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Shopian killings:Valley shuts, again

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Srinagar, Apr 06: A complete shutdown was observed across Kashmir on Friday against the recent civilian and militant killings.
Twenty people including 13 militants, 3 Army soldiers and 4 civilians were killed in three separate gun battles in South Kashmir on April 1, while over 100 civilians were injured in clashes with government forces. A youth Gowhar Ahmed Rather was also killed in police action in Kangan.
Commercial establishments and educational institutions remained closed, while public transport was off the roads. However, skeletal private vehicles were seen plying at many places in region’s capital.
Curbs were imposed in Srinagar’s old city and government forces were deployed at every lane and by lane to thwart any attempts of people taking out any protests.
South Kashmir areas also remained shut with heavy deployment of forces in its districts.
The Joint Hurriyat Leadershipheaded by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, has called for peaceful protests after Friday’s congregational prayers.
Geelani and Mirwaiz continued to remain under house arrest while Malik has been lodged at the Srinagar Central Jail.
Sporadic incidents of clashes and protests were witnessed in several areas of Srinagar, Pulwama, Shopian, Baramulla and Kupwara districts.
Station House Officer Nigeen Manzoor Ahmed was wounded after a stone hit his head near Dagh Park on the Foreshore road here.
Reports said that he has received over a dozen stitches on his forehead while his eye has also damaged partially.
Reports of clashes were received from several parts of Valley including Bunbazar, Mini secretariat, Imam Sahab, Memander areas of Shopian district, Qalampora, Rajpora, Newa areas of Pulwama, Azad Gung and Mishra Gali Palhallan areas of Baramulla, Foot Bridge Paramipora, Old Barzulla, Nowgam, Soura, Hyderpora, Foreshore road areas of Srinagar, Trehgam, Battergam, Drugmulla areas of Kupwara district, Chara-e-Sharief and Beerwah areas of Budgam district.
Six persons sustained pellet wounds in Shopian. They have been hospitalized. Around 15 persons and at least a dozen policemen including SHO Nageen sustained injuries during clashes.
Among the injured, a woman identified as Shakeela Begum (45) suffered injuries at Trehgam, Kupwara while as Abdul Rehman Dar (56) was injured in Soura, Srinagar.
Scores of students of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar also staged peaceful protests against the killings and use of forces on students and on other people protesting the Shopian and Kangan killings in forces’ action.
The apron donning students holding placards were joined by doctors and paramedics in GMC premises. They raised pro-freedom slogans.
The protesting doctors said they condemn the use of force inside hospitals and demand end to use of deadly pellets.
“We condemn the use of pellets, we can’t stand the heart wrenching sight of pellet hit youth who are brought here for treatment,” a doctor said.
No Friday prayers were allowed at historical Jamia Masjid here in Srinagar city. Geelani was supposed to offer Friday prayers at Hamzah Masjid at Amira Kadal, however, authorities detained him at his house. A protest was carried out by Anjuman Shari Shain at Budgam in which a large number of people participated who amid pro-freedom slogans denounced the civilian killings.
Police on Friday foiled a protest march of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) at Abi Guzar here.
Curfew was imposed in Kangan area of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal district on Friday to stem protests against the killing of a youth in police action on Tuesday.
An official said that curfew has been imposed to prevent “law and order problems.”
Meanwhile, a complete shutdown is being observed on Friday in Banihal town over south Kashmir killings.
Reports said all the shops, other business establishment and schools remain closed in solidarity with victim families.
Amid a complete shutdown, clashes were government forces and youth were also reported from Trehgam town of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Friday.
Earlier, the government had shut all schools and colleges in the Valley following Thursday intense protesting by the students.


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Two militants killed in Bijbehara gunfight

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Two militants were killed after a gunfight broke out between militants and security forces in Bagender Mohalla area of Bijbehara in Anantnag district on Thursday morning.

The duo was killed after a gunfight broke out between them and a joint team of the Indian Army’s 3 Rashtriya Rifles unit and a Special Operations Group of the Jammu and Kashmir Police.

The exchange of fire began while security forces had been carrying out cordon and search operations after receiving inputs about the presence of militants in the area. An official said that the militants opened fire on the troopers when they were closing in on their hiding spot.

 

A search operation is underway as the forces believe there were three militants in hiding in Bagender Mohalla.

The police spokesman identified the slain as Safder Amin Bhat (25), son of Muhammad Amin of Zirpara Bijbehara and Burhan Ahmad Ganaie (25) of Malipora Hablish Kulgam. He said the duo was affiliated with Hizb-ul -Mujahideen militant outfit.

Incriminating material including arms and ammunition was recovered from the site of the encounter, he said, adding that the police have registered a case.

“Citizens are requested not to venture inside encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials. People are requested to cooperate with police till the area is completely sanitized and cleared of all the explosive materials if any,” said the spokesman.

Thousands of people participated in funeral prayers of two slain militants in Bijbehara and SK Colony Lazibal areas of Anantnag.

Meanwhile, internet services were also suspended for “precautionary measures” and a complete shutdown is being observed in the district.

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Ladakh Parliamentary Seat: Karbalai in fray to cut Muslim votes and benefit Congress?

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 25: Ahead of the elections for it, the Ladakh Parliamentary Seat is in the spotlight these days as Asgar Ali Karbalai, who is contesting as an Independent candidate, may play spoilsport for Sajjad Hussain who has support of the NC, PDP and powerful religious groups of Kargil.

Four candidates are in the fray for Ladakh parliamentary constituency that will go to polls on May 6.

The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded Jamyang Tsering Namgyal, while Rigzin Spalbar is Congress’ candidate. Both the candidates are from Leh district. Sajjad Hussain, and Asgar Ali Karbalai are contesting as independents. Both are from Kargil district.

 

Asgar has claimed that he has left the Congress, however a source within the party said his contesting of elections is to “cut the Muslim vote in Ladakh to benefit the Congress candidate.”

“He has no support of any religious group unlike Sajjad. If he will be able to cut the Muslim vote, Congress will be the hugely benefitted,” the source said. 

It said that PDP and NC decided not to field candidates as they would have divided the Muslim votes and would have benefitted the BJP.

The PDP and NC have decided to support journalist turned politician Sajjad in the parliamentary elections. He is the candidate of Anjuman Jamiatul Ulama Islamia School Kargil (AJUISK), the largest religious organisation of the region and also backed by Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust.

“Both National Conference and PDP have unanimously decided to support Sajjad, who has been fielded by Kargil’s powerful religious organization, Islamia School,” National Conference General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, said.

Asked why the National Conference did not field its own candidate, Sagar replied, “We have several top leaders in Ladakh. But when powerful religious organizations decided to field the candidate, we decided to support him. All religious groups are on platform on his candidature. We hope that he would win the elections.”

Senior PDP leader Nizam-ud-Din Bhat too confirmed that NC and PDP have unanimously decided to support Independent candidate, Sajjad.

“We decided not to field our own candidate because this candidate has backing of two religious groups, and he represents the sentiments of people,” Bhat said.

In Kashmir, the PDP and NC have been fighting against each other as both parties have fielded their candidates against one another on all three parliamentary seats. The NC and Congress are jointly fighting the Srinagar, Jammu and Udhampur parliament seats while there is a “friendly” contest between their candidates for Baramulla and Anantnag seats.

In 2014 Thupstan Chhewang of Bharatiya Janata Party won with a margin of 36 votes. Chhewang secured 31,111 votes while Independent Ghulam Raza secured 31,075 votes. Chhewang last year resigned, citing ‘discrimination’ against Ladakh, as the reason.

Spread over Leh and Kargil districts and having four assembly segments including Kargil, Zanaskar, Nobra and Leh, Ladakh is geographically one of the largest and population-wise one of the smallest constituencies in the country. There are about 1.72 lakh eligible voters for the Ladakh seat.

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NIA summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter shameful: Mehbooba

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Apr 25: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday termed National Investigation Agency (NIA) summon to Shabir Shah’s daughter as “shameful”.

Addressing a rally at Kulgam district in south Kashmir, the PDP president while condemning the issuance of ED summon to Sama Shabir, the daughter of Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmed Shah said, “She has been summoned in connection with case of money laundering in 2007 when she was just five years old. The harassment has increased over the years.”

She said that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was summoned by the NIA and Yaseen Mailk faced detention and constant harassment.  “This shows the sheer desperation of centre,” she claimed.

 

She maintained, “The abrogation of Article 35-A and 370 will render the basis of accession null and void. Thus, we should strive towards safeguarding the special status.”

Mehbooba took jibes at the BJP president, Amit Shah over his statement that there is Modi wave in India.

“Had this been true, the Balakote airstrikes wouldn’t happen then?  Incidents like mob lynching and oppression on the marginalized sections wouldn’t be so commonplace,” she said.

She said while taking potshots at the NC vice-president Omar Abdullah, “Omar is living in this delusion that the people in her home town Bijebhera in Anantnag district have rejected her and voted for NC. I want to make this thing clear that it’s my hometown and people are supportive of me and are still unknown to Omar.”

Ruling out that government employees participated in her Pulwama election rally, she said, “This is completely false. No government employees participated in that rally. I have nothing to do with these employees as I am not a part of the government.” 

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