Abdul Aziz Zargar(ObituaryAbdul Aziz Zargar

Abdul Aziz Zargar, one of the first members of the constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir in 1951, is no more. He breathed his last on Tuesday in Jammu after a prolonged illness. During Mir Qasim’s regime in 1972, he served state as Agriculture Minister and later, he held the same portfolio in the PDP-Congress coalition government from 2002 to 2008. He was 87.

His body was brought to the valley and taken to his native Manzgam village in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district for last rites. He is survived by his wife, four sons and three daughters.

Aziz, who remained MLA for more than 29 years and minister for 20 years, was a close associate of Sheikh Abdullah and took part in Kashmir’s freedom struggle. However, after Abdullah was dislodged from power and arrested in 1953, Zargar supported Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and was elected to the constituent assembly in 1957 from Devsar constituency on NC ticket. He was re-elected in 1962 from the same constituency.

After the fall of Bakshi government, Zargar supported Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq and joined State Congress. He was elected to legislative assembly in 1967, 1972 and 1987 from Noorabad constituency on Congress ticket.

A witness to events that unfolded in Kashmir since 1947, he once said: “It will be wrong to say that once Maharaja signed the accession with India, paving the way for popular government to take over, everything came to stability. The people of Kashmir didn’t take the accession as it came their way.”

He joined PDP in 2000 and was elected from Noorabad again on PDP ticket in 2002 assembly elections. Zargar lost Noorabad to Sakina Itoo in 2008 assembly elections and was not so active in the politics since then.

During his political career spread over to six decades, he was closely associated with Cooperative Movement in early 70 and worked a lot towards development of rural economy.

“Being a part of the metamorphosis that Jammu and Kashmir has under gone these six decades, I have my memory fresh on even minute incidents but still I say that the metamorphosis has really not happened… The scenario in Kashmir during that period was quite interesting,” he was quoted saying in an interview in 2007.


Sameer KaulFinally it was ruling National Conference which paid for the treatment expenses of the much hyped Parrypora acid victim. The 30 year old school teacher was attacked with acid by a local youth on January 2 of this year and then she was airlifted to Delhi’s Indraprashtha Appolo Hospital for specialized treatment. PDP’s national spokesperson, Dr Sameer Koul, who is a plastic surgeon himself, promised of paying her all bills but finally NC was able to sweep the chance and paid the bill of Rs 7, 83, 210.

The attack prompted widespread outrage in Valley with all separatists and mainstream leaders condemning the act. Nasir Aslam Wani, provincial president of Kashmir province, while confirming the state government had paid for the treatment expenses of the victim, castigated PDP for what he called mere emotional lip service. But at the same time Dr Koul alleged that the government had in advance directed the hospital authorities not to accept payment of the dues by anyone other than the state government.

Besides that the victim was provided with a government job in the education department, on compassionate grounds, on the instructions of chief minister Omar Abdullah. As reported by the local media, the proposal for her appointment as Laboratory Assistant was moved in accordance with her qualification and ability.

While the victim is undergoing treatment at Apollo hospital, back in Kashmir the local police has produced a charge sheet against the main accused Reyaz Ahmad Nath son of Ghulam Rasool Nath of Chanapora and his accomplice Junaid Ahmad alias Mudasir. Junaid, however, later turned to be witness.

In its more than 60 pages chargesheet, the police has charged the accused with section 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (causing grievous hurt), 354 (outraging modesty) and 341 (wrongful restraint). The charge sheet includes statements of 16 witnesses including that of the victim, besides crucial forensic reports.

Pertinently, the Supreme Court on February 6 said the ordinance promulgated after Delhi gang rape providing for minimum 10 years sentence to acid attack offenders will not be enough as long as statutory provisions are not in place to treat, rehabilitate and compensate acid attack victims.

Bureaucrats RESHUFFLED

After cabinet reshuffle, it was the turn of bureaucratic reshuffle in the state. While former top cop of J&K was finally appointed as the first chief commissioner of anti-graft body, then one of the accused in sex-sleaze of recent times might be new chief secretary of the state.

Almost year passed now when the process for establishment of State Vigilance Commission (SVO) was initiated in the state. But early this week uncertainly shrouded over the fate of SVO rested with the appointment of former Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda as its Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC).

A former IPS officer of 1974 batch, Kuldeep Khoda, retired as Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police last year. He remained the longest -serving DGP of the state at four years and ten months before he reached to the age of superannuation.

Soon after Khoda’s appointment as CVC, the government Tuesday approved candidature of Dr RK Jerath for appointment as commissioner of SVO. The Commission is likely to function before the start of Budget Session of the state legislature.

After SVO, it was the turn to decide the new chief secretary of the state. With the appointment of chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir, Madhav Lal as new secretary in the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, either Financial Commissioner Mohammad Iqbal Khandey or secretary union tourism Parvez Dewan is likely to be new Chief Secretary (CS) of the State.

Khandey, who was promoted to the fixed scale of IAS in the month of November last year, if appointed as new CS, would be the 11th State Subject appointed for the top slot. Former Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Parvez Dewan has also been considered for taking over the job of CS. It is understood that Dewan has indirectly communicated his willingness to the government for taking over the new job, if considered.

Amid all this, the government ordered amendment in the seniority list of KAS officers on 1999 batch to reset the seniority of Farooq Ahmad Renzu, presently posted as Vice-Chairman Srinagar Development Authority (SDA). The seniority position of Renzu remained entangled in a legal battle for the last 28 years.


After the bills of Power Development Department (PDD) termed some politically high-voltage offices in the state as defaulters, now the department wants to settle the matter legally. Ruling National Conference headquarter Nawa-e-Subah already figured on the defaulters list with the bill swelled to Rs 7.80 lakhs.

PDD has now served two-week ‘disconnection notice’ to the Nawa-e-Subah owner along with 49 other defaulters in different power divisions of Kashmir to liquidate balance electricity charges, failing which their power installations would be disconnected.

The defaulters also include politicians, their relatives, businessmen, and government institutions. They include the famed Hari Niwas Palace owned by senior Congress leader and former Sadr-e-Riyasat, who owes Rs 83.34 lakhs as power tariff to the PDD.

The defaulters also include Army Goodwill School, Lidroo Pahalgam (Rs 24.24 lakhs), and several cellular companies including Tata, BSNL and Reliance.

The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who is also working president of the National Conference, has time and again made critical remarks against the non-paying consumers and those resorting to power theft. “Power in JK is the second cheapest in the country after Sikkim. How about all of you, complaining about load-shedding, start paying market price,” Omar, who also holds power portfolio, tweeted in June last year.

Starting the drive the department warned at least 130 consumers against whom the individual electricity bills had gone up to Rs 10 lakh or above to clear the outstanding.

The pending electricity arrears against the consumers in all categories have gone up to Rs 1160 crore with government departments emerging as biggest defaulters having an outstanding of Rs 810 crore and the remaining consumers including those in domestic and commercial category have defaulted on around Rs 350 crore.

The losses on account of purchase and supply of electricity touched an all time high of around Rs 1900 crore during 2011-12 and were pegged to cross around Rs 2100 by the end of this fiscal due to mismatch between revenue collection and power purchase.

While the PDD purchased electricity worth Rs 3100 crore from different Grids and power stations during 2011-12, it collected Rs 1203 crore only as power revenue against the target of Rs 1600 crore.


It took state police nearly 13 years to solve a case in which seven persons, including four Village Defence Committee (VDC) members, were killed by ‘militants’ including two ‘HM commanders’ Billoo Gujjar and Usmaan.

Police had in 2002 closed the case pertaining to the massacre of seven civilians and submitted an `Ikhtami’ (closure report) to the court in 2005 on the ground that no clues could be gathered regarding the killings. However, the police had submitted before the court that whenever any clues were obtained regarding the killings, the case would be re-opened. But now additional SP Udhampur, Benam Tosh, who solved the massacre after 12 years while working on another double murder case of Panchairi, has reopened the case under FIR No. 26/2001.

Tosh said that questioning of three militants and an OGW has revealed that a total of 12 militants and an OGW had executed the killings.

Of 12 militants, eight including one time Hizbul divisional commander Billoo Gujjar and district commander Usmaan, were confirmed killed. While police have arrested three militants, the whereabouts of another Showkat Patwari alias Hussainu were not known. The OGW has also been arrested. However police said the arrested militants have reportedly disclosed that Hussainu was not spotted to them for more than 10 years now.

In a different twist all three militants had surrendered before police after the massacre. While Abdul Latif had surrendered in 2002, Farooq Ahmad and Manzoor Ahmad had laid down arms in 2005 and 2007 respectively. The court had later bailed all of them out as the then police couldn’t extract clues from them about the massacre.

What had happened on that day was all 12 militants and an OGW had proceeded to Chakka Galiote at 4.30 pm on November 30, 2001 in police and Army uniforms. On reaching the village, they called all four VDC members of the area and introduced themselves as security personnel from Sawalakote, who had come to the village for recruitment of security personnel. Three civilians had also accompanied the VDC members. They asked the VDC members to deposit their arms with them as they had to undergo some tests for recruitment. Later, the militants rained bullets killing all four VDC members and three civilians including two Gujjar youth on spot.

Harassment CONTINUES

Stepping outside the Jawahar tunnel is still calling music for Kashmiri youth. The recent two incidents have raised serious doubts on the assurances given by the centre to provide security to Kashmiri youth outside the state.

First such incident surfaced when sleuths of national investigating agency (NIA) detained two youths of Jammu and Kashmir from Neelam chowk in Bihar.

Mohammad Faiyaz, a resident of Anantnag in Kashmir was described the kingpin of FICN racket to fund terrorist outfit members spread in the region. Police said that some Kashmiri suspects were also involved in smuggling of Munger made weapons. On the basis of mobile surveillance, a three-member team of NIA reached Munger in search of Faiyaz and detained two youths. However, both were found to be innocent and released from custody.

Another incident came under notice when recently some hooligans assaulted a group of Kashmiri students at the Bundelkhand University in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh.

Over 50 men armed with knives, swords and country made pistols, some of them drunk, barged into the first floor of Maha Kali hostel in Shivaji Nagar of Jhansi around 11:30 pm Thursday and went on a rampage. The hooligans thrashed the students after breaking the doors.

The three students—Gulzar of Pulwama, Aamir of Kulgam and Maqsood of Zanigam, Beerwah in Budgam—had suffered injuries in head, legs and hands in the attack. The injured were removed to the nearby hospital, where Gulzar received four stitches for the head injury.

Next day, the students said, one of their rooms was robbed and two bags with original certificates, clothes, and some money had been taken away, when they had gone to offer Friday prayers. The students said they did not approach police for fear of reprisal from the goons.

Soon after the incident, authorities at the Bundelkhand University in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh Sunday announced a slew of measures for the safety of Kashmiri students studying there after goons attacked them on Thursday night, leaving three students injured.

This was the second incident in less than 10 days when Kashmiri students have been assaulted in north India. On January 22, two Kashmiri students undergoing engineering courses at E-Max Group of Institutions in Bardoli area in Haryana were assaulted by hooligans.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here