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 Ladakhis demand U.T. status
The Centre's principal interlocutor on Kashmir, Mr. K.C. Pant, today faced an such overwhelming opinion in Leh for granting Union Territory status to the hilly Ladakh region, that he could not turn up in time for a meeting with the Awami National Conference (ANC) president, Mr. G.M. Shah. The Pant-Shah meeting is now likely to be held tomorrow at Mr. Shah's Maulana Azad Road residence.

PM satisfied
The Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, today said he is satisfied with the response of the Pakistan Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to his invitation for talks. He said the dates for the meeting would be decided soon.

Would rather meet you, Hurriyat tells PM
Continuing to insist on tripartite talks, the All- Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairperson, Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat, today rejected the suggestion of the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, that the Hurriyat meet Mr. K.C. Pant, chief interlocutor, first. He said the Pant exercise had lost its meaning. Instead, ``we would like to meet both Mr. Vajpayee and Gen. Musharraf''.

Militants holed up in mosque
At least two security persons, one of them an Army jawan, were killed in a fierce encounter in a south Kashmir village since Wednesday morning. Four militants are holed up in a mosque and the exchange of fire between them and the security forces is on.

Mood upbeat in Pakistan
A day after the Pakistan Chief Executive, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, replied to the invitation extended to him by the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, to visit New Delhi for peace talks, there is a sense of elation here.

Koijam hits out at BJP
The Samata Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party may have signed a truce pact at the national level, but bitterness continues with the deposed Manipur Chief Minister, Mr. Radhabinod Koijam, of the Samata Party hitting out at the BJP for the defeat of his coalition government.

DPC denies plant shutdown
Enron entity Dabhol Power Company denied in a late evening press statement that it had shut down its plant and said, ``the plant continues to be operational as required by the Power Purchase Agreement.''

22 killed in train-bus smash
Twenty two persons were killed and 30 injured when the bus in which they were travelling collided with a train at an unmanned crossing near Phalia Bujrg, some 10 km from here, this afternoon, official sources said.

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