Jammu, July 8: Weeks after the fall of Mehbooba Mufti government, Union minister Jitendra Singh Sunday said BJP has set an example by breaking its alliance with PDP without any pressure as “discrimination” with Jammu region was not acceptable to the party. He said the decision of the BJP has baffled the opposition parties in Jammu and Kashmir which have never witnessed such a thing in their political history. “BJP is the only party which can become part of any government to carry forward developmental agenda or can break away if it is not satisfied with the pace of development works. It is not acceptable to the BJP to stay in power while compromising with the interests of the people of Jammu region,” he said. Singh, the minister of state in Prime Minister’s office, was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a party function in Kathua district. BJP broke its alliance with PDP last month leading to the collapse of the coalition government and imposition of Governor’s rule. “Whatever the circumstances, there will be no compromise with the interests of the Jammu region,” he said, adding BJP has set an example by walking out of the government. He said the opposition parties are “frustrated because they are not able to understand what had happened that led to the decision”. “Their tradition and their politics have not seen such an example in the past. They have not learnt it. The opposition is puzzled when without any pressure you come out of power because you feel you are not able to fulfil your developmental agenda for the people,” he said. “BJP is the only party which can be part of the government for the interest of the people of Jammu region and can say goodbye to the power for the sake of the people,” he said. Singh addressed party workers at Barnoti village in the district. Asked whether the meeting was part of the party’s preparation for the next year’s Lok Sabha elections, he said, BJP is the only political party in the country which is ready for any type of polls all the time. “Such meetings are taking place all the time round-the-year to discuss current issues being faced by the people. It is not focused on elections.” “BJP is the only party which holds such meetings round the year and always prepared to face all type of elections. BJP is the only party which is linked to the people at the gross-roots level,” he said. The minister said there is no possibility of discrimination with Jammu region under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “With full authority, I want to make it clear that over the last four years of Modi government, there was no discrimination with any part of the region as far as financial and development packages are concerned,” he said. “This year, Rs 3800 crore was sanctioned under PMGSY for the state, out of which Rs 2100 crore were meant for Jammu region,” he said. “This included Rs 1700 crore for Kathua, Udhampur and Doda districts – three medical colleges were to be established here and two others there (Kashmir),” the minister said. “The Union Cabinet recently decided to seek seven acre of land at Udhmapur from defence ministry and yesterday the land was identified for setting up of Kendriya Vidyalaya,” he said. “When there is discrimination due to some local reasons, then BJP showed it can give up power without a second thought,” he said. In response to a question about the prolonged agitation by Anganwadi workers and helpers in support of their demands including hike in honorarium, the union minister said he had personally suggested the state government look into the issue and increase the honorarium from its resources like other states of the country such as Delhi had done. The Anganwadi workers and helpers are on strike since February 1 in support of their demands which include implementation of the pension scheme, release of pending salaries and gratuity of Rs two lakh for workers and Rs one lakh for helpers on retirement.
Two militants killed in Bijbehara gunfight
Srinagar, Apr 25: Two militants were killed after a gunfight broke out between militants and security forces in Bagender Mohalla area of Bijbehara in Anantnag district on Thursday morning.
The duo was killed after a gunfight broke out between them and a joint team of the Indian Army’s 3 Rashtriya Rifles unit and a Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.
The exchange of fire began while security forces had been carrying out cordon and search operations after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area. An official said that the militants opened fire on the troopers when they were closing in on their hiding spot.
A search operation is underway as the forces believe there were three militants in hiding in Bagender Mohalla.
The police spokesman identified the slain as Safder Amin Bhat (25), son of Muhammad Amin of Zirpara Bijbehara and Burhan Ahmad Ganaie (25) of Malipora Hablish Kulgam. He said the duo was affiliated with Hizb-ul -Mujahideen militant outfit.
Incriminating material including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of the encounter, he said, adding that the police have registered a case.
“Citizens are requested not to venture inside encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials if any,” said the spokesman.
Thousands of people participated in funeral prayers of two slain militants in Bijbehara and SK Colony Lazibal areas of Anantnag.
Meanwhile, internet services were also suspended for “precautionary measures” and a complete shutdown is being observed in the district.
Ladakh Parliamentary Seat: Karbalai in fray to cut Muslim votes and benefit Congress?
Srinagar, Apr 25: Ahead of the elections for it, the Ladakh Parliamentary Seat is in the spotlight these days as Asgar Ali Karbalai, who is contesting as an Independent candidate, may play spoilsport for Sajjad Hussain who has support of the NC, PDP and powerful religious groups of Kargil.
Four candidates are in the fray for Ladakh parliamentary constituency that will go to polls on May 6.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, while Rigzin Spalbar is Congress’ candidate. Both the candidates are from Leh district. Sajjad Hussain, and Asgar Ali Karbalai are contesting as independents. Both are from Kargil district.
Asgar has claimed that he has left the Congress, however a source within the party said his contesting of elections is to “cut the Muslim vote in Ladakh to benefit the Congress candidate.”
“He has no support of any religious group unlike Sajjad. If he will be able to cut the Muslim vote, Congress will be the hugely benefitted,” the source said.
It said that PDP and NC decided not to field candidates as they would have divided the Muslim votes and would have benefitted the BJP.
The PDP and NC have decided to support journalist turned politician Sajjad in the parliamentary elections. He is the candidate of Anjuman Jamiatul Ulama Islamia School Kargil (AJUISK), the largest religious organisation of the region and also backed by Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust.
“Both National Conference and PDP have unanimously decided to support Sajjad, who has been fielded by Kargil’s powerful religious organization, Islamia School,” National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, said.
Asked why the National Conference did not field its own candidate, Sagar replied, “We have several top leaders in Ladakh. But when powerful religious organizations decided to field the candidate, we decided to support him. All religious groups are on platform on his candidature. We hope that he would win the elections.”
Senior PDP leader Nizam-ud-Din Bhat too confirmed that NC and PDP have unanimously decided to support Independent candidate, Sajjad.
“We decided not to field our own candidate because this candidate has backing of two religious groups, and he represents the sentiments of people,” Bhat said.
In Kashmir, the PDP and NC have been fighting against each other as both parties have fielded their candidates against one another on all three parliamentary seats. The NC and Congress are jointly fighting the Srinagar, Jammu and Udhampur parliament seats while there is a “friendly” contest between their candidates for Baramulla and Anantnag seats.
In 2014 Thupstan Chhewang of Bharatiya Janata Party won with a margin of 36 votes. Chhewang secured 31,111 votes while Independent Ghulam Raza secured 31,075 votes. Chhewang last year resigned, citing ‘discrimination’ against Ladakh, as the reason.
Spread over Leh and Kargil districts and having four assembly segments including Kargil, Zanaskar, Nobra and Leh, Ladakh is geographically one of the largest and population-wise one of the smallest constituencies in the country. There are about 1.72 lakh eligible voters for the Ladakh seat.
NIA summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter shameful: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Apr 25: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday termed National Investigation Agency (NIA) summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter as “shameful”.
Addressing a rally at Kulgam district in south Kashmir, the PDP president while condemning the issuance of ED summon to Sama Shabir, the daughter of Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah said, “She has been summoned in connection with case of money laundering in 2007 when she was just five years old. The harassment has increased over the years.”
She said that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was summoned by the NIA and Yaseen Mailk faced detention and constant harassment. “This shows the sheer desperation of centre,” she claimed.
She maintained, “The abrogation of Article 35-A and 370 will render the basis of accession null and void. Thus, we should strive towards safeguarding the special status.”
Mehbooba took jibes at the BJP president, Amit Shah over his statement that there is Modi wave in India.
“Had this been true, the Balakote airstrikes wouldn’t happen then? Incidents like mob lynching and oppression on the marginalized sections wouldn’t be so commonplace,” she said.
She said while taking potshots at the NC vice-president Omar Abdullah, “Omar is living in this delusion that the people in her home town Bijebhera in Anantnag district have rejected her and voted for NC. I want to make this thing clear that it’s my hometown and people are supportive of me and are still unknown to Omar.”
Ruling out that government employees participated in her Pulwama election rally, she said, “This is completely false. No government employees participated in that rally. I have nothing to do with these employees as I am not a part of the government.”
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