News Notes

CANDIDLY CONFLICTING

Mirwaiz-Umar-FarooqIt seems candid assertions of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are shaping up into conflicting versions. His statement about Vajpayee-led NDA has taken a different route.

The chief cleric of the valley and chairman Hurriyat (M) had stated that BJP-led NDA took some bold steps for the Kashmir resolution than Congress-led UPA.

His statement, however, was soon welcomed by BJP who claimed that Mirwaiz accepts the fact that ‘Kashmir is India’s integral part’, besides adding that by praising Vajpayee, Mirwaiz did hail the BJP ideology.

Pertinently, Mirwaiz has time and again said that UPA had some opportunities to resolve Kashmir but whatever they did was not enough. He also said that BJP is the same party, which under the prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee moved forward on the resolution to the Kashmir problem.

“If the NDA and the BJP walk on his footsteps, then there is a lot of hope. We saw Vajpayee and then Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf trying to take some bold decisions on Kashmir,” he said.

But soon reactions poured in. The former chief of India’s premier intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), Amar Singh Dullat said that if Narendra Modi comes to power, he will follow the policies of former Prime Minister Vajpayee.

Dullat, who is believed to be a close friend of Mirwaiz, has said that the statement made by Mirwaiz clearly indicates that he wants to see Modi as the Prime Minister of India. He said that Mirwaiz has his own stature and being the religious head, Government of India always wants to engage him in dialogue.

The head of moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz himself has accepted it many a times that dialogue is the only way to the solution of Kashmir issue. With Dullat’s assertion that UPA did not do anything in bringing Kashmiri separatist leaders on table, it is believed that once NDA comes to power, things will rapidly change and people of Kashmir will feel a change.

INSPIRE 2014

The  INSPIRE 2014 camp concluded on March 18. The camp that was held in the snowbound lawns of Srinagar’s Nigeen Club where about 300 toppers assembled on last Friday to be part of INSPIRE 2014 internship. The programme which started five years ago offers five day internship to the toppers of Class 10 and 12 students.

The students were addressed by Padma Shree Awardees, KL Chopra Padma Shri, former director IIT Delhi and Kharagpur, Prof Syed E Husnain and Prof Rajat Gupta, Kashmir University Vice Chancellor Prof Talat Ahmad and Shama Mukherjee from Calcutta University besides Inspire faculty.

Prof Husnain, vice chancellor Hyderabad University, who was the chief guest on the inaugural day, began his speech by praising the beauty of Kashmiri people. “It is not the land of Kashmir that makes it beautiful,” he said, “but the people living here add more beauty to the land.”

INSPIRE is held with the motto to breed scientific temper in the young and brightest minds, he said: “Science is not a profession or job, but a hobby with a difference that one is paid for it.”

“It is easy to shape a growing bud than to shape a grown up man,” said Dr Shah Mohammed Ashraf, convener INSPIRE. “INSPIRE is the only program started by government of India, 5 yrs back to strengthen young minds.”

“These Science camps essentially nourish the curiosity of children in science; help them to think out of the box and attract the students at an early age of 16-17 years [Class 11] to en roll in science subjects,” said Dr Seemin Rubab, Co-convener INSPIRE.

Regional coordinator INSPIRE Mrs Saika Sajid conducted the proceedings of the programme.

ATAL PRAISE

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Friday praised the initiatives taken by former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Kashmir though he said that the initiatives taken under ‘Insaniyat Kay Dayray Mein’ could not be institutionalized. However Mufti made it clear that his party will not forge any coalition with BJP.

Addressing a press conference here at his Gupkar residence, Mufti said that his party PDP tried to bridge the gap between people of Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi.

“Vajpayee understood our healing touch policy and he was the first Indian PM to hold direct talks with separatists,” Mufti said. Answering a question about the possible alliance with BJP, he was quick to add “No, we won’t form any alliance with BJP but will approach every party for Kashmir which so ever comes to power in New Delhi.”

“Last six years put people of Jammu and Kashmir in trouble again, we had succeeded in making people trust democratic institutions but the present coalition made needle of suspicion work again,” he said.

Mufti, who was flanked by party Parliament election contestants, said that Jammu and Kashmir being the crown of India needed to be handled carefully. “If this is the core of nationhood, then they should know how to manage state like J&K,” he said.

Mufti said that the new government that comes to power in New Delhi will have no alternative but to extend hand of friendship to Pakistan. “We have no other option but to extend hand of friendship to Pakistan,” he said. Adding, “NDA government did some good work in this regard but alas the things could not be institutionalized.”

Mufti said that Muslim majority nature of Jammu and Kashmir adds to secular nature of India but New Delhi should take proper steps to address the aspirations of people of Jammu and Kashmir. “In democracy we can’t stop our adversaries. Hurriyat symbolizes a view point and government of India should engage them,” he said.

Mufti Sayeed held the National Conference-Congress coalition responsible for the hanging of Afzal Guru. He said that it is the biggest tragedy that shook Kashmiris to core of their hearts. “UPA ko kis kis ko khush karna tha, mujay pata nahi. The state coalition is responsible for the hanging of Afzal,” he said, adding, “How was he hanged when his number was 28.”

Mufti Sayeed introduced his party candidates for upcoming Lok Sabha elections. He said that PDP put all its efforts to come forward with able candidates for the upcoming elections. “We think they can put best efforts to discuss and influence the Indian parliament on Kashmir issue,” he said. “We will ensure that a special session on Kashmir is held.”

CAPTIVATING CRIMEA

Crimea-Referendum-CelebrationsOn 16th March 2014, a referendum was held on the status of Crimea, a peninsula located north of the Black sea and south of Ukraine. Crimea is considered by Ukraine to be its integral part.  The referendum asked the people of the region whether they wanted to be a part of Russia or restore the 1992 Crimean Constitution. The Constitution accords greater powers to the Ukranian Parliament including full sovereign powers to establish relations with other states as a part of Ukraine.

According to the 2001 Ukranian Population census, 60.4% of the population in Crimea is ethnic Russians, 24.0% are ethnic Ukranians and 10.2% are Crimean Tatars.

Following the referendum, it was reported that over 96% of the voters supported the choice to join Russia. As a result of the referendum Crimea declared its independence from Ukraine and started seeking UN recognition and requests to join the Russian federation.

The referendum was widely considered illegitimate by the United States and members of the NATO. The voting put the United States and Russia on the kind of collision course not seen since the end of the Cold War.

The developments in Ukraine invoked great interest in Kashmir with both the mainstream and separatist leaders speaking on the issue.

Chairman of Moderate Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq termed Crimea’s independence from Ukraine as a morale-booster for Kashmir. He termed the development as an eye opener for New Delhi to shun its stubborn approach and allow Kashmiris to decide their fate.

Veteran separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in his statement said that the Crimean referendum has proven that no region of the world can forcibly be kept against the will of its people by any other country for long.

However, State Congress chief Saifudin Soz said that Crimea’s freedom from Ukraine is different from Kashmir issue and separatists relating the Crimean issue with Kashmir will never help Kashmir separatists. Soz claimed that the separatist leaders have always tried to take advantage of international situations.

 “They find it conducive to their demands. Never have they been benefitted from such hypothetically favorable situations,” Soz said.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here