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Kashmir railway makes history

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By K.N. Pandita

The formidable and inhospitable Himalayan Range called Pir Panchal has been penetrated. The 11.3 kilometer long tunnel linking Banihal with Qazigund and onwards to Baramulla has been completed. This is Asia’s longest tunnel on which work was begun in July 2005. Considering the features of the tunnel, the entire plan and engineering skill of highest degree it involved, there is justification for the IRCON to have taken a little more than the stipulated time to bring it to completion. The oldest tunnel we had once was almost at the height of ten thousand feet on Banihal top. Dug during the reign of Maharaja Hari Singh, the army used it extensively for transportation of men and material when the tribal raid of 1947 on the valley took place. As communication and transportation increased between Kashmir and the rest of the country, another tunnel for road transport called Jawahar Tunnel was made during the days of Bakhshi Ghulam Muhammad. It continues to be used till date.   Continue Reading…

Hurriyat seeking legal sanctity

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By K.N. Pandita

Seven member-delegation of APHC led by Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq began their week long Pakistan visit on December 15.  Shabbir Shah, supposed to be one of the teammates declined to travel on Indian passport.

At Lahore, the first leg of the team’s itinerary, Mirwaiz labeled Kashmir a”trilateral” and not bilateral issue. He wants Kashmiri representatives to be the third party to Indo-Pak dialogue.  It was the refrain of his assertions in almost all meetings with the leadership across the border. He did not elaborate whom the Kashmiri representatives would represent.  Continue Reading…

Estranged fraternity talks

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By K.N. Panita

It sounds good that cream of civil society on both sides of the LoC has come together in Jammu to continue their discourse on restoring peace in the disturbed Jammu and Kashmir. We welcome them. The gathering of about seventy persons drawn from different walks of life and dedicated to human values is a significant event.

In run up to peace initiatives of the Governments of India and Pakistan, civil society on both sides has moved to perform its role in supporting what the governments intend to do. These are democratic governments and it is in the fitness of things that they take civil society into confidence. As it should be, the Delhi-based Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation supplements government’s effort of carrying forward people to people interaction. Currently, it is holding third round of talks in Jammu, the winter capital, and we sincerely pray for its success. Continue Reading…

Firing in frustration

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By K.N. Pandita

Five days on, Pakistani Rangers assisted by the army units have been firing at our border posts in Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch. Pak army is actively involved in opening heavy mortar firing at more posts along the LoC. Their aim is to give cover to the militants camping along the LoC to infiltrate into our side of the line. Our security forces apprehend more firing in days to come. Continue Reading…

Militancy gets big rebuff

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By K.N. Pandita

Massive turn out of Sarpanchs and Panchs throughout the State for casting vote to elect four MLCs from the quota of seats for Panchayats is a significant event in the contemporary history of the State. Its significance lies in bold and decisive move by the representatives of the people to defy the diktat of the militant organization, especially the chief of the Jihad Council sitting in Muzaffarabad, PoK.  Continue Reading…

Defining terrorist act

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By K.N. Pandita

When terrorism assumed dangerous proportions as was manifested in events like 9/11 and the rest, democracies reacted in accordance with the law of the land. Closer study of existing legal dispensation revealed many discrepancies in the prevailing law. More importantly, a number of new dimensions of terrorism, hitherto not contemplated by law, came to fore. Thus democratic governments everywhere re-visited their existing legal regime to ensure that all dimensions of terrorism, from the definition of terms used to the execution of terrorist plans and missions came under the purview of law.    Continue Reading…