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Rajnath, Doval, Gauba, ors arrive in JK

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Srinagar, July 4: Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, along with a high-level delegation of government officials, arrived here this evening on a two-day visit to Jammu & Kashmir to review the security situation in the State.
The Home Minister was received at the Technical Airport here by Advisors to the Governor, B B Vyas, K Vijay Kumar and Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam, Director General of Police Dr S P Vaid, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, Deputy Commissioner Budgam, Dr Sehrish Asgar and senior officers of the paramilitary forces.
The Home Minister is accompanied by National Security Advisor, AjitDoval, Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, Joint Secretary Jammu and Kashmir, Gyanesh Kumar and other officers of the MHA.
Singh later held discussions with Governor N N Vohra at the Raj Bhavan on various important issues relating to security management, implementation of development programmes and positive engagement of the youth in the State.
The Governor also briefed the Home Minister about the ongoing Amarnath Yatra.
“Top officers briefed the Home Minister on the security measures in place for the yatris. Rajnath Singh may visit Amarnath Cave tomorrow (Thursday) and review security measures on spot,” a source said.
It added that the delegation would do an overall review of the ‘security’ vis-à-vis the ongoing Amarnath Yatra and the authorities’ preparedness in the wake of recent flood-like situation.


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MUHARRAM: Srinagar barred, processions foiled

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Srinagar, Sep 19:Amid curbs and traffic chaos, police on Wednesday foiled Muharram processions by detaining scores of mourners.

The main Muharram procession was scheduled to be taken out from Karan Nagar to Dalgate, however, authorities had erected barricades and deployed contingents of police and troopers to foil the procession.

Reports said that police used mild force to disperse the mourners who appeared near Shaheed Ganj, Karan Nagar, Chotta Bazar, Habakadal, Abi Guzar and Dalgate.

The restrictions had been placed mostly in some areas of Shaheed Gunj, Karan Nagar, Maisuma, Kothibagh, Sherghari, Kralkhud, Batamaloo and Ram Munishi Bagh police stations.

After the outbreak of militancy in Kashmir, authorities have not allowed the processions since 1990.

Heavy deployments of police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in full riot gear had been deployed in the parts of Kashmir capital Srinagar.

Pedestrian and vehicular movement had also been suspended.

However, official sources said that this was a precautionary measure to maintain law and order.

Restrictions were imposed in major parts of the civil lines areas as well. These included Residency Road, Maisuma, Abi Guzar, Lal Chowk, Budshah Chowk, Hari Singh High Street, Jehangir Chowk and Batamaloo.

Despite restrictions, scores of people tried to take out the processions at Shaheed Gunj, Batamaloo and Karan Nagar areas of Srinagar city. However, their attempt was foiled by police.

Scores of mourners who tried to defy restrictions were detained by police. They were lodged in different police stations of the city.

A group of youth from Shaheed Gunj locality defied the restrictions and tried to take out a procession towards Dalgate. When the youth reached near Jehangir Chowk, they were stopped and send back.

A similar Muharram procession was taken out from the nearby Karan Nagar area that was also foiled by police. Police also foiled procession at Batamaloo. Police arrested several mourners and lodged them in police station Batamaloo.

Normal life in different parts of Srinagar city was affected due to processions and the restrictions. Police used force and fired scores of tear-smoke shells to disperse the mourners in Dalgate and on MA Road. They also thrashed a photo journalist Shah Jehangir when he was performing his professional duties.

The 8th Muharram procession would traditionally start from Guru Bazar and Shaheedgunj areas of the Srinagar’s downtown and pass through Maulana Azad Road and Residency Road to end at Dalgate. However, since 1990, authorities have disallowed Muharram processions in uptown areas while smaller congregations in localities of downtown Srinagar and in the outskirts are allowed.

Anjuman Shari Shai organized multiple Muharam processions across Kashmir Valley. Thousands of mourners participated in Zuljina procession that was carried out from Madeen Sahab Zadibal area of Srinagar city.

Besides, Zuljina processions were taken out at Abadpora, Awadawra, Bogha Chhal, Astan Sharif Wuyen Chadoora, Palar Budgam, Malik Gund Chatargam, Astanpora Sikandarpora, Gulshan Bagh Batakadal, Khomeni Chowk, Awdeena, Zalpora, Gund Nawgam, Sonaburn, Inderkoot, Gawmadao, Kehnpeth, Chhalipora and other areas.

Anjuman Shari Shian President and senior separatist leader Aga Syed Hasan while condemning the use of force on mourners said that authorities welcome Yatris during Yatra but thrash mourners for organizing peaceful religious processions.

“It is direct intervention into the religious affairs that is highly condemnable. The curbs on these processions are uncalled for and need to be lifted without any delay.” he said and added that a conspiracy is being hatched to create a wedge between Shia and Sunni Muslims in Kashmir.

A huge procession was taken out in Kargil district of Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

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Congress to contest JK Civic Polls

‘To keep BJP-RSS at bay’

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Sep 19: The state unit of Congress party has decided to contest the upcoming civic polls, which will begin from October 8 under four phases.

While addressing a press conference here at party headquarters, state Congress president, G A Mir said that the party has come to this conclusion after deliberating the issue with the party high command recently in New Delhi.

“The Congress doesn’t want to run away from the responsibilities in restoring democratic setup in the state. It is not just a one day exercise as the state will have to bear the consequences for the next five years. So Congress party will utilise its all energy to defeat the communal forces and fight with full might,” he said.

Mir, however, said that his party has set the conditions of providing security to the contesting candidates and creation of peaceful atmosphere before the Governor.

“Election Commission and Governor led administration issued the contradictory statements over the security issue. Considering the bitter experience of previously held Parliamentary polls we put up the conditions of providing security to the consisting candidates, the creation of peaceful atmosphere and ensuring free and fair election,” he said.

Mir added that the Congress previously apprised the Governor’s office of the security concerns, especially in the valley.

“We sent three delegations to the governor right from the time NN Vohra took over the reins of the state to convey our concerns but they are not being addressed yet,” he said

Mir said the Congress will weigh the situation ahead and commitment made by the Governor to ensure a free and fair election in the state.

“Our party won’t hesitate to take any other decision if the Governor led administration fails to fulfill all its commitments,” he said.

“On these conditions, Congress will attempt to keep away RSS, BJP from entering these democratic institutions. We won’t allow them to get succeeded in their plans, which are made far away in Nagpur,” he added.

The state Congress president said their decision to take part in the election will ensure the releasing and utilisation of funds for the development of towns and cities.

“The delay in these elections has resulted in lapse of funds from Centre, which are meant for the development of towns and municipal committees. So we want to be at the front for the development of the state,” he said.

Mir sensed the boycott to Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies polls by regional political parties could be a ‘conspiracy to pave way for communal forces’.

“The essence of elections is determined when all parties participate in the exercise. Currently, half a dozen parties have boycotted the election, which I doubt could be a conspiracy to have a deal with the communal forces by allowing them to take the charge of institutions at grass root level,” he said.

“We don’t want to give them (RSS, BJP) any opportunity to stay in Secretariat and or either in offices at the district level,” he added.

The state Congress president stated that the party will work to safeguard Article 35-A if it comes to power. “There are certain sections of people in our state who have some concerns. If Congress is voted to power, we will build consensus to address the concerns as per legislation of the state. We will safeguard Article 35A,” he said.

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Guv to admn, police: ‘Provide adequate security to candidates’

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Srinagar, Sep 19: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday asked the police and civil administration officials to provide adequate security cover to candidates contesting the municipal and panchayat elections in the state.

Addressing a day-long conference of deputy commissioners and superintendents of police, Malik advised them to spread awareness among the people about the importance of the polls in strengthening grass-roots democracy and holistic development of towns and villages, an official spokesperson said.

The governor also advised them to ensure adequate security cover to the contesting candidates and to ensure that the elections were conducted in a free-and-fair manner.

Malik advised the district police officers to take care of public sensitivities while dealing with law-and-order issues, and ensure that minimum inconvenience is caused to people during their operations.

The governor stressed crucial importance of strengthening grievance redressal mechanism by the district administrations and urged all the DCs to mark one day in a week exclusively for hearing grievances followed by their early disposal.

Malik expressed concern over the non-availability of avenues for recreation and sports among the children and youth. Saying that he had he has observed the passion for football and cricket among the state’s youngsters, the governor asked the deputy commissioners to identify areas for developing play grounds in their districts and promote sports culture.

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