News In Brief

Official with Gandhi backing takes over in strife-torn state

Jammu and Kashmir's state parliament Tuesday backed new chief minister Ghulam Shah - but only after all 32 opposition members had walked out of the chamber - the Press Trust of India reported. Mr. Shah took over as chief minister when his brother-in-law, Farouq Abdullah, was ousted from the post four weeks ago.

Mr. Abdullah, leader of the opposition National Conference Party, was forced to quit when 13 members of his party defected and joined forces with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Congress (I) Party. Mr. Shah is supported by Mrs. Gandhi's party.

Abdullah called for a statewide strike yesterday to show public support for his return to the chief ministership. He has been accused by India's government of shielding pro-Pakistan Muslim fundamentalist groups in Kashmir and Sikh extremists from nearby Punjab State. He denies the charges.

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