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NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Karan Singh said on Wednesday that National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah‘s remarks on restoring the special status of Jammu and Kashmir were “totally unacceptable” and could provoke “unrealistic expectations” among the people of Kashmir.

“My old friend Farooq Abdullah has made an astounding statement to the effect that Article 370 will be restored with China’s support,” Singh said.

“I can understand his rage and frustration at recent events, including the fact that he was under house arrest for a year, an emotion that large sections in the Kashmir Valley share. However, his recent articulation is totally unacceptable. It will tend to, once again, provoke totally unrealistic expectations among the people of Kashmir,” he said in a statement.

The National Conference has denied Abdullah said Article 370 would be restored with “China’s support”. It asserted that Abdullah never justified China’s expansionism or its aggression during his interview to a TV channel on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Singh, the former Sadr-e-Riyasat and ex-governor of Jammu and Kashmir, welcomed the release of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti after 14 months in detention and hoped she and Abdullah will strengthen the democratic process by taking their agenda to the people once elections take place.

“That is the only way political stability can be restored in the state so that developmental activities in both the regions can gather momentum,” he said.

Mufti was released on Tuesday night as the Union territory administration revoked the Public Safety Act charges against her. She was detained following the abrogation of special status of the erstwhile state on August 5, 2019.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Terrorism enemy of humanity: LG

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SRINAGAR: LG Manoj Sinha on Thursday said October 22 will always remain a black day during his inaugural address of the national symposium and exhibition on “Memories of 22 October, 1947” in the city.

Sinha said we must make both the elderly and the younger generation aware that Pakistan not only shed the blood of the people of Kashmir, on this fateful epoch of history, it tried to divide us, which we have foiled with our unity and goodwill.

The LG said the two-day symposium and exhibition is a medium to expose the atrocities inflicted by the Pakistani government and its army upon innocent women, children, and men of Jammu & Kashmir on October 22, 1947.

“Even after 73 years, the pain and terrors of Operation Gulmarg of Pakistan are fresh in our memories,” Sinha said.

The two-day event on 22nd and 23rd October is being organized by the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology at SKICC, Srinagar.

A publication, Memories of 22 October 1947, was also launched on the occasion.

Speaking on the representations received from more than 100 prominent people across J&K regarding protection and restoration of places with heritage significance like Mubarak Mandi, Jammu, and Shergarhi, Srinagar, the LG reiterated the government’s commitment towards conservation and protection of the rich culture and heritage of J&K.

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INDIA

After BJP’s Bihar poll promise, MP CM Shivraj says will give free vaccine to poor

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BHOPAL: Taking a cue from BJP in Bihar who announced on Thursday to provide free Covid vaccine to the poor in the state, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that poor families in the state will get free Covid-19 vaccine.

“BJP has said a very good thing in Bihar. And I am also saying the same thing here. Let the Corona vaccine come, every poor in Madhya Pradesh will be administered free vaccine,” chief minsiter Chouhan announced during a poll rally in Gwalior on Thursday evening.

He further said, “I want to save from Corona, then poor will be saved first. we will also try to make arrangements for the rest as well. The BJP government is for the development”.

However, after chief minister’s announcement in Gwalior, an official tweet by Chouhan stated that Corona vaccine will be administered to all citizens in Madhya Pradesh. But, the government later clarified that CM had made the announcement for only poor.

“We have controlled the Corona infection to an extent but, vaccine is the only cure for it and vaccine should be given to the public,” read the tweet by CM.

The Congress though raised objections to the chief minister’s remarks and said that Chouhan’s statement was confusing. “Earlier the chief minister said that Corona vaccine would be provided only to poor families. In his tweeted posted later, he said Covid-19 vaccine will be given to all citizens. This is confusing,” said Congress state media coordinator, Narendra Saluja.

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INDIA

Women hold key to Leh council poll outcome

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LEH: More women than men came out to cast their ballot in the Leh Autonomous Hill Development Council election on Thursday, unmindful of the Covid-19 pandemic, bone-chilling temperature and border tension with China.

The country’s first electoral exercise in the post-Covid period saw 65%, Leh deputy commissioner and Election Authority Sachin Kumar Vaishya said.

A total of 28263 women cast their ballots against 25994 men. Postal ballots stood at 2538, covering those above 65, differently abled, in quarantine or isolation and services.

Polling went off without and incident but weather and Covid posed major challenges. At several places, batteries of the M2 EVMs (electronic voting machines) drained in the cold, the machines froze or took an hour to start. In one village booth, more than 100 kms from Leh, the polling staff had be replaced after many reported Covid symptoms. “The issues were resilved with excellent co-ordination among all arms of the administration,” he said.

The highest polling rate of 85% was recorded in the Sku Markha constituency, while the lowest was reported from the Lower Leh constituency. “Rural areas saw more polling than urban areas,” Vaishya said.

This the first LAHDC-Leh poll after Ladakh was carved out as a union territory last year. Polling percentage is same as the previous election in 2015, though the number of eligible voters has risen by 11% to about 90,000 since then.

Many young voters who were away for studies during the previous election are home this time as their institutions are closed due to Covid. “They may have filled in for some voters who may not have cast their ballot due to fear of Covid or weather to keep the voting percentage same as last election,” Vaishya said.

A 104-year-old woman in the Nubra tehsil was the oldest to cast ballot, while 2,500 were first-time voters. “We went to her (the oldest voter) house so that she could cast her vote. We ensured that no voter is left out,“ Vaishya said.

Some 57 of the 294 booths had all-women polling staff, while women made up 75% of the personnel at 38 booths.

Vaishya said the higher turnout of female voters reiterated the awareness and empowerment among women of Ladakh. He said the turnout showed the vibrancy “of our democracy and electoral process.”

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