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Art 35-A challenge: Complete shutdown observed in Kashmir, Chenab

People’s unity heartening, says Joint Hurriyat

Mubashir Bukhari

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 Srinagar, Aug 05: Life in Kashmir Sunday came to a complete standstill due to a complete shutdown observed by all sections of the society against the legal challenge in the Supreme Court on the validity of Article 35-A, which bars people from outside Jammu and Kashmir from acquiring any immovable property in the state.

Shops and business establishments were closed across the Valley while all kinds of transport remained off the roads due to the strike call.

The shutdown, on Sunday and Monday, was called by the Joint Hurriyat Leadership as Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a PIL challenging the validity of the Article 35-A on August 06 (today).

 

The state government has filed an application before the Registrar of the Supreme Court, informing that it is going to seek adjournment of the hearing of the petition in view of the “ongoing preparations for the upcoming Panchayat and urban local body and municipal elections in the state”.

On Sunday, government forces were deployed in strength at vulnerable places in the city and elsewhere in Kashmir for maintaining ‘law and order’.

The situation across the valley remained peaceful with no untoward incident reported from anywhere so far although people strictly adhered to the shutdown call, the effect of which was totally visible from deserted lanes, markets and rolled down shutters.

Various organisations included Bar Association, transporters and traders’ bodies, and several other civil society members had already extended their support to the shutdown call.

Protests have been held across the length and breadth of Kashmir over the past few days with mainstream parties like the National Conference and PDP also holding rallies in support of continuing Article 35-A.

People in Tral township of south Kashmir’s Pulwama district Sunday protested against the attempts being made to abrogate Article 35-A, which grants special privileges to residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

People on early Sunday morning staged a protest at main town. Carrying placards and banners, the protesters were chanting slogans against scrapping of Article 35-A.

The protesters cautioned that any attempts to abrogate Article 35-A would lead to widespread protests in the valley and any fiddling with the constitutional provision would be catastrophic.

The protest march later culminated peacefully.

Protests were held amid a complete shutdown in Ramban district of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday against any attempt to abrogate Article 35-A.

Reports said that shutdown was observed in Banihal, Khari and Gool areas of the district,

Shops and other commercial establishments were closed while traffic was off the roads.

Markets in Banihal on the highway and in adjoining villages of Nowgam, Tethar, Chareel Kaskoot and Dooligam were also closed.

In Gool, scores of men held a protest against any move to tinker with the constitutional provision.

Train services were suspended in Kashmir on Sunday in view of a strike called by separatists, a senior railway official said.

He added the services would remain suspended on Monday as well given the apprehension of ‘law and order’ problem in the valley.

 

People’s unity heartening, says Joint Hurriyat

Srinagar, Aug 05: Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik on Sunday said that unequivocal, united and unanimous verdict by the people of Chenab valley region, Pir-Panjal Region, Kashmir valley to Kargil against “planned attack” on the identity and distinctiveness of Jammu Kashmir in the garb of Article 35 A, should serve as an eye opener for rulers and policymakers.

The spokesman in a statement while terming the unity among the people of Jammu Kashmir on state subject law and unprecedented protest as heartening, leaders said that on the leadership’s call people in Poonch, Rajouri, Doda, Baderwah, Kishtwar, Kargil to Kashmir valley staged exemplary protest against moves intended at abrogating or tinkering with the hereditary state subject law in the garb of 35 A.

The spokesman said that through this exemplary protest people of Jammu Kashmir have raised their voices against any move or act that is intended to wane, weaken, abrogate or tamper with the identity and distinctiveness of Jammu and Kashmir and have in unequivocal terms and with one voice announced their verdict that no resident of Jammu Kashmir will accept any such move or judgment.

Joint Hurriyat, the spokesman added, said that though the police chief of Jammu Kashmir has announced to allow protests regarding Article 35A but from Saturday evening, police and other forces started a fresh spree of “nocturnal raids”, arrests and other measures.

“Police, as usual, have kept ailing veteran leader Syed Ali shah Geelani under House arrest and have placed leader Mirwaiz Muhammad Umar Farooq under house arrest too. Police last (Saturday) evening raided the residence of Yasin Malik who already had gone into hiding to evade arrest,” the spokesman said.

He claimed that the police have also arrested or house-arrested many other leaders and activists including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Ghluam Nabi Sumji, Agha Syed Hassan, Hilal Ahmad War, Bashir Ahmad Rather (Boya), Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar, Bilal Ahmad Sideequi, Hakim Abdul Rashid, Molvi Bashir Ahmad, Muhammad Yousuf Naqash, Muhammad Yasin Ataie, Fayaz Ahmad Mir, Syed Imtiyaz Haider, Bashir Ahmad Butt, Muhammad Ashraf Laya, Muhammad Ishfaq Khan and others while as police raided many others houses too.


Mubashir joined The Kashmir Monitor as a reporter/ sub-editor in Jan 2013. Since then, he has been consistently covering beats including conflict, politics, education, and health. He is also handling online section of the paper besides working as Video Producer.

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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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