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LAHDC Act to continue, Amendments of 2018 to be protected: Govt

Monitor News Bureau

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Kargil, Aug 30: The Governor, Satya Pal Malik, visited Kargil on Friday to meet and interact with the representatives of the people of Kargil to understand their concerns following the formation of the Union Territory of Ladakh.

He was accompanied by Adviser K K Sharma, the Chief Secretary B. V. R. Subrahmanyam and the Principal Secretary Home, Shaleen Kabra. The Governor interacted with the members of the Joint Action Committee of Kargil and also a few other delegations.

Following detailed discussions with the delegations and understanding their concerns, the Governor assured them that their valid concerns would be given due consideration.

 

At the outset, the Governor assured the delegation that the entire nation admires and values the patriotism of the people of Kargil and the sacrifices they have made for the nation. Therefore, no injustice would be done to the people of Kargil at any point in time. The nation wants Kargil to prosper along with the rest of the nation and become a partner in the country’s economic progress. In fact, the recent decisions of the Government were meant to benefit the people of Ladakh, including Kargil, and speed up their progress as they would now be directly linked to the Union Government. The Governor assured the delegation that all steps would be taken to protect the identity, culture, heritage, language and social values of the people of Kargil.

On the specifics, the Governor mentioned that a few of the issues raised by them were in effect modifications of the State Reorganisation Act and these would be conveyed to the Union Government.

On most of the other issues, the Governor mentioned that steps would be taken to address the concerns of the people of Kargil. The LAHDC Act, as amended in 2018, would continue even under the Union Territory. The current LAHDC Act makes the Councils the most powerful councils in the country and would provide adequate scope for the people to fulfil their development aspirations. If any additional steps are needed to strengthen the LAHDC, this would addressed. Further, the arrangement of HODs created recently during the formation of Ladakh Division would continue equitably between Leh and Kargil. Further, the distribution of funds between the two districts would be equitable. This would ensure that both cities develop in tandem.

The details of the mechanism by which posts and employees would be split between J&K and Ladakh was explained to the delegation. As a UT which would be almost 100% tribal, protections to tribalscan be ensured under various provisions of the Constitution. With increased development and growth, there would be more employment opportunities for the youth. As for other policy matters and protections, there are a number of provisions in the Constitution protecting the interests of STs and tribal areas. The National Commission for STs would be asked to visit the area, discuss all matters and propose measures for ensuring adequate provisions for protecting the interests of tribal areas and STs. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs would also send a delegation of senior officials to work out modalities for ensuring benefits of all national schemes reach the people of Kargil. As for the status of J&K State Laws that are being made applicable to Ladakh and the future status of these if they get amended by the Assembly of J&K, this would be examined immediately and corrective measures would be taken under the State Reorganisation Act using the provisions to remove difficulties. On future amendments by the Central Government, the people of the region would certainly be consulted by the Lt Governor while proposing changes.

As regards the loss of current benefits available to Kargil in J&K, the Governor assured the delegation that seats in medical, engineering and other professional courses would continue to be kept available to Ladakh during the bifurcation process. The committee dividing assets and liabilities would ensure this. The Central Government would also be requested to reserve some seats for students in national educational institutions. On other issues, the Governor assured the delegation that nothing would be done to harm the long term interests of the people of Kargil.

The Governor assured the delegation that the interests of the people of this beautiful district were close to his heart and he would take all steps for their progress. The Kargil airport would be made a commercial jet capable airport for which preparatory work is going on. Kargil, Drass, Zanskar and all other areas would then become top class tourist destinations. Assistance would be provided for completing the KargilBhawan in Delhi and the Council Secretariat. Work on the Zojila Tunnel would be expedited. The two new degree colleges announced by the Governor would be operationalised soon. Vacancies at all levels would be filled up at the earliest. And most importantly, Kargil would be getting top priority for meeting its development need. The Governor requested the delegation to be patient and see for themselves the results on the ground in a few months.


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Lead Stories

UN chief could discuss Kashmir issue at UNGA: UN spokesman

Press Trust of India

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UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is likely to use the opportunity of discussions during the high-level UN General Assembly session that begins here next week to raise the Kashmir issue, the UN chief’s spokesperson has said.

Spokesman for the Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric during the daily press briefing here on Thursday said that the UN chief has underscored the need for dialogue as the only way to resolve the issue and, “as part of the solution for the current crisis in Kashmir, to make sure that human rights aspects are very much dealt with, as well.”

“…On Kashmir, the Secretary General… has said previously, he remains engaged. I think he will also use the opportunity of discussions during the General Assembly to raise it,” Dujarric said, responding to a question on the situation in Kashmir.

On Wednesday, Guterres emphasised that “dialogue” between India and Pakistan is an “absolute essential element” for reaching a solution on the Kashmir issue, and said his good offices are available should both sides ask for it and called for full respect of human rights.

“Well, our capacity is related to good offices, and good offices can only be implemented when the parties accept it. And, on the other hand, it relates to advocacy, and the advocacy was expressed and will be maintained,” Guterres said during his press conference ahead of the UN General Assembly session.

Guterres was asked by a Pakistani journalist about the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and what will he do to bring a solution to the Kashmir issue.

“I go on with a clear opinion that human rights must be fully respected in the territory, and I go on with the clear opinion that dialogue between India and Pakistan is an absolutely essential element for the solution of the problem,” he said.

India has always maintained that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and ruled out any third party mediation, including either from the UN or the US, saying it is a bilateral issue with Pakistan.

The UN Secretary General has also repeatedly asserted that his good offices are available only if both sides ask for it.

Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after New Delhi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5. Pakistan has downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi and expelled the Indian High Commissioner.

Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue but India has asserted that the abrogation of Article 370 was its “internal matter”.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has vowed to raise the Kashmir issue at the UN General Assembly (UNGA) session in New York on September 27. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also scheduled to speak on the same day.

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Amid Kashmir tensions, India will participate at SAARC meeting in New York

Press Trust of India

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NEW DELHI: Amid heightened Indo-Pak tensions, India will participate at the SAARC foreign ministers meeting scheduled to be held on September 26 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session, officials said on Thursday.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan will be present in the US next week and will hold bilateral and multilateral meetings.

Officials said India will participate in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation foreign ministers meeting that is scheduled for September 26.

The meeting on the sidelines of the UNGA could bring Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi face to face for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions.

Asked about a possible meeting with his Pakistani counterpart as well as the future of the SAARC regional grouping, Jaishankar, at a press conference earlier this week, had said, “if and when I meet Pakistani Foreign Minister, we will see at that time what happens”.

The SAARC is about regional cooperation and that refers to trade, MFN, connectivity etc.

, he had said, adding that now every member knows which country is promoting SAARC and which one is impeding it.

Last year, then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had attended the SAARC Foreign Ministers meeting, usually held on the sidelines of the UNGA.

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Plea alleges detention of children in Kashmir, SC seeks report

Agencies

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The Supreme Court on Friday sought a report from Jammu and Kashmir High Court on the alleged detention of children in Kashmir during curbs following the scrapping of Article 370 in the state on August 5.

Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing child right activists Inakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha who have alleged detention of children in Kashmir, had on September 16 told the apex court that people in the Valley are not able to approach the high court there.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it would entertain the petition regarding alleged detention of children in Kashmir as the plea has raised “substantial issues” regarding minors. The top court directed the Juvenile Justice Committee of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to file a report before it within a week on the issue.

The Supreme Court also said it had received a report from the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court and claims that people are unable to access the court there are not supported.

“We have received the report from the chief justice (of Jammu and Kashmir High Court) which does not support your statement,” the bench also comprising justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer told the counsel appearing for the petitioners.

The Supreme Court also sought response from the Jammu and Kashmir administration on a plea challenging detention of five persons in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370.

The bench asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir administration, to file his response.

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