J&K will see a new dawn of development: Ram Madhav

With the scrapping of Article 370, the people of Jammu and Kashmir would see a new era of development, said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national vice-president Ram Madhav, here on Wednesday.

Speaking to media on the sidelines of a programme on education and Indian freedom struggle, Madhav said, “The people of J&K will join the development league with the scrapping of Article 370. They shall get the benefits of development in the form of health and education facilities, which will now reach the interiors of the state.

“When we talk of Kashmir, it means the entire territory once ruled by Maharaja Hari Singh is ours. Today, it might be occupied by other nations, but it’s and always will be ours. When situations come in our favour, it will be brought back to us,” the BJP leader said.

Recalling the resolution passed by Parliament in 1994 that the territories occupied by other countries need to be brought back to India. he said, “It’s pending and will be accomplished when right time comes.”

He said PoK and Aksai Cheen were integral parts of India.

The day Maharaj Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, the merger of Kashmir with India happened on the constitutional grounds, but Article 370 proved a barrier in the emotional merger of the state with the rest of India, he said. Now with the scrapping of Article 370, that barricade had been removed, he added.

Madhav said the BJP government had made amendments to article 370 respecting all constitutional grounds, and added the strong will power of leaders helped us accomplish it. “We respected and abided by all constitutional procedures to take a step forward towards,” Madhav said.

He criticised the opposition parties for terming it a bad decision and added, “This is right for Kashmir”.

Before starting his address, Madhav paid condolences to former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who passed away on Tuesday following a heart attack. “The BJP had cancelled all its programmes, but it was important for me to attend this programme,” he said.



High voltage Cabinet meet at PM’s residence amid J&K tensions

Amid an unprecedented lockdown and flaring tensions in Jammu and Kashmir, as uncertainty looms large over a build-up of troops in the valley, the Union Cabinet on Monday met at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence here.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval were among the leaders present in the high-level meeting.

The meeting comes after political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone, were placed under house arrest as strict restrictions were imposed in the Kashmir Valley from early Monday morning.

The state administration has also imposed Section 144 in Srinagar, as well as in Jammu, while mobile Internet services have also been suspended.



Congress condemns house arrest of J&K political leaders

Senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Monday criticised the Narendra Modi-led government for the house arrest of senior political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that it was a signal that the government will defy all democratic norms to achieve its objects.

In a series of tweets, Chidambaram said: “Before the day is over we will know if there will be a major crisis in J&K. Keeping my fingers crossed.

“The house arrest of J&K leaders is a signal that the government will defy all democratic norms and principles to achieve its objects. I condemn the house arrests.”

Slamming the Modi government, Chidambaram said: “I had warned of a misadventure in Jammu and Kashmir. It seems the government is determined to embark upon one.”

His remarks came hours after many senior political leaders including former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, were not allowed to move out of their houses as strict restrictions were imposed in the Kashmir Valley from Monday morning.

Senior Congress leader and former Union Ministers Shashi Tharoor and Jyotiraditya Scindia also condemned the government over its decision to put the political leaders under house arrest.

Tharoor tweeted: “You are not alone Omar Abdullah. Every Indian democrat will stand with the decent mainstream leaders in Kashmir as you face up to whatever the government has in store for our country. Parliament is still in session and our voices will not be stilled.

“What is going on in J&K? Why would leaders be arrested overnight while having done no wrong? If Kashmiris are our citizens and their leaders our partners, surely the mainstream ones must be kept on board while we act against terrorists and separatists? If we alienate them, who’s left?”

Scindia also took to twitter and wrote: “The uncertainty and fear only serves to worsen the situation. Government must be open, transparent, and take people and opposition leaders into confidence.

“Leaders being placed under house arrest overnight while mass hysteria and deployment of troops, both continue to rise. The situation in Kashmir is indeed worrying. The govt must make its intentions clear.”



Amit Shah to begin J&K visit with prayers at Amarnath Cave

Union Home Minister, Amit Shah will begin his two-day maiden visit to Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday by paying obeisance at the Amarnath Cave Shrine.

A source privy to the schedule of the Union Home Minister’s visit said Shah will arrive in Srinagar today and take a chopper to reach the Amarnath Cave shrine to pay obeisance there.

“A special prayer is being organised by the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board in which Shah will take part at the Cave Shrine today,” the source said.

This year’s annual Amarnath Yatra begins on July 1 and will end on August 15.

After having �Darshan’ inside the Cave Shrine the Union Home Minister will chair a high level security review meeting pertaining to the security arrangements made to ensure an incident free Yatra this year.

“This will be followed by another security meeting to review the overall security in the state and the counter insurgency measures.

“The Home Minister will interact with state Governor, Satya Pal Malik and spend the night at the Raj Bhawan”, same source said.

Shah will meet state BJP leaders and also members of Panchayats at the Nehru Guest House in Cheshma Shahi area of Srinagar city tomorrow.

He will also meet delegations of civil society members, delegation of people connected with tourism and some youth delegations.

Before flying back to Delhi, the union home minister is likely to address a media conference in Srinagar tomorrow.

Shah is not visiting Jammu and Ladakh divisions of the state during his maiden visit to the state after taking over as the country’s home minister.

Security has been beefed up on Shah’s visit to the Valley. Restrictions on movement of traffic have been announced for two days on the Boulevard Road that goes round the Dal Lake in Srinagar.

Shah’s main activities during his two-day visit are taking place at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Complex (SKICC), Nehru Guest House and the state Raj Bhawan.

All these venues are located close to the Boulevard Road in Srinagar.



J&K Governor: Separatist Hurriyat leaders ready for talks

 Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Saturday that the separatist Hurriyat leaders are ready for talks with the government.

Speaking at a function in Srinagar during the distribution of free-to-air Doordarshan set-top boxes to border residents, Malik said earlier the same Hurriyat leaders were shutting their doors on dialogue but are now ready for talks with the government.

Referring to Friday’s statement by senior separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq where he expressed concern over the growing menace of drug abuse among the Kashmiri youth, the Governor termed it as a welcome statement.




Delimitation of Assembly seats in J&K could push polls beyond 2019

 The Union Home Ministry’s recent decision to call for the delimitation file from the Jammu and Kashmir law department has fuelled speculation on whether the upcoming state Assembly election would have to wait till the fresh delimitation of Assembly seats in the strife-torn state.

The Election Commission has said that the schedule for the Assembly election would be announced after the conclusion of the annual Amarnath Yatra which begins on July 1 and will end on August 15.

Political circles in the state believe that if the plan to hold a fresh delimitation of Assembly seats is approved by the Governor, who under President’s Rule assumes all constitutional and executive powers in the state, the holding of Assembly elections would be delayed further and could even be pushed to 2020.

If a fresh delimitation is ordered in the state, the process has to be undertaken and completed by the Election Commission.

At present, the state Legislative Assembly, which is the lower house of the state’s bicameral legislature, has 87 seats. Of these, 46 are in the Kashmir Valley, 37 in the Jammu division and four in the Ladakh division.

Another 24 Assembly seats have been reserved for those territorial constituencies of the state which are at present in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, which according to the state’s Constitution, is an integral part of Jammu and Kashmir.

There has been a growing demand from Jammu-centric mainstream political parties especially the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that the current delimitation of Assembly seats in the state has caused damage to the administrative, economic and political interests of Jammu and Ladakh divisions.

“The last delimitation of Assembly seats has been completely pro-Valley and that too by overlooking the interests of the Jammu and Ladakh regions,” said Kavinder Gupta, former Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader.

The last delimitation of Assembly seats was done in J&K in 1992-95.

BJP leaders strongly believe that at present the delimitation of Assembly seats is heavily skewed in favour of the Kashmir division at the cost of Jammu and Ladakh regions.

They argue that the Kashmir division accounts for 15.8 per cent of the area and 54.9 per cent of the population while Jammu division accounts for 25.9 per cent area and 42.9 per cent of the population while the Ladakh division has 2.2 per cent of the population, but 58.3 per cent of state’s area.

BJP leaders further argue that the last delimitation exercise was done in 1992-95 and possibly the full impact of the migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley was never fully factored in.

The focus of the BJP leadership is that the Jammu and the Ladakh divisions must get more Assembly seats through a fresh delimitation and it is generally believed that the Home Ministry calling for the delimitation file from the state law department is to “address the injustice done to Jammu and Ladakh regions of the state”.

Kashmir-centric parties like the National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party and others argue that fresh delimitation cannot be done in J&K as it is due only after 2031 census like in the rest of the country.

The Farooq Abdullah-led state government in 2002 chose to freeze delimitation until 2026 by amending the Jammu and Kashmir Representation of People Act 1957 and Section 47(3) of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

Valley-centric political parties argue that this was done only to bring J&K at par with other Indian states where the next delimitation is due only after 2026.

These parties also argue that the basic intention behind another delimitation around this time is to redraw the political, economic and administrative map of the state on communal lines.

Delimitation by Jammu-centric political parties is also sought to give voting rights to refugees from West Pakistan who came here after the India-Pakistan wars of 1947, 1965 and 1971.

At present, these refugees living in the Jammu region have voting rights in the parliamentary elections, but not in the state Assembly polls.



Mystery shrouds baffling behaviour of students at remote J&K school

Students at a far-flung school in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district have been exhibiting inexplicably strange behaviour such as rolling on the floor that has baffled both teachers and parents.

Kewal Krishan, headmaster of a government high school in Sitti village of Bani tehsil told IANS: “It all started about a month back. Two students in class 1 said they were feeling dizzy. After a while they started weeping and crying.

“We immediately shifted them out of the classroom and brought them into the office. Instead of getting any better, they started rolling on the floor”.

The headmaster said after a few days the same behaviour was exhibited by three girls of class 9.

“This put us on the alert. We called their parents who said two of these girls had suffered similar attacks a few times at home, but the parents of the third girl were shocked to learn about the behaviour of their child.

“On June 13, things started getting out of hand as 20 to 25 students, both boys and girls of 9th and 10th class displayed same symptoms in the classroom. On June 14, the number of students showing same symptoms of headache, weeping, crying and then rolling on the floor went upto 50.

“We reported these incidents to senior officers after which the local SDM visited the school along with a team of doctors from Bani hospital. They prescribed some medicines for the affected children, but this did not help as the students again showed the same behaviour.

In the meantime, some videos started doing the rounds on local Whatsapp groups about the students showing inexplicable symptoms. The chief educational officer sent a team of doctors who said that they did not find any medical reasons for the behaviour attributed to the children,” the headmaster said.

He said an administrative officer who came to the village also happens to be a doctor.

“He met the affected students. He told us that it was not unusual for children to imitate behavioural symptoms of each other. He also said it is quite possible the affected students are not doing well academically and they have consciously or subconsciously adopted symptoms as excuses for their parents to withdraw them from the school,” the headmaster told IANS.

He said wild rumours are doing the rounds in the village that some a “tantric” book has found its way into the village that might have been read by these students.

“Unless we have enough medical evidence and remedy available for the strange behaviour of our students it is natural for rumour mongers to spread fear among the villagers in such a far-flung area,” the headmaster said.

He denied that any psychologist had so far visited the school who attributed the behaviour of the students to mass hysteria.



MHA ready with fresh list of top 10 militants active in J&K

With eradication of terrorism from Jammu and Kashmir being the focus of new Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Centre has issued a list of top 10 terrorists operating in the state who need to be eliminated.

The list includes wanted terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Hizbul Mujahideen and Al Badr based on inputs shared with the Ministry by Jammu and Kashmir Police, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Intelligence Bureau (IB).

Six of the top 10 militants named in the the list belong to Hizbul Mujahideen, two from JeM, and one each from LeT and Al Badr terrorist organisation.

LeTs commander Wasim Ahmed alias Osama, active in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian district, and chief Hizbul Mujahideen commander Riyaz Naikoo alias Mohammed Bin Qasim are mentioned on the top of the list.

Hizbul Mujahideen’s Anantnag district commander Mohammad Asraf Khan, Baramulla district commander Mehraj-ud-Din, cadre of Srinagar Dr Saifulla, Pulwama district commander Arshad-ul-Haq and Ajaj Ahmad Malik, probably appointed as Kupwara district commander, are in the list.

The list also includes Javed Matoo alias Faisal alias Shakib alias Musab, Divisional Commander of Al Badar in North Kashmir; Zaheed Sheikh alias Omar Afghani of JeM; and chief operational commander of JeM Hafiz Umar, a resident of Pakistan.

The list was revised to update the Home Minister about the targets of security agencies in Jammu and Kashmir.

The update followed the June 1 meeting of the Home Minister with Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, IB chief Rajiv Jain, RAW chief Anil Dhasmana and senior officials of the Home Ministry .

It is learnt that Shah has directed the concerned officials in the Home Ministry and security agencies to continue with the zero-tolerance policy across the country.

In this direction, he has so far taken three meetings on internal security with special focus on Jammu and Kashmir.

He has been apprised on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in border areas by the Jammu and Kashmir Affairs division which deals with counter-terrorism, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and coordination between ministries, including external affairs and defence.


Over 40 people detained in Wednesday night raids in J&K

Over 40 people were taken into preventive custody by the police in raids in Jammu and Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama districts late on Wednesday night. The raids were carried out in villages in Tahab, Chewakalan, Vehil, Narwah in the two districts.

Around 30 people were taken into preventive custody by the police in similar raids Pulwama two days back.

Although the police did not give any reason for the detentions, it is believed that the people taken into custody had been involved in disturbing law and order in these two districts in the past.

Voting in the third and final phase for the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat is scheduled on May 6



J&K governor reviews construction of bunkers for border residents

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Tuesday reviewed the progress of bunker construction for border residents and the status of ex gratia relief paid to victims of border shelling.
A statement issued by the state Raj Bhawan said: “In a meeting held at Raj Bhavan, Governor Satya Pal Malik, the Governor was informed that 10,260 bunkers are to be constructed in the border districts of Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Rajouri and Poonch.
“These are being executed by the Public Works Department and Rural Development Department. To date 2,041 bunkers have been constructed and a work plan has also been prepared to accomplish the remaining assignment in a time-bound manner.
“The Governor expressed satisfaction over the progress in execution, observing that in the past the construction of bunkers had remained sluggish which has gained traction during the recent months.”

Mob burns J&K Governor’s effigy in Kishtwar

An angry mob in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kishtwar town on Saturday attacked the office of the district magistrate and burnt the effigy of Governor Satya Pal Malik.

The mob, shouting slogans against the state government and the district administration, damaged the window panes and doors of the district magistrate’s office.

The protesters were demanding shifting of the district magistrate and police chief of Kishtwar district.

The protests, called by the local organisation Sanathan Dharam, were held against the failure of the administration to nab those involved in the killing of RSS leader, Chanderkant Sharma, his security guard and a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Anil Parihar and his brother.

Anil, and his brother, Ajit Parihar were killed by the militants in Kishtwar on November 1, 2018.

Also, militants killed Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Sharma and his security guard in broad daylight in the town on April 9 this year.





Entire JeM leadership wiped out in J&K; Corps Commander

Security forces have eliminated the entire leadership of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) in Jammu and Kashmir and nobody is now ready to lead the terror outfit which was responsible for the Pulwama terror attack, a top Army Commander said here on Wednesday.

Lt Gen K.J.S. Dhillon, who heads the army’s Srinagar-based 15 Corps, said that after the Pulwama terror strike in February, the security forces have killed 41 terrorists, out of whom 25 belonged to the JeM outfit.

“The entire leadership of the JeM has been decimated. Nobody is now ready to head the outfit in the Valley,” he said at a press conference here along with state police chief Dilbag Singh.

The JeM carried out the ghastly terror attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama on February 14, killing 40 personnel. Within days, the security forces said all those involved in planning of the attack had been killed in various gunfights.

“In 2019, the security forces have killed 69 terrorists so far,” Lt Gen Dhillon said.

The police chief said the security forces were in complete control of the ground situation, which he claimed “is fast improving”.

Dilbag Singh said there was a marked fall in the numbers of local youths joining the militant ranks.

“There was a marked decrease in stone pelting incidents during 2018 as compared to the previous years.”



Sushma urged to help bring back J&K student’s body

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah on Saturday sought External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s help to bring back the body of a Kashmiri student who died in Bangladesh.

Quaratulain, a girl belonging to the Anantnag district, died on Saturday in Bangladesh. She was pursuing MBBS course at Tahir-ul-Nissa medical college in Bangladesh.

“Dear @SushmaSwaraj ji, Quaratul Ain, a Kashmiri student, has died in Bangladesh. She was pursuing her studies in Tahir Ul Nisa Medical College. Request your help to the family to get her body home”, Mehbooba Mufti wrote on her Twitter handle.

Omar Abdullah also made a similar request.

“Dear @SushmaSwaraj sahiba, I have received this request for help from journalists in Anantnag. Their colleague lost his sister Quaratulain, a student at Tahir-ul-Nissa medical college in Bangladesh. The family needs assistance getting the young lady’s mortal remains back,” he wrote on his Twitter page.



Mehbooba asks people to defy highway ban in Jammu and Kashmir

Former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday asked people to defy ban on highway in Jammu and Kashmir and also warned India of a Palestine-like situation in Kashmir.

Protesting against the national highway ban on civilian traffic on the national highway on Sundays and Wednesdays, Mufti said in Pantha Chowk area of Srinagar on Wednesday: “Jammu and Kashmir’s relation with New Delhi is not like a Palestine-Israel relation. If New Delhi wants to convert our relation like the Palestine-Israel, then they have to be ready for a Palestine like situation as well.”

She told people to defy the highway ban order as it amounted to subjugation of Kashmiris and their economy.

“People should drive their vehicles on the highway to defy the order. We will see who takes action against them,” she said during the protest.

The decision to ban civilian and public transport on the national highway on Sundays and Wednesdays was taken by the state government to ensure safety of security forces convoys on the highway.

The decision was taken in the aftermath of February 14 terror strike on the highway in Pulwama district in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed.

Authorities have said the ban would not apply to medical emergencies, movement of lawyers, doctors, tourists, government employees, school buses and agriculturalists.

Authorities said magistrates have been deputed on all crossings on the national highway to permit bona fide civilian movement.

The decision to selectively allow civilian movement has not been able to address the common man’s anger.

Local traders dealing in perishable items like vegetables, mutton and other such items argue their goods perish on storage as they are unable to carry on normal business during Sundays and Wednesdays in markets on the flanks of the national highway.



Arrested J&K suspect planned suicide attack on CRPF convoy

The suspect arrested after the car explosion on Jammu-Srinagar highway on Saturday was planning to carry out a suicide attack on a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy, the Jammu and Kashmir Police said on Monday.

Addressing a media conference here, Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said the suspect had escaped from the site on Saturday but was traced and arrested on Monday.

The arrested youth, identified as Owais Amin of Shopian district in the Kashmir Valley and a member of the banned Hizbul Mujahideen group, was also produced before the media.

“We recovered 50 gelatin sticks of super power 90 brand, urea, sulphur, ammonium nitrate, two bottles of petrol, and two LPG cylinders. These high grade explosive materials were recovered spread around the burning car.

“We had immediately started an operation to trace the driver of the car who had somehow managed to escape and we were successful in arresting him today (Monday),” the DGP said.

Amin said he had been assigned the job of carrying out a suicide attack against the CRPF convoy passing on the highway on March 30 and was told that he would receive his instructions on phone. “I was only told to press the button after coming close to the CRPF vehicle,” he said.

The police said they had clearly established that militants had made plans to carry out a massive suicide attack which got aborted because the car carrying the high grade explosive caught fire before the driver could trigger the bigger improvised explosive device (IED).

The DGP said the blast occurred because a small IED inside the car went off before the driver could trigger the high-grade IED with which he had planned to carry out the suicide attack.



If Article 370 goes, J&K will renew ties with India; Mehbooba

Article 370 of the Constitution is a bridge between Jammu and Kashmir and India and if it goes, people in the state will be forced to think if they want to be with New Delhi or not, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday.

Addressing activists of her Peoples Democratic Party, she said if Article 370 was scrapped, new conditions would have to be worked out between Jammu and Kashmir and India.

In such an eventuality, the people of the country’s only Muslim-majority state would be forced to think whether they want to remain with India or not, she said.

“If you break that bridge (Article 370), then you will have to renegotiate the relationship between India and Jammu and Kashmir.”

Mehbooba Mufti’s statement came in response to a comment made by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that Article 35A was constitutionally vulnerable and an impediment to the economic development of Jammu and Kashmir.



Rasikh Salam becomes 2nd J&K cricketer to play in IPL

Rasikh Salam Dar, the 17-year-old son of a schoolteacher, on Sunday become the second cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) after Parvez Rasool.

Salam, a right arm fast bowler, was included by Mumbai Indians in the playing XI against Delhi Capitals in their opening IPL match at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Sunday.

He conceded 42 runs in the four overs he bowled, but could not pick up a wicket.

Salam is the third cricketer from J&K to be picked by an IPL franchise. Manzoor Dar was roped in by the Kings XI Punjab in 2018 but he didn’t play any match.

Rasool has played 11 IPL matches for three different franchises — Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sunrisers Hyderabad and the now defunct Pune Warriors India.

Belonging to Ashmuji village in Kashmir’s Kulgam district, Salam made his Ranji Trophy debut for J&K in December last year.




3 militants killed,7 security men hurt in J&K gunfights

Three militants were killed while seven security men and three civilians injured on Thursday in three different battles between security forces and militants in the Kashmir Valley, authorities said.

While the first gunfight erupted in Sopore town, two gun battles were reported later from Bandipora and Baramulla districts.

Police sources said firing exchanges between the security forces and militants have stopped in Kandi area of Baramulla district and bodies of two militants found.

A para commando of the army, four policemen and two civilians were injured in this gunfight.

Police said one militant was killed in the exchange of fire between security forces and the militants in Mir Mohalla of Hajin area – once considered a zone “liberated” from militant control -in Bandipora.

“One militant has been killed so far. Another militant is still holed up inside a house where a 12-year-old boy is also believed to be stuck. Another civilian was safely evacuated from the house during the operation,” a police officer said.

According to a tweet by the police, the two civilians were being held hostage by the hiding militants. While one was rescued safely with the assistance of security forces and community members, the other, reportedly a minor, was still trapped.

Police said security forces started a cordon and search operation in Hajin, following intelligence inputs about the presence of militants there.

The militants who were in hiding opened fire at the security forces in Mir Mohalla, sparking off the gunfight.

Another gunfight started in Kandi area of Baramulla after security forces resumed on Thursday morning a search operation which was suspended due to darkness on Wednesday evening.

“As the search operation was resumed, militants fired at the security forces, triggering an encounter,” the officer said.

In the third incident, two policemen – a Station House Officer (SHO) and his security guard – and a civilian were injured earlier on Thursday when militants hurled a grenade at security forces in Warpora area of Sopore town and then opened fire.

“Both the policemen have been shifted to Srinagar for specialized treatment. The operation against the militants is going on,” a police officer said.

A civilian sustained bullet injury in his leg in the Sopore gunfight. He too was shifted to hospital and his condition was stated to be stable.

As a precaution, authorities suspended mobile Internet service in Sopore town.




China veto on Masood, no J&K polls Modi’s failures; Omar

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Thursday said that China’s veto against JeM chief Masood Azhar being declared a global terrorist and not holding Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir were “big failures” of the Modi government.

Abdullah tweeted: “China places a ‘technical hold’ on Masood Azhar in the UN again! Pakistan gets its way once again.”

The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister described the China move and the inability of the central government to hold Assembly elections in the state as failures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“PM Modi surrendered to China on Azhar and surrendered to Pakistan & its proxies by delaying elections in J&K. How can the BJP claim to have been tough on internal security and tough against terror?”

He also took a dig at Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for his comment that Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s statement following China’s move on the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief would become headlines in Pakistan.

“Mantrijee, your government gave Pakistan a small victory when you postponed the Anantnag by-poll in 2017 and a big victory now that you have failed to conduct Assembly elections. If anyone is giving Pakistan a reason to celebrate, it isn’t @RahulGandhi. Look closer to home Sir.”



Omar flays Modi for not holding Assembly polls in J&K

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not giving the people of Jammu and Kashmir the right to choose a state government.

Abdullah was reacting to Modi’s appeal to people to vote in large numbers to increase participation in the democratic exercise.

“Dear @narendramodi Sahib, it is good to see you appealing to famous people to increase voter turnout. However, at the same time, your government has consciously disenfranchised people in J&K by not holding Assembly elections on time,” the National Conference leader tweeted.

Abdullah was highly critical of the central government, saying that the state was governed by New Delhi’s nominee.

“The right to choose an elected government, as opposed to being governed by a hand-picked nominee of the central government, is the hallmark of the sort of democracy you are tweeting about. Please give us our democratic right to choose our own government,” he said.

The Election Commission has decided not to hold the Assembly elections simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls in the state.



Election Commission team on two-day visit to J&K

A team from the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday embarked on a visit to Jammu and Kashmir to review the preparedness for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and the security situation in the state.

“The team headed by Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Sharma will hold meetings with leaders of seven national and three regional parties in Srinagar on Monday,” official sources said.

They will also hold detailed discussions with top administration officials including Deputy Commissioners and Senior Superintendents of Police of 10 districts in the Kashmir Valley and two in the Ladakh division.

According to the sources, the team will also be briefed about the security situation in the state following cross-border tensions in the past one week.

“Before flying back to Delhi tomorrow (Tuesday), the team will hold a press conference here tomorrow,” the sources added.

The ECI visit is taking place amid intense speculation whether the state Assembly polls will also be held simultaneously with the general elections or be deferred to a later date.