It was not one of those out-of-box political developments, yet when senior separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah asked the amalgam’s convener for Pakistan chapter, Mehmood Saghar to step down from his post, apparent fissures surfaced in moderate camp.
Shah opined that Hurriyat (M) was losing sight of its main objective and people were feeling dejected on ground “as there was no major headway towards achieving the set goal.”
The Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) leader said that he had convened a crucial meeting of his party functionaries in which leaders from Pakistan, PaK, Saudi Arabia and London participated over telephone. “A consensus was evolved in the meeting that Mehmood Saghar should step down from his post. I told Saghar that Hurriyat was not coming up to the expectations of people and that he should resign,” Shah said.
In order to forge unity in various separatist camp, Shah in 2008 was pitching hard to evolve a consensus to work jointly. “Two committees were formed in this regard—one headed by Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and another by me to forge unity. Since I was arrested in 2008, nothing much could be achieved,” he said. “Similar efforts were made again in 2013. I was again arrested and unity remained a dream.”
Shah said that the Hurriyat represents blood of martyrs. “We can’t ditch martyrs. My fight is based on principles. I want Hurriyat as it existed in 1993. Let all pro-freedom leaders join it. Today, Mirwaiz is Hurriyat chairman, tomorrow it can be somebody else,” he said.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the head of moderate camp, while reacting to Shah’s fresh stance, said it was unfortunate that Shah “doesn’t even attend the meetings and events of Hurriyat and instead issues statements to media.” “I fail to understand what his intentions are. If he is not comfortable with the amalgam, he is free to leave. On one hand he talks of strengthening the Hurriyat and on the other his actions are contrary to his claims,” Mirwaiz was quoted saying.
On Saghar’s resignation, the Mirwaiz said Hurriyat’s executive council had already decided to replace Saghar as the amalgam was already “in the process of re-structuring.”
The mounting pressures and pulls over the delay in MHRD scholarships finally bore fruits on Friday when the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development launched a Special Scholarship Scheme for J&K students appearing for Class 12th or equivalent exams through the State Board of Jammu & Kashmir (BOSE) or Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated schools located in J&K.
According to sources, under the scheme 5000 scholarships will be given every year to J&K students, who seek admission outside the state to pursue higher education in general degree courses, engineering and medical studies in government colleges and other non-government institutes recognized by AlCTE or UGC.
“Out of these, 4500 scholarships would be for general degree courses and 250 each for medical and engineering courses,” sources informed, adding, “an amount of up to Rs.30,000 per annum for general degree courses, up to Rs.1.25 lakh per annum for engineering and up to Rs.3 lakh per annum for medical studies are being given to every scholar as tuition fees.”
Union Minister for Human Resource Development (HRD) Dr M M Pallam Raju on Wednesday said till recently, he was not aware about the delay in reimbursement of Rs 1200 crore funds under Prime Minister’s Special Scholarship Scheme (PMSSS) and he will look into the issue personally.
“The fault is not of the central government. We shouldn’t try to distort the scheme as there is nothing wrong with it. The fact is that it’s a reimbursement scheme where in the students have to pay the admission money and tuition fees and after that the union government will reimburse the same amount to the colleges,” chief minister Omar Abdullah said.
In addition to this, sources add, hostel fees and incidentals are also being given to all categories of courses up to a ceiling of Rs. one lakh per annum. “Efforts are also being made by the Ministry to popularize the scheme among the students by publishing it at school level.”
In order to improve the delivery-mechanism and also effectively monitor the progress of the scheme, it has been assigned to the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) for implementation through an e-portal from the Academic Year 2012-13.
It seems Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) is on serious image-correction pathway. On Thursday, Director General of Police (DGP), Ashok Prasad said that executive police is directly involved with the public having a primary role in restoring a sense of security among the minds of people.
DGP Prasad was addressing a police durbar at district police lines. “The personnel working in the executive police represent the organization during discharge of duty and wherever you are performing your duties, you remain under the gaze of public,” DGP told cops. “As such your performance should always be of highest standards.”
The top cop in JKP said people friendly image has remained of paramount importance, which has benefited the organization in fighting criminals and bad elements. “Goodwill of the people is valuable asset and the police have to remain accessible to the people at their call.”
Appreciating the role of police personnel and officers in maintaining “peace and order during tough situations”, the DGP said that they exhibited high standards of policing and ensured restraint despite provocations by the exploiting elements that always remain inimical to peace for their personal gains. “Your role has been recognized at national level also,” Prasad told cops. “The force had to face grave situations which you succeeded in tackling with fortitude avoiding collateral damages.”
Exhorting the cops and officers to always adopt public friendly approach while dealing the situations, the DGP said: “JKP is a part of the society and priority should always be to provide security and safety to the people avoiding any loss to life and property.”
Prasad highlighted the importance of executive police in building the image of the force, saying that the cops and officers of the wing are involved with the public at grass root level and whenever the people face any problem in their day to day life, they approach to the nearest police post or station.
“It is the responsibility of the concerned to address their problems with the coordination of civil administration of the area providing relief and justice for the public at an earliest.” He reiterated that the people have full faith in the police and it is our duty to keep this faith maintained by addressing their problems besides prevailing peace and order.
In the state where militancy is apparently making its come back, the authorities say security is provided to 2,542 people facing threats from militants.
Recently, an official reply to a Right to Information query revealed that 2,542 people faced threats and “as such have been provided security cover”. It said a total of 4,074 security personnel provided security to these people.
The reply added that Rs.55.4 million worth of fuel was spent in 2012 on vehicles deployed with these 2,542 people.Though the reply said that many families of those getting protection were also provided security, no details were offered.
A police officer insisted that these statistics didn’t make sense.The official on the condition of anonymity said that there were over 1,000 people getting security cover in just two north Kashmir districts — Kupwara and Baramulla.“And we have 22 districts in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
“Each cabinet minister moves with at least two security vehicles with at least two dozen security personnel… So, the number of protected persons and those giving protection is underplayed. The cost incurred on security too is not rightly reflected,” the official said.
Of late, chief minister Omar Abdullah seems pouring his heart out in order to express an apparent solidarity with Kashmiri students studying outside the valley. Omar on Tuesdaysaid that the tendency to view Kashmiri students with suspicion outside the state needed to be changed.
“Whether it is January 26 (Republic Day) or August 15 (Independence Day), our students are viewed with suspicion outside the state. I request that this attitude be changed. Our students are denied accommodation when they go to study outside,” Abdullah said.
He was speaking at the foundation laying ceremony of the Central University of Kashmir in Ganderbal district, the constituency Abdullah represents in the state Assembly.
“Dheir Ayed, Durust Ayed (It happened late, but it finally happened right). I was worried about the delay in the setting up of the central university. I thank the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson and the prime minister for giving us two central universities.
“Our children have already proved their talent in various fields. All they need is a platform,” the chief minister added.
Abdullah told the university’s vice chancellor that the people of his constituency had been ignored while appointing cooks, labourers and watchmen.
“We have given our lands for setting up the university and we have no other means of sustenance. The university must ensure that smaller works inside the campus is allotted to local contractors,” he demanded.
The Central University of Kashmir has a 7.15 sq km campus and is about 27 km from Srinagar. Presently, there are 11 universities in the state.
Union Human Resources Minister Pallam Raju, who addressed Omar Abdullah as “the young and dynamic chief minister”, said the centre wanted the university to start functioning soon.
“We want the central university to start soon. It will attract international faculty because of its beautiful environment,” Raju said.
The minister said there were 23 crore school-going children in the country out of whom 10 crore were being provided with midday meals at schools.
He also said there were 40 central universities in the country including the one whose foundation has been laid in Ganderbal.
Speaking in his usual tone, the separatist leader and chairman Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Tuesday asked the state government “to stop creating hue and cry over the militant outfit Taliban within J&K”.
The statement came from separatist leader, while talking to David Hamilton, first secretary for political and economical affairs in Canadian embassy in Delhi.
In a face to face dialogue with Hamilton, Geelani insisted that the international community should take initiative and added that “forced occupations” has resulted in the overall deterioration of state economy and Indian authorities are “hell-bent to make Kashmiri’s dependent even for petty ordinary things”.
“It is moral obligation for the international community to help and support the just cause of Kashmiri people,” Geelani told the visiting Canadian secretary.
The aged leader rejected the possibility of the involvement of Taliban factor in Kashmir after the pulling out of USA forces from Afghanistan saying that there is no role for Taliban and added that India has started the mischief.
“In order to justify their occupation and the atrocities, they have perpetrated against the innocent people and are making unnecessary hue and cry about the Taliban,” Geelani said, adding, “They have projected the Kashmir issue as law and order.”
Since 1952, Geelani said, both countries were involved in negotiations and till now they have discussed the mutual issues more than 150 times but yielded nothing, but, he hailed the role of Pakistan.
“Since its inception, Pakistan favoured the Kashmiri people on political and moral levels.”
Rejecting the four point formula of Parvez Musharaf, Geelani said that it is nothing but “status quo”, “We have rejected it and there is no point of discussion now.”
“Ours is a just demand and we are striving for a solution as per aspirations of people and if majority of people vote and favour India,we will accept the peoples’ verdict,” he said.
Geelani further told Hamilton that: “Indian authorities have its multidimensional programme to influence and distort the freedom impulse and to dilute the Kashmir issue.”
Indian agencies, Geelani said, have made the educational institutions their “launching pad” for “malicious” initiatives and role.