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Two Hizb militants killed in Khrew gunfight

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Srinagar, Nov 29: Two top aides of Hizb-ul Mujahideen, Chief Riyaz Naikoo were killed in an encounter with security forces in Khrew area of Awantipora.
A police spokesperson claimed that based on a credible input about the presence of militants at Sharshali in Awantipora area of Pulwama district, a cordon and search operation was launched swiftly by security forces in the early hours of Thursday.
The official said as the searches were going on, the security forces were fired upon by militants. The fire was retaliated by security forces, leading to a gunfight.
“In the ensuing encounter, two militants were neutralized and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter,” police said.
The militants have been identified as Adnan Ahmad Lone alias Uqaab, of Braw Bandina in Awantipora, and Adil Bilal Bhat alias Umair Al Hizbi, of Malangpora in Pulwama.
The two slain militants were said to be extremely close associates of Naikoo.
Adil Bhat had escaped from encounters in Srinagar a number of times.” Adil was also behind the killing of head constable Ashiq Hussain in Awantipora in October 2017,” police claimed.
Another militant, Adnan Lone was inducted in Hizb-ul Mujahideen before the killing of its top commander Burhan Wani and was in-charge of the outfit’s finances. According to police, Adnan was also the district commander of Pulwama.
Adil became active in 2017 whereas Adnan was active since 2015.
DGP Dilbagh Singh said, “Acting on a specific intelligence input, security forces busted the hideout in a house and killed the militants.”
“The operation was a crucial one and extremely well-coordinated. No collateral damage occurred in the operation,” Singh said.
This comes a day after top Pakistani commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) Naveed Jatt along with his associate was killed in Budgam.
Meanwhile, militant outfit Hizbul Mujhadeen Thursday paid rich tribute to two militants killed in Khrew gunbattle.
Adnan Lone and Adil Bhat, both residents of Awantipora were killed on Thursday morning.
As per a statement, the outfit Chief Syed Salahuddin said that from past couple of days at least 26 militants were killed. “Nation is indebted to these budding youth who have laid their precious lives for the bright future of Kashmir,” he said.
Salahuddin said that the names of these “martyrs will be written in the golden letters in the annals of history”. “We will never forget these youth and won’t allow their sacred blood to go waste,” he added.
Deputy Chief Commander of the outfit, Saifullah Khalid paid tribute to Naveed Jat and Mehrajuddin who were killed in Chattargam encounter.

 

Thousands participate in funeral of Sopore militant

 

Sopore, Nov 29: Thousands of people participated in last rites of slain militant Mehraj-ud-Din Khan amid strict restrictions in Sopore town of North Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Mehraj-ud-Din Khan alias Maroof and Kaleemullah was the second ‘militant’ killed in a gunfight along with LeT commander Naveed Jatt at Chattergam in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Wednesday.
It took police at least 15 hours to identify him and accordingly his body was handed over to family in New Colony Sopore.
Mehraj, who as per police was an overground worker of the militants, had reportedly fled away from a police station in Sopore on 5 October 2018, just four days after his arrest.
Thousands of people rushed to his native place as soon the his body reached there. They raised pro-freedom and pro-Islam slogans.
Government forces fired tear gas on the mourners during the funeral prayers of slain militant Mehraj-ud-Din. Witnesses said that a number of mourners were injured in police action. They added that youth resorted to massive stone-pelting while Forces fired pellets and tear-smoke shells to dissipate them.
Despite massive clashes and shelling the funeral prayers of Din were held at Iqbal market of the town.
The killing of Mehraj sparked spontaneous shutdown while authorities suspended internet service and imposed strict restrictions to curb the movement of the people. All shops and business establishments and educational institutions remained shut in wake of the killing of the local militant.


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Biz leaders of JK, PaK meet in Tashkent

Appeal India, Pak to resume cross LoC trade

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Jun 24: For the first time since the Cross LoC trade was suspended, the business leaders of Jammu and Kashmir and Muzaffarabad met in Tashkent and decided to approach the respective governments for early resumption of the trade.

The decision was taken in a three-day conference of the business leaders of both sides of LoC, which is currently underway in the Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent. Six business leaders representing Chambers of Commerce of Kashmir and Jammu are participating in the conference, which started on Sunday. 

Trade leaders from Mirpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) and Traders Union Rawalakot are representing the business community of Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) in the conference.

 

The three-day meet has been organized by Muzaffarabad-based Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR), which works to “promote peace and development at all levels through dialogue, reconciliation and reforms.”

On the second day of the conference on Monday, the traders resolved to convey to their respective governments the need for early resumption of cross LoC trade.

President Kashmir Chamber (KCC&I), Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad, while speaking to The Kashmir Monitor over the phone from Tashkent, said the traders held threadbare deliberations on the resumption and strengthening of the Cross LoC trade.

“It was resolved that all the Chambers will take up the matter related to the reopening of Cross LoC trade with the respective governments,” he said.

On April 18, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) suspended the Cross-LoC trade in J&K, saying that it was being used for “funneling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency” into the state.

More than 280 traders were hit by the decision. Figures reveal that goods worth Rs 6,900 crore were traded on both sides since the inception of the trade in 2008.

On the alleged transporting of incriminating material through the route, Ahmad said the traders pledged to push their respective governments for framing Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) for ensuring greater transparency in the trade.

“We are for the transparency of the trade. Both the countries should frame SOPs wherein necessary measures should be taken to check such activities. It was made amply clear that the traders should concentrate on the trade while as the government must ensure transparency,” he said.

The participants also realised that the suspension of the Cross trade was causing huge losses to the business community on both the sides.

“Traders on both the sides of LoC are incurring huge losses. The Cross LoC trade was the biggest Confidence Building Measure between the two countries. It should be resumed immediately,” said the president, KCC&I.

He said the conference was aimed at exploring all options to ensure hassle-free trade across the border. 

Before suspension, the Cross LoC trade was being carried out for four days a week on both routes—Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote.

Started in October 2008, Cross-LoC trade was considered the mother of all confidence building measures between India and Pakistan. However, the trade could not grow beyond the barter system.

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Mehbooba welcomes Hurriyat’s readiness for dialogue

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Srinagar, Jun 24: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti Monday welcomed the Hurriyat Conference willingness to hold talks with the Centre saying it was ‘better late than never’.

“Dair aye durust aye [better late than never]. The underlying purpose of the PDP-BJP alliance was to facilitate dialogue between the GoI & all stakeholders. Tried my best to make it happen in my tenure as Chief Minister but relieved that Hurriyat has finally softened their stand,” former Chief Minister Mehbooba said in a tweet.

Mehbooba Mufti was referring to Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s call for a tripartite talk between the Kashmiri leadership, New Delhi and Islamabad for resolution of all issues, including Kashmir.

 

Besides touching on the need for a dialogue during his Friday sermons at Jamia Masjid, the Mirwaiz in his Eid-ul Fitr sermon earlier this month had sought confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan that could facilitate the revival of talks between the two countries.

Governor Satya Pal Malik, while addressing a function in Srinagar on Saturday, had said the Hurriyat had softened its stand and were ready for talks after he took charge of the state in August last year.

“The Hurriyat Conference was not willing to talk. Ram Vilas Paswan was standing at their door (in 2016) but they were not ready to talk. Today, they are ready for talks and want to hold dialogue. There is change in everyone,” Satya Pal Malik said.

The governor’s statement has given rise to speculations that the Centre might be opening dialogue channels with the separatists in Kashmir in near future.

Talks must be held with them: Farooq

Srinagar, Jun 24: Two days after Governor Satya Pal Malik said that Hurriyat leaders were ready for talks with the Central government, National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Monday asserted that talks must be held.

“The Governor says Hurriyat has agreed to talks. Then, talks should be held with them,” Abdullah told the media persons.

Contending that situation in J&K “is changing”, Governor Malik had on June 22 said that Hurriyat leaders were ready for talks with the Centre.

“The ones who turned back Ram Vilas Paswan from their door, they are now ready for talks. The stone pelting after ‘namaz’ is almost over. We do not like it when a youngster dies,” Malik had said at a function.

“But when a bullet is fired, bullets will be fired in retaliation. That is the reality and this change in stance by them is a welcome sign,” Malik had further added.

He had also acknowledged Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for his statement in which he had expressed concerns over the growing drug crisis in the state.

Within ‘ambit of Constitution’: BJP

Srinagar, Jan 24: BJP’s JK Affairs in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna has said that the Government of India was ready for talks with the Hurriyat ‘within the ambit of the Indian Constitution.’

Khanna also said that this was being done to win the trust of every individual in the state.

“We are open for talks. Hurriyat leaders are own people, they are the residents of J&K so they are most welcome to talk to us including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi but within the ambit of Indian constitution,” Khanna said.

Earlier, PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti said that she is relived that Hurriyat has softened their stand regarding talks with the Government of India.

Recently, Governor Satya Pal Malik’s said that Hurriyat is ready for talks.

In response, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has said that if Government of India initiates ‘meaningful dialogue’, there will be a ‘positive response’.

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J&K Reservation Bill introduced in LS

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jun 24: People living along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir will get benefits of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in professional courses on par with those living along the Actual Line of Control (ALoC), according to a bill introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 will replace an ordinance issued by the previous government.

The Bill was introduced by Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy on behalf of Home Minister Amit Shah who was present in the House.

 

Some members from the Opposition wanted to oppose introduction of the bill but speaker Om Birla rejected their demand, saying they had not followed the procedure for doing so.

The bill seeks to provide relief to people living in areas adjoining the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir. They can now avail benefits of reservation in direct recruitment, promotion and admission in different professional courses.

The bill once passed by Parliament will amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 to bring persons residing in areas adjoining the IB within the ambit of reservation, on par with those living in areas adjoining the ALoC.

The rules provided for reservation in direct recruitment, promotions and admission in different professional courses to various categories, including residents of areas adjoining ALoC.

Those living in areas adjoining the IB in Jammu and Kashmir were not  included in the ambit of the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules, 2005 and were deprived of benefits.

Due to continuous cross-border tensions, people living along the IB suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness. Shelling from across the border often compels residents to move to safer places, which adversely impacts their education as schools and colleges remain closed for long periods.

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