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Sajad dares Mehbooba to move court against Assembly dissolution

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Nov 23: Two days after governor dissolved the Assembly, Chairman People’s Conference, Sajad Lone, on Friday dared the Peoples Democratic Party President, Mehbooba Mufti, to move court if she had the numbers.
“If Mehbooba Ji wants to challenge the dissolution of the Assembly in the court, she should go ahead. We will be more than glad to prove our numbers on the floor of the Assembly,” Lone told a press conference here, where he welcomed former PDP leader Molvi Imran Raza Ansari into his party.
To counter the government formation by Congress- PDP-National Conference (NC), Lone on Wednesday staked claim to form a government in the state with the support of the 25-legislators of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and more than 18 other lawmakers.
Lone said he staked claim to form the government in the state as he “possessed” the required number of legislators in the Assembly.
“I talked to the governor on phone, and then tried to send the letter via fax, but latter sent the letter through Whatsapp. We staked the claim as we had the numbers. Had there been a floor test or had we been told to bring the numbers, then what is within the purview of the constitution would have happened.” Lone said.
“Mehbooba Ji did not have support of a majority of former PDP legislators. The National Conference’s belated realization that PDP can in-fact safeguard the state’s special status is diametrically opposite to NC’s stand over the past three years…,” he said.
He said that NC and PDP did not want him to form the government in the state.
“These two dynasties do not want any third family to rule the state and was an opportunistic alliance,” he claimed, and blamed them for the uprising of militancy in 1987.
Reacting to National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, he said, “There have been 52 amendments by the Congress to weaken the special status of the state, and the party has been the chief architect of every constitutional erosion. How can one expect Congress is for protection of JK’s special status?”
Asked whether he supports the ideology of the BJP for erosion of Article 370 and 35A, he replied, “No Kashmiri can dream of erosion of these constitutions. The ideological fight between the Congress and the BJP is a battle being fought at the national level. Both Omar and Mehbooba have been allies of the BJP in the past and why was it not wrong that time?”
“Let Omar qualify what horse-trading is. I don’t have money to buy the legislators. Sheikh family has huge money, as they ruled the state for over 50 years. I have been minister for three years and was given the Animal Husbandry portfolio. I did nothing that is unconstitutional.”
He said it took five months to legislators of various parties to support him for government formation. “Things don’t happen overnight,” he said. “The PDP and NC were demanding dissolution of the Assembly for five months. When Governor did it, they call it undemocratic.”
Sajad said he did not support picking up of gun by the youth.
“Gun does not listen to anybody. There will be killings till gun is here. There can’t be any short term solution to Kashmir issue. I have been seeking votes for the development and Kashmir issue is a big issue,” he added.
On the occasion, Imran Raza Ansari said that NC has made property across various countries.
“Sheikh Sahab was a teacher and lived at Soura. See their property today in various countries. Where did it come from?” he added.


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5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.

The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.

The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.

 

The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.

“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.

A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.

“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.

A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”

Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.

A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.

 

Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation

Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.

In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.

Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.

The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.

Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.

Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.

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Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today

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Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.

With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.

“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.

 

He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.

On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.

Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.

Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.

Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.

Jammu city recorded 5.3  degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.

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Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian

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Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.

Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.

The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.

 

A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.

Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.

This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.

Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.

In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.

A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.

“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.

The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.

Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.

A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.

He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.

The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.

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