Srinagar, July 3: There is a new twist to Kashmir’s political tale indicating that perhaps, once again, rumours could be travelling ahead of the real news in Jammu and Kashmir.
The political grapevine is once again agog that a “democratic government” would soon be formed in the state by expedient politicians resorting to the most undemocratic means of horse trading.
What has fuelled the rumour mill this time is the growing dissatisfaction within the Peoples Democratic Party (DPP) headed by former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
At least three of PDP’s 28 MLAs in the 87-member state assembly have revolted against Mehbooba Mufti.
Influential Shia leader and former minister Imran Ansari, his uncle Abid Ansari, and Abbas Wani have accused Mehbooba Mufti of running the PDP as a fiefdom.
Imran accused Mehbooba of creating dynastic rule by bringing her brother, Tasaduq Mufti, as a minister and handing over all the affairs of governance to her relatives and cronies.
Ironically, Imran and his uncle stayed put in the PDP till it lost power in the state.
Former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta’s remarks gave credibility to reports that some deep churning was taking place in the state’s political cauldron.
“We are working on something and you will come to know of this soon,” Gupta’s words to media within days of the BJP withdrawing from the PDP-BJP ruling alliance were initially not taken seriously.
The recent visit of BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav and his meeting with senior party leaders, in addition to Sajad Gani Lone of the Peoples Conference, finally stirred the hornet’s nest.
Sajad’s party has two MLAs and he has been supporting the BJP. This had earned him a ministerial berth in the previous government — out of the BJP’s quota in the coalition.
Madhav’s visit was followed by reports that the PDP had approached the Congress for cobbling up a new ruling alliance in the state.
Senior Congress leader and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad denied these reports, saying that the Congress has an all-weather friend in the regional National Conference (NC) headed by Farooq Abdullah and there was no question of aligning with the PDP.
Mehbooba Mufti also denied any knowledge about her probable meeting with Sonia Gandhi as reported by a section of the media.
While news reports and rumours about possible permutations and combinations between the PDP, the Congress and the NC are still doing the rounds, another political bombshell has hit the state.
Reports of disgruntled MLAs from the PDP, the Congress and the NC breaking loose from their parties to support a BJP-led government are the latest addition to the media fever here.
Horse trading is nothing new in the state.
In 1984, a democratically-elected government headed by Farooq Abdullah was brought down by his brother-in-law, G.M. Shah.
Shah became Chief Minister by engineering defections in the NC and with outside support of the Congress.
The political upheaval was widely believed to have the blessings of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had been insulted by some NC supporters during her public rally in Srinagar city.
It is common knowledge in Kashmir that Jagmohan was brought in as the state governor by Gandhi so that Abdullah was ousted through defections within the NC.
After exactly 34 years, the political rumour mill suggests that the same experiment is being tried once again with the blessings of the Centre.
The 1984 coup was staged by engineering defections within just the NC. If rumours are to be believed, the reported horse trading would this time spare no major political party in the state.
Rumours suggest defections to create a BJP-headed government would affect the Congress, the PDP and the NC as a minimum of 44 MLAs are needed to stake claim to power.
At present, the PDP has 28, BJP 25, NC 15, Congress 12 and others seven seats in the 87-member assembly that was put into suspended animation by Governor N.N. Vohra after he imposed governor’s rule.
It is precisely because of the danger of horse trading that NC Vice President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been demanding the dissolution of the state assembly, a chorus now joined by Mehbooba Mufti as well.
Rumours may be dismissed as a mere figment of someone’s imagination under normal circumstances. But not in Kashmir’s topsy-turvy politics.
It was initially just a rumour that his government was being toppled, which Farooq Abdullah brushed aside in 1984 till he got a letter from Governor Jagmohan that he was no longer the Chief Minister.
BSF officer killed, 4 soldiers injured in cross-LoC firing
Jammu, Jan 15: An Assistant Commandant of Border Security Force (BSF) was killed in a ‘sniper fire’ by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Samba district of Jammu on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, three BSF personnel and an army soldier were injured in separate incidents of firing along Rajouri and Kathua districts of Jammu.
Quoting a police official, news agency GNS said that Pakistan army opened sniper fire upon the BSF posts along the fence at around 10:50 am on Tuesday resulting in serious injuries to the officer identified as Assistant Commandant, Vinay Prasad.
He was immediately taken to a nearby health facility of army, from where he was airlifted to military hospital Satwari, Jammu, the official said.
“The officer succumbed to the grave injuries in the evening,” the officer added.
Meanwhile, three BSF troopers and an army soldier were injured, two of them critically, after the armies of India and Pakistan traded fire along the Line of Control (LoC) and international border in Rajouri and Kathua districts.
Official sources said that two BSF men and an army soldier posted along the LoC near Sunderbani sector of Rajouri were injured in the firing.
“One among the injured BSF men was identified as AnirbanChatterji, who suffered critical injuries and has been shifted to military hospital Satwari Jammu,” officials said.
The army soldier identified as Akash of 6 Jat Rifles and other BSF personnel, whose identity could not be immediately established, have also been admitted to hospital.
In another similar incident, a BSF trooper was injured when Pakistan troops fired on Indian pickets along the International Border (IB) in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district on Tuesday. The injured trooper has been taken to hospital for treatment.
There was a fresh exchange of fire between India and Pakistani army in MendharMankote and Balakote areas of Poonch and Kalal of Nowshera Rajouri.
In these areas, shells landed in some residential areas, following which the local moved to safer places.
An official of the BSF confirmed all these incidents and said that “our troops guarding the fence returned fire effectively and strongly”.
The officer said that in wake of growing incidents of ceasefire violation and sniper attacks, the Indian troops guarding the fence in all these areas has been put on high alert.
Govt issues appointment orders to 921 medical officers
Jammu, Jan 15: To augment health care facilities in the rural and far flung areas of the state, Health and Medical Education (H&ME) Department Tuesday issued appointment orders to 921 Medical Officers recruited on fast track basis.
To fast track the recruitment process, the H&MEDepartment had made relevant provisions in the rules and SRO, which paved the way for making the recruitment process a time bound exercise.
Pertinently, the department had referred one thousand vacancies of Medical Officers (MOs) of the Jammu and Kashmir Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Service to the J&K Public Service Commission (JKPSC) for making selections. After conducting the written examination, the J&K Public Service Commission finally recommended 921 candidates for selection as Medical Officers.
The H&ME department completed the process of recruitment in a record time of 3 months and issued appointment orders to the selected candidates.
Out of total 921 Medical Officers appointed by the department, 35 have been posted in district Anantnag, 18 in Bandipora, 58 in Baramulla, 28 in Budgam,119 in Doda, 33 in Ganderbal, 32 in Jammu, 52 in Kargil, 84 in Kathua, 46 in Kishtwar, 62 in Kupwara, 30 in Kulgam, 33 in Leh, 27 in Pulwama, 81 in Poonch, 56 in Ramban, 57 in Rajouri, 16 in Reasi, 08 in Samba,15 in Shopian and 41 in Udhampur.
Of these, 185 Medical Officers with specializations have also been posted in different districts of the state.
As per the Government order issued in this behalf, the appointees shall submit their joining reports to their concerned Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) within a period of 21 days and in case of failure to join within the stipulated period, the appointment shall be deemed to have been cancelled ab-initio without any further notice.
Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik, Advisor to Governor K Vijay Kumar and Chief Secretary B.V.R Subrahmanyam have conveyed their best wishes to the newly appointed Medical Officers with the hope that they will work with zest and zeal to provide best healthcare services to the people, particularly living in rural and far flung areas of the state.
The selected candidates can visit www.jkhealth.org for the selection list and to check the details of their place of postings.
JNU case: Joint Hurriyat seeks withdrawal of charges against Kashmiri students
Srinagar, Jan 15:Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik has strongly denounced the sedition charges and filing of charge sheet by the Delhi Police against Kashmiri students pursuing studies at Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU).
The leadership said the charges will have serious consequences on the academic and future career of the students.
The Kashmiri students include Aqeeb Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, MuneebHussain,UmairGul, Rayees Rasool, Khalid Bashir, Basharat Ali.
The leadership said the students only participated in the programme organized by JNU students Union in 2016 to condemn the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged in Tihar Jail under shadowy circumstances without even informing his family members and in contravention to all established norms and rules.
The leaders said to book the students in 2019 clearly exhibit the vote bank politics of the ruling dispensation.
They said to harass the Kashmiri students pursuing studies outside Jammu and Kashmir is not a new practice, earlier in many universities and colleges Kashmiri students have been harassed even beaten up, forcing them to drop the studies incomplete and return home
“The Joint Hurriyat appealed International Human Rights Organizations ICRC, Asia Watch, Amnesty International and other humanity loving nations to take serious notice of these nefarious practices carried out to ruin the carriers of the Kashmiri students,” a spokesperson of the amalgam said.
JNU Case: Delhi court to consider chargesheet on Jan 19
New Delhi, Jan 15: A Delhi court Tuesday fixed January 19 for consideration of charge sheet against former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and others, including seven Kashmiri students, in the 2016 JNU sedition case.
The court put up the matter for hearing on the date as Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat was on leave Tuesday.
The Delhi Police had on Monday filed a chargesheet at a city court against Kanhaiya Kumar and others, saying he was leading a procession and supported “seditious slogans” raised on the varsity campus in February 2016.
Police also charged former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event on the university’s campus on February 9, 2016, to commemorate the hanging of Afzal Guru.