M A Lone

The brief week-long autumn session of the state legislative assembly passed without any controversy involving its presiding officer Mohammad Akbar Lone. Many lawmakers said they were pleased to see a cool Speaker keen to accommodate almost everybody. Once, Lone even suspended the question hour, something that he earlier would not agree to even when major issues of public importance were raised by different lawmakers. Ever since Lone took over as the Speaker of the assembly in 2008, controversies would surround him. For the initial two years, the opposition would increasingly accuse him of not giving them enough session time which they deserve, an accusation he always rejected. While fighting for their share in the pie, it would create ugly scenes in the assembly. At one point of time, the Speaker entered into verbal duels with his erstwhile friend, Molvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari. As the dust settled over the controversy – telecast live by the TV channels, the Speaker apologized.

At times, it was Speaker’s body language that created news. Notwithstanding the heat and the dust that certain gestures

AKBAR LONE
AKBAR LONE

created, it added lighter moments to the history of legislation in the state. Even in the budget session in Jammu, Lone’s certain remarks created a situation that the media skipped covering the assembly for three days. Later, everything was hanky dory as Lone said he was misunderstood. But this session was totally different. In the press advisory committee meeting, the Speaker refused to get provoked by certain comments a member made. He actually exhibited his keenness to walk an extra mile to accommodate the genuine issues that the media may face while covering the session. The only thing he did not accede to was to permit live telecast of the proceedings. Lone won with an impressive majority from Sonawari, one of the conflict ravaged and literally backward constituencies of north Kashmir for the second time. Though in 1996 it was the renegade Kukka Parry who used all his influence to defeat the lawyer, Lone gave him a crushing defeat in 2002. In 2008, it proved a cakewalk for Lone. Since 1957, he is perhaps the only political activist who has represented the constituency twice.

Despite accommodating everybody and skipping controversies, the session was not incident free. A young trio from a newly created right wing party from Jammu barged into the house to announce the launch of their party. All the three representing the party led by Prof Chaman Lal Gupta’s son Anil are in police custody with the house is planning action against a BJP lawmaker who facilitated their entry.

DIED: Prof Muhammed Abdullah Shaida, 82, the founder member of Jama’at-e-Islami, passed away on the intervening night of October 7-8 at his residence in Hawal, Srinagar. He authored many books in Urdu, Kashmiri, Persian and Arabic. His nimaz-e-jinaza was attended by Muhammad Abdullah Wani, Amir Jama’at Islami Jammu Kashmir and Muhammad, Ashraf Sehrai, general secretary, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and others.

STOPPED: Abdul Gani Malik, minister of higher education in legislative assembly revealed that the government has decided to stop J&K Project Construction Corporation from constructing buildings for colleges in the state and have instead opted for e-tendering now. He also added that government is opening up new colleges in the constituencies and tehsils where there are none.

LIFTED: The state has silently lifted the unannounced partial ban on social networking sites, Facebook and Youtube. The news reports suggest that it was government’s official response to the massive protests across Kashmir against the American anti-Islam movie. It is said that widespread criticism from the mainstream opposition parties, civil society and the pro-freedom leadership compelled the state to revoke the ban.

DIRECTED: The state human rights commission, responding to the complaints of alleged harassment of detainees in Udhampur jail, has asked DG Prison and SP Jail to file a factual report in the matter. The complaint was filed by Pervez Imroz, a local human rights defender in view of the letter sent by Masarat Alam Bhat of Hurriyat (G) who is lodged in the same jail since August 6, 2012.

VISITED: Sushil Kumar Shinde visited forward areas at Chushul in Leh district along Indo China border and met the top officials of Indo-Tibetan Border Police to know the situations prevailing on Line of Actual Control (LAC). He also met the civilians living close to the LAC to take their view point on the situation along China border.

SOUGHT: The Supreme Court has sought detailed information from various Indian States including J&K to address the issues related to Haj pilgrims and for the better functioning of State Haj Committee. Till now, two vital issues highlighted are better accommodation of pilgrims at reasonable cost and inexpensive air travel.

ARRESTED: Jamila Bibi and her paramour, Salim Mohammed, were arrested for murdering Mohammed Rafi, Jamila’s husband. Police says Jamila and Salim, in an illicit relationship with each other, had conspired to kill Rafi.

ACCUSED: Pandemonium broke in the legislative council when Murtaza Khan, MLC, PDP, accused Raman Bhalla, minister for revenue of “altering” demography of the state by settling non-state subjects here. Bhalla, clarifying his position, said the state was committed to rehabilitation of refugees and was supposed to work and fulfill the promises made to them.

ASKED: State High Court asked the state government to file an affidavit indicating the rationale of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) for bringing only 17 cases under the ambit of the probe. The CoI is probing over 100 deaths of 2010 uprising. The court has also asked the union and the state government to explain whether the policy decision taken regarding the ex-gratia relief to the legal heirs of the victims is confined to deaths that occurred till October 10, 2010 or for the later period as well.

RAISED: Mention of Kashmir dispute in one of his statements in UN, Raza Bashir Tarar, Pakistan’s deputy permanent representative has involved India and Pakistan into a fresh verbal duel. The war of words came just a week after external affairs minister, S M Krishna, asserted that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral part of India.

RULED OUT: “There is no question of returning back the NHPC-run power projects to J&K state,” said minister for power and corporate affairs, Veerappa Moily during an Editors Conference in New Delhi. The issue is already settled with the state government, he added. It is said to be an answer to the vociferous calling of National Conference-Congress government for return of three major power projects run by NHPC in the state; 690 MW Salal, 480 MW Uri I and 390 MW Dulhasti projects.

OUTSOURCED: State government has allotted the costly and time consuming canine sterilization contract of Srinagar to a Gujrat based private company, Humane Society of India (HSI). HSI will be the official implementing agency. The decision was taken at a high level meeting in the office of principal secretary, housing and urban development department.

CONVICTED: A local court in Kupwara convicted Shabir Ahmad Bhat of Maratgam, Handwara and Mushtaq Malla of Shatgund, Maratgam of murdering a cop, Abdul Gaffar Mir, of Maratgam, Handwara seven years ago. The duo was awarded life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 each.

DIRECTED: Special anticorruption judge, Jammu, directed SSP vigilance organization to submit status report with regard to the application seeking registration of FIR against some lawmakers and top brass bureaucrats. The individuals are accused of conspiring and misusing their official positions to cause massive financial loss to the state exchequer by misusing the official vehicles/POL contrary to the guidelines issued by government.

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