Srinagar, Jan 28: Former PDP Minister Altaf Bukhari, who had met Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor G.C. Murmu along with other political leaders earlier this month, on Tuesday denied reports that he was floating a new political party.
In a statement, he dismissed such reports as a “figment of imagination”.
“This news seems to have been floated with a single-minded agenda to mislead and confuse,” a spokesperson for Bukhari said.
He said as already informed to media, a “significant number of like-minded friends and political colleagues are in touch with each other and in this context, informal meetings are often convened”.
“These meetings are aimed at reviving the emerging political situation and should not be misconstrued as formation of any political party.”
Earlier this month, Bukhari led a group of former legislators which met Murmu in Jammu and presented a memorandum with a list of demands for restoring political activity in Jammu and Kashmir.
Bukhari stressed that Jammu and Kashmir cannot perpetually “mourn” the abrogation of Article 370.
In an exclusive interview with IANS, Bukhari had said the time has come to look beyond Article 370 and explore other achievable options for Jammu and Kashmir.
“The pain of loss of Article 370 will never go, but we have to come out of it,” he said. “Life goes on; we must try for things that we can get.”
He said the way forward is domicile rights for residents and restoration of the statehood to Jammu and Kashmir.
Launch pads across LoC full: Lt Gen Dhillon
Srinagar, Feb 18: Militant launch pads in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir “are full”, but the Pakistan army’s attempts to infiltrate militants under the cover of ceasefire violations are being responded to in a “hard and punishing” manner, a senior army commander said here.
Lieutenant General Kanwal Jeet Singh Dhillon, who has been heading the strategic command of the Kashmir-based XV corps, is confident that Pakistan would not succeed in its attempts to “push militants in the Valley and disturb the prevailing peace”.
He said peace in the Kashmir Valley has been “cemented by security forces in coordination with various stakeholders including opinion-makers and mentors of the civil society”.
Lt Gen Dhillon, who will soon leave for a posting in the army headquarters in Delhi, joined the strategic command in February last year.
His tenure began on a challenging note as within a week of him taking over, India witnessed a gruesome attack on its security forces in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed when a suicide bomber targeted their convoy in Pulwama on February 14.
Not yet settled properly in his new role, Lt Gen Dhillon of the Rajputana Rifles, began coordinating operations against the perpetrators of the attack as also monitoring developments along the Line of Control where situation was getting tense by the day.
In a written reply to a question by PTI, Lt Gen Dhillon talked about the history of Pakistan’s “proxy war” and said the neighbouring country has been consistently aiding and abetting infiltration in India for more than 30 years now.
“All the terrorist camps and launch pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir are full. These militant cadres are desperate to infiltrate with the help of Pakistan army, who indulge in firing at our posts.
“Our befitting response to ceasefire violations has been swift, hard and punishing,” Lt Gen Dhillon told PTI.
He said the Army’s main task is to keep terrorism at bay, both at the LoC and in the hinterland in “conjunction with Jammu and Kashmir police, paramilitary forces and intelligence agencies.”
While maintaining an effective domination along the LoC, he said, conducting effective anti-terror operations “in a people-friendly manner” in the inner areas has improved the situation in the Valley.
He said local business, tourism and education sectors are likely to benefit immensely from the “operational successes, the improving security situation and various government initiatives”.
On the number of militants operating in the Valley, Lt Gen Dhillon said, “We work on concepts and not numbers. And the concept is the constant attempts by Pakistan to infiltrate militants and war-like stores, to commit sensational militant activities.”
Mahashivratri celebrations: Provide essential commodities to Pandits: Div Com to DCs
Srinagar, Feb 18: For smooth celebration of Mahashivratri festival across the Kashmir Division, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan Tuesday directed Deputy Commissioners (DCs) to provide essential commodities to Pandit Community areas on priority.
He further directed them to establish Fisheries, Lotus stems (Nadru), Vegetables, Walnut and floriculture stalls in Pandit colonies and at temples. For hassle free distribution of food items, senior officers were asked to deployed functionaries every minority area for monitoring.
Concerned departments were asked to launch an intense market checking on daily basis to curb black marketing of essential commodities during the festival and to ensure availability of essential commodities like Mutton, Chicken, Vegetables, fruits, Bakery and confectionery in the markets as per the notified rates and quality standards.
The Divisional Commissioner was reviewing the arrangements put in place by the district administrations for the smooth celebration of Mahashivratri festival across the valley.
He sought feedback from Deputy Commissioners regarding preparations for the smooth celebration of the festival.
It was informed that major congregation will be held at Shankaracharya temple in the city where devotees perform day long special prayers. Temples in other districts will also hold similar kind of gatherings.
The Divisional Commissioner directed Fisheries department to deploy mobile fish vans at various places in the city. Besides, local fishermen will install their vending shops at Habba Kadal and Ganpatyar localities.
Power Department was directed to ensure uninterrupted power supply on the eve of Mahashivratri festival at all temples where huge congregations are expected. Public Health Engineering will make adequate measures for providing the round the clock water supply in Pandit areas and temples with the deployment of water tankers at the locations.
The Food Department will distribute ration including Rice, Atta, Sugar, K-oil and LPG cylinders in Pandit areas as per notified rates.
SMC will deploy dedicated man power to start cleanliness drive in Pandit areas, temples and the main congregation places besides Urban Local Bodies and Block Development Councils will take care of sanitation in their jurisdictions.
RTO, Kashmir in consultation with the SSP Traffic City, Rural Kashmir and RTC will make necessary arrangements for inter and intra district transportation services on the routes leading to the temples for convivences of the devotees.
The Div Com directed Fire and Emergency services to ensure availability of fire tenders at all temples and Pandit community areas.
On the festival occasion, Health services will set up medical aid camps at all important locations and will ensure round the clock functioning of all Public Health Centres.
He directed DCs to deploy Magistrates at all the important locations with necessary arrangements for the upcoming festival. Concerned departments were asked to work in close coordination for the smooth celebration of Mahashivratri festival.
Additional Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Director FCS&CA, Chief Engineer KPDCL, RTO Kashmir, SSP Taffic (Rural), Joint Director Fisheries, Joint Commissioner SMC, Deputy Directors of Horticulture ( Planning & Marketing), Agriculture, Health Services & Fire, Emergency services and other concerned officials were present in the meeting where as nine Deputy Commissioners of the valley participated the meeting through video conferencing.
Poll announcement mockery of democracy: Yechury
New Delhi, Feb 18: CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury took a dig at the Narendra Modi government on Thursday over the announcement of by-election to over 12,500 panchayat seats in Jammu and Kashmir, saying it was a “mockery of democracy.”
The Union Territory’s Chief Electoral Officer Shailender Kumar said polling would be held from March 5 to March 20 and ballots would be used for casting votes.
“After arresting major political leaders & workers under draconian PSA on flimsy charges, now this mockery of democracy. Time has come for Modi government to declare J&K as a jail. Appoint a Jail warden not a Lt. Governor. The Modi govt will be held to account on this (sic),” CPI(M) general secretary Yechury tweeted.
He also slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his remarks at a summit on Wednesday that only 2,200 people in the country had declared earnings of Rs one crore per annum.
“Modi’s complete disrespect for facts or data or the truth, shows up all the time. The only tricks they all have is spin and Goebbels-like propaganda,” Yechury said quoting reports that the data stated by Modi on taxpayers was wrong.
“As per Modi, every Indian is a thief while his party is the one that has usurped crores secretly through opaque electoral bonds. If no one pays tax, what has Modi done over past 6 years? Didn’t he unleash demonetisation claiming that it would end all black money & tax evasion? (sic),” the CPI(M) general secretary said. In his speech at the Times Now Summit, Modi had said, “In the last five years, more than 1.5 crore cars have been sold in the country. Over three crore Indians went abroad for work or travel. But the situation is that only one-and-a-half crore people in our country of more than 130 crore pay income tax.”