagar. They were receiving instructions from him. Before their debut into militancy, they were asked to carry some attacks, which they did,” he claimed.

Mughal said the attack on Jammu Bus stand was the trio’s handiwork. “They also fired at SPO Roman Rashid at Barzulla. Interestingly, they were told not to kill him. They even lobbed a grenade on the CRPF vehicle at Barzulla even though we have no record. It might have not exploded,” he said.

The SSP said that youth were getting directions from Junaid Sehrai about the targets.

“For the time being, they were assigned smaller targets.  Later they were supposed to get bigger targets. Some incriminating materials have been recovered from them including a grenade, some rounds and a flag of Ansar Ghazwat ul Hind,” he added.

Urging youth not to fall prey to militant conspiracies, he appealed them to concentrate on productive things.

“Life is precious and you should make best use of it. Use your mind on productive things,” he said.

Among others, Superintendent of Police (SP) West, Sudanshu Verma and  SP South, Dr G V Sundeep were also present during the media conference.

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Ready to assist India, Pak: US State Dept

Agencies

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Srinagar, Jul 23: After US President Donald Trump said that he would act as a mediator between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue, the US State Department on Tuesday supported his statement and said that they were ready to assist in the matter.

“While Kashmir is a bilateral issue for both parties to discuss, the Trump administration welcomes Pakistan and India sitting down and the United States stands ready to assist,” a spokesperson for the US State Department said.

 

The spokesperson further went on to say that any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan was based on the latter’s efforts against terrorists on its territory.

“We believe foundation for any successful dialogue between India and Pakistan is based on Pakistan taking sustained and irreversible steps against terrorists on its territory. These actions are in line with PM Imran Khan’s stated commitments and Pakistan’s international obligations,” the spokesperson said.

He also said that the US will continue to support efforts to reduce tensions between the two countries.

“We will continue to support efforts that reduce tensions and create an environment conducive for dialogue. This first and foremost means tackling the menace of terrorism. As the President indicated, we stand ready to assist,” the spokesperson said.

On Monday, Donald Trump offered to mediate in Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan ‘if mediation is required’.

President Trump said this during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in White House in Washington DC on Monday.

Trump’s remarks created uproar on Twitter where users slammed him for interfering in the politics of the two countries.

India in the past has categorically denied any foreign help in the Kashmir dispute with Pakistan. India maintains that Kashmir dispute in an internal issue and will be resolved bilaterally with Pakistan.

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Cong-JD(S) govt falls; Kumaraswamy loses trust vote

Agencies

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Bengaluru, Jul 23: The one-year-old coalition government of the Congress and HD Kumaraswamy’s Janata Dal Secular – teetering for weeks – collapsed on Tuesday, paving the way for the BJP’s return to power in Karnataka.

The coalition failed the floor test in the assembly, cobbling up only 99 votes in comparison to the 105 votes of the BJP, which later dubbed it a “Game of Karma”.

The demand for trust vote came as 16 legislators resigned and two Independents withdrew support to the government within a fortnight. The trust vote, pending since Friday, was held Tuesday evening after a back and forth between the Speaker, the coalition and the BJP – and prodding from Governor Vajubhai Vala – that stretched over a week.

 

“It is victory of democracy. People were fed up with Kumaraswamy government. I want to assure people of Karnataka that a new era of development will start now,” said state BJP chief BS Yeddyurappa, who is set to be the Chief Minister for the fourth time.

“It’s the victory of people of Karnataka. It’s the end of an era of corrupt & unholy alliance. We promise a stable & able governance to the people of Karnataka,” the state BJP tweeted.

The trust vote came after a tug of war between the ruling coalition and the BJP that even reached the Supreme Court. The debate extended over Monday and Tuesday despite Speaker KR Ramesh Kumar’s Monday deadline.

Ahead of Tuesday’s session, the Speaker made lacerating comments after seeing near empty treasury benches in the assembly. “Should this be the fate of the Speaker or the assembly?” Kumar demanded. “You will lose credibility, leave alone strength,” he said.

Last Friday, a trust vote could not be held despite two deadlines from the Governor. The house was adjourned after marathon speeches by Kumaraswamy and other coalition leaders. The BJP accused the government of delaying the trust vote with lengthy speeches in hopes of reprieve from the Supreme Court.

Kumaraswamy said he was “not particularly worried about the end of this debate” and that he would “happily give up… rather than all this”. “I have acted with decency. The last 14 months has been – ‘will they stay or will they go’ – and I thank my party leaders for staying through it all. The objections to us started on Day 1 of the coalition government,” he added.

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