T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Fourth Edition

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

August 2002


Spotlight               S H Zaidi

Top of Page        KPS Gill

Special Report     S Roughneen

Fundamentals     Praveen Swami

Periscope            B Raman

InsideTrack          H Bashani

Himalayan Blunder                 W Hussain

In Black & White G Peiris

Statecraft             B Raman

Bottomline           N Kaushik


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 T H E  B O T T O M L I N E


Centre to get tough with separatists

Narendra Kaushik

The Central government plans to be tough with separatists after the Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir. Though the Election Commission is yet to announce the schedule, the polls in the terrorism-torn state are likely to be held in the month of September.

“They (the separatists) are paper tigers with not much following in the public,” officials dealing with J&K in the Home Ministry claimed, adding that the Centre would get an opportunity to be even with them once elections in the state were over.

According to the Home Ministry, the influence of separatist groups like the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is limited to a few pockets of Srinagar. The officials did not give more than a dozen seats to the 23-party amalgam if the latter decided (which was unlikely) to join the electoral battle.

The officials estimated that Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference would once again emerge as the single-largest party in the state.

“Unlike last time, the NC may fall slightly short of the majority mark but it is still the only party whose presence is spread across all three regions, Srinagar, Jammu and Ladhakh,” the officials pointed out.

What has given good encouragement to the Centre is the not-so-loud response in the Valley to the arrests of APHC leaders Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Malik, chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and Geelani, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, were arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).

They have been accused of funnelling money, received from Pakistan and Britain, to terrorist groups in the state. The strikes called by the JKLF and the APHC in protest against the arrests passed off without violence in the Valley.

The state will in all probability have multi-phased elections so that the administration gets adequate time to move troops from one place to another.

Election commissioner T S Krishnamurthy is on a three-day tour of the state to check the arrangements. He will be back in Delhi on July 31, the day the Commission has to chalk out the modalities of despatching a nine-member team to Gujarat to see whether the state is ready for Assembly polls.





By special arrangement with Mid-day, Mumbai

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