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Farooq chairs meeting: Oppn seeks removal of ASG, deferment of Art 35-A case

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Srinagar, Sep 13: National Conference President Farooq Abdullah Thursday presided over a meeting of prominent politicians from various political parties of the state at his Gupkar residence in Srinagar.

In the meeting NC vice President Omar Abdullah, General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, Senior leader Ab Rahim Rather, Mohammad Shafi Uri, senior Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin, CPIM leader Mohd Yousuf Tarigami, DPN President Gh Hassan Mir were present.

Talking to media on the sidelines of the meeting, NC Vice President Omar Abdullah said, “In the meeting threadbare discussions were held on the state’s current political and security scenario. Dr Farooq Abdullah apprised the leadership from other political parties about NC’s stand on Art 35 A, ULB and Panchayat polls and its decision of staying away from these elections. They also spoke at length about issues confronting the state and gave their valuable feedback to our party President”.
“Two important issues were raised in the meeting and were subsequently agreed upon by all. Most important was the issue of Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, employed by the state to defend Art 35 A in the SC. It was unanimously resolved that the ASG, who was supposed to represent state government, exceeded his brief while defending Art 35 A in the SC and violated the trust reposed on him. He was not representing any political party nor was he the representative of Government of India. He was supposed to confine his arguments as per the directions from the state government which he clearly violated. Thereby we don’t trust the ASG anymore and the leaders in the meeting resolved that the state government immediately asks him to stand down. The state government, therefore, must handover the case to the councils who will put forth the arguments of the state and not of any individual or party to defend Article 35 A in the SC,” the party vice president said.
Asking government of India to clear its stand on Art 35A in and outside the courts, Omar said, “It’s not only NC which is asking for GoI’s clarification on Art 35 A, others are also demanding it. But till date nothing is coming out from the government. Under such circumstances we would request the central government to defer the hearing on Art 35 A on January 09 2019 till a democratically elected government is in place in the state. It’s their job then to protect and safeguard Art 35 A in the SC.”
Responding to a question on party’s decision of not participating in ULB and Panchayat elections because of Art 35 A, Omar said, “It’s the government which connected the two by putting up an argument in the SC wherein it asked for deferment of the case on Art 35 A citing the upcoming ULB and panchayat polls,” adding, “We have never said to boycott elections neither are we running an election boycott campaign. The NC core group has decided that our party will not participate in these elections unless and until Government of India and the state government clears its position on Art 35 A and take effective steps for its protection in and outside the Courts.”
“If the state government wants to go ahead with the election, its their decision. We cannot stop them. The fact that two major regional political parties, with three former chief ministers, are not participating in these elections and if GoI thinks they can go ahead with elections then they are free to do it. If anyone wants to contest they are free to do so,” Omar said.


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Lead Stories

Assembly, Parl polls to be held together possibly in May

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Dec 11: Election Commission of India is preparing to club the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir earlier next year, while it has initiated the process for the polls.

According to a letter dispatched by the Chief Electoral Officer—a copy of which lies with The Kashmir Monitor—the district election officers have been directed to send a proposal of appointment of returning officers and assistant returning officers for Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.

The letter has been sent following the Election Commission of India sought the details about the officials.

An official associated with the CEO said they have been told that the Assembly polls would be clubbed with Lok Sabha.

“The elections may be held in March or in April,” the official told The Kashmir Monitor.

The official said the poll body has directed them to start preparations for the polls.

“The security is one of the issues. On the pattern of urban local bodies and Panchayat polls, the Assembly and Parliament elections will be held in a phased manner,” the official said.

“When forces are deployed for the Lok Sabha polls in the state, it would be convenient for election authorities to hold the Assembly polls simultaneously,” the official said.

Mentioning a Supreme Court direction, the official said the outer limit for holding fresh polls after the dissolution of a House is six months.

National Conference has demanded for joint Assembly and Parliament polls, following the dissolution of the House.

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly has a six-year term while other assemblies and the Lok Sabha have a five-year term.

The term of the prematurely terminated government was to end on March 16, 2021.

The Governor, Satya Pal Malik, dissolved the Assembly shortly after the People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form a government with the support of NC and Congress.

She cited a collective strength of 56 MLAs in the 87-member House.

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Militants kill 4 cops, flee with rifles in Shopian

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Srinagar, Dec 11: Four J&K policemen were killed after militants attacked a police post in Zainapora area of south Kashmir’s Shopian district on Tuesday.

A police official said a group of militants opened fire at the police post, resulting in the on spot death of three security guards and injuries to another at Zainapora.

The injured cop was taken to a local hospital where from he was referred to a hospital in Srinagar. However, he succumbed on way to Srinagar, said the official.

The policemen were inside their guard room when the militants fired at them anddecamped with their service rifles.

The slain cops were identified as Constable Anees Ahmad (Belt No. 480/SPN), resident of Kulgam, selection grade constable Abdul Majid (193/SPN), resident of Ganderbal, Constable Mehraj-ud-din (477/SPN), resident of Hajin Bandipora and constable Hameedullah (860/SPN), resident of Anantnag.

Majid was the fourth one to die in the attack.

The area was soon cordoned off and a search operation was launched.

Media reports quoting police sources said that six Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)militants led by former police officer Adil Bashir, who left the force after stealing eight rifles in October, were believed to be involved in the attack.

JeM militant outfit claimed the responsibility of the attack.

A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan, according to a statement issued to media, said: “As per initial reports, three Indian forces (personnel) have been killed while several others critically injured.”

Hassan, according to the statement, said they snatched four rifles from the cops.

Later in the day, the wreath-laying ceremony for the slain cops took place in District Police Lines, Shopian.

“Civil and Police Officers including Munir Ahmed Khan, ADGP (Security/Law & Order/HG), IGP Kashmir S. P. Pani, DIG SKR Amit Kumar laid floral wreaths on the mortal remains and paid rich tributes to the slain cops “who made supreme sacrifice in the line of duty,” said a police spokesperson.

“Among others who paid floral tributes including SP Shopian, DC Shopian, officers and jawans of the district and officers from other forces,” the spokesman added.

Governor Satya Pal Malik expressed grief over the loss of lives of policemen.

In a message Governor has prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and conveyed his sympathies to the bereaved families.

On Twitter, former chief minister Omar Abdullah too condemned the attack: “I strongly condemn the attack on the police post in Shopian &condole the deaths of three police personnel in the line of duty. I pray for their souls & for the speedy recovery of those injured in this attack (sic)”.

Peoples Conference (PC) chairman and former minister Sajad Gani Lone called the attack in Shopian another “mindless act of violence”.

Sajad tweeted: “The attack in Shopian on police personnel is yet another mindless act of violence. My heartfelt condolences to the families of the policemen who laid down their lives in the line of duty.”

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BJP shaken, Congress break in

Agencies

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New Delhi, Dec 11: Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday suffered heavy election defeats in two states, with another on a knife edge, in a bruising day of results that exposed the party’s vulnerability less than six months before the all-important 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Ending its prolonged electoral reversals, a reinvigorated Congress produced a resilient comeback as it is on course to oust the BJP to form its governments in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.

Madhya Pradesh, meanwhile, is witnessing a tantalisingly close fight between the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress.

The governing BJP vote collapsed by 17 percentage points in Rajasthan state and by at least 12 points in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, all part of the Hindi heartland where Indian governments are traditionally made or broken.

Those losses, as well as the revival of a Congress party frequently written off in the past five years, had analysts revising their predictions for next year’s national polls, which Modi had been expected to win in a cakewalk.

The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), on the other hand, secured a thumping majority in Telangana while MNF has defeated Congress in the latter’s last bastions in Northeast.

TRS chief K ChandrashekarRao’s gamble for early polls paid rich dividends with the ruling party winning 57 seats and leading in 30 of the 119 constituencies. The Congress-TDP alliance, ‘Prajakutami’, has won 14 seats and is leading in 7, according to the Election Commission.

Addressing a press conference later in the day, KCR said TRS would play a crucial role in the national political arena. “We dedicate this victory to the people of Telangana. This is a positive vote for us. We are going to play a very crucial role in national politics. We will give a new definition to the national political scenario” he said. Rao, who is set to return as CM for a second term, further said, “Today’s results…Telangana has shown the way to the whole nation. Today, Telangana stands (as) a non-Congress, non-BJP state.”

The outcome of the elections is significant as Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan account for 65 Lok Sabha seats, of which the BJP grabbed 62 in 2014 when the Narendra Modi wave was at its high.

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