Jammu and Kashmir cabinet condoles deaths in border firing

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Srinagar, Aug 19: The Jammu and Kashmir cabinet on Wednesday expressed grief and concern over the loss of lives, including the death of civilians, in skirmishes along the International border and the Line of Control (LoC), in the state.

"The cabinet expresses grief and concern over the loss of lives in the state in ceasefire violations and deep sense of loss over the death of civilians and property," state Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said in a press briefing.

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The statement came after the cabinet met here under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed on Wednesday.

The cabinet also expressed satisfaction "over the recent Independence Day celebrations and participation of people and the way law and order was maintained in the state".

Akhtar, however, parried questions about the impact of Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry's invite to Kashmiri separatist leaders ahead of the India-Pakistan talks scheduled for Sunday.

"I am now just briefing on the cabinet decisions," he said while dismissing media reports that the state government is constructing colonies for ex-servicemen in the valley as "a rumour and nothing else".

"Nothing such is on agenda. There is no such proposal, it is absolutely baseless and a rumour. We are made to respond to a thing that doesn't exist," the minister said.

Akhtar also announced land transfer for establishing four new medical colleges in the state, two each for Jammu and Kashmir regions. He added that the "government has approved the confirmation of appointment of Jahangir Iqbal Ganaie as Advocate General of Jammu and Kashmir."

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