News Notes

CET CONTROVERSY

BOPEE-CET--studentsThe Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE) once again put the state of J&K to shame. First they were involved in leaking the entrance papers and then they managed to change the selection lists but this time it was something which happened all of a sudden, may be due to callous approach of tainted BOPEE authorities.

The Common Entrance Test (CET) for Medical and Engineering Courses was conducted in Jammu and Kashmir on June 22, Saturday while as Mathematics and Biology papers were to be conducted on Sunday afternoon. But on Saturday, few Biology papers were found in Chemistry packets in three examination centers of Government Girls Higher Secondary School Kothi Bagh after which the Board cancelled the Chemistry paper and accordingly Biology paper was postponed.

The incident raised hue and cry but the BOPEE chairman RD Sharma responded to the issue by saying it was just a human error and such errors have occurred in various examinations. Downplay by the higher authorities was something impossible to digest.

The students appearing in the examination raised a finger on the working and functioning of the BOPEE and alleged that the career of the students has been put on stake. Even many appearing in the examination centers in SP College alleged that their papers were stapled when they should have been sealed properly. Some confirmed theirs were not even stapled.

Some RTI activists and the members of Coaching Centers’ Association (CCA) are demanding immediate removal of the BOPEE Chairman. They further want an independent investigation should be initiated in this serious offence which has put a big question mark on the credibility of the BOPEE authorities. But so far nothing has happened on ground to get the trust of students, appearing in such competitive examinations, back.

Pertinently, the credibility and authenticity of the results declared by BOPEE in June 2012 was questioned by the parents and aspirants as they had alleged that the then BOPEE Chairman had sold CET papers for a sum of Rs 65 lakh which fetched an amount of Rs 5 Crore to brokers as they allegedly sold those papers to affluent one.

Even a cabinet rank minister was sacked when allegedly someone else appeared in the CET exam instead of his daughter in Jammu.

 

 

Bank MEETS

While creating values and touching lives of the commons, the J&K Bank held its 75th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of its share holders. This year the meeting was something more special as the Bank is celebrating its platinum jubilee this year. The theme of AGM was “Realising Dreams: Enduring Partnerships, Business Sustainability and Inclusive Growth”.

The dividend of 500 per cent to the Bank’s share holders was approved in the meeting.

The meeting held at SKICC Srinagar was attended by a large gathering of share holders and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, BB Vyas. While presiding over the meeting the Bank’s chairman and CEO Mushtaq Ahmad confirmed to the share holders that the AGM was special. “We are at the cusp of a momentous event in our journey – the completion of 75 years of our Bank’s incorporation. It is an occasion to celebrate what we have achieved during the last financial year and what we have attained over the years.”

While appreciating the role of Bank, Chairman said, “The J&K Bank is considered as one of the best in the country and consistently ranks among the top performers on all vital indicators. While these achievements enhance our confidence in our abilities, the core guiding philosophy remains the same: creating opportunities and touching lives in more ways than one. A Platinum Jubilee, I think, provides the relevant opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to our enduring values.”

In the financial year 2012-13 the J&K Bank is believed to have surpassed Rs 1, 00,000 crore business target and Rs 1,000 crore profit in the Platinum Jubilee year.

This year a total of 82 business units were added taking the total number to 685. And 105 new ATMs were also added, taking the total ATM network to 613 as on March 31, 2013.

Moreover, Mobile banking services were also introduced to provide customers more accessibility and convenience.

 

 

 

 

Mufti ASSERTED

mufti-muhammad-syedPDP patron foresees the resolution of Kashmir issue within an ambit of Indian constitution. The former Union Home Minister Thursday hailed former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for his political vision.

“There are people in Kashmir who want secession from India and are for Azadi,” said Mufti. “It is their democratic right and they are free to propagate their ideology as democracy is the battle of ideas. But we have a firm belief in Indian Constitution and are for resolution of Kashmir issue within the ambit of Indian Constitution.”

Mufti was addressing a gathering in Deethu village of Shangus constituency in south Kashmir’s Islamabad district. “Our party will fight for restoring the honor, dignity, self respect and pride of Jammu and Kashmir within the framework of Indian Constitution,” said Mufti.

He hailed former Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee for his vision and the efforts he put in to restore peace in Kashmir. “When Vajpayee visited Kashmir, I told him that people of Kashmir want peace and their self respect be restored and he readily extended hand of friendship towards Pakistan and the Kashmiris were ultimate beneficiaries.”

Asking the people to give his party absolute mandate, Mufti said PDP will change the political dimensions of Jammu and Kashmir if voted to power.

“Votes are the only weapons by which Kashmiri people have to change their destiny,” said Mufti, “I promise the people of Kashmir that I will change the political dimensions of Kashmir if voted to power.”

He said that caging the entire population on Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s visit to Kashmir is an apt example of uncertainty. “PM’s visit should have been the moment of joy but it brought miseries for the common man.”

“PMs visited Kashmir when we were in power, we did not hold the entire population of Kashmir hostage,” Mufti said.

He said that his party wants the resolution of Kashmir issue and the economic well-being of the state to go in tandem. “We will come up with a political and economic agenda prior to the elections,” said Mufti.

 

 

 

Omar V/s Advani

Discourse on Article 370 was back this week, which subsequently engaged political leaders of two different generations. First it was BJP leader LK Advani, who recently sought revocation of the special status enjoyed by the state. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday without naming Advani hit out at the BJP for raising the “false bogey” of abolishing Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

“Nobody can revoke the Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir,” Omar said. “We the people of Jammu and Kashmir categorically tell them that revocation of Article 370 is not possible at all and any attempt by anyone on this sensitive issue would be on our dead bodies.”

Omar accused the BJP leaders of developing a “trait to deceive people” on the issue as soon as elections draw nearer.

Against the backdrop of Omar’s slamming, Advani Friday advised him not to use words like “cheating and deceiving” and clarified that his party has always been opposed to Article 370.

Advani quotes from a biography of Sardar Patel to argue that even he was against Article 370 but kept his views in the background out of his regard for Nehru.

“Omar Abdullah, chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir state, has every right to disagree with the BJP on matters relating to J&K,” he said. “But I would advise him never to use offensive language and words like ‘cheating’ and ‘deceiving’ in that context.”

Advani said Omar should be aware that the Jana Sangh was not even formed when the special status was given to J&K.

“However, if there was any provision in the draft Constitution which had almost the entire Congress Party up in arms against it, it was this provision.

It took Omar few hours to hit back at senior BJP leader. “Instead of advising me to show restraint, Advaniji should devote some blog space to explain his silence over Article 370 between1998-2004,” Omar wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.

“Perhaps he can also blog about what constitutional mechanism he plans to follow to repeal Article 370. I might learn something from his wisdom.”

 

 

 

Scanning YATRA

yatra-kashmir-amarnath-caveIt seems state enforcement is in no mood to let loose the annual Amarnath yatra this time around. To give the glimpse of its vigil on yatra, police turned back 12 thousand unregistered pilgrims and those with expiry date registration, from Pahalgam and Manigam on Friday.

According to District police authorities of Anantnag, 8000 unregistered Yatries and Yatries with later date registration were turned back from Pahalgam. As per the District authorities of Ganderbal 4000 unregistered Yatries and Yatries with later date registration were turned back from Manigam.

Police has once again requested the pilgrims to register themselves as per the guideline of Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and visit on the specified date of registration schedule, besides, they are also requested to adhere to the specified Yatra routes only, wherein “P” stands for Pahalgam route vehicles and “B” stands for Baltal route vehicles.

But Friday’s instance wasn’t first attempt to derail the scheduled date of yatra. On Wednesday, yatries attempted to reach the holy cave before its due date from Sonamarg hill station.

Locals told Kashmir Life that a group of 400 yatris, comprised of men, women and children reached Sonamarg last night in 15 vehicles. “And today they tried to march towards Baltal on their own,” locals claimed.

Once police came to know about it, they rushed to the spot to dissuade the move. “We tried to make them understand that they can’t proceed with yatra before its due date,” Mir Afaq, SHO Sonamarg police station told KL. “But once they resisted, we had to resort to baton charging to disperse them.”

SHO promised to conduct an inquiry into the development and said that Police has kept vigil on the yatra to make it a time bound event.

Pertinently, the state and SASB have already vowed in public that they won’t allow yatra in the Valley before its schedule date.

Sources informed KL that yatra has been already set in motion from Pahalgam, much to the ‘mockery’ of SASB’s claim. “Around 100 yatris already paid obeisance at the holy cave of Amarnath in last two days,” sources revealed.

 

 

 

 

Recounting ORDEAL

Kunan-Poshpora-victim-at-press-conferenceLast week, memories of one of the tragic events during early phase of militancy in Kashmir got refreshed. After 22 yrs and 4 months, victims of Kunan Poshpora gang-rape spoke for the first time in a public meeting in Srinagar organized by Jammu & Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) of Kashmir.

“We have come from Kunan Poshpora to seek justice,” one of the victims said on the occasion. The reports suggest 40 women were allegedly gang-raped by 4 Rajputana Rifles army in the intervening  night of Feb 23-24, 1991 at Kunan Poshpora village of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

The victims recounted that in the fateful night at approximately 11:00 pm, soldiers from the 4 Rajputana Rifles cordoned off the village to conduct a search operation. “The soldiers raped a large number of village women overnight till 9:00 am the next day,” said one of the victims in a sobbing tone.

While the rape victims were sitting among the audience, their relatives were narrating the ordeal of highly covered rape incident at national and international levels on the stage.

“We reported the rapes to army officials on February 27, but the officials denied the charges and refused to take any further action,” Ali Mohammad, the relative of one of the rape victims said. “However, army officials claim that no report was ever made.”

Relatives of rape victims alleged that up to 100 women “were gang-raped without any consideration of their age, married, unmarried, pregnancy etc.”

“The victims ranged in age group of 13 to 80,” they told audience.

The case which is about 23 years old got a fresh lease of life on Tuesday when a local court in Kupwara ordered the police to further investigate the alleged mass rape case.

Earlier the victims of the incident had filed a protest petition in the court against the police’s closure report in the case.

“Despite having information on file regarding the involvement of 125 personnel of 4 Rajputana Rifles, the police had not questioned them and neither was an identification parade conducted,” the petition reads.

On March 5, 1991 villagers complained to Kupwara district magistrate SM Yasin, who visited the village on March 7 to investigate. In his final report, he stated that the soldiers “behaved like wild beasts.”

“We were brutally robbed of our honour and dignity,” says Rukaya (name changed), another rape victim of 1991 mass-rape.

 

 

 

 

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