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Pulwama killings: Kashmir, Chenab valley shut in mourning

Mubashir Bukhari

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Srinagar, Dec 16: Kashmir and parts of Chenab valley observed a complete shutdown on Sunday as a mark of mourning and protest against the killing of seven civilians and three militants in an encounter in Pulwama district the previous day.

Authorities imposed strict restrictions in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district and parts of Srinagar in view of the shutdown called by Joint Hurriyat leadership against the killings.

The leadership comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik called for a three-day shutdown and a protest march to the Badamibagh Army Cantonment in Srinagar on Monday.

 

Seven civilians were killed and several people injured in firing by government forces during clashes that followed a gunfight with militants in Sirnoo village of Pulwama.

Three militants and a soldier were also killed during the gunfight.

On Sunday, restrictions were imposed under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in Pulwama district and six police station areas of Srinagar – Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, Safakadal, M R Gunj and Maisuma.

An official said restrictions were imposed as a “precautionary measure to maintain law and order and avoid any untoward incident”.

However, groups of youth hit streets at Gangiwara Anantnag and its adjoining areas, Noorbagh, Ganderpora Eidgah, Bonapora Batmaloo, Tangpora Byepass and Muran Chowk, Pulwama and other places and staged pro-freedom demonstrations, witnesses said.

The protesters pelted stones on government forces who responded by lobbing tear smoke shells to disperse them.

However, no one was reported seriously hurt in the pitched battles that continued for several hours, they said.

Reports from south Kashmir said that paramilitary CRPF men and police were deployed in strength in the four districts of Pulwama, Shopian, Kulgam and Anantnag to prevent people from holding protests.

The slain militant commander Zahoor Ahmad Thoker was interred in a local graveyard after multiple funerals at Sirnoo village on Sunday.

Reports attributing local residents said that four rounds of funeral prayers were held for Thoker on Sunday.

On Saturday around 10 turns of funeral prayers were held for him, they said.

Zahoor had fled along with his service rifle from the Army in 2017 to join militant ranks.

He was posted with 173 Territorial Army in Baramulla.

The other two other militants—killed in gunfight—and seven slain civilians—killed in forces action during clashes near gunfight site at Sirnoo – were laid to rest on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, a complete shutdown was also observed in Chenab Valley’s Banihal, Khari, Bhadarwah, Doda, Thathri, Gandoh and Kishtwar areas.

The shutdown call was given by the Anjuman-e-Islamia Bhadarwah, Seerat Committee Doda and Majlis-e-Shoura Kishtwar to lodge protest against Saturday’s civilian killings in Pulwama.

President, Anjuman Islamia (AIB) Bhadarwah, Pervaiz Ahmed Sheikh said: “We have given a call for peaceful bandh to lodge our protest against innocent civilian killings in Kashmir but for how long we will keep our emotions, especially those of youth in control, as the government instead of initiating talks is on a killing spree”.

Sheikh termed the killings as “most heinous and worst atrocity” against the people of Kashmir.

Train services in Kashmir remained suspended for the second successive day on Sunday for “security reasons”.

Shops, fuel stations and other businesses were shut. Mobile internet services were suspended in several parts of the Valley and security personnel deployed.

Former MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid was detained during a protest march that he held in Srinagar with supporters of his Awami Ittehad Party.

They were marching from his official residence to the local office of United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, a police official said. Rashid said protestors were chanting slogans against security forces and seeking the “implementation of UN resolutions to end bloodshed”.

“It is obvious that New Delhi has no resolution to Kashmir dispute except pellets, bullets, massacres, draconian laws and state terrorism,” he said.

“Governor Satya Pal Malik, the state DGP [director general of police] and the Army chief must own the moral responsibility of the killings rather making fake enquiries and condemnations.”


Mubashir joined The Kashmir Monitor as a reporter/ sub-editor in Jan 2013. Since then, he has been consistently covering beats including conflict, politics, education, and health. He is also handling online section of the paper besides working as Video Producer.

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Pak ‘duty-bound’ to share info: Guv

Says militant infrastructure ‘disrupted’, remaining militants to be sternly dealt with

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Srinagar, Jun 19: Asserting that his administration has “disrupted” militant infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday said that Pakistan is “duty-bound” to share intelligence inputs about militant attacks with the Government of India.

However, in an apparent jibe, the Governor said “it needs to be seen how many attacks Pakistan is able to stop on its own soil.”

“Pakistan is duty-bound to share intelligence inputs with us. But it also needs to be seen how many attacks are they (Pakistan) able to stop on its own soil,’ Malik said at a police function in SKICC, Srinagar on Wednesday.

 

Asked about the recent increase in militant activities in the valley, the Governor said as his administration has disrupted the militant infrastructure in the state, the militants are doing “one-odd attacks to keep themselves relevant.

“No one has been able to stop one or two attacks, not even America, England or France. But we are working on it and will be able to find a solution to the problem. We will deal with them (militants) sternly and with precision,” he said.

He said that militant recruitment and stone pelting incidents across the Kashmir Valley have also come down.

“No stone pelting takes place anywhere now not even after Friday prayers. A number of youth have also joined their families back and are leaving the militant ranks. Yesterday only two more boys returned to their families,” Malik said.

Last week on Saturday, the Governor had made a similar briefing about the state while addressing the 5th Governing Council meeting of Niti Aayog.

He’d told the meeting that the militant activities have come down in J&K as the people of the state are “not giving shelter to militants.”

Malik had also said time had come to focus on development of the state while giving a PowerPoint presentation and figures about militant activities.

The Governor had claimed that the administration was getting information about militants and their “activities by locals and that they are not offering shelter to those involved in militant activities.”

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JK Bank case: ACB widens ambit, seeks admitted signatures of 13 officers including two past chairmen

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jun 19: Widening the ambit of the investigations, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has sought the admitted signatures of 13 senior officials of Jammu and Kashmir Bank including its two former chairmen in connection with the case related to alleged backdoor appointments.

A top source in the Anti-Corruption Bureau told The Kashmir Monitor that Senior Superintendent of ACB recently wrote a letter to the incumbent chairman of the J&K Bank to provide details of 10 admitted signatures, handwriting, and initials of 13 officers of the bank.

Among the13 officers, the source said, two are former J&K Bank chairmen. “Most officials have either served in the Human Resource Department or are still posted there,” the source said.

 

The ACB had registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of a complaint about the alleged illegal and fraudulent appointments made in the bank.

The allegations reflected in the complaint disclose commission of criminal misconduct by J&K Bank officers.

“This constitutes offence under section 5(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act Samvat 2006 and punishable under section 5(2) of the Act. A case FIR No 10/2019 was registered in Police Station Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Central Kashmir in Srinagar. Investigation of the case has also been taken up,” a spokesman of ACB had said.

The ACB officials refused to share the details saying: “The case is under investigation”.

However, a senior official, who wished not to be quoted, said: “Once we receive the admitted signatures, handwriting, and initials, the same will be forwarded to Forensic Scientific Laboratory to ascertain whether they match with the records we have seized during raids.”

The ACB is currently investigating 1,200 appointments, made allegedly at the behest of some political leaders of the previous PDP-BJP dispensation.

The government recently removed Parvez Ahmad as JK Bank Chairman. There are also allegations of large-scale irregularities in matters related to loans, finances and appointments.

The ACB sleuths on Wednesday raided the official residence of deposed chairman of JK Bank Parvez Ahmad near Polo View Lal Chowk. The ACB team also raided the house of Ahmad’s brother at Natipora area.

The union home ministry and the state government have decided to split the post of chairman-cum managing director of the bank in accordance with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.

RK Chhibber, who was the bank’s executive president, has been named as the interim CMD.

Jammu and Kashmir government has 59.3 percent stakes in the bank, which has been established in 1938.

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Modi chairs all-party meet; Cong, TMC give it a miss

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Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti attending the all-party meet called on 'one nation, one election' by PM Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Wednesday (Photo: KM/Shanker Chakravarty)

New Delhi, Jun 19: “Most parties gave their support to ‘One Nation, One Election‘, CPI(M) and CPI had a difference of opinion but they didn’t oppose the idea, just the implementation of it,” Defence minister Rajnath Singh declared on Wednesday after the all-party meet on the same concluded.

He added, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address, said that a committee will be constituted to give its suggestions on the subject (One Nation, One Election) in a time-bound manner.”

One of the affirmative voices came from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik, who on Wednesday said, “Our party is supporting the idea of One Nation, One Election.”

 

The Modi government-led meeting of the heads of political parties to discuss the proposal of ‘One Nation One Election’, among other issues was held in the Parliament even as several party patriarchs skipped the meet.

Out of those who opted to sit out this ‘crucial meet’ were Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President M K Stalin, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu. Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati and her former ally Samajwadi Party too decided to skip the meeting. Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal too did not attend the meeting but the party sent Raghav Chaddha as its representative.

Attacking the moot point of the meet today, BSP chief Mayawati said that holding simultaneous national and state elections “appears to be an undemocratic and unconstitutional” idea for a vast country like India. She added that elections in any democracy can never be a problem “nor elections should be weighed from the point of view of expenditure and extravagance”.

‘One nation, one election’ is not an issue before the country, she said. Elections through ballot papers are actually the national issue and our party will continue its struggle for it,” Mayawati declared.

On the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also claimed that she would have joined the meeting had it been on EVMs. She had declined the invitation to attend and had asked the Centre to instead prepare a white paper on the “one nation, one election” issue for consultations.

Sources said that Opposition parties are wary of the meeting convened by the prime minister as they feel this might be a “trap” set by the BJP and needs proper discussion before going ahead.

The agenda for the meeting also includes the celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. It will be followed by a dinner meeting with all the MPs on Thursday.

Meanwhile, JD(U)’s chief Nitish Kumar, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, BJD’s Naveen Patnaik, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and YSRCP’s Jaganmohan Reddy are among those who attended the meeting.

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