Continuing their attacks on Kashmiri separatist leaders, rightwing Hindu activists attacked Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik in Ajmer with stones and shoes on February 11. One of the stones reportedly hit his head. Television footage showed a slipper thrown at him missing the target and hitting the wall of the hotel balcony where he was staying.
Malik was visiting the town along with his wife, when activists of BJP’s youth wing showed up outside the hotel. Malik said some 400 activists assembled shouting slogans and hurling stones and bottles at him.
“They raised slogans like Bharat mein rehna hai tou Ram Raj kehna hai and Bharat me rehna hai tou vande matram kehna hai,” Malik said. The BJP activists demanded that Malik leave the town immediately, and have approached the district administration with the demand. Malik said he was in the town to offer prayers at the Dargah (shrine). Police was deployed at the spot after the attack. Malik however told reporters that before the police, a number of Kashmiris who were in Ajmer visiting the shrine rushed to his help as soon as they heard of the attack.
Earlier this month a group of Hindu rightwing activists also assembled outside an apartment in Faridabad (near Delhi) where Malik was staying, demanding his eviction from the town. In the last few months rightwing activists from the BJP and its sister organizations have attacked Kashmiri separatists visiting various cities. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who visited various cities recently aiming to reach to Indian civil society was manhandled in one seminar in Chandigarh, and his car was attacked in other cities.
Ahad Jan, the police constable who threw a shoe at Chief Minister Omar Abdullah during an I-Day parade on August 15 last year, has been dismissed from service.
Jan became an overnight celebrity in Kashmir after his shoe throwing act. However, after a series of contradictory statements and retractions he went out of public sight. Then in a public gesture of goodwill, Jan was pardoned by the chief minister and released from custody. But after arriving to a hero’s welcome home Jan told newsmen that he had quit his police job.
However, in January it surfaced that Jan has been served a show cause notice by his department, after he had resumed his duties, but for on an unauthorized absence repeatedly. Jan was asked to reply to the show cause notice, failing which he could be dismissed. He has finally been sent a dismissal order.
“For over one week now, I have been trying to get in touch with the Chief Minister as he had promised to reinstate me,” Jan was quoted as saying. He said the dismissal order received by him last week stated: “Dismissed from service with effect from 22-5-2010.”
Who’s the boss
The appointment of a new secretary to the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council has run into a major controversy, with the government finding itself at loggerheads with the Deputy Chairman of the Council Arvinder Singh Micky.
Micky is not allowing the new secretary Muhammad Sayeed Shah, appointed by the state cabinet, to assume charge, and has instead promoted an official from the council secretariat to the post.
Experts say that appointing the secretary is a prerogative of the government (cabinet), and by not honouring a cabinet decision, Micky has come into direct confrontation with the chief minister Omar Abdullah. Although the government says, the deputy chairman is bound to honour the cabinet decision, it is reportedly exploring legal options, as Micky belongs to the ally Congress party.
It is not clear yet, if the Congress or any lobby in the party is backing the deputy chairman, but because the secretary’s appointment was a cabinet decision, Congress is supposed to be a part of it.
Shah, an officer of Legal Gazetted Service cadre and also Registrar State Information Commission, was appointed as the Secretary to Legislative Council vide a cabinet decision no 39/Cir/2011 dated 7/2/2011.
When Shah reported at the council to assume his charge this week, he was reportedly not allowed by deputy chairman to do so, telling him that an official had already assumed the charge. Shah sought the help of Law secretary, who told the deputy chairman that the official, who was holding the charge of the secretary LC, had to vacate as Shah has been appointed through a cabinet order.
Newspaper reports quoting sources said that an official named Muhammad Ashraf Shah was promoted, vide a predated order, from the level of Deputy Secretary to Secretary in just a few days time.
The Law Department is also understood to have sought the intervention of Law Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has also taken a serious exception to the development.
Meanwhile, Micky Singh has reportedly written to the Law Secretary that the state government should have taken him into confidence before making the appointment. He has also has sought resolution from MLCs that Shah’s appointment should be turned down, while Shah has now directed the treasuries that no bill should be passed without his signatures.
Micky told a local newspaper that he has asked the state government to appoint Shah somewhere else, “because we have already upgraded a senior officer as the secretary.”
The post of Legislative Council secretary fell vacant in January when former secretary G R Mehboobi retired. The Deputy Chairman, had then asked the Law Department to appoint the new secretary, to which he has now taken an exception.