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Hurriyat leader Geelani wants Pakistan to be firm on Kashmir policy

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Kashmir: Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani counseled Pakistan to be firm and consistent on their Kashmir policy. Two hardliner Hurriyat conference leaders, Peer Saifullah and Altaf Ahmad Shah, met Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in Delhi on Monday and delivered the message from Geelani.

They also emphasised that Pakistan should highlight, in international forums, the human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir, reported Firstpost.

“The Hurriyat delegation handed them a message from Geelani that Pakistan should continue to maintain consistency and firmness over its Kashmir policy and play an active role in highlighting the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir at international forums,” said Ayaz Akbar in a statement.

Apart from that they also discussed on the recent visit of Sushma Swaraj to Pakistan to attend the Heart of Asia conference.

“A Hurriyat delegation sent by chairman Syed Ali Geelani held a detailed meeting for one-and-a-half hours with Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit in New Delhi…They held a detailed discussion over the recent meeting of Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan leaders on the occasion of the Heart of Asia Conference in Islamabad last week and also discussed the Kashmir policy there,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said in a statement in Srinagar.

This meeting came after Swaraj, India’s external affairs ministry, met with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and decided to enter into a comprehensive dialogue covering Kashmir issue among others. (IANS)

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Kashmir Violence: Curfew in the state continues for the Ninth Day

The death toll in the ongoing violence reached 41 after an unruly mob torched a police picket in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on July 16

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Curfew continues for ninth day in Kashmir. Image Source: www.netiap.com
  • The death toll in the ongoing violence reached 41 after an unruly mob torched a police picket in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Saturday
  • State government officials said newspaper owners were asked to suspend publications till July 19
  • The shutdown in the Valley started on July 9 following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani in a gunfight with the security forces on July 8

Strict curfew continued for the 9th day in the Kashmir Valley on Sunday, police said. “Curfew shall continue in all the ten districts of the Valley,” a senior police official said.

“Security forces have been instructed to allow movement of patients along with their attendants.”

Curfew continues in Kashmir for ninth day. Image Source: AFP
Curfew continues in Kashmir for ninth day. Image Source: AFP

“People going to the airport will not face any hardship as air tickets were being treated as curfew passes,” the official added.

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The death toll in the ongoing violence reached 41 after an unruly mob torched a police picket in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district on Saturday. Police opened fire at the mob resulting in the death of a youth.

All vernacular and English dailies suspended publication for the second day on Sunday.

Press publication banned in Kashmir till 19th July. Image Source: muslimmirror.com
Press publication banned in Kashmir till 19th July. Image Source: muslimmirror.com

State government officials said newspaper owners were asked to suspend publications till July 19.

Cable television operations were allowed on Saturday evening after remaining suspended for a day.

The resumption of cable television operations was allowed after the operators agreed to take off all Pakistani TV channels and two private Indian channels.

Mobile phone internet and call operations remained suspended in south Kashmir areas for the eighth day while the same remained suspended for the second day in central and north Kashmir areas on Sunday.

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Mobile phone operations without any internet facility are, however, continuing on post-paid mobile phones provided by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

Train services between north Kashmir Baramulla and Bannihal town in the Jammu region also remained suspended.

All recruitment interviews scheduled for the next four days have been cancelled by the state public service commission (PSC).

All schools, colleges and universities in the Valley were also shut down.

Senior separatist leaders including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmad Shah and others have been either placed under house arrest or taken into preventive custody to restrain them from participating in protests.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Image Source: www.youtube.com
Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Image Source: www.youtube.com

Separatists have appealed the people to continue the shutdown till Monday.

The shutdown in the Valley started on July 9 following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander, Burhan Wani in a gunfight with the security forces on July 8. (IANS)

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Srinagar becomes a fortress ahead of Modi rally

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New Delhi: In a bid to thwart separatist outfits from disrupting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Srinagar, security forces nabbed over 400 Kashmiris and blacklisted over 50 social media pages on Saturday. The Sher-i-Kashmir stadium, where Modi will deliver his address has been turned into a fortress following the separatist group’s call to demonstrate against the rally.

While many top separatist leaders featured in the list of the detainees, several others have been put under house arrest.

Cases have also been filed against unknown people for allegedly spreading propaganda to fuel unrest.

In addition, political parties have been barred from holding rallies on Saturday.

“The situation is not very ideal. There has been a problem, you can’t deny that. There is a section of people who don’t like such gatherings and if government is taking precaution, it will be for the general good of the people,” said Rafi Ahmad Mir, general secretary of the PDP.

However, the umbrella organization for all separatist groups, the All Party Hurriyat Conference is keen to make it clear that Kashmiris are against Indian occupancy in the state.

“Our rally will be a message for India to read the writing on the wall that Kashmiris are against Indian occupation,” said Ayaz Akbar, a spokesman for the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

However, the move to arrest leaders drew flak from several quarters who cited that such stringent measures were not taken when former PM Vajpayee visited Kashmir in 2003.

Kashmiris have, in addition, been protesting about the lack of federal government aid more than a year after the worst flooding in over a century devastated half a million homes.

While police set up countless check-posts around Srinagar, soldiers patrolled the streets to prevent any subversive activities.

On Thursday, attacks by militants on a paramilitary camp left 11 soldiers injured.

Modi is expected to declare an economic package to help the state recover from the floods and also reach out to youth.

(Picture Courtesy: www.gg2.net)

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Modi visit would change destiny of Kashmiris: Mufti

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Picture Courtesy: www.skynews.au

By Arka Mondal

Despite the escalating media hype around the slated Kashmir rally of PM Modi, traders and civil society activists in the valley have not pinned many hopes on the visit. Modi government’s failure to release the flood package (for the devastating September 2014 floods) even after over a year has irked many in the state.

Though PDP has failed to justify its decision of joining hands with the BJP, it sounded positive regarding the visit. Claiming the visit to be akin to ‘Vajpayesque approach’, Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed said that Modi’s visit would change the destiny of the people of Kashmir.

Though PDP and the BJP are, ideologically, poles apart, the PDP leaders are working to set the tone for the Modi rally. They testified that they wanted to rationalize their move of forging a partnership with the political major of India.

The party went to the extent of claiming that Modi might speak about a probable dialogue with arch rivals Pakistan from the podium of Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium. This comes at a time when Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani has proposed to hold a rally on the TRC Ground on the same day to thwart the BJP juggernaut in the Kashmir valley.

However, there are hints that Modi might hold dialogues with separatist outfits as BJP cognizes the importance of Kashmir in making India a dominant force in the region.

The pro-PDP faction, however, expects a lot from the visit. In a bid to pacify them, Modi is expected to reach out to all stakeholders; declare a proper rehabilitation package of at least Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh for each person of the business community; a tax waiver for at least 10 years; and cash compensation so that businessmen are able to recover their losses due to the floods.

Government sources revealed that Modi would announce a development package worth Rs 1 lakh crore which would include Rs 72,000 crore for new projects and for relief and rehabilitation works in the flood-ravaged state.

The Kashmiris, in general, are not much enthused when Indian premiers visit their state. And there are obvious reasons for that. Developmental projects have always been ignored in the region. When former PM Rajiv Gandhi declared a Rs 1000 crore package aid, Rs 992 crore were meant for National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) and a further Rs 6 crore were spent by the then chief minister, Farooq Abdullah, on converting the city forest into a golf course, leaving just Rs 2 crore for different developmental projects. Similarly, out of the Rs 24,000 crore package announced by Manmohan Singh, Rs 18,000 crore was just meant for NHPC.

Kashmiris are familiar with the fate of such aids. The mediocre aid of Rs 3800 for those whose houses were damaged by the flood speaks volumes of how the people have been ignored but have been utilised to satiate political agendas.

The people of the valley have come out of the hangover of the PM’s last visit last year where he claimed that he ‘felt the pain’ of the people of Kashmir and claimed their dreams as well.

Though Modi is likely to announce a package that focuses on resurrecting the infrastructure lost in the 2014 floods with focus on roads, bridges, power, and tourism projects, it will depend on how much of the package would be meant for infrastructure development and how much of it would reach the flood-affected people.

Only time will tell whether Modi in his address from Sher-e-Kashmir stadium on November 7 declares big package and calls upon the separatists and Pakistan like Atal Bihari Vajpayee did during his iconic visit to Kashmir, or it becomes just another visit by another PM.