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Coaching centres suspend classes, to move court

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Following the order to close down issued by the government, private coaching centres in Kashmir are moving court to challenge the directive they find ambiguous.
After Education Minister, Mohammad Altaf Sunday ordered the closure of coaching centres providing tuitions upto class 12th for 3 months, the DSEK on Tuesday issued formal orders in this regard.
The order has said that the closure of the centres for the time period would however be subject to review after 15 days.
While they would “comply with the government order for now”, Chairman Coaching Centres Association Kashmir (CCAK), G N Var told The Kashmir Monitor that they would approach the state High Court to contend the diktat.
Having already consulted a senior advocate, Var said, “It will take us a day or two to file the case”.
With the government exempting the coaching centres offering “professional coaching”, Var said that the government needed to come clear over the categorisation.
“We will ask them what this professional coaching means,” Var said.
“We have decided that we would not make it a point of confrontation and keep it politics-neutral,” he added.
The coaching centres forced to close down as a result of the government order would “refund the students’ fee on pro rata basis,” said Var.
In a separate statement issued by the CCAK in reaction to the DSEK’s order, the association said, “Any delay in reviewing the same thereof and subsequently the loss of students’ precious time would be the sole responsibility of the Directorate”.
The statement said the class work at the centres would remain suspended till any further direction.
The CCAK in the statement has asked the parents and students to “approach the Directorate to expedite the process of reviewing”.
As per the CCAK statement, there was an “ambiguity with regards to professional coaching” which the government had exempted.
“The Order seems to suggest that professional coaching only starts after 12th Exams and is not part of an integrated course starting from 11th Class. In effect suggesting students to drop and repeat a year to prepare for the said Competitive Exams,” the statement said.
“The order also seems to suggest that our students should not prepare for exams like National Talent Search Examination (NTSE), National Standard Examination in Junior Science (NSEJS) and National and International Level Olympiads. In effect the J&K Government would thus be the only government to discourage students from excelling in national and international Level exams,” the CCAK alleged in the statement.
While the government has alleged that the coaching centres resulted in the students reporting late to their schools, the CCAK statement said that the centres, which were “adhering to the government norm of maintaining half an hour’s difference with respect to the school timing have been unnecessarily dragged into the blanket closure order”.
While the CCAK was in favour of action against the violators, the statement alleged that the registered institutions adhering to the norms “are only harassed while as no action is taken against the violators”.
The students, meanwhile, complain that their studies had taken a hit.
“It makes all the difference as our studies have been discontinued. Each day of our studies is precious. As compared to schools, proper studies take place at the centres,” Owais, a class12 student enrolled with a coaching centre in uptown here, said.
Owais said: “Professional coaching starts right from class 11th”.
Suhail, another class-12 student, echoed his views.
“Preparations for the competitive examination start right from class 11th. There is nothing like coaching for professional examinations as such. We study at the coaching centres for 11th and 12th classes only. Then we prepare for any competitive exam during the last 3 months,” said Suhail.
He said that their studies would be disrupted after the DSEK’s formal order forcing the closure of the centres.
“There are no such teachers who can teach us and complete our syllabi at the schools,” Suhail lamented.
Talking to the Kashmir Monitor, currently a class 11th student enrolled at a coaching centre said that he had “set a goal to crack MBBS examination” beforehand.
However, the government forcing the centre to close, “It has disrupted the rhythm of our studies. We cannot achieve the goals set for various competitive examinations like NEET and JEE at the government schools,” said the student.
“If we study properly in 11th and 12th classes, it helps in the competitive exams as there is less time for preparing in the tests after class 12th examinations,” he added.
Calling the coaching centres as “distractions affecting the system”, Bukhari had on Sunday reportedly denied that the ongoing student protests had guided the diktat.
However, the DSEK’s formal order reads that in a meeting chaired by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on April 10, the “law enforcement agencies during the meeting informed that due to frequent violation of norms/ regulations and allowing students to gather outside tuition centres, which apart from causing grave law and order problem, creates every likelihood of threat to life and security of such students and general public as well (sic)”.


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Imran dials Modi, pushes for better Indo-Pak ties

PM stresses on ‘creating environment free of terrorism’

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New Delhi, May 26: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed his desire to work for peace, Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed Faisal said.

During the phone call, Modi underlined the importance of creating trust and an environment free of “terrorism” for peace in South Asia.

“PM spoke to PM Modi today and congratulated him on his party’s electoral victory in Lok Sabha elections in India. PM expressed his desire for both countries to work together for betterment of their peoples,” Faisal said in a Twitter post.

 

“Reiterating his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia, the Prime Minister said he looked forward to working with Prime Minister Modi to advance these objectives,” Faisal’s second post said.

According to a release from the Indian foreign ministry, Modi “thanked the Prime Minister of Pakistan for his telephone call and greetings”.

“Recalling his initiatives in line with his government’s neighbourhood first policy, Prime Minister Modi referred to his earlier suggestion to the Prime Minister of Pakistan to fight poverty jointly. He stressed that creating trust and an environment free of violence and terrorism were essential for fostering cooperation for peace, progress and prosperity in our region,” the release stated.

Khan had on Thursday posted a congratulatory message on Twitter saying he looked forward to work with Modi on furthering peace in South Asia. “I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan said in the post.

Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday scored a major win by snaring 303 seats in the 545-member Parliament.

In his response to Khan’s post congratulating him on Thursday, Modi tweeting:” Thank you PM @ImranKhanPTI. I warmly express my gratitude for your good wishes. I have always given primacy to peace and development in our region.”

In a recent interview, PM Modi had said the “way ahead” with the neighboring nation Pakistan depends on the action it takes against militancy. Modi’s Balakot air strike in Pakistan before the polls soared his popularity in India. The IAF air strike and action against Pakistan featured many times during Modi’s Lok Sabha election campaign.

Before the elections began, Khan also batted for a second-term for BJP saying there may be a better chance of peace talks with India if the incumbent government is back.

The exchanges between the two leaders came after a period of heightened tensions between the two countries earlier this year after the 14 February suicide attack on a paramilitary convoy that killed 40 paramilitary personnel in Pulwama.

With Jaish-e-Mohammed claiming the Pulwama bombing, India on 26 February launched a “pre-emptive” strike on a militant training facility in Pakistan’s Balakot region.

Pakistan retaliated a day later launching an air raid on Indian military facilities in Kashmir, thus deepening tensions between the two countries. Pakistan also shot down an Indian Air Force jet and captured the pilot of the downed aircraft, who was handed back to India two days later.

Talks between the two countries have been at a standstill since 2013 but there has been speculation that the two sides could explore possibilities for engagement after the polls in India. Modi is set to come face to face with Imran Khan at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation meeting in Bishkek in June. Last month, Khan told a group of journalists that there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settling of the Kashmir dispute if Modi’s party — the Bharatiya Janata Party — won the general elections a second time.

Pak ready for talks with new Indian Govt: Qureshi

Press Trust of India

Islamabad, May 26: Pakistan is ready to hold talks with the new Indian government to resolve all outstanding issues, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said.

Addressing an Iftar dinner in Multan on Saturday, Qureshi said both India and Pakistan should sit on negotiation table to solve issues for the sake of prosperity and peace of the region, state-run Radio Pakistan reported.

His remarks came two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday led his Bharatiya Janata Party towards a victory for a second term in office.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday congratulated Modi on his electoral triumph and expressed desire to work with him for peace and prosperity in the region.

“I congratulate Prime Minister Modi on the electoral victory of BJP and allies. Look forward to working with him for peace, progress and prosperity in South Asia,” Khan tweeted in both English and Urdu.

In April, Khan said he believed there may be a better chance of peace talks with India and settle the Kashmir issue if Modi’s party wins the general elections.

The results of India’s general elections are very significant for Pakistan as the new government in New Delhi will determine the course of Indo-Pakistan ties, which were pushed to a new low after the Pulwama attack.

Just a day before the announcement of results, Qureshi and his Indian counterpart Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday exchanged pleasantries on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council of Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

He conveyed to her Pakistan’s desire to resolve all issues through dialogue.

Tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) killed over 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.

Amid mounting outrage, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried air strikes in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on February 26. The next day, Pakistan Air Force retaliated and downed a MiG-21 in an aerial combat and captured an IAF pilot, who was handed over to India.

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Balakot was to ensure ‘terrorists’ don’t act against India: Gen Rawat

Press Trust of India

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Ezhimala (Kerala), May 26: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bipin Rawat has said the Balakot attack in February was to ensure that ‘terrorists’ trained across the border do not survive to carry out action against India.

“Coordinated efforts are being made by various government agencies to tackle cross-border terrorism,” he said.

“Through the coordinated efforts of various government agencies, now the NIA has stepped in, the Enforcement Directorate has stepped in and all are trying to ensure financing and funds available to terrorists are cut off,” he said, responding to a question on insurgency in Kashmir at a media interaction here.

 

He also said the “situation there has been brought under control.”

Rawat said the country has been facing “terrorism” since Independence and that security forces and all agencies supporting them have met these challenges head on.

“We have been able to ensure that the insurgency has been brought under control. Of course in the Kashmir Valley, we have been witnessing ups and downs of insurgencies.

“That’s because they got support from our western neighbour. At the same time many (people) are misguided due to a misinformation campaign spread by terrorists. But we have brought the situation under control,” he said.

The Chief of Army staff was interacting with the media here on Saturday after reviewing the passing-out parade of 264 trainees, comprising midshipmen and cadets of the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and 10 international cadets.

Asked about the radar comment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rawat said some types of radar cannot see through clouds because of the manner in which it is operates.

“There are various kinds of radars working with different technologies. Some have the capacity to see through, some don’t have the capacity to see through.

“Some kinds of radar cannot see through clouds because of the manner in which it is operating. Sometimes we can, sometimes we can’t,” Rawat said.

In a television interview aired recently, Modi had said he used his “raw wisdom” to dispel doubts of defence experts, who wanted the air strike to be deferred due to bad weather.

“The weather was not good on the day of air strike. There was a thought that crept in the minds of the experts that the day of strike should be changed.

“However, I suggested that the clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars,” Modi had said while talking about the cross-border strike on terror camps in response to the Pulwama attack that claimed the lives of 40 CRPF personnel.

The prime minister’s comment drew widespread ridicule and condemnation from various quarters, including a large number of memes on the social media.

The cadets who passed out Saturday marked the culmination of their training at the Indian Naval Academy (INA) here.

The passing-out parade was reviewed by General Rawat and meritorious midshipmen and cadets were awarded medals after the ceremonial review.

INA Commandant Vice Admiral R B Pandit and Director of the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, Anurag Kumar, were in attendance at the parade.

The parade also saw 15 female cadets marching shoulder to shoulder with their male counterparts to join the ranks of the Indian Navy, a release issued by the Academy said.

There were 10 trainees from various friendly nations, including two each from Maldives, Myanmar and Seychelles, one from Tanzania and three from Sri Lanka.

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Process begins to fill 6 LC Seats from Panchayat, ULB quota

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, May 26: The State Election Authority has begun a process for conducting elections to six vacancies in the Legislative Council – four from the quota of Panchayats and two from the Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in the state.

The Legislative Council membership is limited to 40 seats. However, as per Section 50 of the State Constitution, the Legislative Council has strength of 36 seats.

Presently, there are 14 vacancies in the Legislative Council, taking its strength down to 22. Eight members had retired in March this year and these vacancies would be filled only when the Legislative Assembly is in place.

 

Similarly, there are four seats earmarked for Panchayats and two for municipalities to be filled by the electorate of Panchayats and ULBs.

The Chief Electoral Officer has written to the Governor administration to form Electoral College and submit list of designated returning and assistant returning officers for conduct of elections to six vacancies.

“Once the process of Electoral College and appointment of officers is completed, we will announce the dates for elections,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Shailendra Kumar said.

In absence of State Election Commission, the Chief Electoral Officer has designated powers of State Election Authority.

The Panchs and Sarpanchs form the Electoral College for elections to seats from Panchayat quota while municipal councilors form Electoral College for elections to two seats from the quota of ULBs.

Of the four Panchayat seats, two seats are reserved for each Kashmir and Jammu regions. Similarly, both regions get one each seat under Municipal quota.

The seats of Panchayat are vacant since Shehnaz Ganaie, Ali Mohammad Dar of National Conference and Sham Lal Bhagat and Ghulam Nabi Monga from Congress completed their term in December last year.

Out of 22 members in Legislative Council, the BJP has 10 members followed by PDP (8) National Conference (3) and Congress (1).

Earlier in February this year, the State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved taking up the matter with the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the proposal for holding of elections to the six vacant seats in the J&K Legislative Council.

The Panchayat elections were conducted in November-December 2018 for 4483 Panchayats with a Sarpanch for each Panchayat Halqa and 35029 Panchs in the state. The Urban Local Bodies Election were held in October last year after a span of 13-years.

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