February 2003 News

Vohra Appointment 'futile': Shah

20 February 2003
The Statesman

Jammu: Though Mr Narendra Nath Vohra has been appointed as the new interlocutor to Jammu and Kashmir, the senior separatist leader and president of Democratic Freedom Party, Mr Shabir Ahmad Shah, today termed the appointment 'a futile exercise'. He said by changing negotiators from time to time, the Centre cannot achieve anything. The Jammu and Kashmir Cabinet has welcomed the appointment of former Union home secretary Mr Narender Nath Vohra as the Centre's new interlocutor for Kashmir talks. The separatist conglomerate the All Party Hurriyat Conference's decision-making apex seven-member executive council is meeting shortly to formulate its response. Mr Shah said that without the Centre making clear as to what Mr Vohra is going to discuss with separatist leaders of the state, no talks can progress. Accusing the Centre of lacking seriousness, Mr Shah said his party had never closed doors for talks and that he and his colleagues showed no reluctance in talking to negotiators of New Delhi. Five civilians killed: Terrorists detonated a powerful improvised explosive device on the Baramulla-Uri highway, killing five civilians and injuring three, who were travelling in a bus. This explosion is being seen as a clear indication from militant outfits that they are opposed to any kind of dialogue on Kashmir. This major incident coincides with the Pampore bye-elections which are scheduled for Wednesday. The Baramulla-Uri national highway, where this powerful blast took place, is a strategic highway linking North Kashmir to the rest of the state and is frequently used by the army to carry supplies to soldiers posted at the LoC. Kargil flights The ministry of defence has started courier flight service to Kargil from Jammu and Srinagar for civilian passengers. In the 30-seater aircraft, 15 seats each have been earmarked for Jammu and Srinagar passengers. The fare structure, time and departure of flight and its frequency will be decided by Air Force authorities. The divisional commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu would function as nodal agencies for operating the flight.


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