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Kathua Rape-murder:Actual culprits should be found, pronounced guilty: DyCM

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar: Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh on Thursday called for a thorough investigation in to the Kathua rape and murder case. He then went on to say that should the actual culprits should be found and pronounced guilty.
“Now the case is with the court and government will act on the directions of the court. A thorough investigation should be done and the actual culprits should be found and pronounced guilty. Action will be definitely taken,” he said.
The Deputy Chief Ministers remarks will likely make the ally PDP little uncomfortable as Singh has hinted that the probe by Crime Branch was incomplete.
He also said that a ‘conspiracy’ was being hatched at the national and international level over Asifa’s rape-and-murder case ‘to disturb peace and create communal divide among people.’
He referred it to the uproar over the Kautha case at national and international level.
While addressing a press conference, he said the issue is being given a communal colour to polarize the state.
“Her name is being put to public and then given a communal colour. An atmosphere to polarize the state is being created but the matter is in the court and truth will come to fore sooner,” he said.
Answering to a question over the demand of Jammu people for handing over the case to CBI, Singh said the case currently was out of the domain of state government and police.
“If high court directs then definitely state government would consider it. An investigation carried out by the police and a report is presently with high court. We have earlier directed for the fast track investigation of the case,” he said.
Dy CM held the opposition Congress responsible for playing ‘politics’ over the Kautha minor’s rape-and-murder.
“The man who was leading agitation (Jammu bandh) in Jammu was the election agent of Ghulam Nabi Azad and on other side its men were holding candle light protest. Their conspiracy and politics already stood exposed. The Supreme Court judgment on Justice Loya case has exposed them. They can try even more conspiracies and JK people should remain conscious of it,” he said.
Regarding the participation of two BJP leaders in Katua rally, Singh said their participation was projected in a ‘wrong way’.
“Our ministers went to Kathua, which was clarified by the party that they were sent to defuse the situation. Even Ram Madhav had said that there was mistake in projecting the things. They resigned on moral grounds. We have clarified that our party won’t protect culprits,” he said.
Dy CM said that people having objection over Crime Branch investigation should approach to the court.
On reported allegations by Nazakat Khatana’s about money dealing in the case, Dy CM said that he has directed the agencies to verify it.
Singh said the Congress was projecting its ‘fake secularism’ before the people by their ‘politicising’ various issues.
“They have created a divide like rich and poor, rural and urban and on the basis religions. They have been blaming Amit Shah for Justice Loya’s death which the Supreme Court Judgment said was a natural death. It was actually their ploy to influence election in Gujarat,” he said.
“The way Congress has been defeated in 2014 and then the popularity of Prime Minister is what they couldn’t handle. We condemn all the allegations against party president Amit Shah,” Singh added.
Singh said since the formation of BJP-PDP coalition ‘there have been attempts to by Pakistan to polarize the situation.’

“Whether by Pakistan or its henchmen, attempts have been there to polarize the situation. We know that issues like beef ban, rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and Sainik colony were used by claiming it would change the demography of state,” he said.
“Ex-servicemen had actually demanded a colony, which on the directions of Pakistan, they tried to polarise the state. But we must appreciate people of the state who defeated them and stood for brotherhood and peace,” he said.

 
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3 militants killed in Budgam encounter

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Three militant of Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed in an encounter at Hapatnar woods in Charar-e-Shareef area of central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Monday.

News agency Global News Service quoted a senior police officer saying that a joint team of Army’s 53 RR, SOG and CRPF launched a cordon-and-search operation in forest area of Hapatnar early Monday morning following “credible inputs” about the presence of some militants.

As the joint team of forces intensified the combing operation, the militants hiding in the area opened fire triggering off a gunfight which continued intermittently till late in the evening.

 

During the course of gunfight, three militants belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen outfit were killed, the officer said.

The operation was prolonged due to the tough terrain amid inclement weather conditions, he added.”So far one body has been recovered along with arms and ammunition. The other two bodies which are lying inside the hideout are yet to be retrieved,” the officer said.

“The identity of the slain is being ascertained,” the officer said.

The officer said that the government forces have also blasted the hideout of the militants in the mountainous area, covered under plenty of snow.

Meanwhile, sources identified one among the slain Shahid Baba of Drabgam, Pulwama. (With inputs from GNS)

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Snow, rains persist: Land, air traffic disrupted

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Although not as severe as predicted, fresh snowfall and rains were Monday lashed Kashmir bringing some respite to the people from the cold wave.
The plains of Kashmir witnessed moderate rainfall from early hours of Monday, while there were reports of snowfall in higher reaches of the valley, officials said here.
The MeT Office has forecast widespread rain and snow over the state with heavy falls at isolated places till Tuesday.
Meanwhile, traffic on the 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu highway was halted because of heavy snowfall on the stretch.
“Today no movement of vehicular traffic on Jammu Srinagar NHW from Jammu towards Srinagar and vice versa as road blocked due to snow accumulation at Nowgam-Jawahar Tunnel-Qazigund Sector and still snowing,” J&K Traffic Police tweeted Monday morning.
Bad weather conditions also disrupted operations at the Srinagar International Airport here, leading to the cancellation of four flights, officials said.
“Due to the inclement weather, four of the 27 flights to and fro Srinagar were cancelled on Monday,” an official of the Airport Authority of India.
Another 11 flights got delayed due to poor visibility and intermittent rainfall since Monday morning, he said.
The minimum temperature in Srinagar on Sunday settled at minus 0.3 degree Celsius, same as previous night, a MET official said.
He said Qazigund, the gateway town to the valley, in south Kashmir recorded a low of 0.6 degree Celsius, while the nearby Kokernag town registered a low of minus 0.3 degrees Celsius Sunday night.
The mercury in Kupwara town in north Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.6 degree Celsius. Gulmarg ski-resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius Sunday night, while Pahalgam tourist resort, in south Kashmir, recorded a low of 0.2 degrees Celsius, the official said.
He said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of minus 5.6 degrees Celsius, while the mercury in Kargil registered a low of minus 14.0 degrees Celsius. Kargil was the coldest recorded place in Jammu and Kashmir, colder than even Drass town which recorded a low of minus 6.8 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai Kalan’, the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
‘Chillai Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai Bachha’ (baby cold).

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Lack of funds halts vital JK tourism projects

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Jan 21: The Governor-led administration is mulling to start new projects to boost tourism in Kashmir even as several old ones have been left midway due to want of funds.

In December last year, the administration ordered the constitution of an official panel for identification of new projects in tourism sector to be implemented under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP).

Back in 2014, the Government of India, under Project/Infrastructure Development for Destination and Circuits (PIDDC), had sanctioned Rs 7593.88 lakh for development of basic tourism infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir through private investment, opening of new potential destinations and development of heritage, adventure, and pilgrim and eco-tourism.

 

However, the projects have been left incomplete as the Centre has, as per the latest official data, released only Rs 3504.80 lakh of the sanctioned amount against which the department shows 100 percent expenditure.

Now, due to the unavailability of funds, the PIDDC project is on standstill.

The project included development of Eidgah, face-lifting of Khankahi Moula, Development of Jamia Masjid Heritage Corridor, Renovation of Aali Masjid, Upgrading of Ziyarat Abdul Razaq Sahib at Hawal, Ziyarat Hazrat Balaad Rumi at Rajouri Kadal, Ziyarat Akhoon Sahib and TajBibi at Fateh Kadal, Ziyarat Hazrat Noor Shaha Sahib at Narwara, and Conservation of areas from Naagar Nagar to Watlab.

The tourist circuit from Naagar Nagar to Watlab, which was a key component of the project, still requires Rs 2312.90 lakh to be completed, official data shows.

Another main component of PIDDC project, construction of Trans Himalayan Culture Centre in Leh, too requires further Rs 1094.48 lakh for completion.

Similarly, development of Khiram Shrine in South Kashmir’s Bijbehara town also remains incomplete for want of funds.
Section Officer of Planning, Tourism Department, Sajad Ahmad, told The Kashmir Monitor that “65 per cent” of the work has been completed on Naagar Nagar to Watlab component of the project.

“We had to stop the work because the Centre did not release the funds,” he added.

Executive Engineer, JK Tourism, Abdul Qayoom Kirmani said they have asked the Government of India for the pending funds and also sent to them the proposal of the new projects.
“We have identified new Rs 100 crore new projects under PMDP-II, which comprises of nine circuits,” he said.

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