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Panchayat Polls: Voting for phase-V today

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Jammu, Nov 28: Polling for Phase-V of Panchayat Polls-2018 will be held on Thursday at 2512 polling stations including 769 in Kashmir division and 1743 in Jammu division.

According to the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shaleen Kabra, 848 polling stations have been categorized as hypersensitive including 755 in Kashmir division and 93 in Jammu division.

He said 4763 candidates are in the fray for 309 Sarpanch and 1534 Panch seats in Phase-V while 118 Sarpanchs and 1046 Panchs have been elected unopposed in this Phase.

He said in the areas going to polls in Phase-V, electorate of 404283 will be voting for Sarpanch constituencies and 270295 for Panch constituencies. “Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling station,” he said.

Kabra said in the Phase-I of Panchayat Polls held on 17 November 2018, 74.1% polling was recorded across J&K including 64.5% in Kashmir division and 79.4% in Jammu division. In the Phase-II of Panchayat Polls held on 20 November 2018, overall 71.1% polling was witnessed across the State with an overwhelming 80.4% polling in Jammu division and 52.2% in Kashmir division.

He said in Phase-III, the State witnessed a polling percentage of 75.2% which includes 55.7% in Kashmir division and 83.0% in Jammu division.

Similarly, in Phase-IV, he said, the state witnessed an overall polling percentage of 71.3%, including 82.4% in Jammu division and 32.3% in Kashmir division.

He said results have been announced for all these Phases by the respective Returning Officers.

Kabra said the orders have been passed in various complaint cases as well as directions of the Courts and wherever necessary Notifications reappointing the election schedules have been issued. “All such orders/notifications are available at website of CEO J&K,” he said.

Kabra said Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) have been ensured in all the polling stations across the State for Phase-III.  Photo Voter Slips have been distributed among the voters to inform them of their polling stations.

He said senior government officers have been appointed as General Observers to oversee the smooth, fair and orderly conduct of Panchayat Elections, 2018. Also, Expenditure Observers are keeping a watch on the expenditure by the candidates. In addition, for the poll day, Micro Observers have been placed in polling stations, particularly those considered hypersensitive. Besides, the Zonal and Sector Magistrates too have been deployed.

CEO said Control Rooms have been established in all the districts across the State to respond promptly to any complaints of violation of the Model Code of Conduct as also to disseminate information to the public. Security arrangements have been made including deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

He said the Government has declared holiday on the day of poll in the panchayat areas going to polls so as to enable the voters to cast their vote. He said special casual leave shall also be granted to the employees who have to go to other areas to exercise their right to franchise. As per standing guidelines, the Central Government offices shall not be closed but the employees who are electors of the poll going wards and desire to exercise their franchise shall be offered reasonable facility to do so.

The Chief Electoral Officer, J&K appealed the voters to come forward and exercise their right to franchise in order to choose their local self-government to address their local needs.

 

Joint Hurriyat for shutdown in poll bond areas

Srinagar, Nov 28: Joint Hurriyat comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik have asked people to observe a complete protest shutdown in Langate, Wavoora, Sogam, Aloosa, Zainyeer, Sherabad Khore, Lalpora, Sherpathri, Khag, S.K. Pora, Litter, Tral, K-Ullar, Ramnagri, Frisal, Behibagh, K.Pora, D. Pora areas going to polls in the 5th phase of panchayat elections on Thursday.

Joint Hurriyat asked people to demonstrate their total rejection and disregard of “this futile exercise by staying away and boycotting it completely.”


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SHRC discusses drug abuse in seminar on human rights

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Drug abuse and not human rights was the talking point of a seminar organised by Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission (JKSHRC) on Monday to mark the 70th World Human Rights Day.

At the Auditorium Hall of the Information Department, the speakers choose to discuss drug abuse at length even as Chairperson JKSHRC Retired Chief Justice Bilal Ahmad Nazki said: “One of our jobs is to make the people feel the pain of the ill effects of our society.”

As per Nazki, during the current year, more than 10,000 people visited SMHS hospital and Police Drug De-Addiction and Rehabilitation to get treatment for their drug addiction.

“That is the reason, we choose Drug Abuse topic on today’s Human Rights Day,” said Nazki.

Recalling some of his recent experiences about drug prevalence of addiction in the society, Nazki said, “One of the boys told me that he had stolen all ornaments of his mother and sister to purchase drugs. Another person spent Rs 75 lakh on the drugs.”

The Chairperson JKHRC said, “We discuss all sort of issues in our casual chats or during marriage ceremonies, but we never discuss drug abuse. My target is to create a debate on the topic. I want to create a sense of pain in society and treatment will come easily. Today, synthetic drugs are supplied from somewhere else which is more dangerous than cannabis. If we cut the supply line, we will be able to solve the problem to a great extent. Solutions have to find out within our social set-up.”

Nazki said that need is to create mass awareness across the state about drug-abuse so that it can be completely eradicated.

On the occasion, the organizers distributed informative material, which read that as per the survey conducted by United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), there are 70,000 drug addicts in Kashmir alone, out of which 4000 are women.

As per the survey, 65 to 70% of students in Kashmir are drug addicts.

As per the statistics issued by Government Psychiatric disease hospital, Rainawari, 90% drug users are in the age group of 17 to 35 years with a lifetime prevalence of drug addiction.

The informative material read that in his study leading Psychiatrist Dr Mushtaq Margoob has found, “More than two lakh people in Kashmir are into the consumption of illegal drugs.

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Omar challenges BJP to announce CM candidate

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Dec 10: Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of “deceiving” the people of Jammu, senior National Conference Vice-President, Omar Abdullah, on Monday challenged the party to announce its chief ministerial candidate.

The BJP made fake promises to the people of Jammu prior to the last elections. They made fake promises on PaK refugees, return of Kashmiri pandits to valley, granting union territory to Ladakh, construction of Ram Mandir, and Jammu’s own leadership,” Omar said in his address to National Conference (NC) workers.

He said the party later allied PDP.

“They made Mufti Mohammad Saeed chief minister of the state. Recently, they offered chief ministerial post to a leader who has just two MLAs. The BJP will again make promises that the next chief minister will be from the BJP but they will prove to be hoax once the polls are over,” Omar, former chief minister of the state, said.

He was referring to Peoples Conference led by Sajad Gani Lone, who had staked claim to form a government in the state with the support of the 25-legislators of BJP and 18 others.

“The BJP is now advocating divisional status for Ladakh, while it could not grant it union territory status. We want unification of all three regions for communal harmony.”

He challenged the BJP to announce its chief ministerial candidate in the upcoming elections.

“The BJP has already cheated the people of Jammu twice. The party shall tell the people who its chief ministerial candidate is,” he said, demanding the parliamentary and assembly elections should be held together.

“The BJP wanted urban local bodies and panchayat polls to be held in the state but are not ready for Assembly polls,” he said.

“I don’t think people of Jammu and Kashmir are ready to be deceived once again, which is why the BJP is escaping elections.”

The NC leader said his party backed PDP in government formation to save the state from its “current mess and uncertainty”.

“We wanted to defend Article 35A, this government was not going to sustain for long as it had to topple one day and elections had to be done,” he said.

“The NC-PDP-Congress came together despite differences, as we are not hungry for power but worried about the wellbeing of the state and its people. We did it for the state but not for the interest of party.” he said.

“The ruling party was threatening MLAs and using money to lure them for the support.”

He, however, ruled out their pre-poll alliance with any party.

“We will contest on all the seats. You give us the representatives who can contest the polls,” he said.

“There are some seats where the NC has never won. We are sure that we will win those seats which we lost in the previous elections,” he said.

He said the BJP leader, who accused NC of boycotting local body polls and joining hands with PDP and Congress on Pakistan’s behest, later “withdrew his words”.

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Baig anointed PDP patron amidst political departures

Former Tangmarg lawmaker quits PDP

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Srinagar, Dec 10: The attempts of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti to mollify disgruntled Lok Sabha member of the party Muzaffar Hussain Baig bore fruit on Monday as the two leaders jointly chaired a meeting where the latter was made party’s patron.

“Senior leaders of the party today (Monday) met under the chairmanship of party President @MehboobaMufti and Muzzafar Hussain Beigh Sahab,” the PDP said on its Twitter handle soon after the meeting.

Sources close to the party that Baig was chosen as the party patron, in a bid to resolve the issues he had with the party leadership in the recent past.

They said that Mehbooba, who was facing a challenge to her leadership after Baig recently raised a banner of revolt against the party leadership, was trying to make a pact with the senior party leadership.

Baig had accused the party leadership of undermining the democratic norms by boycotting the urban local bodies and panchayat elections.

The development comes amidst rebellion in the PDP with three former MLAs having quit and rumours of many more leaders likely to desert the party ahead of the fresh assembly elections.

The polls have been necessitated due to dissolution of the lower house of the state legislature by Governor Satya pal Malik on November 21.

Besides Imran Ansari and his uncle Abid Ansari, former finance minister Haseeb Drabu have resigned from the PDP following the dissolution of the assembly.

Speculations were rife that Baig, whose wife Safina Baig is the president of women’s wing of the PDP, might quit the party as he came out in public against the party leadership on November 20.

“The PDP betrayed the workers, denying them a chance to connect with the people, by boycotting the (municipal) elections. They left a vacuum and that space has now been occupied. Politics does not wait for people who boycott,” Baig said last month.

Baig said he was not consulted when the party took the decision to boycott the local bodies polls.

“I was in Delhi, just a phone call away. I remained quiet because I did not want the PDP to fall as under,” he said.

Mehbooba had a meeting with Baig amidst uncofirmed reports that he would be made party patron.

 

Former Tangmarg lawmaker quits PDP

Srinagar, Dec 10: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got another jolt on Monday after its leader and former MLA Tangmarg, Abbas Wani resigned from the basic membership of the party.

This comes days after former finance minister Haseeb A Drabu and former MLA Zadibal, Abid Ansari resigned from the party.

Wani according to reports has tendered resignation from the basic membership of the party and has sent a letter to PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti.

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