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Civic Polls: Govt asks officials to protect Panchayat Ghars or face action

Mudassir Kuloo





SRINAGAR, Sep 27: The government has directed the officials concerned to ensure protection of Panchayat Ghars or face action.
Several Panchayat Ghars were set on fire by unknown persons following the announcement for the panchayat polls begining November 17.
Amid the attacks, the government has directed all Block Development Offices of the Rural Development Department to ensure that the field functionaries maintain their headquarters in Panchayat Ghars of their respective halqas.
“Besides, the land donors who have donated the land for construction of these panchayat Ghars/CFCs and come under the purview of SRO 520 shall be responsible for watch and ward of these panchayat Ghars/CFCs,” directives issued by Rural Development Department reads.
It says that project officer wage employment ACDs shall ensure that all panchayat Ghars in their respective districts are properly looked after by placing existing staff for keeping watch and ward of the RDD buildings including panchayat Ghars wherever necessary in order to protect the government property.
“They are also instructed not to draw the salary/remuneration of those VLWs/MPWs/ works supervisor, junior engineers GRS, who fail to maintain the headquarters maintained,” it adds.
The government has announced holding of 4-phase urban local bodies and 9-phase panchayat elections in the state.
The ULB polls would be held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16 while Panchayat polls would be held on November 17, 20, 24, 27, 29 and December 1, 04, 08 and 11.
Attack on panchayat Ghars by unknown people has unnerved the former panchs and sarpanchs, who have been demanding an improvement in situation even if that needs delaying the polls.
The militants have already warned the candidates over participation in the polls, while the separatists have called for election boycott.
Chief Secretary, B V R Subrahmanyam, said the government would make adequate security arrangements for the polls.
“Around 400 security companies are being brought from outside for the polls.  There are security issues in few areas of south Kashmir but government will take care of,” he said.
Two main regional parties, the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party have decided to boycott the elections as they have asked the Government of India to clear its stand on the issue of Article 35A.


Lead Stories

Counting of votes today: Candidates wait with bated breath for results in JK

Mudassir Kuloo



Srinagar, May 22: Candidates are on the edge as the countdown for the counting of votes for the six Lok Sabha seats started in Jammu and Kashmir.

At least 104 candidates are in the fray for six-Lok Sabha seats in Jammu and Kashmir for which results would be declared on Thursday.

Ahead of poll results, the candidates of political parties are getting jitters about the results.


While many of them are devoting their time in prayers, some of them are on the vacation to beat the election stress.

BJP candidate for Srinagar Lok Sabha seat, Khalid Jehangir has gone to Russia after the elections. “We have been praying for Khalid’s success,” an associate of Khalid, said.

Before the elections, Khalid visited the shrine of the highly revered 14th century Muslim Saint, Sheikh Noor-ud-Din Noorani (RA), also known as Alamdar-e-Kashmir.

National Conference President and party’s candidate for Srinagar, Farooq Abdullah has been regularly visiting Hazratbal shrine for Friday prayers since the poll process began.

“He is very particular for Salah and has been praying for his success. For last several weeks, he has been offering Friday prayers at the Hazratbal shrine and pleading for his success,” a National Conference leader, said.

National Conference, General Secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said, they were hopeful of winning all three seats of Kashmir. “We pray for party’s candidates,” he added.

PDP President and party’s candidate for south Kashmir Parliamentary constituency, Mehbooba Mufti is camping in New Delhi. The low voter turnout in south Kashmir has become a cause of concern for the PDP.

“She may return by Wednesday evening,” PDP Chief Spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir, said.

Asked whether Mehbooba would visit her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s grave like she did in 2016 when she emerged winner in by-polls of Anantnag assembly segment, he said, “She is not here. But we are hopeful of her success.”

National Conference candidate for north Kashmir Lok Sabha constituency, Mohammad Akbar Lone has been praying for his success. “I need prayers from one everyone. I will emerge winner. I visit every spiritual place,” Lone said.

National Conference’s candidate for south Kashmir retired High Court judge Justice Hasnian Masoodi said he contested the elections with “sincerity”.

“Everything is at the hands of Allah. I hope by Allah’s grace, will win the elections,” Masoodi added.

Meanwhile, all arrangements have been made for the smooth counting of votes recorded in the Electronic Voting Machines. In Srinagar, the counting would take place at SKICC Srinagar.

The Election Commission of India has set up 10 counting centres including two for Ladakh segment, three for Kashmiri migrants and one each for rest of the five Parliamentary constituencies.

At least 55 special observers have also been deployed for counting of votes. Declaration of final results in Jammu and Kashmir, like other Parliamentary seats across the country, can be slightly delayed this time due to increase in tallying VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trial) slips with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) from every Assembly segment.

There have been a total number of 75,400 Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballots of Service Voters this time.

Three-tier security at counting centres in Kashmir

Srinagar, May 22: Elaborate security arrangements have been made in Jammu and Kashmir for counting of votes tomorrow for six Lok Sabha seats.

One of the top government officials told KNS that security personnel including central reserve police forces (CRPF) and state police will be deployed tomorrow in all the counting centres for ensuring smooth and violence-free counting. “There will be a three tier security cordon in the vicinity of the counting centers. The first line of security manned by the Security forces will be located almost 100 meters from the concerned counting premises. The second line of security will be around the counting premises and the third line of security personnel will be deployed inside the counting halls. The counting centers will follow three-tier cordoning system,” the official maintained wished not to be named.

Giving details about arrangements being made for counting, official further said that 10 counting centers have been established in the state.

While there will be one counting center each for Baramulla, Anantnag, Srinagar, Jammu and Udhmapur parliamentary seats, two centers have been established for Ladakh segment, one each in Kargil and Leh.

Apart from them, three centers have also been established for counting of migrant votes at Udhampur, Jammu and New Delhi.

They said that 90 counting halls have been set up in these centers. “There will be 896 counting tables in these halls,”

Sources said that no person other than candidates, their election counting agents, public servants on election duty or persons authorized by Election Commission would be permitted to enter counting centers. Counting will be done simultaneously for all the six seats Jammu, Srinagar, Udhampur, Anantnag, Baramullah and Ladakh.

Sources said that to avoid any untoward incidents prohibitory orders under section 144 of Cr. P.C. will be also been enforced at the counting centers.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shalindera Kumar said, “As per the ECI guidelines, all arrangements have been made for the Counting Day,”

Sources said that the whole process will be monitored by General Observers and each of them will be accompanied by Micro observers.

The outcome of the six Lok Sabha seats is being keenly watched in J&K as it is considered as “semi-final” before the Assembly polls. (KNS)

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Lead Stories

Two Hizb militants killed in Kulgam gunfight




Srinagar, May 22: Two Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militants were Wednesday killed in a pre-dawn encounter at Gopalpora area of South Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

The gunfight as per police officials broke out after a cordon and Search Operation was launched in the village following credible inputs about the presence of militants there.

Police said during the search operation, the hiding militants fired on the search party, which was retaliated, thus leading to an encounter.


In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. They identified the slain militant as Irfan Manzoor Bhat of Poniwah Kulgam and Zahid Ahmad Mantoo of Ferripora Shopian.

Police said both the slain militants were affiliated with HM.

Police said that incriminating materials including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of encounter.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered and all these materials have been taken in the case records for the purpose of investigation and to probe their complicity in other cases, police said.

Moreover, police urged people not to venture inside the 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,” police said.

Army soldier killed, 7 others injured in Poonch accidental blast

Poonch, May 22:  Army on Wednesday said that a soldier was killed and seven others sustained minor injuries during training on the Line of Control in Mendhar sector of Poonch district in Jammu and Kashmir.

“On 22 May 2019 at 0915 hours, during a training activity on a military post in Mendhar Sector, one soldier was critically injured who later succumbed to his injuries. Two more soldiers who suffered non grevious injuries have been evacuated to the nearest Military Hospital and are stable,” said defence spokesman Lt Col Devender Anand.

The injured was flown in a helicopter to Northern Command’s hospital at Udhampur.

Official sources said soldiers of the Barasingha Battalion of the 12 Madras regiment were on a patrol in Dera Dibsi area along the hilly LoC when the incident occurred around 10.45am.

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Lead Stories

Police confirms rape of a three-year-old Sumbal child; likely to file charge sheet against accused

Hirra Azmat



Srinagar, May 22: Two weeks after the alleged rape of a three-year-old child shocked the valley, the district police said they would soon file a charge-sheet in the court against the accused.

“Incident involving assault on three-year-old child in Sumbal is very much true and based on facts and evidence. Bandipora police is going to file the chargesheet in the court against the arrested accused soon,” tweeted Bandipora police.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Bandipora Rahul Malik confirmed that the incident of rape has happened.  “There is no doubt that the incident has happened. We are going to file a charge-sheet soon in the court of law and the court will decide accordingly”, he said


“Right now I cannot disclose the contents of the medical report as it is a matter of investigation,” he said, when asked about the FSL report.

Malik also requested the people not to pay heed to the rumours. “People are requested not to believe in rumors. Strict action will be taken against people spreading false and misleading information,” he said.

On Tuesday, district legal services authority had recommended paying a compensation of Rs one Lakh to the minor victim under the compensation scheme.

On May 08, a minor girl was allegedly raped by her neighbour after luring her to a nearby school. The incident had triggered widespread protests across Kashmir.  In one of the protests, a youth had sustained grievous injuries at Pattan and later on succumbed to his injured.

SLSA releases Rs 1 lakh compensation to minor victim

Srinagar, May 22: On the recommendations of Chairman District Legal Services Authority, Bandipora, Jammu and Kashmir State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) today released an amount of Rs 1 lakh as interim relief to the minor victim of Sumbal incident.

The amount was released under J&K Victim Compensation Scheme,2013 to the minor girl.

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