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Kishtwar tense, under curfew after Parihar brothers’ killing

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Jammu, Nov 2: The Army Friday staged a flag march in Kishtwar town where curfew was imposed after a senior BJP leader and his brother were killed by unknown gunmen on Thursday night, officials said on Friday.
Kishtwar District Magistrate Angrez Singh Rana said that the situation was tense but under control.
“The Army staged a flag march in Kishtwar town in order to maintain law and order,” Rana said.
He said the curfew, which was imposed in the town on Thursday night, was strictly in place and additional security personnel were deployed in sensitive areas of the town.
Rana said there were no reports of any untoward incident.
SSP Rajinder Gupta said a hunt was launched to track down those involved in the case.
Following the killing of BJP state secretary Anil Parihar, 52, and his brother, Ajeet Parihar, 55, by unknown gunmen, people had staged angry protests in the communally sensitive town and manhandled senior police officials.
The district magistrate had requested the Army in the town and its adjoining areas to control the internal security situation that arose due to the killings.
He took the decision as he apprehended that violence might erupt and result in law and order problem, endangering the life and property of citizens.
The killings of Parihar brothers drew severe condemnation from all quarters.
The senior BJP leader and his brother were killed when they were returning home after closing their stationery shop located outside old DC office complex, officials said.
As two were walking towards their home in Parihar mohalla through a dark lane in Tapal Mohalla, they were fired upon from a close range by the gunmen around 8.40 pm, they said.
The assailants were apparently waiting for the brothers to return home, they said.
The people rushed to the spot after hearing gunshots and rushed them to the district hospital in Kishtwar where they were declared brought dead, they added.
As the news spread, locals rushed to hospital and the brothers’ house, where they held protests against the alleged failure of the administration and the police.
Angry people manhandled policemen, including the SSP, after arguing with them. They also clashed with the police and forced them to leave the hospital.
The angry mob raised anti-Pakistan slogans demanding arrest of those involved in the killings. The protestors later also took to streets and held a protest near the Kishtwar police station.
Anil Parihar was active in politics for over 25 years and had unsuccessfully contested the 2008 Assembly elections on a Jammu and Kashmir National Panther Party (JKNPP) ticket.
Ajeet Parihar was an employee of the State Forest Corporation (SFC).
Top political leaders including Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh have condemned the killing, though the police is yet to ascertain the motive behind the double murder.
“My heart goes out to the bereaved family. Spoke to adviser to Jammu and Kashmir governor, Vijay Kumar, regarding the incident. The police will leave no stone unturned to bring the perpetrators to justice,” Singh wrote on his Twitter handle.
Former chief minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah took to twitter and wrote: “Very sad news. My condolences to Anil and Ajit Parihar’s family and colleagues. May their souls rest in peace.”
Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley too expressed his sadness over the killing.
“Killing of BJP state secretary Anil Parihar and his brother in J&K’s Kishtwar is an act of cowardice. It is an extremely deplorable act. This is an attempt to derail the peace process in the region. My thoughts & prayers are with the family of Shri Parihar,” he tweeted.
BJP National President Amit Shah also tweeted about him being grieved to hear the news: “Just got the tragic news of killing of Shri Anil Parihar, Secretary @BJP4JnK, and his brother by terrorists in Kishtwar. This is a cowardly act that shames humanity. I grieve the death of my valued colleague and pray that God gives his family strength to bear this untimely loss.”
National Conference’s provincial president Devender Singh Rana condemned the killing as “barbaric, inhuman and most unfortunate.”
“Violence has no place in a civilised society,” Rana said, expressing concern over the incident and hoped that the people will together meet the “challenge posed by elements inimical to peace and tranquility”.


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Lead Stories

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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