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US leaving Afghanistan will embolden Kashmir militants: Says former JK top cop

Press Trust of India

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Pune, Dec 25: Asserting that India should adopt a “clear-cut roadmap” to tackle the Kashmir issue, former DGP of Jammu & Kashmir K Rajendra Kumar has said the US pulling out troops from Afghanistan will have implications in the Valley and militant outfits may feel emboldened.

Kumar was delivering the Lalitaditya Memorial Lecture in Pune, organised by ‘Sarhad’ organisation.

During his speech, he also said that there is a “need to send a stern message” to Pakistan for its support to militancy.

 

“A stern message needs to be sent to Pakistan in terms of retaliation. We need to make it more costly for Pakistan because today Pakistan is not feeling the pinch it should feel,” said Kumar.

He said India should deal strongly with Pakistan as far as training camps and militant launchpads are concerned.

“Now USA is existing Afghanistan. It has its implications in Kashmir. It is a matter of time that we will be feeling its implications in the Valley. After the US withdrawal, the militant organisations would feel pumped up, emboldened,” he said.

Seeing America’s withdrawal as a “sign of victory”, militant outfits can feel that New Delhi can also be defeated, so there is an urgent need for India to adopt a “clear-cut roadmap” to deal with militancy in Kashmir, he asserted.

The US is planning to withdraw 7,000 troops from Afghanistan. The American troops contribute to training and advising local forces fighting the Taliban and the Islamic State group.

Claiming Pakistan was playing “active role in spreading”militancy in the Valley, the former IPS officer said:“Pakistan is not only sponsoring militancy but also sending its nationals to Kashmir in the garb of fighting jihad.”

“No matter which government is in power, Pakistan continues to sponsor militancy in the Valley,” he said.

He said militancy in Kashmir started with local organisations but now it is tilting towards “Islamic extremism”.

“The Valley has a rich history of Sufism but over the years it has moved towards Wahabism,” he said, adding that efforts should be made to take Kashmir back to Sufism.

Suggesting measures, he said the state needs “stringent laws to deal with anti-national forces, a concrete policy to encourage youths to give up militancy.”

“The surrender policy must ensure that youth who give up militancy are gainfully employed and discouraged from returning to the menace,” he said.

He also called for political outreach and empowerment of the civil society.

He said social media has played a “destructive role in inciting sentiments of the youth.”


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To ‘build image’, counter criticism: Kashmir parties get savvy, plan social media ‘troll army’

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, Mar 24: A few valley-based political parties are planning to create multiple phony accounts on several social media platforms and use them as a “troll army” to deal with the criticism against them and improve their overall image, The Kashmir Monitor has learnt.

Highly placed sources said the parties, both old players and news ones in the political arena, are in the process of employing people to monitor and use the social media channels as a tool to “counter criticism and build a positive image.”

“The parties are planning to create at least two to three thousand Facebook and Twitter accounts in the coming weeks. It is on a similar pattern as that of BJP, although not as extensive,” sources said.

 

The accounts, they said, would be used to post “positive messages” and, more importantly, counter any criticism.

“Whenever there would be a discussion about the leaders of these parties, these phony accounts would monitor it and even jump in to change the course of the discussion. Their job will be to shut out those critical of the party or its leaders,” sources added.

By this way, the parties, they said, aim to “clear misconceptions youth may have against them”.

“Apart from the traditional methods of campaigning for the parties, they also want to use these virtual platforms to target youth,” sources said.
With Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in fray, the political atmosphere in J&K is charged up these days.

Most of the prominent J&K politicians are very active on social media.

Among them, NC’s Omar Abdullah and PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti, exhaustively use Twitter to convey their messages or react to local, national and international developments.

Their posts on Twitter trigger a chain of reactions, which, most of the times, are picked up and reported by both print and electronic media.

Bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal too has a very strong social media presence: over 83,000 followers on Twitter and 1.53 lakh on Facebook.

In fact, his party ‘JK Peoples’ Movement’ that he launched earlier this month is asking people to join it by filing a form on its website. In the ‘how can you help’ section, the party has listed
‘Social media – FB Instagram etc’ and ‘Whatsapp Groups’ as one of the options new-joinees can choose from.

BJP was the first party to realise the potential of social media and is still formidable in the digital space.
It has approximately 1.2 million ‘volunteers’, an ever increasing network.

However, as per ‘I Am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army’, a 2016 book by journalist Swati Chaturvedi these ‘volunteers’ are “the BJP’s digital army” that constantly “peddle hate tweets and conspiracy theories and slander journalists.”

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LS polls:Mehbooba counts PDP’s yet-to-be-fulfilled promises

Says punishing people, choking democratic space ‘new GoI policy’

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Srinagar, Mar 24: While counting her party’s unfulfilled promises, former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti said on Sunday that “choking democratic space and punishing people collectively” is, unfortunately, a new policy adopted by the Government of India to deal with Kashmir.

Addressing the youth convention here in which youngsters in thousands took part, Mehbooba said that the purpose behind the “repressive” measures being taken by the BJP led government in Jammu and Kashmir is “to show the electorate how tough is the saffron party against Kashmiris”.

Referring to the ban imposed on JKLF and Jamat-e- Islami, Mehbooba, as per a statement, said it is ironical that on the one hand government of India is claiming to have launched a rehabilitation scheme by which the militants who lay down arms will be encouraged to join the mainstream and on the other hand, organisations like JeI and JKLF are banned which have avowedly rejected violence as a method of achieving any goals and have distanced themselves from it.

 

“JKLF is committed to resolution through political means while as the Jamaat-e-Islami is a religious and social organisation running schools and orphanages across the state. Such repressive measures will shrink the already limited space and will only increase the level of alienation and frustration among the people,” Mehbooba, as per the statement, said.

In a customary tone of a politician in opposition, Mehbooba said that PDP is “seeking resolution of problems through the democratic process and there is already a common space on which we can work and on which the people of Jammu and Kashmir are united”.

“It is more or less around the agenda of the PDP which includes opening of roads across the LOC, safeguarding special status of Jammu and Kashmir, fulfilment of constitutional commitments, utilisation of state’s water resources for the benefit of the state, establishment of joint council between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan administered Kashmir so that matters pertaining to trade, tourism, commerce, natural disasters, global warning are jointly taken care of,” she said.

The PDP chief termed present elections crucial in determining the future course of history.

“We are at a stage where the people of the state are facing more challenges than ever. As the largest political party of the state, we have always strived for the resolution of the problems through peace and empowerment of people. Whether we were in opposition or in government, we have established the idea of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of having a party with peace, dialogue and end of repressive measures as a prime agenda. But the challenges at present are in different forms. People are knowledgeable enough to know what are the threats and the stakes involved,” she said.

She says PDP is firm in its belief that resolution of Jammu and Kashmir problem is possible if both India and Pakistan leave their ego for the betterment of the largest human mass residing in South Asia and same can be achieved by addressing the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and also while safeguarding the integrity of both the countries.

“A very positive beginning in this regard was made in the past, however, subsequent governments didn’t pursue it. Kashmir is now facing worst turmoil and unfortunately, the present government thinks that the issue can be resolved by enforcing the peace of the graveyard, squeezing spaces of dissent and dialogue and banning organisations. Such steps can be very dangerous as established by recent unfortunate bombing in Pulwama which almost brought the two countries to the brink of a nuclear war,” Mehbooba said.

Baramulla LS Constituency:Cong replaces Salman Soz with new face

Srinagar, Mar 24: The Jammu and Kashmir Congress Committee has replaced Salman Soz for Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency with a new face, Haji Farooq Ahmed Mir.

Earlier, Congress had announced the name of Salman Soz for their north Kashmir seat.

“Yes…we have made a rethink and have replaced Salman Soz with Haji Farooq Sb,” PCC president G A Mir was quoted saying by Kashmir News Service.

For rest of the seats, names of candidates will be cleared in coming days, Mir said.

NC has already fielded Akbar Lone for Baramulla-Kupwara, while for PDP, Qayoom Wani will contest on the seat. For Jammu-Poonch, NC will not field any candidates as per the pre-poll alliance agreement between the two parties.

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Shutdown observed against JKLF ban

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Srinagar, Mar 24: A complete shutdown was Sunday observed across Kashmir against the Government of India ban on Yasin Malik led Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF).

The ban comes days after state’s largest socio-religious party Jamaat-e-Islami was banned and its leadership arrested.

Reports said all the shops and business establishments remained shut across Kashmir including the summer capital Srinagar and passenger traffic was also minimal on the roads.

 

Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq himself summoned by National Investigative Agency (NIA) to Delhi for questions in connection with a funding case was placed under house detention to prevent him from taking any protest rally. Train services from Banihal to Baramulla also remained suspended.

The shutdown call was issued by Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik against the ban on JKLF.

Joint Hurriyat had said the government of India’s decision of banning the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front for five years is highly “authoritarian, autocratic and pure political vendetta.”

The central government banned the JKLF on Friday labeling it an “unlawful party”.

Malik has also been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and lodged in a jail in Jammu division of the state.

The government formally banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front vide notification No. 1403 (E) dated March 22, 2019.

As per the notification issued by the union Home Ministry, the Central Government is of the opinion that the said organization is involved in “anti-national and subversive activities and is in close touch with militant outfits and is supporting extremism in the state.”

The notification further says the party propagates “anti-national and separatist sentiments and escalates secessionist moments.”

As such, the notification reads, the origination stands banned as per the provisions of sub-sections (1) and (3) of section 3 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 for a period of five years.

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