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Guv rule to continue in J&K, says Ram Madhav

Asks NC-PDP to clear stand on participating in assembly polls

Press Trust of India

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KATHUA, Nov 14: Accusing the NC and the PDP of trying to scuttle the democratic process, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav has asked them to clear stand on whether they would participate in state assembly elections or boycott them, like they did during the local bodies polls.
Asked about any proposal to dissolve the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, Madhav said the Governor’s rule will continue till the middle of December and what happens next will be discussed then.
“We are happy with it and that is why BJP has decided to continue the Governor rule for sometime,” he said at a function here to felicitate the newly-elected BJP councillors late last night.
Under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, there is no provision for extension of Governor’s rule. Sources have told PTI that the central government might recommend a spell of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir when the Governor’s rule expires on December 19.
Without naming the NC or the PDP, Madhav said their hypocrisy stands exposed as they first boycotted the ULB polls but are now pressing for dissolution of assembly for fresh elections.
“On one hand they say they will not take part in elections to safeguard Article 35A, on the other, they demand dissolution of assembly and fresh elections. Tomorrow if assembly elections are held, will you will fight or go by your boycott?” he said.
The BJP leader asked if the two parties decide to participate in the state polls, “what will happen to Article 35A, which you used as a pretext to stall the ULB elections.”
He, however, said he welcomes the parties to take part in the democratic process but wants “them to give up hypocrisy”.
“They took part in (Ladakh autonomous hill development council elections) in Kargil polls but boycotted the ULB polls to scuttle the democratic exercise. However, people taught them a good lesson and forced them to take part in panchayat polls,” Madhav said.
On the sidelines of the event, the BJP leader also said the Indian state forces are fully capable of facing any challenge from Pakistan in an “appropriate manner”, his comment coming after three Army soldiers and a porter were killed in sniping incidents along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir in a week.
Asked whether the time has come for another “surgical strike” across the border, he said the state forces would review the situation and “whatever is required will be done by them”.
Praising the Governor’s administration, Madhav said a very good atmosphere has been built in the state. “Militancy is being dealt with strictly and it (operations against militants) will continue,” he said.
He said people are acknowledging the work done Governor Satya Pal Malik.
About resignations of some BJP councilors in Kashmir, he said people are also joining the party in large numbers. “Those who have resigned will be brought back,” he said.

 

No assembly walkover to BJP: Omar

 

Srinagar, Nov 14: The former chief minister and National Conference (NC) Vice president, Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that the parties who boycotted the recently held ULB and upcoming Panchayat polls won’t give Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) a walkover in the assembly elections.
Omar was reacting to a statement made by BJP General Secretary, Ram Madhav over two regional parties who boycotted the elections including NC and PDP regarding their demand of dissolving assembly in Jammu and Kashmir, which continued to remain under suspended animation from July this year.

NC Vice president in a tweet said that BJP has got the control of a handful of towns and cities as NC and PDP stayed away from the polls and due to the poor performance of Congress, who fought the elections.

He asked Madhav that “do you really think that NC and PDP will give a walkover in the assembly polls.”
“You got the control of a handful of towns & cities because NC & PDP stayed away (and the Congress did such a poor job of putting up a fight) do you really think we will give you a walkover in the Assembly polls?,” Omar tweeted.

Govt can be formed before or after 2019 Lok Sabha polls:Koul

Srinagar, Nov 14: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday said that the saffron party will form the government if required number of 19 MLAs come forward for government formation.
BJP State Secretary (Organisation) Ashok Koul said “if the required number of 19 MLAs comes to us for formation of a new government we will stake claim to form the government.”
When asked which party and individuals would come their way for formation of a new government in Jammu and Kashmir, Koul said “gates are open and we have already a trusted ally Sajad Gani Lone of Peoples Conference who can be given a pivotal role in the formation of a new government in the state.”
When asked how long it will take the saffron party to get the required numbers, Ashok Koul said “it can happen before 2019 Lok Sabha elections or after Lok Sabha polls.” (KNS)


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5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.

The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.

The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.

 

The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.

“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.

A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.

“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.

A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”

Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.

A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.

 

Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation

Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.

In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.

Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.

The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.

Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.

Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.

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Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today

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Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.

With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.

“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.

 

He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.

On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.

Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.

Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.

Jammu city recorded 5.3  degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.

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Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.

Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.

The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.

 

A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.

Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.

This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.

Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.

In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.

A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.

“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.

The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.

Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.

A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.

He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.

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