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Militants waiting on launch pads,spike in infiltration attempts after Aug 5: Army

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar: The Army on Wednesday claimed that there has been a sharp increase in the infiltration bids by militants from across the Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) after August 5.

Addressing a press conference, General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 15 Corps Lieutenant General KJS Dhillon said the troops apprehended two Pakistani Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants on August 1 when they were trying to infiltrate from Gulmarg Sector along the LoC.

The army commander also released two videos in which the duo is seen confessing to being Pakistani militants.   

 

“There have been desperate attempts by Pakistan to push militants with an aim to disturb peace in the valley. On August 1, we apprehended two Pakistani LeT militants, Khaleel Ahmad and Mohammad Nazim, from the Gulmarg sector,” he said.

Lt Gen Dhillon said troops have also recovered IED material and wireless set from the apprehended militants. He said launch pads across the LoC, particularly in Poonch and Rajouri sectors, are filled with militants who are waiting to infiltrate.

“There are attempts by militants to infiltrate with the help and guidance of Pakistan army. Pakistani citizens are being pushed into the valley by Pakistan army to disrupt peace especially after August 5,” he said.

The GOC said the forces have “neutralized” many militants while attempting to infiltrate from across the LoC. “We have neutralized militants and a message was also sent to Pakistani DGMO on the hotline to take their bodies. But they refused like they did during Kargil war,” he said.

 Lt Gen Dhillon, however, said not a single infiltration bid by militants has succeeded so far. “The army is ready to respond to every attempt by Pakistan army and ISI. Let ISI try everything, they will be given a befitting reply. They will be taught a lesson, better than that of 1971,” he said.

Denying that militants have entered from the Gulmarg sector, the army commander said that around 350 operations were launched by the troops, but not a single infiltrator was successful to sneak into the valley.

Lt Gen Dhillon said Pakistan army has stepped up the ceasefire violations along the LoC after August 5. “Soon after Balakote strike, Pakistan army violated ceasefire on March 12 and then on July 13. After August 5, there have been two to three incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan army,” he said.

On the occasion, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Law and Order, Munir Ahmad Khan said the confession of two militants make it clear that infiltration attempts are taking place.

Khan said they have succeeded in maintaining law and order in the valley by avoiding civilian causalities. “Credit goes to all the forces who worked hard to maintain law and order. There have not been any major law and order incident as rumour-mongering was prevented by snapping mobile and landline connectivity,” he said.

Asked whether they have halted anti-militancy operations due to the blockade of mobile phone connectivity, Khan said security forces have changed the style of anti-militancy operations.

“Maybe the style of anti-militancy operations have changed now. There have been a lot of surrenders during the period. We consider it a success when we capture a local militant,” he said.

On being asked about the release of political and trade leaders, he said the decision will be taken after assessing the situation. “We will consider all the pros and cons and then take any decision,” he said

On the death of a local civilian in Soura, Khan said the investigation into the case is underway.

“Asrar (civilian of Soura) was injured on August 6 when he was hit by a stone at 90 feet Soura. Initially, his health improved. But today he succumbed,” Khan said.


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Circle of life

Monitor News Bureau

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By Zafar Meraj

There is an old Kashmiri maxim “Anem suie, wawum suie, lajem suie pansie”. The broad translation of this maxim can be that whosever sows the seeds of the nettle is bound to be bitten by it himself.

And this maxim today fits the detention of Farooq Abdullah, the three time chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, a former union minister, seven-time member of India’s lower house, Lok Sabha, under the provisions of the dreaded Public Safety Act. With this Act of the state establishment, Farooq Abdullah, one of the most vocal votaries of India in Kashmir, has been placed under the category of timber smugglers and drug peddlers, for which the dreaded provisions were supposed to be enacted with later expansion of these to separatists and hardened stone pelters and ‘anti-national’ elements.

Never in his dreams would have Farooq Abdullah ever imagined that he would fall victim of the same which his father had imposed to deal with his political opponents and which he and later his son (mis) used with impunity to silence the voice of dissent in a brazen attempt to please their political masters.

It was in 1978, when Sheikh Abdullah was riding a wave of his popularity post 1977 assembly elections, he introduced a bill titled Public Safety Act that provides for the detention of a person for a term of two years without being produced before a court of law.

The law was strongly opposed by the minuscule opposition in the then state assembly that termed it undemocratic and highhanded that exposed the dictatorial tendencies of the Sheikh. The Sheikh who was adamant to enact the law at the earliest defended it on the ground that it was aimed at to curb the growing activities of timber smugglers and drug peddlers.

He dismissed the criticism of the opposition and the fears that it would be used to curb the voices of dissent and silence the opposition.

It was a time when Janata government had come to power in New Delhi and the atrocities and undemocratic measures adopted by Indira Gandhi to silence her political adversaries were still fresh in the minds of the people at large.

Immediately on assuming the power, Morarji Desai led Janata government had abrogated all the laws that were against the liberty of the people and freedom of speech and expression. Laws that were used to detain Indira Gandhi’s critics without any valid ground were removed from the statute book. I still remember the speech of the then union Home Minister Chaudhry Charan Singh in the Lok Sabha pleading with the Sheikh to soften the harsh provisions of law lest it could be misused. “Mairi Sheikh sahib say binty hay ki woh is qanoon kay zehreelay daant nikaal dain (I request Sheikh sahib to remove the poisonous teeth of this law).

But in Kashmir the Sheikh was not moved at all by the pro-democracy and pro-liberty approach of New Delhi and went ahead with enactment of Public Safety Act, which soon confirmed the fears of opposition that this would be used against critics of the state government.

And soon the fears of the opposition turned to be true when the provisions of this law were invoked against Ghulam Nabi Untu, not a timber smuggler or drug peddler but a political activist. The only fault of Ghulam Nabi was that during 1977 elections, he had dared to oppose Sheikh’s National Conference and came out to support late Mohiudin Qarra, who then fought election from Amirakadal constituency on Janata Party ticket. As far as timber smugglers were concerned, they continued with their activities only changing their patrons from erstwhile Congress to the ruling National Conference.

The other notable victim of the Safety Act was Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, then a young Communist, in mid-seventies, who was lodged in Srinagar central jail for a long time for the fault of raising his voice against the undemocratic and anti-people policies of the National Conference.

Both Farooq and son Omar in their regimes continued to use this law against political opponents as their predecessor had done and whosoever posed a threat to their government or was vocal in his opposition was slapped with the provisions of this law. Never did Farooq or for that matter would have thought that a day would come when they too would fall victims to this black law.

And today when Farooq has been forced to languish into his house, turned into sub jail and Omar subjected to solitary confinement in the infamous Hari Niwas, one wonders what their thoughts would be and will the treatment they have been subjected to bring some change in their thinking?

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Traffic violators to pay huge penalties as JK implements MV Amendment Act 2019

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar: Beware motorists! Next time you flout traffic rules, you may have to shell out huge fines and penalties.

Post the abrogation of Article 370, the amendments made in the Central Motor Vehicle Act 2019 have been implemented in Jammu and Kashmir as well. This is for the first time that the amendments made in the central law have directly been implemented in J&K.

The Centre has notified 63 provisions of Motor Vehicles Amendment Act 2019, which specifies huge penalties for various traffic offences.

Under the new rules, the penalty for drunk driving is six months imprisonment or fine up to Rs 10,000 for first time offence. For the same offence committed second time, the penalty includes imprisonment up to two years or fine of Rs 15,000.

The penalty for driving without a license has been increased from Rs 500 to Rs 5,000. Fine for not wearing a seatbelt would attract a fine of Rs 1,000 as against Rs 100. The over-speeding penalty has been increased from Rs 400 to Rs 1,000-Rs 2,000.

Senior Superintendent of traffic police, Tahir Gillani told The Kashmir Monitor that the amendments in the Motor Vehicle Act have been implemented in Jammu and Kashmir from September 1.

“Traffic department is filing challan according to the new rules of Motor Vehicle Amendment Act 2019,” he said.

Sources said that those who are not able to renew the insurance and pollution under control certificate due to the internet blockade are being given relaxation.

Traffic police department has also started series of awareness programme to inform the commuters and motorists about the amended Motor Vehicle Act 2019.

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Govt rolls out e-procurement policy amid internet clampdown

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar: Amid the ongoing communication blockade, the government has rolled-out the much-hyped e-procurement policy in the restive Jammu and Kashmir.

The ongoing internet blockade in Kashmir is the longest ever, crossing over 980 hours and surpassing 2016 record of 240 hours.

Notwithstanding the internet clampdown, the authorities have directed departments to implement e-procurement policy in the state.

“It is mandatory for departments to receive all bids through e-procurement portals in respect of all procurements. Departments which do not have large volume of procurement or carry out procurements required only for day to day running of offices and also have not initiated e-procurement through any other solution provided so far, may use e-procurement solution developed by NIC,” read the directives issued to the departmental heads.

The departments have also been directed to prepare annual procurement plan and upload it on the website before January next year.

“Every authority delegated with the financial powers of procuring goods in public interest shall have the responsibility and accountability to bring efficiency, economy, and transparency in matters relating to public procurement and for fair and equitable treatment of suppliers and promotion of competition in public procurement,” the directives read.

Government has however exempted those cases from e-procurement where national security and strategic consideration demands confidentiality. This, however, needs prior approval from the competent authority with concurrence of Finance Department.

Shabir Ahmad, who works as a contractor, questioned government’s move to implement e-procurement policy at a time when Kashmir is witnessing communication clampdown. “It is not possible to submit documents online in Kashmir. How can we apply for any work online when internet services are often blocked here?” he asked.

Ishtiyaq Ahmad, who supplies goods to government departments, said: “We welcome this decision of government but the authorities should also consider the situation in the valley. All online businesses have collapsed in Kashmir because of internet ban.”

Government spokesperson Rohit Kansal, however, said that internet kiosks will be opened in every district so that people can access websites.

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