Srinagar, July 16: With the government announcing panchayat polls this year, senior National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said the situation was not “conducive” for elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
“It is unjustified to ask voters to come out for vote when people are getting killed. We will tell Governor to consider the security situation before announcing dates for elections,” Omar said in his address while presiding over party’s provincial committee meeting at the party headquarters here. “Governor Sahab should consider security situation before holding panchayat polls in the state. It is not parliamentary or assembly polls. In panchayat elections around 6000 candidates would contest the polls and its effect could be then seen in parliamentary and assembly polls,” the former chief minister.
He asked the party workers and leaders to hold small meetings.
“After election dates are announced, we will decide on candidates. We are not afraid of any party or third party. Let the elections be conducted, we will show our strength and defeat their (opponents) conspiracies,” he said.
The State Administrative Council (SAC) chaired by the Governor N N Vohra last week approved the proposal to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989.
Under the amendment, the elections of Sarpanches of Halqa Panchayats will be conducted directly by the electorate of Halqa Panchayats and not by indirect method of electing Sarpanches from among the Panches themselves. The SAC also directed the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj to initiate the process of holding elections to Panchayats in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K.
Reacting to the statement of PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti that militants like Syed Salahudin and Yasin Malik will “emerge” if Delhi caused a split in PDP, Omar said that militancy has “rebirth” in her rule.
“She is threatening the Centre with renewed militancy if PDP breaks up. Under whose rule, 207 militants were killed last year. Under whose regime, Kashmir University assistant professor and Aligarh Muslim University student, army man, policemen, picked up guns,” he asked.
Omar said that NC had sought delaying of assembly polls after the 2014 floods hit the state. “We wanted proper rehabilitation of flood victims but other parties were adamant of holding assembly polls. What happened to relief in three-and-a-half-year PDP-BJP rule? What happened to dredging and flood channel? We face flood like situation even by slight rainfall,” Omar said.
He said that PDP did not fulfill the promises it made with people before the elections. “The PDP would talk about dialogue with people of Kashmir and Pakistan and strengthening of JK special status. What happened to Agenda of Alliance of the PDP-BJP alliance,” he asked.
He claimed that people were “celebrating” the end of the PDP-BJP government. “People from both Kashmir and Jammu welcomed the end of the alliance. Nobody will pick the guns because of fall of the PDP-BJP government instead people celebrated it,” he said.
Senior NC leaders including party’s General Secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar, and Sheikh Mustafa Kamal were also present on the occasion.
Omar admitted that NC-Congress made several mistakes in their rule.
“We did not hide our mistakes or blame anybody. Our mistakes led to 2010, but we learned from our mistakes, so there was not a single civilian death in 2011,” he said.
“The situation was peaceful between 2011 and 2014. Tourists came here and panchayat and Assembly elections were held.”
He said Mehbooba’s government “weakened the special position of the state with implementation of several Acts”.
“Her brother, Tasaduq Mufti, was right in saying that PDP was party to crime what happened in JK since 2015,” he said.
On Mehbooba’s recent statement that out of his 56-inch chest, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have to spare 1-inch for people of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar said, “Why was she silent when heading the PDP-BJP government? We have been saying that Kashmir is a political issue and it cannot be solved through packages.”
ASI among three cops injured in Rajbagh grenade blast
Srinagar, Jan 17: Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) of police and two traffic cop were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh area of Srinagar city in Central Kashmir on Thursday afternoon.
Reports said that suspected militants lobbed a grenade on police party near Zero Bridge in Rajbagh.
In the blast, three policemen including an ASI of police and two traffic policemen sustained splinter injuries and were evacuated to SMHS hospital for treatment.
The injured has been identified as Iqbal Singh (ASI of JKAP 14 Bn) and traffic policemen Haris Manzoor (SPO) and Sanullah (Head Constable).
While ASI Iqbal has sustained splinter injuries to both of his legs, Haris suffered an injury to the back side of his neck and Sanullah suffered injuries in his right leg.
SSP Srinagar Imtiaz Ismail Parray confirmed the attack and subsequent injuries to the ASI and two traffic cops.
Soon after the attack, the government forces cordoned off the area and launched a hunt to nab the attackers.
Security forces have launched a massive search operation in Rajbagh and adjoining areas near Zero Bridge after three police personnel including assistant sub-inspector were injured in a grenade attack by the terrorists on Thursday.
Homes and hotels in the area were searched frisking was also carried out. It was the first major terrorist attack in the Srinagar city this year. The injured cops are undergoing treatment at the hospital.
Meanwhile Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) has claimed responsibly of the grenade attack on the forces’ party at Raj Bagh area of Srinagar.
A JeM spokesperson Muhammad Hassan in a statement claimed that two forces personnel were killed and 6 critically injured in the attack.
An ASI of police and two traffic cops were injured in a grenade blast near Zero Bridge, Raj Bagh in Thursday afternoon.
2018 has been remarkable year for forces: Army commander
Srinagar, Jan 17: A top army commander on Thursday described 2018 as “remarkable year” for government forces, saying that more than 250 militants were killed, 54 others were arrested and four others surrendered in Kashmir Valley.
“The year 2018 has been a remarkable year for armed forces on the security front. As per the record of last ten years, army along with other forces have neutralized many militants. Many militants have surrendered under pressure and many others were arrested alive,” said Lt Gen Ranbir Singh, GoC-in-C Northern Command told reporters after inaugurating Kalai Bridge constructed by Border Roads Organization.
“More than 250 militants were killed, 54 others arrested and four others have surrendered,” he said, adding, “This speaks about the strength of our security establishment,” the officer said.
He said that the army was giving “befitting reply” to Pakistan army along the Line of Control whenever there were instances of any ceasefire violation or snipping.
“As per wireless and other intercepts, Pakistan army and militants suffered a huge loss in our retaliatory action.”
The Kalai Bridge spans over Suran River and connects Kalai area to Chandak area in Poonch district. During the inaugural function, the Army Commander addressed the gathering of Army, GREF and local residents and said that the Kalai bridge is an important milestone towards enhancing the road communication in the area.
“The bridge is an important strategic asset as it enhances the movement of military equipment and troops in a faster time frame,” he said. The Indian Army and BRO have been working towards infrastructure development in the remote and far-flung areas and improving the road connectivity, he said.
“The bridge will reduce traffic congestion in the city and ease out inconvenience caused to the people specially those moving towards Budha Amarnath Shrine in Mandi as it reduces the travelling time considerably.”
The Army Commander appreciated the contribution of the District Administration for their support and cooperation during the construction of the bridge.
Beg to differ: Omar Abdullah
Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Thursday lashed out at the Northern Command Chief Lt General Ranbir Singh, on his “great year for security forces” remark.
Taking to Twitter, Abdullah wrote, the compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration.
“I beg to differ, a great year would be one in which no young man would join militancy, no terrorists would be killed & no security personnel would lose their lives in encounters. The compulsion of killing militants/terrorists shouldn’t be treated as a cause for celebration,” Abdullah wrote.
Abdullah was reacting to a statement by Gen Singh on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Kalai bridge in Poonch district. Gen Singh said 2018 had been a great year for the security forces as they had managed to kill 250 terrorists.
Heartening to meet Kashmiri students in Bangladesh: Shahid Afridi
Srinagar, Jan 17: Star Pakistan cricketer Shahid Afridi on Thursday met Kashmiri students in Bangladesh and interacted with them.
Afridi said that it was heartening to see Kashmiri students in Bangladesh who are studying medicine.“Heartening meeting with some Kashmiri students who are in Bangladesh on scholarship, studying Medicine. Keep up the hard work and making your people proud!,” he tweeted.
Afridi in the past has been in controversies over Kashmiri over his support to the Kashmir cause. He has been vocal about letting the people of Kashmir decide their future.