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Didn’t ask people to boycott civic polls: Omar

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Sep 13: Senior National Conference leader, Omar Abdullah on Thursday said his party did not ask people to boycott the panchayat and municipal elections.

“National Conference (NC) has decided to boycott the polls, but we did not ask people not to participate in the elections. We did not launch any poll-boycott campaign neither are we on the same page with the separatists,”Omar told a press conference here.
He said if the government was thinking of conducting elections without the participation of two major parties, they can go ahead.
“The NC has footprints in all the regions of the state, and the PDP has its own importance. Yet, the people can participate in the elections,” he said.
Asked about the elections held in Kargil, he said, “Those polls were not connected to the Article 35A. It is the centre that opened the chapter and connected elections with this legislation.”
The political parties want deferment of the Article 35A hearing and removal of Additional Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta from the case till a new government gets elected in Jammu and Kashmir.
Omar said the NC President, Farooq Abdullah, had invited leaders of political parties for a meeting on Thursday morning to discuss the political and security situation of the state.
“It was unanimously agreed in the all-party meeting that hearing of Article 35A has to be deferred till elections are held and new government is in place in the state,”Omar said.
He said Jammu and Kashmir “is under the centre’s rule and New Delhi is yet to clear the stand over Article 35A”.
“The governor rule is directly under central government’s control. We don’t know the position of the centre government over Article 35A. There are apprehensions regarding defence of the case in Supreme Court. So, the case shall not proceed until J&K has an elected government,Omar, former chief minister of the state, said.
“We have also decided that we will write to government that we want elections to take place first so that there is elected government in the valley and then this case can be defended,” he said.
He said everybody was on the same page to defend the legislation.
“Even BJP MLAs have given statements in support of Article 35A,” he said.
The Supreme Court has deferred the hearing of the case till the second week of January in view of the civic polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmir, Ladakh and parts of Jammu had observed shutdown several times for the last two months against a possible tampering with the legislation.
The National Conference leader said that politicians who participated in the meeting have called for removal of Additional Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta from Article 35A case for “going beyond his brief”.
He said Mehta was sent to defend the state and the Article 35A case, as he was representing state government and not the central government.
“All the leaders in unison decided they don’t trust him. We all want that he should be taken off from the case when this comes up in January for hearing and previous advocate should be appointed to defend the state,” the National Conference leader said.
During the hearing of the case in the Supreme Court, Mehta had said that Article 35A and certain aspects needed to be debated upon and claimed, “It can’t be denied that there is an aspect of gender discrimination in it (Article 35A)”.
However, the PDP did not participate in the meeting. “We knew what the agenda of the meeting was, so we did not participate in it,” PDP Chief Spokesperson, Rafi Ahmad Mir, said.
The NC and PDP have announced that they will boycott the upcoming panchayat and municipal elections in the state.
Both the rival parties have made it clear that they will not contest the election unless the Centre clarifies its position on Article 35A of the Constitution, which is facing legal challenge in the Supreme Court.
Omar meets Guv
Omar Thursday met Governor Satya Pal Malik at the Raj Bhavan here on Thursday.
Omar apprised the Governor about his views regarding the prevailing law and order, education and development scenario in the State and about certain development issues relating to his Constituency.
He also apprised Governor about his Party’s views on the upcoming elections to Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats.
The duo discussed the importance of empowering people by strengthening local self-governing institutions at grass root level and measures required to be taken for the restoration of peace and normalcy and creating an environment suitable for the holistic development of the youth.


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I-League 2018-19: Pressure on Mohun Bagan, not us: David Robertson

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Srinagar, Nov 19: Mohun Bagan have travelled north to take on I-League 2nd Division champions Real Kashmir FC at the TRC Turf Ground in Srinagar on Tuesday.

The Mariners have had a shaky start to their league campaign as they have drawn twice and won just once to sit fifth on the league table. Their only win came against Indian Arrows who are a developmental side bereft of foreign signings.

Bagan will be tested to their limits when they take on Real Kashmir away from home as they have traditionally struggled to perform well in the highlands.

Coach Sankar Lal Chakraborty is concerned more about his opponents than the foreign weather conditions that await them on Tuesday afternoon.

“We have travelled a day before to adjust to the weather and the synthetic turf. But I think to face team Real Kashmir is a tougher challenge (than adjusting to conditions). It is bad luck that they lost their last match as they had five-six clear chances on goal. They have built a good combination. They are a good team with two strong centre-backs. Their wing play has been brilliant.

“And as far as weather conditions are concerned we did train in the afternoon yesterday. We were not uncomfortable. After warming up the body responded well and the players had a good session,” said the coach.

The TRC Ground has an artificial turf which is further going to complicate matters for Mohun Bagan.

“Across the world, synthetic turfs are not in use anymore. But in hilly areas, you have to adjust to it even if you like it or don’t like it. Players are also upbeat to win this game irrespective of the conditions and turf,” reasoned the coach.

Real Kashmir FC head coach David Robertson made it clear that his team will play to enjoy the match and the onus will be on the Kolkata-giants to eke out a positive result.

“There is no pressure on us. We are playing a club which is more than 120 years old and it is an honour for us that Mohun Bagan has come here to play against us. I have played in big clubs and the pressure is always on the big clubs to get a positive result.

“Coming here, nothing less than a win for them would be satisfactory. We will just enjoy the event. Although we managed to get just a point from the previous two matches I think we played well enough. It was our first defeat after a year and we played great football. Teams coming here find it difficult because of the altitude and unless you are here five-six days here before the game it is going to be very difficult in the last 20 mins of the game,” stated the Scottish tactician.

But his team has been wasteful in the attacking third which cost them dearly against NEROCA. Robertson emphasised that he has been working on the end product and he hopes that his team will be able to put up a better display against Mohun Bagan.

“The good thing is that we have been creating chances. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take them in the previous match but we have been working on our finishing. Against a good team like Bagan chances will obviously be less but we have to make the most of it.

“If you look at all the teams, except Chennai, everyone has had a slow start. We beat the defending champions in the first game. It is very very early. At some point, Mohun Bagan will click and push on but hopefully not tomorrow. ”

The home matches of Real Kashmir has seen an exceptional turnout and the coach heaped praise on the 12th man as he thinks that they would play an important role in Tuesday’s match.

“The support has been outstanding for us. Kashmiris enjoy football and they are coming out in numbers which actually gives us an edge. I still remember that we were losing a game 2-1 at half-time but we came back and won it 3-2 in extra time because of the way they spurred us on. Obviously, we don’t have the history of such Kolkata clubs but again since we are in I-League the people will support for Real Kashmir. It just adds pressure on the away team,” concluded the coach.

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Joint Hurriyat calls for shutdown in poll-bound areas

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Srinagar, Nov 19: Joint Hurriyat Leadership on Monday appealed for a complete shutdown in areas going to polls in the second phase of Panchayat elections on Tuesday.

In a statement, the leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik asked people to observe a complete protest shutdown in Kalaroos, Machil, Rajwar,Ganstan, Nowgam,Sangrama, Wagoora, Kangan, Rathsun, Bijbehara areas going to polls in the second  phase of “sham” panchayat elections “thrust on them by the authoritarian state.”

The Joint Hurriyat asked the people to “demonstrate their total rejection and disregard of this futile exercise by staying away and boycotting it completely.”

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Governor, Admn mourns demise of Khandey

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Jammu, Nov 19: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over the sad demise of Sh. Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, former J&K Chief Secretary who passed away in Srinagar this morning.

Governor in his condolence message described him as an able administrator who worked with dedication for public welfare.

Governor prayed for peace to the departed soul and strength to the bereaved family in its hour of grief.

A condolence meeting was convened in the Civil Secretariat here today to mourn the demise of Mohammad Iqbal Khandey, former J&K Chief Secretary, who passed away in Srinagar this morning.

Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar, Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam, Administrative Secretaries and other senior officers attended the condolence meeting.

Advisor Kumar remembered Iqbal Khandey for his administrative acumen and dynamism. “Our heart goes out to the family members of Iqbal KhandeySahab, who in the later part of his life went through a personal tragedy of losing his son to an unfortunate road accident” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Secretary said that Iqbal Khandey has made an everlasting and indelible impression on the State Administration. “His prompt decision-making, decisiveness in resolution of issues, clinical commentary on the files and immaculate get-up have been the hallmark of his service career” Chief Secretary observed.

“On my own behalf and on behalf of my colleagues, I express heartfelt condolences to the family. We pray for the departed soul and strength to the family to bear this irreparable loss,” Chief Secretary said in his condolence message.

A direct recruit IAS officer of 1978 batch, Iqbal Khandey was born on 15.11.1955. He had the distinction of having served on various key and pivotal positions before being appointed as Chief Secretary in February, 2013. The noteworthy positions held by the late officer during his illustrious, immaculate and unparalleled service career include DC Doda, Director School Education Kashmir, Secretary to Chief Minister, Director Tourism, Chairman SSB, Administrative Secretary of the Departments of Health, ARI, Home, Science & Technology, PW(R&B), Planning, Forest, Finance, Agriculture Production, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and Director General, IMPA.

The meeting observed that Iqbal Khandey would be remembered for his prompt decision making and artistic abilities for evolving solutions to ticklish issues. He was full of compassion and belongingness for the people of the State in particular to those belonging to downtrodden communities. With his demise, the State has lost an able and gifted administrator, thereby creating a void which would be difficult to fill. He would truly go as one of the ablest administrators in the history books of the State.

On this occasion, two-minute silence was observed to pay respects to the departed soul and pray for his eternal peace.

 

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