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Will revoke PSA if voted to power with majority: Omar

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Jan 31: As old and new political parties prepare for a face-off in the assembly elections, Senior National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Thursday vowed to revoke controversial Public Safety Act (PSA), if his party was voted to power.

Addressing NC’s workers’ convention in south Kashmir’s Pulwama, Omar Abdullah said the party will work vehemently towards the welfare of the state and the big relief will come as a revocation of PSA if voted to power.

“The revocation of armed forces special powers act (APSPA) is not possible without Centre’s consent but we can definitely do something about the illegal state laws,” Omar said.

 

He stressed, “I assure you that our party will remove the roots of distress caused by this draconian law. Once in power, the law will be abolished without a second thought.”

The NC leader said that Kashmir needed a strong, stable and decisive government. and asserted that weak coalitions would be bad for the valley.“We have seen several weak coalitions in the past. Take for instance, PDP-BJP alliance. Unlike her father, Mehbooba ji could only survive for two years,” he said.

He accused the previous regimes of delivering “weak governance” who constantly sought support from other parties.

“Late Mufti (Muhammad Sayeed) was there (CM) courtesy (Ghulam Nabi) Azad and Azad’s Chief ministership was possible because of Mufti. And I remained in power for six years because of Congress support,” Omar said.

“We want to establish a government without anyone’s help. Our aim is to form a government that doles to the all the sections of society,” he said.

He added, “A government is formed to giving a healing touch to the wounds of masses, and alleviate their pain rather than adding to their woes.”
Referring to the recent bids of Mehbooba Mufti of capturing the lost landscape of Kashmir by shedding crocodile tears, he said, “ During our stint in government from 2009-2014, we worked towards reconciliation and lessening the foot-print of security forces. However what good was achieved during NC led Government was put into an abyss by the former BJP-PDP led government.”

Omar said that Mehbooba’s supplication for releasing prisoners is too late an effort to move people. “People have seen it all with their eyes as to who opened the flood gates for all those forces as are contriving hard to destroy the state,” he said.

“Now a days Mehbooba ji is pushing for the release of political prisoners and other political activists. Given the fact she was the one in whose tenure as chief ministership youth were hounded; crackdowns, and CASOs were unleashed on people. No one can deny the fact that it was during her tenure that saw a steep rise among the young educated youth joining militancy,” he said.

Omar said that people still remember how bare facedly Mehbooba Mufti had said that the guns of CRPF and other Para military forces ‘aren’t for mere display but action’. “Now the same lady has the gumption to ask for release of prisoners in whose tenure they were arrested,” adding that it is the same

Mehbooba Mufti who presided over scores of bindings, maiming and civilian killings during her tenure.
“People remember the way she mocked the pain and agony of people with her toffee and milk remarks,” he said.

Omar said that his government had the sincerity of thought and a commitment towards service that helped him to serve people for six years. “If we had worked like Mehbooba Mufti did, we couldn’t have completed our full tenure,” he said.“Her own brazen assertions wherein she said that she tied up with BJP to save her party from disintegration, is reflective of her political bankruptcy and disrespect for the people of state especially Kashmir, which continued to suffer under her rule,” he said.

While referring to the sleuth of people friendly schemes of his government including SKEWPY scheme for youth, Omar said that the former BJP-PDP government failed to rise up to the expectations of youth and pushed them to wall.

Omar maintained that south Kashmir has been worst affected due to the imprudent policies of former BJP-PDP led government. “The landscape of south Kashmir is presenting a charred look. There is no house that isn’t weeping on the loss of its loved ones,” he said the developmental scenario of south Kashmir also reveals a grimy tale of neglect.

Omar maintained that National Conference has the sincerity of thought and the political will to pull the state out of morass, death and destruction to peace and harmony. “I wasn’t expecting such a turn-out of people here in Pulwama, but the way you have turned up has increased my absolve to serve you,” he said adding that south Kashmir in particular has to take a stride in the direction of giving the state a strong mandated government by giving NC a strong mandate to peruse the agenda of peace, prosperity and reconciliation.

 

NC responsible for imposing PSA, AFSPA, POTA: PDP

Srinagar, Jan 31: Reacting to Omar Abdullah, the PDP and People’s Conference lead by Sajad lone claimed that NC was responsible for imposing black laws in the state.
Reacting to his statement, the PDP in a tweet said, “A party that convinced the idea and acts like PSA, POTA, AFSPA to muzzle the dissent voices, rigged elections in 1987, booked elected people in jails and declared them militants are now asking for majority to revoke PSA. Illogical! @OmarAbdullah @JKNC.
Similarly, Sajad Lone said in a statement, “Omar Abdullah says will repeal PSA if Nc elected with majority. This Act was introduced by Sheikh sahib in 1975. Initially meant for timber smugglers. Was misused. From 1975 to 1989 NC was in power. NC introduced it misused it and now wants votes to repeal it. 1st generation Sheikh sahib :-PSA introduced by NC 2nd generation Dr Farooq sahib :-POTA introduced to state by NC) 3r generation Omar Abdullah:-jurisdiction of NIA extended to j and k by NC.”


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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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