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South Kashmir LS seat: NC-Congress inching closer to ‘coalition pact’

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Srinagar, Mar 16: Hectic parleys are on between the leadership of National Conference and Congress over entering into the coalition pact for the sensitive south Kashmir Lok Sabha seat, reliable sources in the both parties said on Saturday.
If the coalition for South Kashmir seat works, the two parties may move ahead and apply the same model to other five seats as well including the strategic lone seat in Ladakh.
The South Kashmir seat is the only Lok Sabha segment where elections will be held in three-phases given the prevailing fragile security situation and the tensions due to the local militancy factor.
“From Congress, it’s going to be none other than the PCC chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir,” a senior Congress leader said, wishing not to be named.
The National Conference has no prominent face for South Kashmir where PDP continues to hold some grip even at a time when party has faced internal rebellion.
Though the final decision on entering into a pre-poll alliance is yet to be finalized by the NC and Congress leadership, sources revealed that ground-work has been done and the call will be taken shortly.
The NC delegation, sources added, recently visited Delhi to meeting Congress top gun Ghulam Nabi Azad to discuss the pre-poll alliance, at least, for the south Kashmir Lok Sabha seat.
“The discussion was taken to final conclusion with both the parties agreeing on fielding state congress chief Mir for South Kashmir seat,” said a senior NC leader, who was part of parleys.
He said that there were talks whether Congress can field Taj Mohiudin from north Kashmir as a joint NC-Congress candidate, but the decision was kept on a hold as NC has zeroed in on former Assembly Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone as its Parliamentary candidate for Baramulla-Kupwara seat.
“The deliberations are on for north Kashmir seat between the two parties and final decision will be announced soon,” a Congress leader said.
From the PDP side, the party chief Mehbooba Mufti would join the fray against Mir. In 2014 parliamentary polls, Mehbooba bagged the seat but after facing a tough fight from the Congress candidate Hilal Ahmed Shah, who lost with a very thin margin.
Shah may get mandate for Assembly polls from Anantnag seat. In South Kashmir, considered as the bastion of PDP as most of the former legislators of the party belonged to south Kashmir districts out of its total strengthen of legislators that was 28.
However, party recently suffered a dent as of its prominent faces quit it citing “one man rule in the party.” Those who left include Imran Raza Ansari, Abid Ansari, Javaid Mustafa Mir, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Peer Hussain and last but not the least, Haseeb Drabu.
A senior PDP leader confirmed that the party would pitch for Mehbooba to be its candidate for south Kashmir seat. “We are sure about her win,” he said, wishing not to be named. Mehbooba has already started her public out-reach to garner peoples’ support once again. (With inputs from KNO)


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Faesal to give LS polls a miss

On JKLF ban: Won’t be surprised if mainstream parties are banned too

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Bureaucrat turned politician, Shah Faesal Saturday said that his newly launched party ‘Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM’ won’t contest the upcoming Parliamentary polls.
Addressing a press conference at the Srinagar’s Press Club, Faesal said that his party was at an “advanced stage”.
“We decided not to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. People across the state are joining us. We don’t want to participate hurriedly in polls and instead will strengthen our party for assembly polls,” Faesal said.
Reacting over Government of India’s banning Yasin Malik’s Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Faesal said that he won’t be surprised even if mainstream parties are banned too.
He added that banning of JKLF would “further shrink” democratic space. “I will not be surprised even if mainstream parties are too banned here. There are people who brought these forces here who wanted to change the secular fabric,” he said.
Lawyer Iqbar Tahir and journalist Chasfeeda Shah also joined the party on the occasion.
“Our decision not to contest Lok Sabha polls is a response to those who accused that our party was planted by the Centre for electoral manipulation. We are fighting for a longer run but not for government and power,” he said.
Asked which party JKPM would support in upcoming Lok Sabha polls, he replied, “We will tell you that later. Democracy is important institution and people shall participate in polls. Assembly elections are very critical for our state.”
Faesal last Sunday launched the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement, with a promise to “bridge the distance between New Delhi and Islamabad in order to resolve the Kashmir dispute”.
Condemning the custodial killing of Awantipora youth, Faesal demanded that those responsible for his “killing” shall be arrested. “Judicial enquiry shall also be conducted to unveil the facts,” he said.
The death of Rizwan Pandit in police custody has spawned huge shock and anger in Kashmir.
Preliminary post-mortem findings have suggested that “profuse bleeding resulting from multiple injuries” could have caused the death that triggered massive protests in Kashmir.
Faesal, who quit the services in January this year to protests against “unabated killings” in Kashmir condemned the killing of 12-year-old boy of Hajin before being held hostage. “Human rights violations have to be stopped,” he said.
He asked the politicians of South Asia to take a cue from New Zealand Prime Minister for safeguarding the rights of minorities in her country. “She has received appreciations from across the world and set up an example,” Faesal said.
New Zealand Prime Minister has expressed solidarity with Muslims after a terror attack in mosque.

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LS Polls: Mehbooba to contest from South, Aga Mohsin Srinagar

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday announced its candidates for some Lok Sabha constituencies while as the party has decided not to field any candidate from two Jammu constituencies to ensure the votes are not divided.
Addressing a press conference, party president Mehbooba Mufti said that she will contest the upcoming parliamentary elections from South Kashmir constituency.
She added that the party has decided to field its leader Aga Mohsin from Srinagar constituency.
Notably, the party has already announced its candidate for the Baramulla constituency, Abdul Qayoom Wani who has also filed nomination papers for the polls.
Mehbooba further informed that party has decided not to announce its candidate for Jammu-Udhampur and Doda-Rajouri constituencies in the interests of people. “We don’t want the votes to get divided that would ensure the win of people other than secular forces,” she said.
She also added that the decision for Ladakh parliamentary seats will be taken soon.
About ban on JKLF, Mehbooba said that Kashmiris are once again being used as ‘scapegoats’ on the pretext of elections. “In democracy, there is battle of ideas and such kind of things should not happen. Every voice should be fought politically rather than suppression and oppression,” she added.
PDP chief further stated that people here are being pushed to the walls and violence that must come to an end at an earliest.

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Warpora encounter: Slain militant duo affiliated with JeM

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Srinagar, Mar 23: Two militants killed in over 30 hour encounter with Government forces at Warpora area of Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district have been identified as members of Jaish-e-Mohammad outfit and one of them has been identified as a local resident.
SSP Sopore Javid Iqbal was quoted saying by news agency GNS that the bodies of both the militants were recovered from the encounter site Saturday afternoon and one of them has been identified as Tahir Ahmad War alias Tahir Molvi of Warpora.
“We called his family and they identified him as their kin,” the SSP said, adding that body has been handed over to the family.
Tahir, he said, was active from June last year. The identity of other militant, believed to be a foreigner, was yet to be established.
Reports reaching here said that the residential house of Mohd Maqbool Najar, where the militants were hiding, was initially razed to rubble. During the course of the gunfight, three more residential houses of Akbar War, Ramzan War and Showkat Ahmad Najar were completely damaged.
Following the gunfight, clashes between youth and forces also reported near the encounter site and main town Sopore.
The encounter broke out at Mir Mohalla area of Warpora Sopore after a joint team of Army’s 22 RR, special operation group of police and CRPF launched a cordon and search operation in the area on Thursday morning.
Station House Officer (SHO) and his two security guards were injured near the encounter site on Friday.
Police has registered a case and initiated investigation in the gunfight.
“Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. Citizens are requested not to venture inside the encounter zone since such an area can prove dangerous due to stray explosive materials,” a spokesman of police said

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