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Jamia desecration a conspiracy: Joint Hurriyat

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 4: The Joint Hurriyat leadership, along with heads of various religious groups, Friday addressed the congregational gathering at the historic Jamia Masjid here, saying that its desecration was a “well-planned conspiracy to defame the Kashmir movement and link it to a global terror”.
The day was observed as Youm-eTaqadus (the day of sanctity) in a bid to address and condemn the issue of attempted desecration of the Grand Mosque by some masked youth, who, while carrying IS flags, shouted slogans and stood atop the pulpit with their shoes on last Friday.
The Joint Hurriyat leaders led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik, and heads of various religious parties, raised their voice against the desecration of Jamia Masjid by condemning the incident and asked youth to stay away from the IS ideology.
The leadership appeals to youth “not to get swayed by it”.
“Our doors are open to our youth to come forth, join in and put forward their suggestions on taking Kashmir movement forward and strengthening it,” the Joint Hurriyat said.
In his telephonic address to the Friday congregational gathering, Geelani, who is continuously under house arrest, said the desecration of Jamia Masjid was an attempt to “defame the Kashmir’s freedom movement”.
“Various agencies are creating differences among Kashmiris on sectarian and religious lines to weaken our freedom movement. Such attempts are to link our movement to the IS,” the octogenarian Hurriyat leader said.
“Government of India won’t succeed to break our resolve. Through its media, it is trying to project that a terrorist group is connected to Kashmiris movement,” he said.
He claimed that some elements at the behest of certain agencies and handlers tried to make such attempts to desecrate the religious places.
“We have to be cautious to defeat their ill-designs,” Geelani asked.
In his address, Mirwaiz said the desecration of religious places won’t be tolerated.
“Conspiracies are being hatched to divert and weaken our movement, an indigenous one for which Kashmiris have spilled their blood,” he said.
Mirwaiz, earlier this week, had also led a rally and cleaned the pulpit of the grand mosque.
“We won’t let anybody to hijack our movement. We are fighting for self-determination.”
He said that Jamia Masjid has represented the voices of the youth and reflected their aspirations.
Mirwaiz said that youth played a significant role in “our ongoing movement”.
He said that the grand mosque has played a key role in keeping the “movement alive” and taking the cause of Kashmiris to global level.
The Hurriyat leader said Kashmir was an “internationally recognized dispute”.
“Except India, every country is saying that Kashmir is a dispute and has to be resolved peacefully,” he said.
“We have to be united to defeat the ill-designs of various elements. We will give representation to youth to contribute for the movement. Youth have to control their emotions. We have to be cautious as conspiracies are being hatched against us,” he said.
In his address, Joint Hurriyat leader and JKLF Chief, Yasin Malik stressed upon youth to stay away from IS ideology.
“Motive behind such acts only strengthens our adversary,” Malik said.
“Youth have rendered immense sacrifices for the movement. Projecting that our movement is linked to IS only suits the government of India,” he said.
He said that Hurriyat leadership was ready to listen to the concerns of youth.
“Our doors are open. They can give any of their suggestions,” Malik said.
He also asked people to stay away from the elections.
“Pro-India politicians have started election campaigns. Mehbooba Mufti has been visiting the militant families. She once said whether the children who were killed had gone to buy toffees and milk,” Malik said. “Some are active on social media asking people to vote to keep BJP or RSS away. They are equally dangerous and people should stay away from them too,” he added.
On the occasion, heads of various religious groups also addressed the gathering.


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JK’s liability swells

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Similar to previous years, Jammu and Kashmir has accrued a liability of over Rs 7,000 crore in the ongoing fiscal even as experts blame state’s political leadership for not finding a solution to the issue.

Official documents of the finance department reveal that the state is running a liability of Rs 7,531 crore so far this fiscal, a figure close to the annual build-up J&K witnesses every year.

The total liabilities for the state have now swelled up to over Rs 68,000 crore.“The three fiscal parameters–revenue deficit, fiscal deficit and outstanding liability–indicate the extent of overall fiscal balance in the finances of the state government during the specified period. The nature of deficit is an indicator of the prudence of budgetary policy of the state government. Another useful measure of the deficit-base in a state’s fiscal policy is the State’s Own Deficit (SOD),” the documents reveal.

 

Noted economist, Professor Nisar Ali said the state’s expenditure and revenue system has been “mismanaged”.“The power purchase has been an important factor for swelling liabilities. The GST has further increased the mismanagement between expenditure and tax revenue,” he said.

Prof Ali also blamed J&K’s political leadership for increasing liabilities.“The annual liabilities increase due to power purchases despite the state having huge hydro resources. The state’s leadership has failed to fight for the return of power projects.

“It also depends upon the government of India how it wants to find a solution to this problem,” he added.

Endorsing Prof Ali’s views, a senior official of the finance department said that little or no use of revenue generation avenues, increasing power purchases and bulging expenditure on salaries are the main contributors to the escalating liabilities of the state.“There is a steep rise in salary and pension bills, power deficit, rising interest liabilities, loan repayments, and deficit on account of non-tax revenue,” the official said.

 

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Conducive atmosphere inevitable for dialogue: Farooq

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) president, Dr Farooq Abdullah on Thursday said that the favourable atmosphere is inevitable for dialogue, which is the only way out to settle the issues.
Addressing party workers in Jammu, Dr Farooq said that the dialogue is the only way out to resolve the issues but there is a need of conducive atmosphere which is inevitable. He added that “under the shades of gun, no dialogue process is possible. We have to stop bullet culture for lasting peace in the region.”
“NC has also given priority to the people. When I became Chief Minister in 1996, I fought with many things as the school were shut, no bridge was there, no office was functioning as the people were frightened by the turmoil then, but I stood up to fight against the forces who were inimical to peace.”
About 35 percent reservation in other states, Dr Farooq said that the incumbent Chief Minister of Odissa, Naveen Patnayak has written to him, suggesting there should be reservation of 35 percentfor women in Jammu and Kashmir also. “We will implement the law, which will ensure 35 percent reservation to women in the State once getting into the power,” he said.
However, he said that it is not easy to take such decisions as when his government took a decision to make 50 percent reservation for girls in Medical College then some people knocked the door of Supreme Court to put halt over the decision.
Dr Farooq also appealed the party workers to work hard and ensure the win of NC leaders who will be contesting the elections.

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Abundant snowfall in January makes Gulmarg the perfect winter-destination for tourists

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jan 17: Unlike last January, the abundant snowfall so far this month has attracted a lot of tourists to Gulmarg as the destination is brimming with over 90 per cent occupancy these days.

The valley has received at least four moderate to heavy snowfalls this year with an even stronger wet spell predicted from January 19 to 23.
Tourists from across the world are cherishing this and making their way to Gulmarg, whose slopes offer a perfect destination for skiing.

Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, CEO Gulmarg Development Authority, Syed Hanief Balkhi said that most of the hotels are fully occupied as people are heading to Gulmarg to enjoy the charismatic scenery offered by the snow-covered hills.“Gulmarg is under 4-5 feet snow and is looking like a playground these days. Tourists from India and abroad enjoy skiing, snow cycling, ice skating, snow-sculptor activity, sledge-racing and other games here,” he said.

 

Apart from the hoteliers, the rush of the tourists, Balkhi said, has provided good workdays for sledge keepers, skating guides, local cab drivers and many others associated with tourism.

In 2018, as per the official figures, Gulmarg received 5.76 lakh tourists as compared to 5.69 lakh in the preceding year.

The tourism players also expressed satisfaction over the rush of tourists heading to the valley.

President Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, Wahid Malik said that snowfalls have pushed up the number of tourists visiting the valley.
“Gulmarg saw lesser arrival when winters begun, however, now the snow has ensured all the hotels and resorts are booked,” he said adding that Gulmarg hotels are running on 90 per cent occupancy so far this season.

Gulmarg is declared the ‘heartland of winter sports in India’ by the Winter Games Federation. This year too, Gulmarg Tourism Authority is going to organise winter sports carnival starting from the first week of February.

Additional Director Tourism Department, Nasir Khan said that Gulmarg is “rocking these days as it has received 34,712 and 35,022 tourists in the month of November and December”.

“We are going to organize the winter carnival from the next month to make the place more attractive,” he said.

He added that night market and cultural shows will also be arranged by the department.

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