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Kashmir MLA to attend Islamabad conference, Hurriyat also invited


New Delhi: Separatist groups and two Jammu and Kashmir legislators have been invited to a conference on Kashmir set to be held in Islamabad, and, at least, one legislator on Friday said he will attend.

The invitation for the January 20-21 Round Table Conference has been issued by Sardar Muhammed Yaqoob Khan, president of Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Those invited include all constituents of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, civil society members and legislators Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami (CPI-M) and Engineer Rashid (Independent) — the latter said he will take part.

A spokesman for Rashid, who heads the Awami Ittehad Party, said he would leave for Pakistan on Saturday. His party is not recognised by the Election Commission.

Kashmiris being the principal party to the dispute and victims of the conflict should not waste any opportunity to put forward their viewpoint before India, Pakistan or the world community.

While, in Islamabad, Rashid will meet various political groups and different sections of the society over various aspects of the 68-year-old Kashmir problem, said the spokesman.

Tarigami told on a phone conversation that he was yet to decide about his participation. Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Mohammed Yasin Malik said he was yet to get an invite.

Separatist leaders invited to Islamabad include Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani, Hurriyat moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Dukhtaran-e-Milat chief Aisa Andrabi, and Hurriyat Conference leaders Shabir Shah, Aga Syed Hasan and Muhammad Yousuf Naqash.

The invitees are expected to shed light on the Kashmir conflict and its ramifications on India-Pakistan relations as well as the “rise of Hindu right in India”.

A similar conference was held in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan- administered Kashmir, in 2008.

That meeting was attended, among others, by Tarigami, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, PDP leader Moulvi Ifthikar Ansari and Independent MLA Hakeem Yasin.

Pakistan controls the northern third of Jammu and Kashmir state.

(Inputs from Aadil Mir, IANS)

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Beef reinstated in Kerala House menu


By Arka Mondal

New Delhi:  Amid the protest, politics and the police move, ‘beef’ is expected to be served at the Kerala House canteen by noon today.

The ‘beef raid’ by 20 policemen at the Kerala House drew flak from various quarters with stalwarts lambasting the move by Delhi Police and Chief Ministers Arvind Kejriwal and Mamata Banerjee using twitter to condemn the moral policing by the Delhi law and order force.

Kerala House sources declared that they have decided to bring back ‘carabeef‘ (buffalo meat) dish and serve it by Wednesday noon.

Meanwhile, condemning the initiative by the police, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy sent a strong worded letter to the Prime Minister asking him to look into the matter.

“I would like to inform you that the Kerala House staff canteen serves authentic vegetarian and non-vegetarian Kerala cuisine and the items in the menu are entirely within the law,” Chandy mentioned in the letter Narendra Modi.

The Prime Minister’s Office seeking details of the Delhi Police action from the home ministry questioned why ‘such a big team’ of 20 policemen were deployed for the move.

Justifying the raid, Delhi Police chief Bassi said, the preventive measure had to be enforced owing to the ‘reputation’ of the complainant. Backing the move, Bassi further said, the police was stationed to prevent any kind of communal flare up.

“We know no irregularities will take place at Kerala House, but it was our duty to investigate the matter since the complaint was on a serious issue… We had no option but to react very fast, as it could have been a situation which would lead to a communal flare up,” said Bassi on Tuesday evening.

Earlier on Monday evening, Kerala House had to welcome some unwanted guests as 20 policemen raided the canteen to check the presence of ‘cow meat’ following the complaint lodged by Hindu Sena men.

In defense, the police claimed that the move was a precautionary measure to stop any communal flare from brewing.  Citing the incident involving Jammu and Kashmir lawmaker Engineer Rashid, the police defended themselves saying, they acted for the sake of law and order.

Mentioning that if the Kerala House registers a complaint, Bassi said, “we will conduct an inquiry against the Hindu Sena men”.