Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti stirred a controversy when she gave a Powerpoint presentation at her press conference, and displayed a state map that showed parts under Chinese and Pakistani control in red and green colours.
Mehbooba was demanding, among other things, the opening of traditional trade routes of Kashmir that connected it with Central Asia and Middle East, mainly through the silk route. Demanding to make Kashmir a free trade zone, the party also advocated a joint council for Jammu and Kashmir that would include members from India and Pakistan administered parts of the region.
New Delhi based television channels soon blamed the PDP for seceding parts of the state to the two neighbours. The controversy created by the TV channels soon saw political parties aiming their guns at Mehbooba, with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram taking shots and demanding apologies from her. Abdullah said “gifting away” of state territory was not acceptable.
“It is up to the PDP, how they would want to clear this (controversy about map). I don’t think it is acceptable to anyone that part of the state’s territory is gifted away like this,” Omar reacted.
“And to add, in a state where religion is of such importance, inducing Communist rule is a dangerous thought, which we should consider. Now, why PDP gave away a part to a Communist country is something only they can answer,” he added.
In New Delhi the Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari demanded the PDP withdraw the map.
“We demand that the PDP withdraw the controversial map immediately. PDP’s depiction of Jammu and Kashmir in different colours is highly objectionable.” Tiwari said.
“The kind of pictorial adventurism (by the PDP) has diplomatic implications.”
Union home minister P Chidambaram even threatened action against the party.
Chidambaram told a television channel that the PDP had made a big mistake, and if it did not correct it, he would take action.
Unfazed by the criticism, Mehbooba stuck to her ground.
“Unfortunately, a good chunk of our territory which existed before 1947 is under the illegal occupation of China. So, when PDP talks about self-rule, resolution and opening of trade routes, we are also talking about that part of China. The Central government should have appreciated it rather than getting angry about it” she said.
Hitting back at Chidambaram she said.
“My request to him is that he should be more focused on incursions that are taking place in Ladakh…Do some thing about it and not being bullied by China. I think people in New Delhi are being bullied by China so they don’t want to talk about the territory illegally occupied by China. People in Delhi are afraid of China, they do question Pakistan but not China.”
The dog menace is Srinagar has been a big headache for the authorities and residents for years now. Many experts have warned that the dog population will soon cross the human population of the city.
The hospital get number of dog bite cases every day, and there have been some cases of rabies in the last few years. The administration’s plans of culling few years back brought the ire of animal rights activists. And then the administration embarked on a sterilization programme to at least control the growing canine population. The programme failed and the dogs continued to have have a field day. Now, alerted by an increase in number of dog bite cases, (recently in Lal Chowk) the divisional commissioner Asgar Samoon has decided to launch a sterlization programme again, but more than this time the administration is banking of a ‘Pied Piper’ to get rid of dogs.
The ‘Pied Piper’ Khurshid Ahmed Mir claims that he can make all stray dogs to leave Kashmir Valley without killing them.
A statement issued by the Divisional Commissioner’s spokesman this week said that Mir has been allowed to launch his programme in some wards of the city on experimental basis.
“Div Com issued instructions to SMC to allow Mr Khurshid Ahmed Mir, whom he nick-named Pied-Piper to try his skills in one or two Municipal Wards, on an experimental basis, subject to the condition that he does not do anything illegal and does not kill the stray dogs. Based on the success of the programme more areas can be allotted to him on experimental basis,” the statement said.