Jammu, Dec 20:National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Thursday declared that if voted to power in the ensuing assembly elections, regional autonomy will be granted in Jammu and Kashmir within 30 days of his party forming the government.
“The roadmap in this regard has been drawn between 1996 and 2002 and the larger objective of regional autonomy will be politico-economic empowerment of all the regions of the State”, Farooq said while welcoming former BJP MLA Gagan Bhagat into National Conference at a function held at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan in Jammu Thursday afternoon.
“If am blessed with good health by Allah and we’re voted to power with absolute majority, I promise that I will make this happen (regional autonomy) within 30 days after assuming power,” he said.
Gagan represented the BJP from R S Pura segment in the recently dissolved Legislative Assembly.
The National Conference chief said Jammu and Kashmir is a unique state that needs special dispensation in terms of autonomy to different regions to satiate urges and aspiration of the people.
He said a major ground work has been done in this regard with avowed objective of empowering the people at grass roots level and enabling them to take decisions as per their regional priorities.
He said such a mechanism under overall superintendence of the State government will further strengthen the regional unity, which is imperative for singular entity of Jammu and Kashmir.
Appreciating joining of Gagan Bhagat into National Conference, Farooq exuded confidence that the people, especially those in political arena, will work towards maintaining the singular entity of Jammu and Kashmir which is under severe threat from polarizing agents.
He said peace and amity has to be strengthened at every level and this can be ensured only by strong National Conference, which he described as a mass movement.
Farooq exhorted the cadre to get ready for meeting challenges faced to the State by isolating elements inimical to peace and unity.
Expressing his gratitude to the National Conference leadership, Gagan Bhagat said he will work in the party for further strengthening bonds of brotherhood and amity between various segments of society.
He said he will humbly contribute in reaching out to the people, especially the marginalized sections, and work for their welfare and economic emancipation.
Welcoming Bhagat into the party fold, Provincial President Devender Singh Rana described it as a reflection of deep urge among public spirited political activists to ensure a strong and stable government in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the people are realizing crucial importance of clear mandate to a single party for giving the state a responsive and transparent dispensation.
“Leaders from different political parties are in touch with National Conference for joining,” Rana said, adding a realization is dawning fast about futility of the fractured mandate which has done much harm than any good to the state.
Militant, Army officer killed in Anantnag gunfight
Srinagar, Jun 17: An Army officer and a militant were killed and three other soldiers including a Major injured in a gunfight in south Kashmir Anantnag district on Monday, police said.
Police sources said the officer was shot at during the firing exchange between the holed-up militants and security forces in Bidoora village in Achabal area of the district.
The slain militant was believed to be a foreigner.
SSP Anantnag, Altaf Khan said that the operation was launched following specific inputs about the presence of some militants in the area.
He said that as the joint team intensified the searches, the militants, hiding in the area, opened fire which was retaliated, triggering off a gunfight.
Initially, sources said, the joint team of forces and militants exchanged gunfire for some time during which the house, in which the militants were hiding, was damaged. Later there was a lull for about an hour even as Army rushed more reinforcements and the joint team started searches to find out the militants.
Soon the militants rose from the debris and opened indiscriminate fire on the forces, resulting in the on-spot death of Major Keetan Sharma and injuries to three others including another Army Major Rahul Verma, sources said.
They added the joint team of forces retailed the fire, leading to the fresh gunfight in an open field. While one militant was killed and the search operation is underway to find if there is any more militant hiding in the area.
The identity and group affiliation of the slain militant is being ascertained, sources said.
Meanwhile, youth took to streets and pelted stones at the security forces. The police and paramilitary CRPF deployed in the area used tear smoke shells and pellets to disperse them.
In wake of the operation, the authorities snapped internet service in the southern district.
IED blast in Pulwama, 6 soldiers, 2 civilians injured
Srinagar, Jun 17: Militants on Monday attempted to blow off an Army vehicle in a village in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
A police official said that an armoured vehicle of Army came under an IED attack in Hargam Arihal village of Pulwama. He added that after the blast militants also fired some gunshots towards the vehicle.
Local residents informed that they heard huge blast followed by gunshots.
Reports said that six soldiers and two civilians were injured in the blast. The soldiers were shifted to Army’s 92 base hospital at Badamibagh, Srinagar for treatment.
The area was soon cordoned off, officials said.
Earlier, reports said that militants exploded an IED under a Casper vehicle, extensively damaging it, as an army convoy passed through Arihal. However, the army clarified that the damaged vehicle was not a Casper, but an Ashok Leyland Stallion truck.
Three of them who were travelling in the cabin of the vehicle are stated to be serious, the news agency reported.
The blast was triggered by militants using a car laden with explosives, GNS reported attributing the same to “initial investigations by police.”
“A police officer that the explosives were fitted inside a car and investigators are probing the owner of the vehicle. Asked, which type of vehicle was used, the officer said that it is a matter of investigation,” the news agency reported.
“Samples have been collected and further probe is underway,” the officer was quoted saying.
In a statement, the Army called the attack a “failed attempt” by militants. The troops are safe, barring a few minor injuries, it said, adding, “The area has been cordoned and search operations are in progress”.
The blast comes days after Pakistan had reportedly shared information with India and America regarding the possibility of major militant attack in the south Kashmir district. (With inputs from GNS)
Emotional scenes at slain SHO’s wreath-laying ceremony
Srinagar, Jun 17: Emotional scenes were Monday witnessed at District Police Lines (DPL) Srinagar as top cops and bureaucrats attended the wreath-laying ceremony of the slain police officer Arshad Khan, who had sustained critical injuries in a militant attack in Anantnag last week and later succumbed to his injuries at AIIMS, Delhi on Sunday.
J&K Police chief Dilbagh Singh, Advisors to Governor K Vijay Kumar and KK Sharma, Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, Divisional Commissioner Baseer Ahmed Khan, ADGP Muneer Khan, and SSP Srinagar Dr Haseeb Mughal, among other civil and police officers were present on the occasion.
J&K Police shared two heart wrenching photos of Dr Mughal carrying the deceased’s son in his arms during the wreath-laying ceremony.
In the photos, a teary-eyed Haseeb is seen carrying slain Arshad Khan’s son while paying tributes to his colleague.
On the occasion, Advisor Kumar said that more than 1600 J&K Police personnel have lost their lives in the line of duty.
On June 12, around 4:50 pm, five paramilitary troopers and a militant were killed and four other security forces personnel including Arshad sustained injuries after militants attacked a joint party of CRPF and police at bus stand Anantnag.
Arshad was immediately evacuated to a nearby hospital and then to Srinagar’ SK Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. After being treated there for a few days, he was flown to Delhi’s AIIMS hospital where he succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.
According to police, Arshad was inducted into police services in the year 2002 and was presently posted as SHO Anantnag. Khan is survived by father and mother, wife Neelofar, 5-year-old son Abuhan Khan, Danim 2, and a brother.