News Notes

Stalled Flag

Jammu-Kashmir-flagSince 1952 the state of Jammu and Kashmir was craving for hoisting its state flag.  When finally after more than 6 decades the dream  turned into reality, a hitch within 24 hours saw the move getting stalled. Earlier,  it was  made mandatory for all constitutional authorities to maintain the sanctity of the state flag.  The move was seen as the strengthening the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

While referring to the historical background the order, no 13-GAD of 2015, dated March 12, 2015, mentions ‘the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and Delhi agreement of 1952 to express that the State Flag has the same sanctity and position as the Union Flag has under the Indian Constitution and other statutory provisions.

“Therefore, this sanctity and position has to be maintained at all costs. It’s non-hoisting along with the Union Flag amounts to insult to the Flag as per the Provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Insult to State Honours Act 1979,” reads the order.

The order issued by the general administration department ‘was issued after 12 days of the newly formed PDP-BJP alliance. Pertinently BJP advocates the two-flag system in the state shall be abolished.

Meanwhile a petition was also filed by former forest officer Abdul Qayoom Khan, which is pending before the high court, requesting the court to direct constitutional authorities to abide by rules regarding hoisting of state flag.

The National Conference government did not file the reply to Khan’s petition and left it for the new dispensation headed by PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to respond.

Khan said in his PIL that he was hurt over the constitutional authorities in the state including the governor, the judges and members of the executive not hoisting the state flag on their cars and offices. “It constitutes breach of the provisions of law.”

He has also sought court’s directions for declaring November 17 as Republic Day in the state, contending it was the day when people of the state adopted and enacted the constitution.

Doctor’s Negligence

Pulwama-protestThe week witnessed death of two new mothers in 72 hours, one in Sub-District Hospital Kulgam and another in District Hospital Pulwama. In both the cases, locals and relatives of deceased blamed negligence of doctor as cause of death.

One of the deceased was twenty-six year old Rahila Banoo who died in hospital after giving birth to a baby on Tuesday morning. Her husband accused that after performing the surgery upon Rahila, the doctors did not attend her. Reportedly, the agitated family members and attendants broke the furniture of Medical Superintendent’s office and caused heavy damage to the hospital lab. The protesters were pacified by the officials of district administration including Additional Development Commissioner Muhammad Ahsan who rushed to the spot along with policemen immediately after the incident.

The second death happened in district hospital Pulwama where Khurshida of Lajura area died allegedly due to complications following her delivery. Her death also triggered protests and police had to come in action.

The authorities refuted the charges that the woman died due to the negligence of the doctor. “Rafiqa developed restlessness due to scissory infection and before we could have shifted her to Srinagar hospital, she breathed her last,” the authorities said.

The protesters demanded immediate suspension of the erring doctors while ADC Kulgam ordered magisterial probe into the incident.

Meanwhile, in case of Khursheeda the official sources informed Kashmir Life that district administration suspended Dr Tahira Rasool, Dr Tasleema and Dr Tahira posted at district hospital Pulwama and attached them to sub district hospital Sopore.

Kunan Questions

While celebrating International Women’s Day, Aligarh Muslim University Students Union (AMUSU) organized a seminar – A reminder: AFSPA and Gender Violence, Remembering Kunan Poshpora Mass Rape. They issue a statement which reads, “On 9th March 2015, AMUSU celebrated International Women’s Day and demanded justice for the victims of Kunan Poshpora mass rape, and a stern punishment for the culprits.”

They introduced the subject of violence against women across India with special reference to violence in the conflict zones like Kashmir. Talking about women of violence, the AMUSU called upon the Indian State to stand up to the ‘international norms’ of war and conflict.

Speaking on the occasion, statement said that chief guest Gautam Navlakha; a human right defender presented a detailed analysis of violence against women in Kashmir.

Meanwhile in Kashmir, during the hearing of the Kunan Poshpora mass rape and torture case, the Additional Advocate General Riyaz Khan informed the Division Bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that all proceedings of the case have been stayed by the Supreme Court of India in an Ex parte order.

“Effectively this means, investigation and the other issues in the on-going writ petition in the High Court on the Kunan Poshpora matter are now seized of by the Supreme Court,” said a coalition of civil society statement.

This is for the first time, that the Kunan Poshpora matter was heard by the Supreme Court. Earlier the Single Bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had stayed the investigations on Kunan Poshpora matter on the petition filed by the Indian army and now on the petition filed by the Jammu and Kashmir Government the Supreme Court too has stayed the investigation and the proceedings. On the next hearing the Counsel for survivors will appear in the Supreme Court and present the necessary arguments.

Cop Secret

Ashiq-BukhariEx SSP Srinagar Ashiq Hussain Bukhari is again in headlines even after his retirement. The ‘controversial’ policeman has always remained in news throughout the history of armed struggle of Kashmir. But this time he made this statement while talking to a local web portal and later allegedly made it a point that they put down the news item. But till then it was late and the news was already carried by many social networking sites.  So it became impossible to stop the news of allegations.

But this time the coin turned ugly when Bukhari alleged former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah offered him money for ‘killing’ Masarat Alam and Omar should be held guilty for 2010 killings.

Bukhari alleged Omar asked him on phone “why Masarat had been arrested and not bumped off.” He also alleged that in addition to the official Rs 10 lacs for capturing Masarat Alam, Omar paid Ashiq Bukhari, additional Rs 15 lacs “from his own pocket”. Bukhari also alleged that Omar had paid him Rs 1.5 crore four times by cheque for his “outstanding work”.

Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS) has made an announcement that if ex-SSP stands by his allegations against the former chief minister Omar Abdullah they will file a case against Omar.

Castigated Lal

Lal-SinghJust two after taking his oath as state’s Health and Education Minister, Chaudhary Lal Singh, has landed into a controversy. He allegedly shouted at a psychiatrist and snapped his fingers at her.

A woman doctor has filed a complaint against the minister, accusing him of “mental harassment amounting to outraging modesty”.

In her complaint filed in the police station, Bakshi Nagar, Jammu, the doctor, working as a registrar at the Psychiatric Disease Hospital, Government Medical College Jammu, accused the minister of misbehaviour.

“I was shocked by harsh words and misbehaviour done to me in full public view by none other than Lal Singh, honourable Minister for Health and Medical Education J&K govt, which has left me mentally harassed and wrecked,” (sic.) the complaint reads.

“He snapped his fingers at me and said ‘Tumhara Kaam Ho gaya, chalo niklo bahar.’

She said the incident had shattered her emotionally and requested the SHO to register an FIR against the minister.

The concerned SHO has said that he has forwarded the complaint to the law section and finally rejected her plea. Meanwhile, students of Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar, demonstrated against Singh who misbehaved with a few doctors and paramedical staff at SMHS Hospital.

The students also demanded an apology from Singh and said they will go on a strike and boycott classes if he does not apologise to the insulted doctors.

Army Drive

Army-RecruitementIn a recently concluded Army drive for 53 posts, twenty thousand candidates had applied. The recruitment was conducted at JAKLI headquarters at Rangreth. It was not surprising for Kashmiris but as per reports army officials were surprised to see the rush. The situation turned violent and the state forces were asked to intervene.

However, defense spokesman in Srinagar, Lieutenant Col NN Joshi has informed that the recruitment drive was for the Territorial Army and not for the JAKLI. Territorial Army is a joint effort of various security agencies. It is a positive sign that Kashmiri youth are desirous to join army, he says.

The candidates were from far off places like Kupwara, Baramullah, Bandipora and Kulgam districts apart from the nearby Srinagar and Budgam. It has also been reported that some of the candidates were even post graduates.

As per sources Army is sensitive to the growing desire of Kashmiri youth to join military and has started conducting recruitment in phased manner. However, the desperation for seeking stable and dignified jobs is such that youth do not wait for the turn of their district, the official said.

Meanwhile, 25 youths have successfully completed the formalities and joined the Army last year through Bandipora and Islamabad rallies, the official added.

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