News Notes

Breaking Lull

mufti-sayedBreaking his silence over the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP) patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed asserted that his party would not sell its mandate for the sake of power.

Mufti said that the interests of state and its people alone will guide the party in its bid to form a stable and representative government in Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing the electoral college of the party that had met in Jammu to elect PDP president, Mufti said that the party was in informal negotiation with Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and depending upon the areas of convergence a coalition would be formed on the basis of Common Minimum Programme.

“We are in track two negotiations with BJP. We may differ in our vision and priorities but an attempt is being made to find a common ground so as to evolve consensus on all issues to carry forward the peace process and political and economic agenda,” he said.

Reiterating that assuming power was never his priority he said, “Our alliance with any political party will be based on principals and policies. I assure you and the people of Jammu and Kashmir that I will never sell my mandate and will not compromise on the basic, issues on which the people have reposed trust on PDP, just for the sake of power.”

He said that after some consensus evolves during the “informal talks”, the party will depute its senior party leaders for holding structured dialogue with BJP. “We will have to agree on basic issues and move forward for transforming Jammu and Kashmir into politically stable and economically developed state for which peace is the pre requisite,” he said adding that Common Minimum Programme will form the basics of governance in Jammu and Kashmir for which negotiations were on with BJP.

He said that decisive but fractured mandate has thrown up one of the biggest challenge for his party but “PDP will take up the challenge only if I feel that by entering into an alliance I will be in a position to connect people of all the regions and work for the welfare of entire state”.

“We have the necessary material and capacity in the form of our leaders and policy makers to take up the challenge and do what people have voted us for. Our administration is best in the entire country and we are confident that we will achieve the distinction to give a stable, accountable and representative government”.

One of the objectives of the new government, he said, must be to meet the growing challenge of unemployment. “We have best skilled and educated youth who are second to none. We just need to channelize their energy and capabilities for which immediate measures need to be taken,” he said.

RDay Flag Jam

Republic-Day-Security-outside-Bakhshi-StadiumJanuary 26 was observed in Kashmir amid shutdown and restrictions. But in the one decade old history of mobile services in Kashmir, the cellular services were not snapped for the first half of the day.

In 2005, a grenade was hurled allegedly by militants during a security drill outside Bakshi Stadium and since then it was a norm to snap cellular service on January 26 and August 15.

But this year, when the state was directly under New Delhi’s rule via Governor, the uninterrupted cellular services on January 26 surprised many.

Meanwhile, it has been two years since a retired forest conservator Abdul Qayoom Khan, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking directions for the government to declare November 17 as the Republic Day of Jammu & Kashmir in accordance with its separate constitution and governance structure.

As per the PIL, the litigant was hurt over the constitutional authorities in the state including the governor, the judges and members of the executive for not hoisting the state flag on their cars and offices.  It constitutes ‘breach’ of the provisions of law.

The petition alleges that the use of Indian flag and no other flag amounted to contempt of the constitution of the state. “Though the civil secretariat in Srinagar and Jammu has both the flags, the state and the national flag unfurled over it, and the chief minister and most of the Kashmir ministers use it on their cars, most of the lawmakers and the top executives skip its use. Even the high court and the judges do not use it,” reads the PIL.

So far the state government has not responded to two notices issued by the high court in this regard in the past one year.

J&K started drafting its own constitution by setting up the Constituent Assembly on May 1, 1951. It completed the exercise and was dissolved on January 25, 1957.

But the constitution was enacted by the assembly on November 17, 1956. The state started celebrating the Republic Day with India only when Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad started hoisting the tricolour on January 26.

Murder or Death

Sopore-Murder-Family-ProtestAbduction, natural death or murder! The mystery continues around nineteen-year-old Umar Ishaq Mir’s death.

Son of a Congress Sarpanch, Umar, an BA first year student’s body was found near a stream in Tujjar area of Sopore on January 03, 2015. His family claims that he was abducted from home and then on the next day they found his body with visible torture marks.

The family contested the police claim that it was a ‘natural death’ and says the slain youth was murdered. They accuse state police of being ‘lenient’ in solving the case.

Umar’s sister said that she can identify those persons who ‘kidnapped’ and ‘killed’ her brother. She challenged the police version of natural death and says, “Neither the police received FSL nor postmortem report then how they claim it was not a murder. Omar had injury marks on head and thighs.”

The family demands the police should investigate the case. But when some local newspapers contacted SP Sopore Abdul Qayoom he said, “There are no marks on the body. And it is not a murder case. Why the hell are you so concerned about the case?”

Earlier when Umar’s body was found police sources confirmed that his body doesn’t have any bullet injury.

Taping Crime

Crime-Crime Branch (CB) Jammu booked two crimes of different nature this week. First it unearthed a fraudulent case where a migrant pandit had received government relief; and second it cracked a case regarding the sale of doctorate degrees in Jammu.

In the first case, CB Jammu registered an FIR against a Kashmiri migrant pandit for allegedly receiving government relief on fraudulent documents. According to Crime Branch Jammu, case has been registered against Bharat Bhushan Bhat of Wanpoh Islamabad at present H. No 181 Bakshi Nagar, Jammu.

After receiving a complaint where it was alleged that Bhat, under relief category for four souls plus one soul without benefits, had fraudulently drawn relief/ration for one non-existing soul namely Poonam from 1990 by preparing fake documents etc. amounting to 2,37,013/- in connivance with the Zonal Officers manning the Zone since 1990 thereby causing loss to state exchequer.

The Crime Branch said it was found that above mentioned person caused the loss to the state exchequer to the tune of Rs 237013. Accordingly, case FIR No. 4/2015 u/s 420, 466, 467, 468, 471, 120-B was registered in Crime Branch, Jammu and further investigation has been taken up.

In another case, CB Jammu registered an FIR against persons manning the cyber café / Photostat shops situated within the periphery of the University of Jammu and other areas for alleged business of preparing and selling the research thesis to the students after charging hefty amounts from them.

CB Jammu acted after receiving a communication of Vice Chancellor, Jammu University about the issue.

The statement said that for digging out the truth, a case FIR No. 5/2015 u/s 420, 465, 466, 467, 468, 471, 120-B was registered in Crime Branch, Jammu and further investigation has been taken up.

Against Occupation

The  trader’s community Wednesday staged a protest against the alleged encroachment of land in and adjoining areas of tourist resort Sonamarg by Army and urged upon the General Officer Commanding Northern Command to look into the matter and initiate action against the erring Army officers.

Scores of traders from Beopar Mandal Kangan carrying banners and placards assembled outside SDM office Kangan on Wednesday. The protestors said that Army encroached upon their more than 100 kanals of land at the tourist resort.

“As people migrate to other villages due to severe cold, the Army occupies the land and claims that they have taken it on lease. This year also the same was repeated,” the protestors said.

President Beopar Mandal Kangan, Gul Muhammad Var said that though they brought the issue into the notice of higher authorities but they failed to check the Army. “It is a disturbing situation for us. They (Army) refuse to acknowledge the government orders and continue to occupy the land during the dead of the night. The Army have even constructed temporary sheds on the land,” he said and appealed GOC 15 Corps to look into the matter and provide a succour to the local residents.

The protestors who marched from Rest House to SDM office Kangan threatened that if the Army continued ‘illegal possession of the land’, they will launch massive agitation.

SDM Kangan, Ghulam Ahmed Mir said that the administration will take action against those who violate the norms as nobody is above law.

“We are looking into the matter and trying to know the causes that prompted people to believe that army is indulging in encroachment,” said a senior Army official, maintaining that nowhere in the tourist resort Army has occupied any land.

Bloody January

Chattergam-KillingsWith five massacres allegedly involving men-in-uniform claiming around 200 lives in total, the month of January is remembered as one of the darkest months in Kashmir’s two-and-half decade old conflict.

The first one took place on January 21, 1990, two days after Jagmohan Malhotra took over as state’s governor, at Badiyar, Gawkadal Srinagar when CRPF men fired indiscriminately on a peaceful procession killing 50 civilians on the spot and injuring another 250.

The procession was marching towards Chotta Bazar, to express solidarity with the people, where the CRPF men had molested women a day earlier during a search operation.

On January 25, 1990 (four days after Gawkadal massacre) 25 person were killed at Handwara. They too were part of a peaceful procession against the atrocities in Valley.

On January 6, 1993 as per the official data 57 people were killed, 250 shops and 50 houses were torched in Sopore. As per various eyewitness accounts, out of the people, who were killed that day many got burnt alive as well.

On January 27, 1994, Kupwara witnessed another massacre in which 27 persons were killed and 36 sustained injuries.

On January 25, 1998, 23 people (all Kashmiri pundits) were killed by masked gunmen in Wandhama.

Reports of all these cases are yet to reach their final conclusion. These files are stuck at various official levels waiting to get ‘justice’.

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