News Notes

For Gaza

Israeli-Flag-BurnProtests were held across the valley including Kashmir University over the killing of almost 100 civilians, including a large number of children, in Gaza strip by Israeli airstrikes since early this week, leaving hundreds of civilians, injured and maimed.

Hundreds of students gathered outside University mosque after Friday prayers in Kashmir University to protest against the “genocidal” bombing of Gaza strip by Israel. The students shouted slogans like “Down with Israel” against Israeli aggression and occupation of Palestine. The protestors burned the Israel’s national flag while shouting pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.

Youth also took to streets in various areas of Srinagar including Nowhatta, Abi Guzar and Maisuma against the continuous bombardment of Gaza and killing of civilians by Israeli airstrikes. They raised slogans against the state of Israel and the silence of world powers, including Muslim countries.

Among those killed were eight Palestinian family members, including five children, who died in a Thursday morning air raid in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

Avichay Adraee, a spokesman for the Israeli military to Arab media, on Friday morning said Israel had hit 1,100 targets since its campaign was launched earlier this week.

Meanwhile, violent protests erupted in Maisuma area of the city after JKLF Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik, who had to lead a sit-in at Lal Chowk in connection with the ‘Quit Kashmir’ campaign and against the Israeli bombing on Palestine, was arrested on Friday.

Hundreds of protesters came on roads and started protesting against the arrest of Malik. According to the reports, supporters of Malik resorted to stone pelting on forces, prompting the police to swing into action and disperse the crowd.

The protestors shouted slogan in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Back Together

 Omar-Abdullah-and-Rahul-GandhiWorried over the apprehensions of Modi-wave sweeping Jammu region in forthcoming assembly elections, it seems that the ruling coalition, much against its main members, is mulling over the NC-Congress pre-poll alliance in 2014 assembly polls. The debate has already created divisions within the party cadre and sources privy to the developments, claim that top leadership of NC and Congress is all set to give a green signal to the alliance.

However, the dissenting voices have said that “the alliance would prove disaster for the two parties.”

J&K Chief Minister and NC working president, Omar Abdullah who met Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on Tuesday discussed the prevailing political situation of J&K, especially the political arrangements between the two parties for Assembly elections in J&K.

According to the sources, top leadership of two parties is in favour of pre-poll or tactical alliance for Assembly polls to reduce the impact of Modi-wave in Jammu province.

National Conference is likely to announce list of candidates for the forthcoming assembly elections on Monday. Informed sources revealed to a local news agency, that Dr Farooq Abdullah National Conference president is arriving in Srinagar on Saturday evening or Sunday morning. “After his arrival a meeting will be held which will be presided over by Farooq Saheb and the next day we will announce the list of candidates,” a senior party leader said pleading anonymity.

Vice president of J&K Congress, Abdul Gani Vakil said any alliance with NC would be disaster for both the parties.

“If the two parties don’t learn lessons and repeat the same mistake as was committed in Lok Sabha polls by forging alliance, then NC and Congress will have to face disastrous results in Assembly polls also,” he said.

Senior leader and NC Additional General Secretary, Mustafa Kamal said his party has never contested Assembly elections in the State in alliance with any party.

“NC and Congress have been traditional rivals and the present alliance between the two parties was formed after Assembly elections in 2008 to form the government,” he said while advocating the party high command not to forge pre-poll alliance with the Congress.

He said leaders and workers want NC to contest Assembly polls alone. “It would be better for the two parties to contest the polls alone,” he said.

Relevance Issue

UN-office-in-KashmirLast week, asking United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) to vacate the government bungalow housing its office in the heart of the Capital, in New Delhi, Modi government again brought Kashmir Dispute to fore.

In a communication sent to the UN, the Modi government has conveyed that the UNMOGIP’s role has been overtaken by the Shimla Agreement and the consequent establishment of the Line of Control (LoC). New Delhi is of the view that the UNMOGIP has “no relevance or role to play whatsoever.”

The UNMOGIP, established under a UN Security Council Resolution, was meant to supervise the ceasefire line established under the Karachi Agreement of July 1949.

But the union government asked them that they should stay in Srinagar and ‘do what they want’. In case they want to be stationed in Delhi, they should hire premises in a private property and not occupy the government accommodation.

But then the United Nations has agreed that closing down its UNMOGIP office in India will have implications on the Kashmir issue.

“Definitely, I agree with what you just said,” UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric replied when he was yesterday asked at the daily briefing whether the decision to close down the UNMOGIP office has implications on the Kashmir issue.

Indian foreign spokesperson Akbaruddin said that the government is in budgetary season and “everybody is tightening their belts.” He added that “rationalisation means that you pay for what you get.”

And for resistance group, it was the time to castigate Union government. Hurriyats called the Modi government move as ‘ridiculous’ while Shabir Shah said that Kashmir Issue won’t die. And JKLF planned to hold a sit – in Lal Chowk on Friday.

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