Srinagar, Oct 14: Governor Satya Pal Malik Sunday said that the most important stakeholders in the peace process is JK’s youth and it is essential to engage them regularly and effectively to give impetus to peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Governor said this while speaking with the youth during an interactive session ‘Kashmir Youth Dialogue’ organized by Jammu Kashmir Youth Alliance at SKICC on Sunday.
Advisor to the Governor K Vijay Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Governor, Umang Narula, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, Patron JKYA Khalid Jehangir, members of JKYA besides a number of youth participated in the interactive session.
Addressing the gathering, the Governor said it is very important that the youth are given momentum in right direction to channelize their creative, intellectual and innovative energies and talents in a productive manner.
Conveying the commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure free and fair elections in the state, Governor Malik said that the students are torch bearers for emerging societies and urged the students to partake in the democratic process as leaders and as participants to shape the new future for the state.
He assured full support of the state and central administration for the overall development of the State’s youth.
The Governor also participated in one-on-one interaction with the youth during the session, in which youth put forth their grievances and concerns on a variety of subjects including state of education in J&K, especially Kashmir, where education is regularly hampered on account of bandhs and restrictions; delay in conduct of examinations and declaration of results by the Universities and other higher education institutions; lack of recreational options for youth; corruption and lack of accountability in the state; drug addiction; negative portrayal of valley by national media, etc.
Addressing these concerns individually, the Governor informed the gathering that designated recreational spaces will be created and made available in localities across the State for youth to congregate productively. Further, to provide youth with proper launch platforms, there have been talks to host IPL matches in Kashmir, besides holding matches where local players are provided opportunities to compete with players of national and international repute, the Governor said.
On the pertinent concerns with regard to the education sector, Governor Malik said that he will ensure that Universities and other higher educational institutions will prepare and adhere to an academic calendar, clear backlogs, besides, ensuring timely conduct of examination and declaration of results. He said that he has already directed the Universities to organize free coaching and counseling for students for various competitive examinations.
To ensure the welfare of students from Jammu and Kashmir studying in other parts of the country, the Governor said that liaison Officers will be designated for areas having higher number of students from the State who will act as a point of contact in these states for the students to get their concerns presented and addressed.
The Governor assured the youth that his administration has taken up the concern for well-being of Kashmiri students studying in Aligarh Muslim University with their administrative counterparts in Uttar Pradesh so that students can carry on with their studies in a safe and secure environment.
He further assured the students that innovative ways are being explored to ensure digital connectivity to students throughout the year so that access to education is not hampered. Governor also reiterated his commitment to bring the office of the Governor and the common public closer.
Phase III Lok Sabha polls: Anantnag to go to polls today
Srinagar, Apr 22: The Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir goes to the polls in the third phase on Tuesday even as the security forces face a serious challenge to ensure that the democratic process passes off peacefully.
Due to the overwhelming security concerns, the Anantnag parliamentary constituency comprising four districts — Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama — will vote in three phases. Polling in Anantnag will be held on Tuesday, followed by Kulgam (April 29) and Pulwama and Shopian (May 6).Over 100 additional companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been deployed to augment an already existing large contingent of state police and CAPF personnel deployed on poll duty in this constituency.
Because of the serious security challenges in the constituency, by-poll could not be held in Anantnag after Mehbooba Mufti, President of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), resigned the seat in 2016 to become the state’s Chief Minister following the death of her father, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
In addition to the presence of foreign militants, homegrown militancy is a big challenge here for the agencies maintaining ‘law and order’.
In the last four years, a large number of local youth, majority of them well-educated and belonging to upper middle class families, have joined militant ranks in the four districts of Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam and Pulwama.
The problems for the security personnel have been compounded by stone pelting at armed forces during security operations against holed up militants, thousands of mourners turning out to attend funerals of slain militants and the failure of the mainstream politicians to move out even in areas from where they were voted to the state Assembly in 2014.
Due to security issues, the voting process here would be held between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., instead of the 6 p.m. deadline observed in the other constituencies of the state.
While there are five main candidates in the fray from Anantnag — PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, Congress’ Ghulam Ahmad Mir, Hasnain Masoodi of the National Conference (NC), Sofi Yusuf of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Chowdhary Zafar Ali of the Peoples Conference (PC) — the key contest here is between Mufti and state Congress President Mir.
Out of the 16 Assembly segments under the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency, the PDP had won 11, Congress 2, NC 2 and CPI-M 1 in the 2014 Assembly elections.
Given these statistics, Mufti’s victory may look like a cakewalk, but the ground situation has undergone a sea change since 2014.
The failed ruling alliance between the PDP and the BJP in the state has hit the former’s prospects in Anantnag as it has done in the rest of the Muslim majority Valley.
Mufti has taken a huge gamble by deciding to fight the Lok Sabha polls from here. Her victory or defeat would seriously impact the prospects of her party in the state Assembly elections likely to be held later this year.
Her problems have been compounded by Mir throwing his hat in the electoral arena. Mir has committed vote banks in Dooru, Shangus, Kokernag and Devsar segments.
While it is expected that the voter turnout would be good in these segments, there is a possibility of thin voter turnout in the segments where the PDP believes its vote banks exist.
Given this reality, the final result could see a photo finish between Mir and Mufti.
Poll campaign by different parties here has been generally muted because of security constraints.
How many voters come out to vote on Tuesday would be keenly watched. But no matter what, the security forces will have their tasks cut out to ensure that polling is conducted smoothly in this volatile constituency.
SRI LANKA BOMBINGS: Death toll rises to 290
Colombo, Apr 22: The toll in the eight coordinated bomb blasts that rocked Sri Lanka during Easter celebrations rose to 290, police said on Monday.
Police spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara told The New York Times that 24 people have been arrested in connection with the deadly explosions in which nearly 500 people were injured on Sunday.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the reporters that the authorities had prior “information regarding a possible attack” before the bomb blasts ripped through churches and hotels in Colombo and two other towns in the island nation.
“While this goes on we must also look into why adequate precautions were not taken,” Wickremesinghe was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera.
The police said that the investigation will examine reports why the intelligence community failed to detect or warn of possible suicide attacks ahead of the blasts, the worst violence in Sri Lanka since the end of the civil war 10 years ago.
They also said that an improvised pipe bomb found close to Colombo’s main airport late on Sunday, was successfully detonated. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The Prime Minister said, “So far the names that have come up are local,” adding that the investigators are looking into whether the attackers had any “overseas links”.
According to Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry, at least 17 people from eight countries, including three from India, were among those who were killed in the serial blasts. The dead included five citizens of Britain, three Danes, two each from China and Turkey and one each from the Netherlands and Portugal, reported CNN.
The ministry said that 19 foreign nationals injured in the attacks are receiving treatment at Colombo National Hospital.
Following the bomb attacks, the Sri Lankan government had imposed a 12-hour island-wide curfew from 6:00 pm on Sunday.
After a discussion with heads of security forces and all other departments regarding the current security situation in the country, President Maithripala Sirisena had announced that the government and private schools would remain closed till Tuesday.
In addition, steps have been taken to temporarily block all social media accounts until the investigations are concluded.
‘National Tawheed Jamath’ suspected plotters: Sri Lanka
Press Trust of India
Colombo, Apr 22: A local outfit identified as the ‘National Tawheed Jamath’ is suspected of plotting the deadly Easter blasts that killed 290 people and wounded 500 others in the worst terror attack in the country’s history, a top Sri Lankan minister said on Monday.
Health Minister and the government spokesman, Rajitha Senaratne, also said that all suicide bombers involved in the blasts are believed to be Sri Lankan nationals.
Speaking at a press conference here, the minister said that the Chief of National Intelligence had warned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) regarding the probable attacks before April 11.
“On April 4, international intelligence agencies had warned of these attacks. The IGP was informed on April 9,” Senaratne said.
He said that the local outfit identified as the National Tawheed Jamath – a radical Muslim group – is suspected of plotting the deadly explosions.
“There may be international links to them,” he added.
Senaratne sought resignation of police chief Pujith Jayasundera in view of the major security lapse.
Rauff Hakeem, a government minister and the leader of the main Muslim party – Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, said that it was lamentable that no preventive action had been taken despite the inputs.
“They have known this…, the names have been given, identified, but (they) took no action,” he added.
Two Sri Lankan Muslim groups – the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama and the National Shoora Council – have condemned the blasts and offered condolences to the Christian community.
They have urged that all culprits be brought to book.
Seven suicide bombers were involved in eight blasts that targeted St Anthony’s Church in Colombo, St Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and Zeon Church in Batticaloa when the Easter Sunday mass were in progress. The explosions also struck three five-star hotels in Colombo – the Shangri-La, the Cinnamon Grand and the Kingsbury.
No group has claimed responsibility for Sunday’s attacks, but police have so far arrested 24 people.
If well, Malik to appear in Delhi Court tomorrow
Srinagar, Apr 27: Detained Joint Hurriyat leader Yasin Malik, who was shifted to a hospital in Delhi after his health deteriorated due to a hunger strike in Tihar jail against his “illegal detention”, will now appear in Patiala House Court on April 24 as a magistrate has ordered his judicial remand after meeting him in the hospital, sources said.
Malik, who was shifted to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital in Delhi after his health worsened in the jail last week, was likely to be shifted back to Tihar Central Jail on Monday, sources added.
“Malik had told the visiting magistrate on Saturday that he will break the hunger strike only if he was sent to judicial custody, which the magistrate eventually ordered,” sources told The Kashmir Monitor over the phone from Delhi.
Chairman of JKLF (banned by Government of India last month), Malik was detained under PSA and shifted to Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail in March.
Earlier this month, he was arrested from the Jammu jail by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the alleged funding case and brought to Delhi.
Last Saturday, Malik’s family in Srinagar said Malik was “very ill” after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention by the NIA. A Delhi court had on April 10 sent Malik to NIA custody till April 22 in connection with the alleged funding case.
PDP demands shifting him to Srinagar
Srinagar, Apr 22: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday demanded shifting JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik to Srinagar, terming his failing health a major cause of concern.
In a statement issued here, PDP leader Mohammad Sartaj Madni said that government of India cannot ignore the mounting concerns of the people of the state about the deteriorating health of incarcerated JKLF Chief.
“Malik’s family has already expressed its concern over the way in which the health of their son is sadistically being ignored in an outright manner and that there are apprehensions that if adequate medical facilities aren’t put in place for Malik, his life could be in danger,” Madni, as per the statement, said.
He added that even if ideologically there is a deep chasm between separatists and New Delhi and their views do not square with each other, “vindictive approach against them is unconstitutional, illegitimate and inhuman.”
Madni demanded that Malik should be immediately shifted to Srinagar and treated here only. According to the PDP leader, shifting Malik to Kashmir will facilitate his family to take care of him and will also pacify people who are concerned over his failing health.
Pak criticises Malik’s confinement
Press Trust of India
Islamabad, Apr 22: Pakistan on Monday criticised India for arresting and confining separatist leader Yasin Malik in connection with a case related to the alleged funding in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Pakistan strongly condemns the continuing incarceration and deteriorating health of Yasin Malik since February 22 on trumped up charges,” Pakistan’s foreign office said in a press release.
“We expect the Government of India to ensure the wellbeing of Malik, including provision of adequate health care,” it said.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested JKLF chief Malik on April 10 after a special NIA court in Jammu gave the go ahead for his custodial interrogation by the probe agency.
Malik, who was shifted to Tihar jail under police protection, was taken into preventive custody in February by the Jammu and Kashmir police and shifted to Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.