Both state and union government’s complacency on “improved” situation in J&K jolted in the monsoon session of Parliament, when figures suggest “everything is not normal along the Line of Control (LoC)”.
The figures presented in the Rajya Sabha by the Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mullappally Ramachandran revealed that a total of 357 ‘infiltrators’ from Pakistan had been arrested by the Border Security Force (BSF) and Indian Army during the last three years and till March this year while crossing the border districts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir.
Those killed by the Army and BSF while crossing the border are numbered 193 and most of them were reported from across LoC in J&K. A total of 161 infiltrators were killed while crossing the LoC in J&K during the period from 2010-to March, 2013.
Of the border trespassers, the figures suggest that 156 infiltrators were captured alive from Gujarat border, 151 were arrested from the Punjab border and 48 were captured from the Rajasthan border during the same period.
According to official figures 264 militants attempted infiltration from across the LoC in 2012, compared to 247 in 2011. There was sharp rise in successful infiltration by Pakistani militants. Around 121 militants entered into J&K in 2012 as compared to 52 in 2011. In 2012 alone, 53 militants – 34 from Lashkar-e-Tioba, 18 from Hizbul Mujahidin, and one from Jaish e Mohammad, were killed.
Besides, Delhi based newspapers have revealed that around 250 to 300 militants are waiting on the other side of LoC to cross into Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Terror infrastructure is intact (on the Pakistani side of the line of control),” said Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh, general officer commanding, 15 corps, who is responsible for guarding the LoC and counter insurgency operations in the Kashmir Valley.
Reports suggest that there has been substantial increase in the number of cease fire violations this year. “There have been 57 ceasefire violations this year which is almost 80% more than 2012,” said the officer.
“The reason for increase in terror attacks is due to stepping up of the attack on security forces planned by the militant groups in the aftermath of Afzal Guru’s execution in February, 2013,” Minister of State for Home RPN Singh informed Lok Sabha.
In the state where swindles and scams keep on surfacing in public affairs every now and then, Rs 6.23 crore worth Water Supply Scheme of the Public Health Engineering Department is new addition to ‘booty list’. Shown completed on the papers, the scheme does not exist on the ground.
Reports claimed that this scheme for Chanapora-Zabgulla area of Budgam district was actually mooted at a cost of Rs 1.46 crore in the 1980s to provide drinking water to the vast population. However, the fate of scheme continued to hang in balance for years together and finally in 1997-98 the cost of the Water Supply Scheme was revised at Rs 6.23 crore.
Even after revising the cost of the scheme, those at the helm of affairs in the PHE Department never tried to ascertain the progress on the ground and the officers associated with the execution of the scheme made good use of seniors’ deep slumber and embezzled the money at their whims and fancy by submitting false reports, sources said.
Interestingly, this scheme became topic of discussion during the District Development Board meeting of Budgam for three consecutive years but every time the PHE Department conveyed that scheme has been completed. However, during 2011-12 financial year Planning Department’s officers in the District Development Commissioner (DDC) Budgam’s office were asked to come up with all possible details about the scheme that too following much hue and cry by the elected representatives of people, who wanted to ascertain as to which areas were getting water supply if the scheme had been completed.
On the basis of preliminary report from its officers, Planning Department asked the DDC to constitute a multi-disciplinary committee and the same came into being on March 14, 2013 with DDC Budgam as its Chairman and Chief Planning Officer (CPO), District Treasury Officer (DTO) and Superintending Engineer PWD as its members, sources said.
The multi-disciplinary committee visited the spot and found that only some supply lines were laid while as neither intake nor the filtration plant of the scheme was constructed on ground, they added.
Confirming that scheme has been existing only on the papers, the Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control, Sham Lal Sharma said, “we will not allow any officer or official involved in the embezzlement to go scot free as they have not only caused loss to the exchequer but also misled the institution of District Development Board besides depriving people of the drinking water facility”.
Muslim populated areas of Chenab valley are reeling under threatening knocks. People alleged that unknown masked men along with weapons knock at the doors of people during Sehri and Night prayers.
Masked men appear in Kishtwar, Badharwah and Doda districts as well. “Muslim populated areas are being terrorized by these suspicious masked men,” one of the residents of Thatri Thesil said, adding that from last one week these unknown masked men are continuously appearing in scores of hamlets of Chenab valley including Zanri, Jangalwar, Faksu, Khanpora, Trinkli, Kahra, Kencha, Bhatyas, Bonjah, Saroor and Drabshalla.
Reports said that these unknown masked men knock at the doors and create fearful sounds. “Few masked men a few days back entered into a house when people were busy in offering night prayers and they tried to kidnap a child from the house, however, the hue and cry raised by the women folk forced these men to retreat from the village,” one of the residents said.
“Their motive is to terrorize the people. We are surprised why these masked men appear in Muslim areas only. May be they don’t enter Hindu hamlet because of the presence of VDC’s there. There are no VDC’s in Muslim hamlets and even the Officials don’t allow Muslims to make use of licensed guns,” Mohammad Talib said.
People in Chenab Valley believe that it is an attempt to divert the attention of the people from the case of fake encounter specialist Shiv Kumar. “He is involved in so many innocent killings and we firmly believe that an atmosphere is being created to make police believe that militants are still present in Muslim areas so that Shiv kumar could be assigned the job to face them,” Irshad Ahmed said adding that police is not taking any action against these masked men.
People said that despite repeated pleas police did not made any effort to nab these masked men who often resort to aerial firing when chased by the people.
“It has not been verified on ground,” Arief Reshu, Superintendent of Police Doda, said, “I appeal people not to pay attention towards rumours. We have already talked to heads of villages in this regard and till date the presence of these masked men have proved only hoax.”
There was some relief for the slain bagpiper in Kotbalwal Jail. After three months, the inquiry committee submitted its report in the death case of Sanaullah Ranjay in Kotbalwal Jail Jammu, who was killed by jail inmates on May 03, 2013.
The probe conducted by the Principal Secretary Home, Suresh Kumar into the death has indicted Rajni Sehgal, Jail superintendent along with her eight other staffers including Assistant Superintendent Om Prakash Sharma for ‘carelessness, negligence and lack of supervision.’
The probe has revealed that the incident took place due to exchange of heated arguments between the accused, Vinod Kumar, a former soldier convicted of murder, and deceased over the death of Sarabjeet Singh in a Pakistani prison.
Singh was also attacked by his co prisoners in Pakistan jail post Afzal Guru hanging at Tihar jail. The deceased Ranjay succumbed to his injuries six days after at PGMIER Chandigarh.
After the attack on Ranjay, the state government suspended Rajni along with two jail wardens for dereliction of duty, besides ordered a probe into the incident.
The inquiry, has also found that Rajni was also unauthorizedly absent from duties when the incident took place. Assistant Superintendent of Jail, Om Prakash and seven others staffers – five Selection Grade Warders and two Warders have shown negligence, which led to the assault on Ranjay, the report reveals.
According to the report, the Director General of Prisons vide his letter No: PS/prisons/ 2013/ 5196 dated: 22-07-2013 communicated to the inquiry officer: “Inquiries revealed that on the date of incident ie, on 03-05- 2013 Rajni Sehgal was away from Central Jail Kotbalwal, Jammu and went to Udhampur on the previous evening (02-05-2013) to attend a wedding and returned back on 03-05-2013 morning only perhaps after hearing the news of the incident. It is also revealed that she has neither taken permission from the DIG Prisons J&K nor from the undersigned who was away at Hyderabad during Durbar move break.”
Ruling out conspiracy theory behind the attack, the inquiry officer has stated that the incident took place due to exchange of heated arguments between the deceased and accused. “The accused and the deceased were friendly with each other and their past conduct has not revealed any enmity between them,” the report states.
Amidst prayers in Lailat-ul-Qadre, the sacred night for Muslims across the world, old city areas witnessed violent clashes resulting in chaos and tension. Youth attacked Police station Nawhatta and forces personnel on roads, reports said.
Police resorted to baton charge and tear gas shelling to disperse the protestors. According to locals many are feared injured during the clashes as they saw the Ambulance driving many times between Soura, and the old city.
However, clashes are not new in this sacred night. On the eve of Shab-i-Qadar in 2010 unrest four youth were allegedly killed in cold-bold in police firing in North Kashmir’s Palhalan area of Pattan town. People of the area amid undeclared curfew on Monday used public address system asking people to observe complete shutdown in the town against the killing of 4 youth by police in 2010 on Qadar eve.
Four persons had been killed and 12 others injured when police opened fire on protesters at Palhalan and Wussan in Pattan on the eve of Shab-e-Qadar in the year 2010. Those killed on that fateful day according to eyewitnesses were not part of the protests. One of them was busy in purchasing meat for his family at a butcher’s shop.
Recalling the blood bath, one of the residents of Palhalan said that few protestors pelted stones on a passing police cavalcade which retaliated and directly fired upon the protestors killing three youth on spot.
The word about the deaths brought hundreds of people from neighbouring villages to Pattan. They staged massive protests raising pro-freedom and anti-India slogans.
Known to make “foot-in-mouth comments”, National Conference Additional General Secretary Dr Mustafa Kamal’s latest outpourings have left Congress red-faced. Termed ‘a big threat’ to coalition government, Congress party asked its ministers to stay away from cabinet meetings until public apology is not offered from Dr Mustafa Kamal for his false utterances.
During the meeting of prominent leaders of Congress held at M.A. Road Party headquarters, the Congress leaders asked its Ministers to stay away from cabinet meetings till National Conference General Secretary makes a public apology to Congress leaders, particularly Prof Saif-u-Din Soz.
The Congress leaders said that it has become a habit of Dr. Mustafa Kamal to accuse Congress party leadership for no reasons.
Criticising Kamaal for his weightless statement against Congress President Prof. Saifuddin Soz, the Congress leader said that Prof. Soz does not need certificate from any person or persons, as Prof. Soz is “a world famous leader and people of the state and country are well aware about his character and honesty”.
Pertinently, the political spectrum of state’s ruling clique for the last few days has once again been witnessing ‘theatrics’, this time Congress having changed a role a bit in terms of assertion in the ‘dialogue’ ridden statements with more senior leaders of the party scoffing at the utterances afresh made by none other than the great NC ‘actor’ Dr Mustafa Kamaal. Two days on after the Congress repeatedly sought apology from Kamaal, the entire NC hierarchy is silent.
Sources within the NC say the leadership as always is not taking Kamaal’s uttering against Congress as something that may have repercussions on coalition. From chief minister Omar Abdullah to leaders down the line, no leader not even so called spokespersons have responded to the anger and resentment expressed by Congress against Kamaal’s abusive language against Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz and others.