Leader of Opposition in Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly and National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah on Friday asked the PDP to introspect over its Faustian bargain with the powers that be to remain in power and said PDP should realise that bartering its political soul for power was a compromise not only with the remnants of its own dignity but with the honour and interests of the State and its people.
The spokesman said expressing profound grief and sorrow over the unabated civilian killings in the State, the NC Working President sought the constitution of a high-level Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate into the twin FIRs on the killing of three civilians in Ganovpora Shopian by the Army.
“It is an extraordinary situation where in the army has lodged a counter FIR and therefore investigations should be carried out by a high-level team of Police Officers”, Omar said while participating in the discussion on grants of the departments under Chief Minister in the Legislative Assembly.
Omar Abdullah said the Chief Minister’s commitment and assurance to take the FIR to its logical conclusion was sans confidence, as no action had been taken on the FIR registered by the J&K Police so far. He referred to the requests of the State to the Centre from time to time with regard to permission for prosecution of errant Security Forces personnel in cases related to human rights violations in the State. He said 47 requests out of 50 have been rejected in the past though during his tenure as Chief Minister, justice was done in the Machil Fake Encounter in terms of a court-martial of the guilty and arrest of a BSF Officer in a case of killing in Brein, Nishat. He said three cases are still pending for disposal with the Centre.
The leader of the Opposition expressed concern over the unstable and restless security situation in the State and said that from Shopian to Kathua blood was being spilt without any sign of an improvement in the situation. He also expressed grief and disappointment at the continued loss of lives due to incessant border shelling on Line of Control and the International Border. “While the recent killing of three civilians in Shopian has shocked the people, the brutal murder of a minor girl in Kathua is no less shocking. It is highly unfortunate that the medical report of the unfortunate girl is still not available despite the assurance of justice to the parents of the murdered child. No wonder why people have lost faith in the investigations ordered by this Government”, the National Conference Working President said.
“In this grim security scenario, the Government has been talking about holding Panchayat Elections and my party colleagues will present their viewpoint in the all-party meeting convened by the Chief Minister but I want to express serious apprehensions about the security of the voters as well as the candidate who participate in the proposed democratic exercise”. In this context, Omar Abdullah referred to an unfortunate incident in his constituency last April during by-elections to the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat when a voter had been tied to the bonnet of an Army jeep after casting his vote and was subsequently paraded through nine villages in a brazen expression of lawlessness and barbarism.
“It is ironic that the present dispensation did not implement the order of its own State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) with regard to compensation to the human-shield victim citing that if such a recommendation acceded to it would amount to acknowledging the wrongdoing of the Army”, he said, adding that in the process the young man suffered and continues to suffer mentally and psychologically. “He was neither owned up by the Hurriyat Conference because he had cast his vote nor could he get justice from the Government for exercising his democratic right. What could be more tragic”, Omar Abdullah added.
On withdrawing of cases against first time offenders in cases of stone-pelting, Omar Abdullah asked the Government to clarify its decision with regard to cases of second-time offenders. “Let us know whether cases are being withdrawn from a specific period or how the Government will arrive at conclusion about second-time offenders”, he added.
Omar Abdullah took strong exception to decisions with regard to the state of affairs of Jammu and Kashmir being announced by individuals other than those in the Government and hoped that the Chief Minister would take note of this habitual impropriety and ensure the sanctity of the State’s institutions in upholding. In this regard, he referred to certain decisions regarding the State being announced by the Special Representative of the Centre or the Union Home Minister.
Dwelling upon the working of the departments under the Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah sought the implementation of the cadre review of Jammu and Kashmir Police so that benefits could percolate down to the eligible officers without any further delay. He said no action had been taken on the ground in this regard so far. He sought re-engagement of the disengaged wireless operators and urged the Chief Minister to ensure that bottlenecks in their engagement will be removed at the earliest.
On the recruitment of SPOs, Omar Abdullah stressed on the need for complete transparency, especially in view of substantiated complaints about political interference and nepotism and demanded the abolishment of the so-called political quota system that was robbing meritorious and eligible youth of their rights.
The Leader of the Opposition expressed concern over the Government’s whimsical changes the entire planning scenario in the State. “You have reversed Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s successful and effective Single Line Administration system and replaced it by holding Awami Durbars. In the process the institution of District Development Boards has been grossly undermined and rendered vestigial”, he said, adding that the Chief Minister had held these Durbars in 14 districts by bypassing the District Development Boards and ridiculing their mandate. “While 3000 directions have been passed involving an amount of Rs 600 crores, the Finance Department has only allocated Rs 60 crores, leaving the remaining funds to be arranged by the District Development Boards. I wonder how the District Development Boards will honour the Chief Minister’s commitments with already meagre and limited resources at their disposal”, the National Conference Working President added. Omar Abdullah also called for safeguarding the sanctity of the institution of the MLA that had been undermined by these partisan Public Durbars.
The Leader of the Opposition also inquired into the status of RFD mechanism started during his tenure as Chief Minister to undertake third-party verification of various development projects and asked whether this mechanism had been shelved by the present dispensation.
He said the State has no transfer policy and transfers were taking place quite frequently and often on political and partisan grounds. He also sought to withdraw of SRO 202 and termed it a gross violation of the rights of the youth and also sought the elevation of the State service officers to All India Services that has not taken place for the past four years.