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NIA summons: Mirwaiz himself victim of violence: Hurriyat (M)

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Mar 13: Hurriyat Conference (M) Wednesday said that its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has been a “victim of violence”.
The Hurriyat Conference (M) Wednesday convened a meeting in the wake of summoning of Mirwaiz by the National Investigating Agency (NIA). The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Professor Abdul Gani Bhat.
Talking to the media after the meeting, Bhat said, Mirwaiz has been a “victim of violence”.
“There shall be no mistake about it that APHC as a forum is democratic in essence and does not believe in violence in any form or manifestation let alone terror funding. Mirwaiz has been himself a victim of violence and no victim can in any case accept money for such heinous act,” Bhat said.
He said that Mirwaiz’s uncle was killed in June 2004 and his house was bombed, and Islamia School burnt.
“Yet he did not give up and continued talking to Manmohan Singh. This speaks volume of his commitment to peaceful resolution. To accuse him of involvement in terror funding is ridiculous, nothing but a political vendetta,” he said.
He said that Hurriyat (M) has been supporting efforts aimed at building peaceful relations between India and Pakistan.
“Our position to resolve the dispute through talks needs to be appreciated. We were the ones who led the dialogue in 2004 and 2005 despite tremendous backlash and sacrifice,” he said.
“Umar Farooq had honor to be its first chairman in recognition of his politico-religious background. He represents an office, which is so scarred that interference in any form or at any level with his position is extremely likely to inflict a wound deep into the collective political consciousness of Kashmir,” he said.
The NIA had summoned Mirwaiz, and Naseem Geelani, younger son of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, for questioning in a 2017 funding case on last Monday.
Mirwaiz however did not appear and instead submitted a written reply that it was not possible to travel to New Delhi citing security reasons. The NIA had on February 26 carried out searches at the premises of Hurriyat leaders, including the Mirwaiz. The Hurriyat, traders, religious groups, and mainstream political parties have denounced summoning of Mirwaiz.
Bhat said that Hurriyat (M) appreciates that Unites States of America, the Peoples Republic of China, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Great Britain put in the efforts ensuring that the Indo-Pakistan situation does not go out of hand.
“We have to live together and live peacefully to ensure prosperity and development. What constitutes an obstacle will have to be addressed,” he said.
He added that Mirwaiz heads various social and educational institutions and people give donations to these institutions.
He said during floods of 2014 in just 15 days, more than 1 crore was raised through Darul Khair.
Another senior Hurriyat leader Bilal Gani Lone said that they stand with Mirwaiz. “We won’t allow witch-hunt against him,” Lone said.
Mirwaiz on Wednesday while thanking Mutahida Ulema council requested them to take back the shutdown call for March 16.
Mirwaiz while taking to his Twitter handle expressed deep gratitude to MMU, traders fraternity and civil society members for their support and concern, “Express my deep gratitude to Mutahida Ulema council J&K the Traders fraternity and the civil society members for their concern and support, I however request Mutahida Ulema council to take back the hartal call for 16th March in this regard.”
Earlier, Muttahid-e-Majlis Ulema on Tuesday appealed people to stage protest against the summoning of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and ban on Jamaat post Friday prayers


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Faesal to give LS polls a miss

On JKLF ban: Won’t be surprised if mainstream parties are banned too

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Bureaucrat turned politician, Shah Faesal Saturday said that his newly launched party ‘Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM’ won’t contest the upcoming Parliamentary polls.
Addressing a press conference at the Srinagar’s Press Club, Faesal said that his party was at an “advanced stage”.
“We decided not to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. People across the state are joining us. We don’t want to participate hurriedly in polls and instead will strengthen our party for assembly polls,” Faesal said.
Reacting over Government of India’s banning Yasin Malik’s Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Faesal said that he won’t be surprised even if mainstream parties are banned too.
He added that banning of JKLF would “further shrink” democratic space. “I will not be surprised even if mainstream parties are too banned here. There are people who brought these forces here who wanted to change the secular fabric,” he said.
Lawyer Iqbar Tahir and journalist Chasfeeda Shah also joined the party on the occasion.
“Our decision not to contest Lok Sabha polls is a response to those who accused that our party was planted by the Centre for electoral manipulation. We are fighting for a longer run but not for government and power,” he said.
Asked which party JKPM would support in upcoming Lok Sabha polls, he replied, “We will tell you that later. Democracy is important institution and people shall participate in polls. Assembly elections are very critical for our state.”
Faesal last Sunday launched the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, with a promise to “bridge the distance between New Delhi and Islamabad in order to resolve the Kashmir dispute”.
Condemning the custodial killing of Awantipora youth, Faesal demanded that those responsible for his “killing” shall be arrested. “Judicial enquiry shall also be conducted to unveil the facts,” he said.
The death of Rizwan Pandit in police custody has spawned huge shock and anger in Kashmir.
Preliminary post-mortem findings have suggested that “profuse bleeding resulting from multiple injuries” could have caused the death that triggered massive protests in Kashmir.
Faesal, who quit the services in January this year to protests against “unabated killings” in Kashmir condemned the killing of 12-year-old boy of Hajin before being held hostage. “Human rights violations have to be stopped,” he said.
He asked the politicians of South Asia to take a cue from New Zealand Prime Minister for safeguarding the rights of minorities in her country. “She has received appreciations from across the world and set up an example,” Faesal said.
New Zealand Prime Minister has expressed solidarity with Muslims after a terror attack in mosque.

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LS Polls: Mehbooba to contest from South, Aga Mohsin Srinagar

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday announced its candidates for some Lok Sabha constituencies while as the party has decided not to field any candidate from two Jammu constituencies to ensure the votes are not divided.
Addressing a press conference, party president Mehbooba Mufti said that she will contest the upcoming parliamentary elections from South Kashmir constituency.
She added that the party has decided to field its leader Aga Mohsin from Srinagar constituency.
Notably, the party has already announced its candidate for the Baramulla constituency, Abdul Qayoom Wani who has also filed nomination papers for the polls.
Mehbooba further informed that party has decided not to announce its candidate for Jammu-Udhampur and Doda-Rajouri constituencies in the interests of people. “We don’t want the votes to get divided that would ensure the win of people other than secular forces,” she said.
She also added that the decision for Ladakh parliamentary seats will be taken soon.
About ban on JKLF, Mehbooba said that Kashmiris are once again being used as ‘scapegoats’ on the pretext of elections. “In democracy, there is battle of ideas and such kind of things should not happen. Every voice should be fought politically rather than suppression and oppression,” she added.
PDP chief further stated that people here are being pushed to the walls and violence that must come to an end at an earliest.

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Warpora encounter: Slain militant duo affiliated with JeM

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Two militants killed in over 30 hour encounter with Government forces at Warpora area of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district have been identified as members of Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit and one of them has been identified as a local resident.
SSP Sopore Javid Iqbal was quoted saying by news agency GNS that the bodies of both the militants were recovered from the encounter site Saturday afternoon and one of them has been identified as Tahir Ahmad War alias Tahir Molvi of Warpora.
“We called his family and they identified him as their kin,” the SSP said, adding that body has been handed over to the family.
Tahir, he said, was active from June last year. The identity of other militant, believed to be a foreigner, was yet to be established.
Reports reaching here said that the residential house of Mohd Maqbool Najar, where the militants were hiding, was initially razed to rubble. During the course of the gunfight, three more residential houses of Akbar War, Ramzan War and Showkat Ahmad Najar were completely damaged.
Following the gunfight, clashes between youth and forces also reported near the encounter site and main town Sopore.
The encounter broke out at Mir Mohalla area of Warpora Sopore after a joint team of Army’s 22 RR, special operation group of police and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in the area on Thursday morning.
Station House Officer (SHO) and his two security guards were injured near the encounter site on Friday.
Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the gunfight.
“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials,” a spokesman of police said

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