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Centre ready to hold elections in JK: Rajnath

CEO meets Guv Malik

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Dec 28: The Government of India Friday said in the Lok Sabha that there was no other option left with the Governor but to recommend President’s Rule in Jammu and Kashmir as no party or alliance staked claim to form government and asserted that it was ready to hold assembly polls in the state.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh told the Lok Sabha that the government was prepared for elections in the state at any time.

He added that if the Election Commission would decide to hold polls, the Home Ministry would offer requisite security for the conduct of “free and fair” polls.

 

He said this as part of a discussion on a statutory motion on the proclamation issued by the President in December, 2018, under Article 356 of the Constitution in relation to Jammu and Kashmir.

The discussion took place after the statutory motion was passed rather than before it.

Rajnath defended the Governor saying there seemed to be no clear move on the part of any potential alliance to stake claim to form the government.

He said that in June then Governor N.N. Vohra had written to the President that the BJP had no intention to form the government after withdrawing support to the PDP.

He had also written that the Jammu and Kashmir Congress president and they told him the party did not have the requisite numbers to form the government on its own or with any other party.

“Governor’s rule was imposed but the Assembly was not dissolved so that another alliance could form the government. But no political party staked a claim and the Governor had to send his report for President’s rule,” Rajnath said, adding that while he had read newspaper reports of the PDP, NC and the Congress wishing to form a government, the Congress’ leader in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had denied it.

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, however, said that the PDP was willing to form a government and the NC, and even the Congress, had agreed to support them.

“This government’s intention should not be doubted,” the Home Minister said.

“If we wanted another government to be formed, we could have done so in six months. As for the Kashmir problem solution, it is an old problem. All Indians want a solution. The people of Kashmir are our own people. I have repeatedly said that I want a solution with the help of all. We also took all-party delegations. I said we have no problem talking to anyone who wants to talk.”

He added, “Some said they want to meet secessionist leaders. They went and had to return. I don’t want to discuss that here.”

“At one time, Kashmir situation was tense but we are trying our best to improve it and strengthen grass-roots democracy through local polls,” Rajnath claimed. “We are giving administrative and financial powers to those elected as local bodies’ representatives.”

Should put to rest motivated speculation: Omar

Srinagar, Dec 28: National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah Friday welcomed Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement in the Lok Sabha that the Centre was ready for assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

“An important assurance on the floor of the house in the Lok Sabha. This should put to rest the motivated speculation that elections in the state will happen only after the general elections,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

Replying to a discussion on the resolution on a presidential proclamation about imposition of President’s Rule in the state, the Union home minister said the government is ready for assembly polls but the decision has to be taken by the Election Commission.

“We are totally committed to democratic process,” Singh said.

CEO meets Guv Malik

Jammu, Dec 28: Shailendra Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer, Friday met Governor Satya Pal Malik at the Raj Bhavan here.

Governor, as per the Raj Bhavan spokesperson, emphasized the importance of generating awareness of electoral process and that how every vote matters, among public.

“Expressing satisfaction on the recent conduct of polls to Panchayatas and Urban Local Bodies, Governor hoped that people will participate with same enthusiasm in every electoral exercise,” the spokesperson said.

Kumar, he added, briefed the Governor about the various initiatives taken for educating voters to exercise their franchise by including them in Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) activities, Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELCs) which are being set up in educational institutions in the State in a bid to encourage youth to exercise their franchise and educating public about use of EVM-VVPAT (Voter verifiable paper audit trail) and progress achieved till date in Special Summary Revision of Electoral Rolls.

 

 


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Lead Stories

Uproar over Trump’s Kashmir offer

No such request made by PM Modi: Jaishankar

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jul 23: US President Donald Trump’s claim on Kashmir mediation led to angry reactions from the opposition in Parliament on Tuesday, as the government asserted that all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally.

While Rajya Sabha witnessed repeated adjournments over the issue, the opposition walked out of Lok Sabha proceedings demanding a statement from the prime minister himself.

Soon after the House met for the day at 11 AM, opposition parties raked up the issue of Trump’s remarks made in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

 

The US President had on Monday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to play the role of a mediator on Kashmir.

India’s position has been consistent and clear on Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir and has always maintained that it will not accept third party mediation in purely bilateral issue.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Prime Minister Modi never made any such request to the US leader and reiterated that Kashmir is a bilateral issue.

He said all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally, thereby ruling out any third party mediation.

“I would like to categorically state that no such request has been made by the prime minister to the US President,” he said.

The minister said it has been the consistent position of India that all outstanding issues with Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally.

“Any engagement with Pakistan will require an end to cross border terrorism,” he said, adding Shimla and Lahore accords signed between India and Pakistan provide the basis for resolution of all issues bilaterally.

Opposition parties were, however, not satisfied by the statement of the External Affairs Minister and wanted the prime minister to come to the House and clarify.

This led to heated exchanges between opposition benches and Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, who adjourned proceedings for nearly an hour.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said that her party will raise the issue related to the statement made by Trump, who claimed that Modi had asked him to mediate on the issue of Kashmir.

Asked if Congress will seek a reply from the Prime Minister in Parliament on Trump’s statement, Sonia Gandhi said, “You will see it in the House. We will raise the issue and Congress is raising now also.”

Meanwhile, leaders from opposition parties, including Congress, NCP, AAP, PDP, DMK, CPI (M), CPI, RJD, Samajwadi Party and TMC asked Prime Minister Modi to give a clarification on the US President’s statement in both Houses of Parliament.

Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “No matter which government was in power at Centre in the past, whether it was Congress or NDA, our foreign policy has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and no third party can intervene. President Trump made this statement while talking to Prime Minister of Pakistan. If he would have made it while talking to some other nation, then we understand that he could have said it in a lighter mode, but he knows how serious this Kashmir issue is between India and Pakistan. He also knows that India’s policy has been to solve this issue bilaterally.”

He added, “Trump would have thought about it and then said it. We are ready to believe our Prime Minister. We are not saying that our Prime Minister is lying… We want our Prime Minister to say it in the Parliament that Trump is lying. But this is not correct if some officer says that you are trusting President Trump and not our Prime Minister.”

Azad went on add that “from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh, whenever any Prime Minister used to go on an official visit to any country and meet the head of states there, then they used to give statements in both the Houses of the Parliament after returning back.”

“But in last six years, Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has visited so many countries, but didn’t give any statement in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha regarding his visits… Rather than External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Prime Minister Modi should address both the Houses himself and say that he didn’t say anything like this,” he added.

Senior leader D Raja said, “India’s position continues to be a consistent one on Kashmir issue, on disputes between India and Pakistan. They are all bilateral disputes, bilateral issues, and no question of allowing third party mediation… It is a serious issue. We do not want to believe US President. We want to believe our Prime Minister. That is why we demand that the Prime Minister should come and tell the Parliament what exactly he spoke to President Trump… Parliament is in Session. Prime Minister should take the people and country into confidence.”

Resonating similar sentiments, TMC leader Derek O’Brien said that Prime Minister should “clear the air” regarding his discussion with Trump.

“My colleagues including Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress party, NCP, AAP, PDP, DMK, CPI (M), CPI, RJD, Samajwadi Party and the TMC are here. Our position is very, very clear. We have a simple, straight-forward demand or request – the Prime Minister of India has to come and clear the air,” he said.

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Lead Stories

Surprised by India’s reaction: Imran on Trump’s Kashmir mediation offer

‘K-issue won’t be resolved bilaterally’

Agencies

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Washington, Jul 23: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said that he was surprised by India’s reaction to US President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation on Kashmir. 

“Surprised by reaction of India to Pres Trump’s offer of mediation to bring Pak & India to dialogue table for resolving Kashmir conflict which has held subcontinent hostage for 70 yrs. Generations of Kashmiris have suffered & are suffering daily and need conflict resolution,” Imran tweeted.

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

 

He also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to play the role of a mediator on Kashmir

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

The statement created a ruckus in the political circles in India as opposition parties took on the Modi-led government over its stand on the issue.

India’s position has been consistent and clear on Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir and has always maintained that it will not accept third party mediation in purely bilateral issue.

Imran, however, told an American news outlet that there will never be a resolution to the Kashmir issue bilaterally and asserted that the US and President Trump can play a “big part” in mediation.

“Bilaterally there will never be (a resolution of the Kashmir issue),” he told Fox News after his meeting with US President Donald Trump.

“There was one point when there was General (Pervez) Musharraf and Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee of India when we did get close to the resolution of the Kashmiri issue. But since then, we are poles apart and I really feel that India should come to the table. The US could play a big part. President Trump certainly can play a big part,” he added.

“We are talking about 1.3 billion people on this earth. Imagine the dividends of peace if somehow that issue could be resolved,” Imran Khan further told the Fox News host.

The Pakistani Prime Minister was also asked if they would give up their nuclear weapons if India did so, to which he replied, “Yes because nuclear war is not an option. Between Pakistan and India, the idea of nuclear war is actually self-destruction because we have two-and-a-half thousand-mile border.”

He also made a reference to the standoff between India and Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, the responsibility of which was claimed by Pak-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). India undertook airstrikes which targeted terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot after the incident, following which Pakistan violated India’s airspace. A dogfight ensued leading to India shooting down a Pakistani F-16.

“I think there’s a realisation in the subcontinent that and there was some incident happened last February and we again had tensions at the border…So, there’s a realisation and that’s why I asked, President Trump that if he could play his role, the US as the most powerful country in the world, the only country that could mediate between Pakistan and India and resolve the only issue is Kashmir,” Khan said.

Imran Khan also claimed that Kashmir is the only reason why India and Pakistan “have not been able to live like “civilised neighbours” since the last 70 years.

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Lead Stories

Teachers suspended on Eid await charge-sheet, reinstatement

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jul 23: Forty five days on, the education department has neither reinstated nor issued the charge-sheet to 23 school teachers who were suspended after being found absent from duties on the second day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

During surprise visit to four schools in Habak and Batamaloo areas on second day of Eid, the authorities found that several teachers were absent from duties. As a result, 23 teachers were placed under suspension.

The government decision created a hue and cry with people taking to social media criticizing the authorities for suspending teachers because they stayed home on the second day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

 

“The teachers are placed under suspension for unauthorized absence from schools; charge sheet shall be issued separately. The suspended officials will remain attached in the same school,” read an order issued by CEO Srinagar, Malik Naseer.

One and half months later, the authorities have neither issued charge-sheet nor reinstated the teachers.

“We have not been receiving our salaries for the last two months despite attending our duties regularly. We have a family to support but the government does not care,” said one of the suspended teachers.

He said under rules the authorities have to give them charge-sheet so that they could explain their position. “Neither have they issued charge sheet nor released our salaries,” rued the teacher.

Chief Education Officer, Srinagar, Malik Naseer, however told The Kashmir Monitor that after completing the official procedure, the teachers will be reinstated.

“Their (teachers) case is still pending. Teachers shall have to answer the charge sheet once they receive it. It is under consideration. They will be reinstated after completing the official procedure,” he said.

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