SRINAGAR: Terming National Investigation Agency’s (NIA) charge-sheet against Kashmiris and Army Chief’s recent statement as “threats”, the Joint Hurriyat Leadership on Thursday said the Government of India’s “military power” will not cow down them from carrying forward the “ongoing freedom struggle”.
Joint Hurriyat, comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik, addressed a press conference hours after the NIA filed a charge-sheet against 12 persons, for “conspiring to wage war” against the government by carrying out “secessionist activities” in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Joint Hurriyat termed it a “kidnapping” by government of India.
In his telephonic address, Geelani, who was under house arrest, termed the recent India Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s statement by linking “Kashmir political struggle with extremism far from truth”.
“He wants to link it with extremism and kill Kashmiris. We will continue our peaceful struggle till gets freedom,” he said.
Indian Army Chief’s had said that people in Kashmir have realised that it is “very difficult to secede from India” and they are also getting tired of militancy.
He laid emphasis on the campaign to bring back the “radicalised Kashmiri youth into the mainstream”. “This will put an end to the menace of militancy in the state,” General Rawat had said.
While Geelani said that Kashmiris were fighting a “political struggle” for right to self determination. “We will never be part of India. We are fighting against the India occupation,” the octogenarian Hurriyat leader said.
Terming “freedom as Kashmiris right”, he said that accession with India was “temporary”.
“India took the Kashmir issue to the UN. Eighteen resolutions have been passed and signed both India and Pakistan recognizing the status of the state as disputed,” he said.
He said that Kashmiris were not taking any part of India. “We are not part of India although we wish for its betterment.”
He claimed that NIA booked Kashmiris on “fabricated” charges. “They did no crime. Nothing has been proved against them,” the Hurriyat leader said, demanding releasing of all political prisoners.
He appealed people to observe shutdown on January 26 against the “Indian occupation in Kashmir”.
He said statement given by leaders in India were an indication they want to turn India and JK into a “Hindu country”. We should follow teachings of Islam and Quran,” he added.
Mirwaiz, who addressed the presser at his Nigeen residence along with Malik, said that there was a “persistent campaign” on part of GOI and national media to align Kashmir “struggle with terrorism”. “Our struggle is political, peaceful and humane,” he said.
Referring to Army Chief statement, he said that government of India wanted to link “Kashmiris peaceful struggle with terrorism” to mislead people.
“General Rawat statement is a submission what people of JK want and majority wants Azaadi,” Mirwaiz said.
He claimed that New Delhi has handed over Kashmir to Army. “Kashmiris won’t be cowed down by his statements and by NIA arrests. GOI is pursuing military policy to silence voices of Kashmiris,” the Hurriyat leader said, while calling Kashmir an “internationally accepted dispute and indigenous in nature”.
“Militancy is one aspect of the struggle. But efforts are being made to mislead people. General Rawat wants to link our political struggle with terrorism to mislead people,” he said.
Mirwaiz said they won’t be “scared” and “cowed down” through “intimations” of New Delhi. “That is why charge sheet has been kept open,” the Hurriyat leader, said.
He said that New Delhi’s “suppressive” policy was forcing Kashmiri youth to pick up guns.
He said that NIA has mentioned Jamat-d-Dawah chief Hafiz Saeed’s name in charge sheet to sensationalize the issue.
The JKLF Chief Mohammad Yasin Malik said that General Rawat wants his soldiers to “beat up Kashmiris”. “He wants to scare us and kill us,” he said, while calling “struggle as religion” for Kashmiris.
He said that NIA has filed chargesheet that Pakistan sponsored 2016 unrest.
“The 2016 unrest began after Burhan Wani was martyred. Did Pakistan kill him?”Malik asked.
He said that when people were getting killed then JRL issued protest calendars. “NIA arrested these people for fuelling 2016 unrest. Protest calendars were issued by Geelani, Mirwaiz, and me. Then we three are main culprits and should have been arrested,” he asked.
He said the arrested ones had no role in agitation. “Most of them were in jails,” he said. “It is purely a political kidnapping. It is a blackmailing and threatening us that we should talk to GOI’s interlocutor. You started operation all out in 1995 but failed and repeating same but won’t succeed,” he claimed.
He said it was for the first time since 1931 that Jamia Masjid Srinagar was locked so many times in the last two years.
“We want democratic rights but India gave us graveyards. India remembers Jallianwala Bagh massacre but so many massacres have taken place in a small part (Kashmir),” he added.
Kashmir receives fresh snowfall, aerial traffic affected
Srinagar, Jan 17: Kashmir on Wednesday received fresh snowfall affecting the aerial traffic and bringing life to halt.
The fresh snowfall in this morning across the Valley disrupted the normal life in Kashmir with surface traffic remaining suspended for a day while as the Srinagar-Jammu highway remained open despite the snowfall.
Authorities in Srinagar Airport said that the flights to and from Srinagar were suspended in view of the prevailing weather conditions as well as the poor visibility.
Officials said that flights will be operational once the weather conditions and visibility will improve.”Due to bad weather/ heavy snowfall, all flights have been cancelled”.
Meanwhile, the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu highway was open for one-way traffic as there was little or no snowfall in south Kashmir parts on Wednesday.
“Road Status: #Srinagar-Jammu highway open, Traffic plying from Srinagar to #Jammu; Srinagar-Kargil road Closed; Anantnag-Kishtwar road Closed; Mughal Road closed; Bandipora-Gurez road closed; Kupwara-Karnah, Kupwara-Keran, Kupwara-Machail roads closed. @JmuKmrPolice,” Police tweeted.
Director of Meteorological department (MeT), Sonum Lotus said that the light rains as well as snowfall were predicted by the department earlier. “The reports of moderate snowfall were received from some places in Kashmir today,” he said.
He added that the weather would remain mostly cloudy in Kashmir from Jan 18-19, saying that from Jan 19 evening onwards; there is possibility of light rains and snowfall at isolate places.
Lotus further added that the MeT has predicted highly dynamic weather till Jan 23 in Kashmir. “From Jan 20-23, there is possibility of moderate rains and snowfall across the Valley,” he said, adding that the surface as well as the road traffic would also get affected due to the snow spell.
Meanwhile, the state administration claimed to have adequate measures to ensure basic facilities and road clearance during and in the aftermath of fresh snowfall.
The top officials held a series of meetings so far to finalize arrangements in this regard.
The respective district administrations have also asked the officials to gear up for the fresh snow spell as predicted by the Meteorological department
Meanwhile, the day temperatures across the Kashmir Valley nosedived amid fresh snowfall.
A meteorological department official told that Srinagar recorded a maximum of 1.0 degree Celsius, more than six degrees below normal for this time of the year. The capital city saw 5.4 mm of snow (when converted into rain) from 0830 to 1730 hours.
The famous hill resort of Pahalgam recorded a maximum of minus 1.6 degree Celsius and saw snowfall of 8.5mm.
Qazginund, the gateway town of Kashmir, saw a maximum of 2.2 degrees Celsius while Kokernag, also in south Kashmir, recorded a maximum of 1.1 degrees Celsius. Both these places saw zero or traces of snowfall.
The MeT official said the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir saw a maximum of minus 2.4 degrees Celsius and it had a snowfall of 15.2 mm during the day.
Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a maximum of 0.8 degrees Celsius, the official said.
JK showcases tourism potential at Asia’s largest travel show
NEW DELHI, JANUARY 16: Launching its aggressive marketing campaign, the Department of Tourism, participated in the 3-day South Asian Travel and Tourism Exhibition (SATTE) travel show which began here on Wednesday.
SATTE is one of the biggest travel shows in Asia providing platform for travel agents, tour operators, hoteliers, destination management companies, tourism boards to sell their products and network to their potential clients from across the globe.
Besides, J&K Tourism Department, over hundred travel agents, hoteliers, other service providers and heads of the various travel and hotel associations from the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions are participating in the travel show to showcase the State’s tourism potential.
Secretary Tourism, Rigzin Samphel, Director Tourism Kashmir Nisar Ahmad Wani and Director Tourism Jammu Om Prakash Bhagat along with other senior officers from the Department participated in the travel show.
They had an interaction with the leading travel agents from within and outside the country and apprised them about the State’s tourism products.
“SATTE is one of the largest tourism shows in Asia where we can promote our tourism destinations. The department will provide all the information about the JK’s destinations, products, services to the visitors to attract them to the state,” the Secretary Tourism said.
Over 20000 visitors, including domestic and international sellers and buyers, State tourism officials, heads of international tourism boards, hoteliers, and aviation experts showcased their products and services to the global trade community.
The travel show also provides an opportunity for the state tourism department to conduct business sessions with the visitors during the travel show.
On the first day, the Tourism Department of at its pavilion screened short films on different destinations for the visitors who were mesmerized to see the stunning beauty. It also showcased State’s splendid art, craft and sumptuous traditional food.
A large number of visitors turned up at J&K pavilion to inquire about the State’s tourism products, new destinations and infrastructure development.
The Department informed them about the pilgrim, MICE, heritage, art and craft, food, known and lesser-known destinations of all the three regions of the state.
The Department also distributed comprehensive publicity material in the form of brochures and pamphlets, pen drives containing travel videos of different destinations to the visitors at its pavilion.
During the convention, Secretary Tourism, Director Tourism Kashmir, Director Tourism Jammu along with heads of local travel and hospitality sector will also hold separate meet with media to apprise them about the Kashmir being the safe tourist destination.
The Director Tourism Kashmir said the department has planned series of road shows and shall also participate in travel marts in the next two months.
“We will be visiting major cities in the country for road shows. We have also planned road shows in countries like Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh where from we have got a good response from the travellers,” he said.
All election formalities to be completed by Feb end: Sources
Srinagar, Jan 16 : All election formalities in Jammu and Kashmir are likely to be completed by February end after which the Election Commission of India will take a final call on the dates for the conduct of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously.
Top sources while disclosing this to Kashmir News Service (KNS) revealed that the Jammu and Kashmir government has fast paced the process of completing election formalities for both Lok Sabha and Assembly elections by February end and the final electoral roles are likely to be published anytime after January 20.
As already reported the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Electoral Officer Shailendra Kumar held video conference on finalization of electoral roles and other election related arrangements with all the district election officers (DEOs) of all the three regions of the state Tuesday this week.
Sources said the authorities in the election commission will work on the suitability of the location of polling booths across Jammu and Kashmir after January 20 and the process is likely to be completed by February 15.
The Election Commission of India, sources said, is likely to take a final call on the dates for the conduct of Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously earliest by February end and latest by March 15 and the polling in Jammu and Kashmir is likely to be held in the month of April only.
The polling, sources said, is likely to be held in eight phases adding that the polls in south Kashmir however may be held exclusively on the day when polls in no other part of the state will be held keeping in view the volatile situation in four districts of south Kashmir.