News Notes

New Chief

SJM-GillaniA 1994 batch IPS officer, Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani Tuesday took over as Inspector General of Police, Kashmir at Zonal Police Headquarters Srinagar. An alumnus of Sainik School, Manasbal, Gillani served the state in various important capacities including IGP Crime, SSP Srinagar, AIG (P).

Soon after taking over, IGP Gillani said that adequate attention will be paid to law and order situation in the Kashmir valley and the rule of law will be enforced strictly.

“The police will respect law abiding citizens and I will make sure that masses should not come across any trouble from police,” he said. “Police is for the service of public. I will make sure that the best relationship between police and the public is maintained. Police is a service and will try to give best service to the people. We will try to create congenial atmosphere so that public feels comfortable.”

Previously holding important post in Central Bureau of Investigation, Gillani is a decorated officer who has been awarded with many medals including Indian Police Medal for Meritorious Services in 2012, Indian Police Medal for Gallantry and Sher-i-Kashmir Police Medals for Meritorious Service and Gallantry.”

Asked how the police will deal with the stone pelters, the IGP said, “We have started counseling programs for those youth who indulge in stone pelting. We will try to make these youth understand their role towards the betterment of the society.”

IGP Gillani, who succeeded A G Mir, now posted as IGP Intelligence, said that the police will pursue every information they receive regarding criminal activities. “I will ask all the police heads to tighten the noose around criminals who are involved in different crimes with the sole aim to secure the lives and properties of the people and to establish peace in the society,” he said.

The IGP stressed upon all ranks for adopting all positive steps for restoring public confidence in police besides ensuring early implementation on various police-public friendly policies and proposals.

Militant Struck

kutha-attack-(1)In the first major militant attack in JK after the formation of PDP-BJP coalition government, militants in Army fatigues stormed a police station in Kathua district, killing three CRPF personnel and two militants. Besides, one civilian was killed in the encounter leaving 10 others injured.

The militants wearing Army uniforms intercepted a jeep going from Jammu to Pathankot on the pretext of checking the vehicle. They hijacked the jeep which had three passengers on board and fled towards the Rajbagh Police Station where they opened fire on a sentry and killed him. The militants then hurled grenades at the police station and opened fire.

Pertinently, the issue was raised by National Conference MLA Devender Singh Rana who wanted to know about the steps being taken by the government to thwart such attacks.

Though, deputy chief minister Dr Nirmal Singh informed the House that two or three heavily armed militants managed to enter the Rajpora Police station in Kathua and were holed up in the police station.

But the opposition NC and Congress termed the answer “unsatisfactory”. “What are you saying that you don’t know that the man who has died can be either a civilian or CRPF personnel. The government should have the information,” said Rana.

After Kuthua, militants on Saturday attacked an army camp in another Jammu district injuring at least two army men and a civilian. Police sources said that two attackers were killed after a brief gun fight. Armed with automatic weapons and grenades, militants attacked the Mesar camp of 82nd armoured regiment in Samba district in the morning triggering a gunfight. The attack took place around 350 km from the summer capital near the strategic Jammu-Pathankot highway.

The camp was also attacked by militants on September 26, 2013 after they attacked the Hiranagar police station in Kathua district that day, killing 12 people.

Political Merger

After PDP-BJP alliance, another political merger took place in JK when National Conference shook hands with state-wing of Samajwadi Party.

While welcoming merger of J&K Unit of Samajwadi Party led by its President Sheikh Abdul Rehman into the National Conference fold at a specially held function at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan, Jammu, Omar described Rehman a veteran legislator and parliamentarian who has immensely contributed towards the development and prosperity of Jammu and Kashmir in different capacities.

The NC Working President took jibe on BJP, saying it bartered everything for the loaves of power. “At end of the day, what BJP has gained out of alliance with PDP and with which face they will be returning to their constituencies after making tall promises and generating euphoria,” he asked. “In the Kashmir Valley and the Muslim dominated areas of the Jammu region, especially the Chenab Valley, PDP generated an atmosphere of fear psychosis about BJP and RSS trampling and mutilating their distinct identity to garner maximum votes but later joined them as per prefixed game-plan.”

Omar said Sheikh Abdul Rehman’s joining will give a new impetus to the party and strengthen it at grass roots level. He described the event as “good omen” for the secular forces across the State.

Omar said that Mufti Mohammed Sayeed did not tell to his voters even once during his heightened but pretended anti-saffron campaigning that PDP was going to forge an alliance with BJP. In fact, he portrayed both BJP and RSS as enemy number one of Muslims and subtly coerced them to vote for his party. After getting 28 seats he virtually threw his party into the BJP lap by dramatizing and delaying the government formation.

In his address, Sheikh Abdul Rehman said the General Council of the State Unit of Samajwadi Party took a conscious decision to merge into National Conference keeping in view its secular credentials and service towards the people over decades.

Sounding Alarm

Ali-Shah-GeelaniTerming the politics of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed “extremely dangerous” for the Kashmir cause and its people, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani said “he (Mufti) is a staunch Indian and whatever he is doing is only in the interests of India.”

“The PDP is playing political games and the only difference between the PDP and the BJP is in their approach. BJP has an aggressive approach with regarding to the Kashmir and they forcibly want to impose its policies on Kashmir. BJP is openly expressing their stand and we also resist them but Mufti sahib is doing the same in a new way and he wants to express himself as a friend of the people. He is showing sympathy but his intention is exactly the same as of the BJP’s,” Geelani said.

Geelani cited the example of the Mufti’s first comments after taking over as CM in which he had said that “the Hurriyat, militants and Pakistan helped in the conduct of elections.”  “It was a clear political game and the hard reality is that those who called for an election boycott were not even allowed to step out and they were either jailed or house arrested. The statement was aimed at creating confusion. Mufti sahib is holding a powerful chair and why doesn’t he make public the record of the mass crackdown before the election dramas which was launched against the entire pro-freedom leadership and the common youths,” he asked.

“Everybody knows that Pakistan had no interest in the election drama of the state and as far as the Mujahideen are concerned, how could they help in this military operation. Firstly they aren’t many, and those active are everyday fighting and sacrificing their lives and they have nothing to do with the election drama. BJP doesn’t want any pro-freedom person to live and Mufti’s aim is exactly the same but he sugarcoats it,” Geelani alleged.

While citing the example of Masarat Alam’s release, the Hurriyat (G) chairman said, “He was released because there were no further grounds available for his detention. The court had regularly quashed his detention and termed his imprisonment unjustified. If he was now released after so much injustice, how can anybody take credit for it?”

Haunting Highway

7-dead-1-injured-in-Banihal-sumo-Accident--As the strategic Srinagar-Jammu highway opened on Thursday after remaining closed for three days, seven people: six non-local and a local driver, were killed when their passenger vehicle skidded off the highway and fell into a deep gorge at Ramban.

Police says a Tata Sumo was on its way to Srinagar from Jammu when the driver lost control on it near Shaitan Nallah and it skided off.

The highway was re-opened today for one-way traffic after landslides caused by rainfall forced its closure on Monday.

Four passengers were killed on the spot and three were critically injured who passed away later.

Reportedly, the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has expressed deep shock and anguish over their death. He also expressed serious concern over frequent traffic accidents, and directed Traffic Police Department to closely monitor the movement of vehicles and check over-speeding and overloading so that lives of people are safeguarded.

The incidents are not new neither are the condolences from the state. Many governments have come and expressed anguish and shock but have failed to produce a road worth calling a Highway!

Return Power

Taj-mohiuddinTaj Mohiuddin, senior Congress leader and former Irrigation and Flood Control minister, while pitching for return of the power projects to JK from NHPC said that state has a strong case and enough money to claim at least Salal and Uri-I power projects from the Corporation.

Taj has been vocal about these things even as a minister. He reportedly said what can a government do if he cannot bring these back?

The senior Congress leader said, “The cabinet sub-committee earlier submitted a detailed report over the return of the power projects by NHPC which was approved by the cabinet. At least there are two projects Salal and Uri-I which can easily be brought back by the state government.”

“We have that much of funds with us which can buy back these two projects. We can afford this much. It is 1.20 paisa per unit in Salal and 60 paisa in Uri–I. We can make a start by bringing back these two projects from the NHPC, if not all,” he revealed.

Taj believes that the government can bring back the two projects anytime it wants to and can end the power crisis in the state. “The ball is completely in the court of the state government. It can hold negotiations with NHPC or can approach the Supreme Court. I can only say that we have a very strong case and we are in a win-win situation,” he said.

The Congress leader added that the money for buying back the power projects lies in the separate account of JK government, collected as revenue from the water resources. “The amounts are meant to either start a new power project or to buy back the earlier ones. Dulhasti, we cannot afford as the cost per unit is high. Uri-I and Salal are very much affordable and the state dispensation can anytime take a call over such projects with the NHPC,” he said.

Pertinently, Taj had earlier informed the House on 5 October 2013 that state has earned Rs 925 crore from water usage charges levied on power projects.

The NHPC has paid Rs 700 crore while the State Power Development Corporation has paid the remaining amount. The earning will increase by another Rs 210 crore with the commissioning of the Uri-II power project.

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