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India’s secular character at stake: Farooq Abdullah

‘Designs to take over JK Bank was in pipeline’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Dec 05: National Conference President, Farooq Abdullah, on Wednesday said the “secular character” of India is at stake due to polarization in the name of religion.

“India is going through a major change. We are worried the way tragedies are created. It is not Ram and Allah that will give votes to politicians. It is people to decide whom to give the vote. People have to rise and decide their future,” Farooq said in his address on the 36th annual day of the SK Institute of Medical Sciences held at SKICC here.

The former JK chief minister asked the Election Commission of India to ensure that religion was not used in elections.

“It is very unfortunate what I am seeing on the land today which was supposed to be secular. I hope secular character of this nation is maintained otherwise greater dangers will arrive,” he said.

He took on the BJP government at the centre saying it forgot to fulfill the promises it has made before the elections. “Seeking votes in the name of religion is not fighting for people. There are so many issues like lack of development, unemployment, on which elections must be fought,” he said, who is also Member Parliament of central Kashmir.

The National Conference leader also called for early assembly elections in the state.“Democracy is essential and Governor rule is for a short term. I am sure peaceful elections are held and peaceful people who will serve the nation get elected. I hope elected people will address on this day the next year.

The assembly and parliamentary polls shall be held together in the state,” he said.

He said there was a change in the statements of India and Pakistan leaders. “Imran Khan said that had Vajpayee been elected in 2004 then solution to Kashmir problem might have emerged. There has to be a solution so that we walk freely,” he said.

He also said that killing of a police officer was a greater tragedy. “Everything is planned. Nation must remember that these forces who are trying to do this they should be controlled and abolished from this nation,” he added.

‘Designs to take over JK Bank was in pipeline’

Srinagar, Dec 05: Former chief minister and National Conference (NC) president, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said that the design to take over the J&K Bank was in the pipeline since his tenure as Chief Minister in the State.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the function here at SKICC, Dr Farooq who is also Member of Parliament said that the designs to take over the JK Bank was in the pipeline since his tenure as the chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir but there was they thought that they could succeed in Governor’s rule.
“I remember when I was the Chief Minister and the Bank was working well, I was in the office of Home Minister L K Advani along with Deputy Chairman planning commission K C Panth and they were saying that the bank is going down and it should be taken over,” Dr Farooq said, adding that “Luckily, Business Standard, a daily from newspaper from Mumbai had published a complete report on JK bank and showed how good it was.
“I sent those reports to them and I am glad that Panth spoke to me on the phone and said his information was wrong,” Dr Farooq added.
He added that once Governor’s rule is over, the popular government will have to look into this to the autonomy of the JK Bank.


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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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