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Valley turned into theatre of death, destruction: Farooq

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Srinagar, Dec 15: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Saturday expressed shock and grief over the killing of seven civilians by government forces at Kharpora-Sirnoo village of Pulwama.
Condemning the unabated killings of civilians party President Farooq Abdullah said: “Valley has been turned into theatre of death and destruction. Incidents like these put a big question mark on the working of government and security agencies in such circumstances. I am deeply saddened over the killing of civilians in Pulwama. My heart goes out to families who have lost their loved ones in the incident.”
He added that the incident must be probed thoroughly and those found guilty must be brought to book.
“I pray for peace to departed souls and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.”
Terming the civilian killings as most brutal party vice president Omar Abdullah said, “It was a massacre orchestrated as a result of badly executed encounter.”
The vice president expressed grief over the killings and expressed condolences to the bereaved families. He prayed for peace to the departed souls and wished early recovery to the injured.
Repeating his demand of exercising restraint and avoiding collateral damage by forces in such circumstances he said, “It seems lessons have not been learned. When we start expecting situation to ease out, incidents like these put us back from where we started.”
Meanwhile addressing a press conference at party headquarters party general secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar said that governor administration seemingly has given free hand to the forces to aim at civilians like sitting ducks.
“The incumbent governor administration has no respect for human rights and basic fundamental rights. Our party in unison condemns the killings in strongest terms, such acts reveal the disdain of incumbent governor administration for human rights,” he said.
Sagar said that such unabated killing of civilians if not stopped will further deteriorate the already fragile situation of our state.
“Our party core group has time and again implored on incumbent governor administration to put a thaw on civilian killings. But our pleas fell on deaf ears. We in fact took out a protest rally against these unabated killings but that too fell on deaf ears,” he said adding, “If the administration doesn’t stop such unabated civilians killings we shall be obligated to carry out state wide protests against the disdain with which civilians are being devoured.”
Sagar said people of Kashmir are being used as fodder by the central BJP led dispensation to increase their electoral prospects in other parts of the country. “Governor’s vacillating statements on Kashmir add more confusion to the already grim situation in our state. Governor, who is busy politicking, has miserably failed to implement his assurances,” he said.
Party general secretary said that Jammu and Kashmir is not a military colony. “We too have rights and privileges to live a dignified life. The draconian law AFSPA which we want to be done away with has belittled the very dignity of human life. Even the recent assertions of former home minister P Chidambaram are reflective of how inhumane the law is. What aggravates the situation is the laidback and sadistic attitude of central government towards such civilian killings,” he said.
Party Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani while addressing a press conference said that SOP’S are not being adhered to during such operations. “The civilian killings are not acceptable to us or for that matter to any sane voice throughout the country. We demand a time bound inquiry on the incident. Civilians and militants are being treated in the same manner,” he said adding, “There ought to be some checks and balances to ensure that civilians aren’t being killed. Had proper SOP’S been adhered to such civilian killings might have been avoided.”


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Kashmir

Pakistan militant held, vehicle siezed in Pattan

Global News Service

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Srinagar, April 22: A Pakistani millitant and a driver were arrested by government forces at Chainabal area of Pattan in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district on Monday.

Official sources told GNS that a joint team of Army’s 29, SOG and CRPF stop a Mahindra car (DL 12 CA 4189). During searches the joint team apprehended two persons boarding the vehicle including the militant and the driver.

The vehicle has also been seized while as the Pakistani militant identified as Aqib alias Chota Dujana and driver namely Tafazul of Srinagar were taken to Police Station Pattan for further questioning.

 

A police officer also confirmed the incident to GNS but declined to commit further.

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Kashmir

Traders protest in Srinagar against suspension of cross-LoC trade

Firdous Hassan

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Photo: Umar Ganie

Srinagar Apr 22: Traders affected by the suspension of cross-LoC trade by the Centre held a protest march in Srinagar on Monday.

Scores of traders engaged in cross-LoC trade on the Uri-Muzaffarabad route demanded revocation of the suspension order, and sought a fool-proof mechanism for smooth operations.

The traders claimed that suspension of the trade had cost them losses over crores of rupees as their goods were either in transit or lying in godowns.

 

President, LoC traders Association Tanveer Ahmad Wani claimed each trader had a huge liability in the form of loans from banks and pending stocks at home.

He demanded the resuming of the trade in order to avoid their losses ahead. “The wholesale dealers have started asking for payments as they realized that the trade has been closed indefinitely. We are in a very difficult situation as our entire tradable items, which mostly includes fruits have not arrived at trade facilitation center in Uri, which we could sell to earn livelihood,” he said.

Wani informed a delegation of the LoC traders met Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan Monday adding they are planning to visit MHA office in New Delhi in coming week with their grievances.

“We have no choice other than to commit suicide. It is not only concerning traders but transporters and labourers who have been associated with this trade for the last 10 years,” he said.

Another trader Tanveer Ahmad Mir, who runs business in the name of Kako importers and exporters, said the LoC trade suspension has involved his rupees four crores alone.

 “The transaction, which is based on barter system has not happened yet. I am worried about the pending payment for the month to my dealers. Presently stock of stocks of embroidery suits and other items are lying in my store,” he said.

Mir said the government should have intimidated them ahead of announcing this decision to avoid their losses.

“The work regarding installation of full body scanner is going on. Other facilities have also been set up to ensure transparency. The government should continue the trade besides installing advanced mechanism ahead,” he said.

Mohammad Haneef, a 28 years old postgraduate who has been working as a labourer for the last eight years at Trade Facilitation Centre is equally worried with the suspension of the trade.

He said many like him joined as labourers after finding no employment opportunities in the government sector despite an academic qualifications.

“This was the only means to earn bread for our families, which too has been snatched now. There are no good avenues of employment in Uri and we fear our families will have to starve ahead,” he said.

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Kashmir

Time to review Article 370, 35A in J&K: Rajnath Singh

Press Trust of India

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Jaipur Apr 22: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said India’s stand against militancy has been weakened on several occasions by the Congress party.

Addressing a press conference here, Singh said, “They (Congress) have given a new theory of Hindu militancy. There is no religion or caste of militancy. Their new theory weakened India’s stand against militancy.”

He said repealing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was another such case which undermined India’s stand.

 

“In 2004, India had an agreement with Pakistan in which its former army chief had assured that the country will not provide shelter and allow militancy to flourish on its soil, but Congress tried weakening India’s stand, saying Pakistan was also a victim of militancy,” he said.

The home minister said the opposition was doing politics over issues which should not be politicised.

Instead of praising the defence forces after the airstrike in Balakot of Pakistan, the opposition parties questioned it with queries on number of militants killed, he said.

“When such types of questions are asked, it weakens India’s stand against militancy,” he said.

Speaking on the Congress’ election manifesto promising to scrap the sedition law, Singh said the law should be further strengthened but it should not be misused.

Talking about Articles 370 and 35A for Jammu and Kashmir, he said it was a temporary arrangement and it was time to review it.

“How much the entitlement benefitted Jammu and Kashmir? When a few people are raising questions there should be two prime ministers in the country then what is the significance of Article 370 and 35A,” Singh asked.

He exuded confidence that the first two phases of Lok Sabha elections reflected a wave in favour of the BJP, and there was no doubt the party will get a clear majority and possibly the NDA will achieve 3/4th majority.

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