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Jaitley has 3-point formula on Kashmir

‘No compromise with militancy, total integration, reversal of historical blunders’

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New Delhi, Apr 15: Calling militancy the “biggest challenge” for government of India, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Monday said that Kashmir issue cannot be solved until the “failed obsolete thought” of Article 370 as a “loose constitutional connect” between the state and the rest of the country is rejected.

Jaitley, in a long Facebook note, said the challenge needed a fresh approach and only a strong government and a leader with clarity alone was capable of resolving the Kashmir issue.

He added the same could be done through a fresh approach “which is uncompromising on terror” and “committed to total integration” and through “reversal of the historical blunders”.

 

Targeting the Congress, Jaitley said it was identified with the creation of the problem itself by “wishing the issue away” when Pakistan did not reconcile to Kashmir being a part of India.

“Instead of working for total integration, the party wanted a loose and liberal constitutional connect between rest of the nation and the state under an erroneous impression that such an arrangement would further the cause of integration,” he said in the Facebook note.

“Article 370 was disastrously thought out as a constitutional connect between rest of the country and the state. Article 35A was surreptitiously introduced in 1954. It catered to a separatist psyche and legitimised discrimination,” he added.

Jaitley said militancy “supported from across the border can’t be fought either with velvet gloves or a policy of appeasement”.

“This challenge can obviously be resolved with a fresh approach which is uncompromising on terror, uncompromising in its determination to enforce the rule of law and committed to total integration. A strong government and a leader with clarity alone is capable of resolving the Kashmir issue,” he said.

Targeting National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he said the two regional parties were, of late, more strident in advocating secession of the state if firm measures are taken.

Development in the state has suffered due to militancy and both democracy and secularism had been a casualty in the valley, he added.

The BJP leader said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have to be at the centre point in India’s strategy and they should get opportunities, peace and security of life, and “freedom from terror”.

“A state free from terror itself will imply much lesser security presence,” he wrote.

Jaitley also attacked the opposition on the issue of Pulwama suicide bombing and Balakot strike saying whenever the two issues were raised, the opposition parties were on the back-foot and questioned why national security and “terrorism” were being made into subject matters of electoral debates.

“India’s opposition argues that elections have to be fought on the ‘real issues’ and not on the issues of national security. It is my endeavour to argue that national security and terrorism are the most important issues which concern India in the long run. All other challenges are capable of early resolution,” he said.

Jaitley said that poverty was declining at a fast pace, urbanisation was increasing, the size of middle class was growing and the economy was expanding, which would result in creation of jobs.

“These are all challenges that India is capable of capturing and resolving over the next decade or two,” he said asking the question on where India stood on the issue of national security and “terror”.

He said peace was established in Punjab, Northeast and in the South, and that the operation of Maoist “terror was restricted and narrow”.

“As the economic profile of India move upwards, it will become extremely difficult for the Maoists to sustain their violent movement to overthrow democracy. The security ‘might’ of the State is far superior to handle this movement. The same, however, can’t be said of what is happening in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and terrorism emanating from region,” he added.


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Jaish almost wiped out, no one willing to head it: Army

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Army on Wednesday claimed the government forces have “severely targeted” the militants for the last few months and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant outfit was “almost wiped out with no one willing to take over it”.

Addressing a press conference here, GOC 15 Corps, KJS Dhillon, who was accompanied by Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir SP Pani, and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, said that 69 militants have been killed and 12 of them arrested so far this year.

“Post Pulwama incident, 41 militants have been killed and out of them 25 belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, 13 of them were Pakistanis while 13 were A+ category,” Dhillon said.

 

The GOC 15 Corps claimed that they have targeted JeM leadership.

“The situation now is so that no one is coming forward to take over the leadership of JeM in the valley,” he said.

“Even after Pakistan’s best efforts, we will continue to suppress JeM. The operations against the militants will continue with full vigour and we will not let militancy rise up,” he said, while appealing the local militants to surrender.

“Recruitment of local militants has gone down. In addition, those who surrender, we will take care of their security,” he said.

Dhillon also advised civilians not to rush to the encounter sites.

Asked about the bi-weekly restrictions on civilian traffic on the Highway, he replied, “This is just a temporary measure. There are now relaxations on the civilian traffic.”

On the occasion, the DGP said 272 militants were killed in the state during 2018 and a “large number was apprehended.”

He too claimed that the local recruitment in militant outfits had declined.

“2018 was generally a successful year. There has been less ‘law and order’ problem. We brought many youth (who had joined militancy) back to their homes,” the DGP claimed.

“Elections have been conducted peacefully in the state because of a well-planned security grid. Voter turnover at 13 percent in Anantnag district is not less. People voted despite threats, no one can be forced to vote,” he said.

Asked there were reports that 11 youth had gone missing in south Kashmir during the last one month, the IGP Kashmir said, “Few had gone missing but returned. They had gone missing for other reasons, not to join militancy.”

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Held Pak militant paraded before media

‘Chota Dujana was active in Srinagar for over a year’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday presented a Pakistani militant Mohammad Waqar, alias Chota Dujana before the media, who, they claimed, was arrested from Pattan area in Baramulla on Monday.

During a press conference here, the militant was briefly allowed to respond to media.

“My name is Mohammad Waqar, resident of Miana Mohalla Punjab in Pakistan. I underwent a four-month militant training there,” he said.

 

 “I was told that Kashmiris are harassed, women are assaulted and Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids. But I did not find any such thing here,” he replied when asked why had he picked up arms.

The militant was soon moved away.

SSP Baramulla, Abdul Wahid, said Waqar was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and had arrived in Kashmir in July 2017.

“He was operating in Srinagar for over a year now,” the officer said.

He added that the militant was travelling in a vehicle along with a Kashmiri when they were intercepted by the police near Mirgund, Pattan.

“They were chased and arrested near Chainabal Pattan,” he said.

The SSP said that as per their preliminary investigations, the militant was given shelter in old city as well as uptown areas of Srinagar.

“His plan was to resurrect militancy in Baramulla,” Wahid said.

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Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24

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New Delhi, Apr 24: A Delhi court Wednesday sent the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, arrested in connection with the alleged funding case, to judicial custody till May 24.

The Tihar jail authorities have also moved an application seeking direction to produce Malik through video conferencing due to security concerns.

The family of Yasin Malik, said on Saturday, that the JKLF chief had fallen ill and was shifted to a Delhi hospital after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention.

 

Earlier this month, Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu and was later arrested by NIA in connection with an alleged case related to the funding of militant and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.

Malik was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail after NIA secured his production remand.  The JKLF chief was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.

Malik organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre.

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