Babus, Corruption and JUDICIARY

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Judiciary swung into action this week with regard to corruption cases involving seasoned bureaucrats. Acting on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), Division Bench of the State High Court issued notices to various office bearers of the government including the Chief Minister.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice J P Singh passed legal decree while proceeding in the much publicised Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking prosecution of senior IAS/IFS/KAS officers involved in corruption cases.

A notice in this regard was served to the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary, Secretary Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Secretary Union Ministry of Personnel and Training, Commissioner Secretaries of General Administration, Law, Housing and Urban Development and Social Welfare Departments and Commissioner of Vigilance Organization.

On the behalf of Union of India, the notices were accepted by ASGI K K Pangotra, while AAG Gagan Basotra accepted the notices for Chief Minister and other State functionaries.

The Division Bench expressed deep concern over delay in according sanction by the State Government and Government of India for the prosecution of the IAS/IFS/KAS officers involved in the corruption cases after going through the status report filed by Commissioner Secretary GAD.

“The perusal of the office report reveals that there are number of officers, who are prima-facie found guilty and against whom cases have been made out by the State Vigilance Organization. The authorities have themselves placed reliance on a judgment of Apex Court in the case of Dr Subramanian Swamy Vs Dr Manmohan Singh and another”, the DB observed.

DB also said that the respondents shall show cause as to why there is delay in according sanction for prosecution against the officers, who have been named by the petitioners as well as in the status report. The PIL filed by Sheikh Mohd Shafi, son of former Member Parliament Sheikh Abdul Rehman and Prof SK Bhalla, a social activist through Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmad has pointed out that out of 21 cases, 12 cases are presently under examination of the Government whileas seven cases have been referred for grant of prosecution sanction to the competent authorities.

Keeping in view the public interest involved in the PIL, the DB directed the Registry to list the case in the week commencing from August 6, 2012.

 

Over to MARATHI

Valley boys are learning Marathi nowadays and excelling in it as well. Adopted by a non-profit organisation, Sarhad, eleven boys have excelled in Marathi in the Class 10 exam conducted by the Maharashtra government.

“When we got the children, the idea was to inculcate the local culture in them, without disconnecting them from their roots,” Sarhad Founder Sanjay Nahar said. “We didn’t isolate them and they studied with the local children.” He added that the children make perfect ambassadors for both Pune and Kashmir.

In 2004, these children were brought to Pune and today they are speaking Marathi and taking in the culture. For the last eight years, the language and the city has become their own according to Sanjay.

Manzoor Ahmad, who scored 75 in Marathi and 70 per cent in all said that after initial hiccups he learnt the language easily.

15-year-old Tenzin Namdol from the Jhaskar region scored the highest in Marathi amongst the boys. “I got 76 percent in Marathi, and 69 percent in the rest of the subjects,” he beams proudly.

All of them attend the Sarhad School in Pune, along with the local children and study in the English medium with Marathi as the second language.

The boys said that the people at home used to ask them about their return plans. “But now when they see us returning every holiday they know we will return for the development of the region,” Mohsin Ali, from Kupwara, who scored 75 per cent overall, and 73 in Marathi, said.

Another boy from the village, Dardpur in Kupwara, said that there are many children who still don’t go to school and he feels lucky that he came to Pune and passed Class 10. He has scored the highest overall amongst the boys at 80 per cent, with 72 in Marathi.

Keeping their future plans very clear, the boys want to return and work for education in Kashmir.

 

 

Wooing Tel AVIV

The state Tourism department is hitting global roads to woo more tourists to the State. In a latest move, an official delegation is going to Tel Aviv to attract Israeli tourists and give a boost to the tourism sector of the state.

According to Director Tourism Kashmir, Talat Pervez, a number of tourists from Israel have been visiting the Valley and Ladakh in the past as Israel has not issued any travel advisory for Kashmir. ” We are keen that maximum number of tourists from Israel visit Kashmir,” he said. “That is why we are visiting the country and on June 25 we would do a road show in Tel Aviv.”

The tourism department delegation will interact with tour operators to create awareness about the changing situation in Kashmir. “At present situation here has changed for the better. We are witnessing tourism boom also improving our infrastructure,” he said.

The tour has been organised by the Union Tourism Ministry and will feature road shows in Tel Aviv besides screening of films and documentaries about Kashmir. The next stop of the tourism department is at Jordon and Dubai.

In coming years the focus of the tourism department will be on the Middle East. “We have been earlier in UAE and we hope our shows in these places change the perception of people towards Kashmir,” Pervez said.

The tourism department is also inviting the European Union to visit Kashmir. The department would be asking them to lift travel advisories issued by them for visiting J&K. All European Union countries have issued travel advisories to its citizens cautioning them against visiting Kashmir. These are in vogue since 1989. Germany, however, became the first European country last year to modify its travel advisory to Kashmir.

In the meantime, 17,000 foreigners have visited Kashmir in spite of travel advisories since January this year.

 

 

Desecration

Protests erupted in the areas of Bandipora and Gurez against alleged desecration of Holy Quran and a Masjid, in Tragbal village came in on last Friday. Reports say the incident of the desecration took place immediately after local BEACON laborers came to blows with the labourers from outside the state. Immediately after the news spread in the area people came out on roads and staged massive protests forcing police to impose restrictions.

A case has been registered by the police under section 295 Ranbir Penal Code against unknown persons and around 54 BEACON laborers were detained for questioning regarding the incident. Later 30 of them were released as 24 are still in custody.

A Defense spokesman has said that the BRO authorities are very sad and disturbed over the incident, whileas Chief Engineer of the BRO’s project Beacon has clarified and confirmed that no person of Beacon was involved in this incident. He has also while condemning the incident said that it could be the act of some miscreants to cause disharmony and disturbance in the state.

Separatist leaders were kept under house arrest to prevent any demonstrations in the areas of Bandipora, Sopore and Baramulla but the residents of different villages of the border area Gurez took out a major procession. The mob later attacked a camp of project Beacon’s GREF at village Hussan on Dawar-Tulail Road, torched 15 sheds causing injuries to 12 Bihari labourers who later took refuge at a camp of 51st Rashtriya Rifles Bn.

According to reports, laborers working with GREF had found one of three copies of the holy book missing on Friday last at a makeshift place of worship and later found some torn off pages in close vicinity of their camp. On their complaint, Police Station Bandipore registered a criminal case and detained 10 of the Bihari labourers all belonging to one particular religion. After the protests, the town and its peripheries were put under strict restrictions and the locals alleged that the CRPF men went berserk without any provocation, barged into several houses in main town and smashed the window panes.

The authorities have been quick to dismiss the issue as a mere rumor spread by some “miscreants”. “We are investigating the matter and have detained several people for questioning. We appeal people to maintain calm and peace till the truth is unveiled.”, said a police officer .

 

 

Loc Skirmish

The only official route connecting Kashmir with Pakistan was closed down for trade and the ‘peace bus’ after the rival armies exchanged fire that led to casualties on both the sides. After this gates were locked at Zero point in Poonch’s Chakan da Bagh area.

“Nothing is happening right now,” Trade Facilitation Officer (TFO) Abdul Hamid said. “Normalcy will restore only after flag meeting will take place but the problem is that they (Pakistan army) do not want the flag meeting.” Both the sides are accusing each other for the crisis. Indian army says it all started on June 13 afternoon when Pakistani gunners targeted Nangi Tekri posts in Krishna Ghati sector at around 2:15 pm. Rajinder Singh, a soldier, was injured in the attack.

When reinforcements were sent to evacuate the soldier to the hospital, Pakistani army did not allow the evacuation by increasing the small arm shelling. Three soldiers – PP Bakar, Jai Parminder and Balwinder Singh, were reported injured in this attack. Singh died instantly and remained on the border for the night. The fire was retaliated and the exchanges continued till 7 pm. Army says the firing is aimed at pushing in infiltrators, a process that has become very difficult because of the border fence.

In a fortnight, army spokesman from Jammu said that Pakistani troops have violated the ceasefire four times in Poonch area alone. A few days back the troops detected a serious attempt by three militants to infiltrate from Janghar area of Nowshera sector in Rajouri. The other side is also accusing India of opening the fire and attacking the civilians. Police officials in Rawlakot belt have claimed firing and shelling on Battal village where at least two civilians were injured. The crossfire impacted the initiatives that are totally civilian in nature. Eighteen of the PoK visitors who were supposed to cross the LoC on June 18 after expiry of their visa terms could not leave as the bus service was suspended. Now the district authorities have sent their requests to MEA for extension in the visas of stranded visitors till the service is resumed.

For two days there was no trade from Chakan da Bagh window as the gates remained closed. Trading takes place four days a week and passengers crossover once in seven days. Reports from Poonch said that trucks laden with merchandise were actually sent by the traders but they returned from the zero point when the Pakistanis did not open the gate. Traders pointed out that this was for the first time when hostilities led to suspension of the two major exercises. Now the army is using its hot line connectivity with the other side to have a flag meeting in which the issues could be sorted out. No meeting took place on Monday though some ground work had been done on that front. The stand-off in Poonch sector, however, has not impacted the movement of civilians and the trading Lorries in Uri between Slamabad and Chakothi.

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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