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Talks possible when Hurriyat forgets Pakistan: Governor

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Oct 25: Governor, Satya Pal Malik, on Thursday said talks with Hurriyat were possible only after they keep Pakistan out of the equation.

Talking to reporters on the side-lines of ‘Kashmir autumn FAM festival’ here, the governor said his prerogative was to create peaceful atmosphere in the valley to facilitate talks.

“Hurriyat tohbina Pakistan se puche toilet bhinahinjate (Hurriyat doesn’t even prefer going to toilet without seeking permission from Pakistan.) There will be no talk till they stop talking about Pakistan,” he said.

 

Malik said barring a few politicians, he couldn’t meet the other stakeholders yet.

“So far, I met Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami only.”

Asked about the civilian killings, he said the casualties at Kulgam were an outcome of “the carelessness” shown both by forces and the public.

“The Kulgam civilian killings were unfortunate. The area should have been sanitised before calling off the encounter,” the governor said.

“Forces have been directed to aware people about the presence of explosives under such circumstances. We directed them to spread the message through media to appeal people to stay away from the encounter sites. Politicians and people too have a role to avert such happening in future,” he said.

Governor said Kashmir has been “witnessing a decrease” in the level of violence and recruitment into militant outfits.

“It has been possible due to the attitude of the people,” he said.

Malik said boycott by the political parties and militants resulted in low voter turnout in the recently-held Urban Local Bodies elections.

“In Srinagar, 10,000 people came out to vote. But people will have to take part in Panchayat polls,” he said.

On scrapping of medical insurance for government employees, Malik claim that there was a scam in the file report.

“Even employees wanted the scheme cancelled,” he said.

On corruption at higher levels in administration, he hinted that many officers are likely to get booked under such cases.

“We have constituted an Anti- Corruption Bureau with distinctive laws to overlook such happenings. The KAS officers also have been asked to submit their property details within a month.  You all will see many will get trapped ahead,” he said.

New Delhi Kashmir’s friend

Calling New Delhi a friend of Kashmir, Malik said problems in the valley started due to the “wrongdoings” of erstwhile governments at the centre.

Addressing delegates and tourism players at the function organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department, Malik said the people of Kashmir should not be held responsible for the problems in the region.

“There was a government in Delhi once, whose wrongdoings led to the emergence of separatism and the problem in Kashmir,” he said.

“New Delhi favours Kashmiris ruling the entire India. Talks alone can improve the situation in the valley.

“Being a representative of government, I can assure you that Delhi is Kashmiris friend. New Delhi doesn’t want to rule you people, but it wants Kashmiris to rule the entire country,” he said.

Calling the state “a safest place”, governor said the killings in Kashmir were comparatively lesser than in any other state.

“I know my statement will hurt the people of Bihar, but it is a truth that the entire Kashmir witnesses lesser killings than Patna records on a single day. Everybody is safe, no matter who is in the hit list,” he said.

He said no civilian was killed during the recent municipal polls in the state.

“The improvement in the situation can be gauged with the fact that not a single killing happened during the four phases of ULB polls, though last year during Parliamentary by-polls, nine civilians died on a single day,” he said.

Malik said the region has a scope to compete with the world’s known destination such as Switzerland.

“If peace returns, no state can compete with Kashmir. Tourists also should not get frightened from visiting Kashmir, as I myself walked two kilometers yesterday without security,” he said.

He said the hospitality shown by Kashmiris has been a unique selling point of the region.

“Kashmiri youth should get all the facilities like cinema, coffee shops and a distinctive IPL team to play cricket ahead,” he said.

Over recent episode of suspension order against Aligarh Muslim University students, who held a funeral in absentia for slain Hizbul Mujahideen militant Manan Wani, Malik said the order was revoked after his intervention.

Governor said liaison officer will be deputed in each state for Kashmir students.

“The lesion officer will stay in the nearby police station, who will be overlooking for wellbeing and needs of these students,” he said.

On Bhagwat Geeta order

Expressing his displeasure over the recent order of introducing Urdu Bhagwat Geeta and Ramayana in the schools in the state, governor said the circular might have been issued by some “naïve person”.

“Koi nasamajhaddmithajisnebhejatha (some naïve person sent the order). But I immediately scrapped the circular,” he said.


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Four more militants killed in twin encounters

3 slain in Awantipora gunfight, one in Sopore; brief exchange of fire in Anantnag

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, May 18: The month of Ramadan is seeing a surge in anti-militancy operations as Saturday also witnessed two more gunfights in south and north Kashmir in which four militants were killed.
The first encounter begun at the wee hours of Saturday at Panzgam area of Awantipora in Pulwama in which three militants were killed. The second gunfight took place in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district which ended in killing of another militant.
Giving details about the first gunfight, a police spokesperson said a cordon and search operation was launched by police and government forces early Saturday morning at Panzgam.
During the search operation, the hiding militants fired on the search party, which was retaliated leading to an encounter.
In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter.
The slain militants were identified as Showkat Dar, a native of Panzgam, Irfan War of Wadoora Payeen Sopore, and Muzaffar Sheikh of Tahab Pulwama.
All the three slain militants, according to the police records, were affiliated with militant outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.
As per police records, Showkat had a long history of militancy related cases.
“He was involved in planning and executing series of militant attacks in the area. He was part of a group involved in killing of Army soldier Aurangzeb last year in 2018. He was also involved in killing of a policeman Aqib Ahmad Wagay last year,” the spokesperson said.
He added that incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.
Meanwhile, Showkat was interred amid pro-freedom slogans and spontaneous shutdown in his native village. Before his burial, thousands of people attended his funeral.
On June 14, 2018, Aurangzeb, a rifleman with 44 Rashtriya Rifles was kidnapped and shot dead by militants in south Kashmir’s Pulwama when he was travelling in a private vehicle, on his way home in Poonch.
Aurangzeb was part of an officer’s team which killed Hizbul Mujahideen commander Sameer Tiger on May 1, 2018.
Sopore encounter
In second encounter of the day, one militant was killed in brief exchange of fire at Hathlangoo area of North Kashmir’s Sopore.
A police officer said that acting on a specific human intelligence, a cordon was laid at village Hathlangoo. “As the suspected house was zeroed-in, the hiding militant opened fire resulting in an encounter. In the ensuing gunfight, the militant was killed,” the officer said.
“It was a clean operation and no collateral damage took place in the gunfight,” he said.
Sources said that in the incident, a residential house also got completely damaged.
The officer identified the slain militant as Waseem Ahmad Naik son of Abdul Gani Naik of Udipora Barsoo Awantipora.
According to sources, Waseem was missing since March this year. The family had accordingly filed a missing report in police station concerned.
Meanwhile, authorities suspended internet services in Sopore town as a precautionary measure in wake of this search operation.
Militants escape after brief exchange of fire in Anantnag
Militants on Saturday morning managed to escape after brief exchange of fire in Dehruna village of Anantnag village.
An official confirmed that militants have managed to escape in Dehruna and operation has been called off.
Earlier, a joint team of forces including 19 RR and SOG cordoned off Dehruna area of Anantnag following specific information about the presence of some militants in the area.
As the joint team of forces intensified the searches towards the suspected spot, the hiding militants opened fire, leading to an encounter, he said.
However during initial exchange of fire, militants managed to break the cordon and escaped from the spot, he said, adding that after initial exchange, cordon was extended to nearby villages. However, the operation after finding no militant there was called off.
Meanwhile, soon after news of encounter spread in the area, youth took to streets and started pelting stones on government forces, which was retaliated by smoking tear smoke shells.
Eyewitnesses said that several youth received minor injuries during the clashes.

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Six gunfights in first 12 days of Ramadan

Most begun around Sehri time; 11 militants, two soldiers, two civilians killed

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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ENCOUNTERS IN RAMADAN
May 10: 1 militant killed in Herpora, Shopian
May 12: 2 militants killed in Hend, Shopian
May 16: 5 militants, 2 civilians, soldier killed in Pulwama, Shopian
May 18: 4 militants killed in Awantipora, Sopore

Srinagar, May 18: Government forces have stepped-up operations against militants this Ramadan as Kashmir has witnessed multiple gunfights since the start of the month of fasting.
In the first 12 days of the holy month, as many as 11 militants, two soldiers and two civilians were killed in six encounters, most of which broke out in the pre-dawn hours.
Among the six encounters, five have taken place in south Kashmir.
The first shoot-out in Ramadan took place on May 10 at Ramnagri area of Herpora in Shopian, in which an ISJK militant Ishfaq Sofi was killed. Since then, there has been no letup all the way till Saturday when two gunfights took place in Pulwama and Sopore resulting in killing of four militants.
The second encounter took place on May 12, again in Shopian district.
In it, two Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) militants were killed in Hend Sitapora village. The slain were identified as Javeed Ahmad Bhat of Redwani, Kulgam and Adil Bashir Wani of Waripora, DH-Pora, Kulgam.
On May 16, two encounters broke out in south Kashmir between the government forces and militants in twin districts of Pulwama and Shopian.
In Pulwama, three Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, an army man and a civilian were killed in a pre-dawn encounter near the district township.
The slain militants were identified as Naseer Ahmad Pandith of Karimabad, Pulwama, Umar Ahmad Mir of Barthipora, Shopian and Khalid, JeM commander, a native of Pakistan.
The deceased civilian was identified as Rayees Ahmad Dar. His elder brother, Mohammad Younis, a businessman by profession received fire arm injuries in the gun-battle.
One of the soldiers, Sepoy Sandeep Kumar injured in the gunfight succumbed to his injuries at Army’s 92 base hospital.
In Shopian, two Hizbul Mujahideen militants, a soldier and a civilian were killed in a brief encounter in the orchards of Handew village.
The encounter broke out after a joint search operation was launched by Army, SOG and CRPF at around 04:30 am, following credible inputs about the presence of militants.
The slain militants were later identified as Yawar Munshi of Thokerpora, Shopian and Shakeel Ahmad Dar of Tikroo, Shopian.
The local resident killed in an encounter was identified as Ishtiyaq Ahmad Bhat of Handew.
In the gunfight, an Army man, Sepoy Rohit sustained injuries.
In the wee hours of Saturday, another gunfight broke out in Panzgam area of Awantipora in Pulwama.
In an encounter, three militants of Hizbul Mujahideen identified as Showkat Ahmad Dar of Panzgam, Pulwama, Irfan Ahamd of Sopore and Muzaffar Ahmad of Tahab, Pulwama were killed.
On the same day, a militant was killed in a brief shoot out in north Kashmir’s Hatlangoo area in Sopore.
He was identified as Wasim Ahmad Naik of Udipora, Barsoo in Awantipora.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Law and Order, Munir Khan said that precise information was leading to the encounters.
“We have not changed the strategy; we always want zero or minimal damage during the encounters. It is good that if an encounter breaks out in early hours as people as well as police won’t face any difficulties,” he said.

 
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Hindus listed as Muslims in Scholarship scheme : After KM report, GoI asks JK to probe Kulgam scholarship gaffe

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, May 18: The government of India’s Ministry of Minority Affairs has asked the Jammu and Kashmir’s Social Welfare Department to hold an inquiry into the discrepancies in the list of candidates selected for Minority Scholarship Scheme in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.
The development comes after The Kashmir Monitor reported on May 15 about the discrepancies in the list of candidates for Kulgam district getting financial aid in Minority Affairs ‘merit cum means’ scholarship for professional and technical courses.
Data compiled by Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has listed over 400 Hindu candidates as Muslim in Kulgam availing benefits under the scheme.
The Union Minority Affairs Ministry has now written to J&K’s Social Welfare Department to initiate a probe for unveiling the facts into the matter.
“So far, it has been found that bank account numbers of 474 candidates who have availed benefit under the scheme are not from Jammu and Kashmir. Everything will be cleared once the probe is completed,” said an official of the Social Welfare Department.
Asked whether any candidates from Kulgam district have availed the benefit under the scheme, the official said, “The mandate of the probe committee is to look into all these aspects including why the names of actual candidates of Kulgam are missing from the list. This committee will also look who is responsible for these discrepancies.”
Director, Social Welfare Department, Kashmir, Rukhsana Gani, confirmed that the Union Minority Affairs has asked them to hold the probe.
“Prime-facie, some wrong has happened at Minority Affairs Department. They have told us to hold the inquiry. We will initiate the probe very soon to unveil the facts (sic),” she said.
The objective of the Merit-Cum-Means Scholarship, as per the Union Ministry, is to provide financial assistance to the poor and meritorious students belonging to minority communities (Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Sikhs, Parsis and Jain) to enable them to pursue professional and technical courses.
As already reported by this newspaper, data on the National Scholarship Portal lists 474 candidates, majority of them are Hindu names, availing a cumulative Rs 1.5 crore under this scheme for 2019-20 in Kulgam district.

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