JAMMU, JANUARY 10: In yet another major decision of far reaching significance, Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today announced grant of amnesty against youth involved in various cases during the unrest of 2016 even as she appealed all shades of opinion in the State and the country to come forward and help in the getting the State out of present uncertainties and bloodshed.
Replying to the discussion on Motion of Thanks on Governor’s Address in the legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister said she directed the withdrawal of cases against 4327 youth recently and even constituted a committee to review the cases against youth registered during the unrest of 2016. “I am happy that we have decided to grant amnesty to them also, roughly making it to around nine thousand youth”, she announced in the House amidst applauses.
Mehbooba Mufti said she has asked the Police to ensure that the local boys who have joined militant ranks should be helped to come back to their families and friends. “It’s my endeavour to bring them back and ensure no harassment to them. Many have come back but I regret the glorification of violence by some people on social media”, she told the House.
Terming dialogue as the only way ahead, the Chief Minister said appointment of Mr. Dineshwar Sharma, with the rank of Cabinet Secretary, as interlocutor last year was a major decision to undertake sustained dialogue in the State. She hoped that people from different shades of opinion would join the consultation process initiated by Mr. Sharma and it moves ahead with positivity.
Clarifying some points raised by some opposition members in this regard, Mehbooba Mufti said the mandate given to him is clear and categorical. “He has been appointed to carry forward the dialogue process in the State in a sustained manner”, she said adding that the need of the hour is to get the State out of the vicious cycle of violence. She appealed all shades of opinion in the State and the Country to come forward and play their role in getting Jammu & Kashmir out of uncertainties and bloodshed.
Welcoming the reports of recent meeting of National Security Advisors of India and Pakistan, Mehbooba Mufti said she wishes normalisation of relations between the two countries adding that she wants the State to become a bridge of faith and trust between the two countries. She said Jammu & Kashmir has a strategic location which should be exploited for positive and gainful results. “Why can’t we be gateway to Central Asia. We should be part of the Silk Route. Let us explore the opportunities of Tashkant, Kashgar, Iran etc. which have been the historic routes through which Islam came to Kashmir”, she said. “It was this tolerant Islam which groomed us to think on rational and humanitarian lines while deciding our fate in 1947. Let us go back to our routes”, she said.
For their social inclusion and integration, the Chief Minister said the pellet victims whose vision got impaired were given financial assistance and even the jobs. “Unfortunate, it should have not happened. We tried to rehabilitate them. We are still on it. Pellet victim Insha was given Gas agency to stand up on her feet”, she informed the House adding that these persons would be given special training in collaboration with a local institution so that they don’t have to depend on anybody for rest of their life.
The Chief Minister said to empower people at grass root levels, her Government intends to hold elections to panchayats and urban local local bodies and put in place a three tier governance apparatus in the State.
Rebutting strongly the charge of the opposition, the Chief Minister said a lot was done during the last three years by the Government but could not be highlighted because political scenario always dominates the scene in the State and the country. She said regularising the services of 60 thousand daily wagers was the largest public welfare step taken by any Government in recent times. “I am happy that they won’t have to go from pillar to post now onwards for releasing their remunerations. We have given them an honourable position, dignity and security though they were engaged by previous regimes”, the Chief Minister said while terming their regularisation as the mother of all welfare measures.
Mehbooba Mufti said she was happy to see that Leader of opposition praised the good work done by her Party during its rule from 2002-2005.
On the novel initiative of her conducting public outreach programmes at district headquarters, the Chief Minister said the aim was to know the difficulties of people of far flung areas on spot and fix the same instantly. She clarified that the local legislators were part of these programmes and many of the decisions she took were in response to the demands put forth by them. “No discrimination was made on political lines”, she clarified.
Mehbooba Mufti said, equally, the aim of her public outreaches was to spread the developmental initiative to far flung and difficult areas rather than concentrating them in cities. “If a villager of Bounjwa, Marmat or Paddar does not get his half a kilometre road constructed or a health centre improved, I don’t think we are doing justice to them”, she asserted.
The Chief Minister said during these outreach programmes, she has noticed that though many field officers have a ready knowledge of activities in the field but some officers do not visit their areas so frequently as should be. “We, the political executives, come and go but you (the officers) remain in the system for long”, she said while asking the field officers, particularly the DCs, to regularly visit their areas and get direct feedback from the people.
Sensing the requirements of labour class, who don’t have any job or life security, Mehbooba Mufti said the Government conceived a welfare scheme for around 3 lakh workers in unorganised sector in terms of accidental deaths, injuries or normal deaths. Also the scheme envisages scholarships and educational incentives to the wards of these workers, she added. Similarly, she said, the widow pension was enhanced and even the scooty scheme for college girls has so picked up that the demand is coming from all across the State.
The Chief Minister said J&K Police which is on the fore front of managing the situation in the State had issues pending for long. The cadre review of Kashmir Police Service was undertaken, ex gratia amount for the cops was increased by three times, backlog of SRO-43 of around 1000 cases was cleared and quotas for promotions in constabulary were earmarked for their timely career progression, she informed the House.
In education sector, Mehbooba Mufti said, around 400 schools are being upgraded and Government schools are performing better which, she said, got displayed yesterday in the results of 10th class examination. Government schools not only got more of their students passed but also in good percentages, she added.
The Chief Minister said Government is taking steps to provide as much jobs as possible to youth. She said more than 10 thousand vacancies were filled last year by the PSC and SSRB, 3000 positions of Rehbar i Khel have been carved out, 500 Rehbar i Janglats are being recruited besides the routine recruitments in the police. The major takeaway, the Chief Minister said, has been the transparency in these selections. “There has been no interference in these selections. All I have been impressing upon the recruiting agencies is to speed up the process and conclude the selections in time”, she said.
During her 55 minute address, the Chief Minister enumerated several developmental initiatives taken by her Government. She said two AIIMS and two Smart cities are being developed in the State, 87 model hospitals are being constructed, work is apace on five medical colleges for which staff of around 3500 has already been sanctioned.
The Chief Minister also dwelt in detail the major initiatives taken by Government in the fields of Agriculture, Horticulture, Health, Public Works, water supply, health and other areas.
Earlier, 30 members participated in the discussion on Motion of Thanks which was returned after the reply of the Chief Minister.
Legislators who took part in the discussion on Motion of Thanks on Governor’s address included Omar Abdullah, Muhammad Yousuf Bhat, Daleep Parihar, Choudhary Qamar Hussain, Sat Paul Sharma, Hakeem Muhammad Yaseen, Bashir Ahmad Dar, Shah Muhammad Tantray, Rajeev Jasrotia, Raja Manzoor Ahmad, Nawan Rigzin Jora, Dina Nath Bhagat, Mubarak Gul, Abdul Rahim Rather, Usman Abdul Majid, Jeevan Lal, Firdous Shamim, Abdul Majid Padder, Main Altaf Ahmad, Vikar Rasool Wani, M Y Tarigami, Aijaz Ahmad Mir, Shakti Raj Parihar, Javid Hassan Beigh, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Er Abdul Rasheed, Yawar Ahmad Mir, Ravinder Raina, Anjum Fazili and R S Pathania.
Later, the House passed the motion of Thanks on Governor’s Address.
Uproar over Trump’s Kashmir offer
No such request made by PM Modi: Jaishankar
New Delhi, Jul 23: US President Donald Trump’s claim on Kashmir mediation led to angry reactions from the opposition in Parliament on Tuesday, as the government asserted that all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally.
While Rajya Sabha witnessed repeated adjournments over the issue, the opposition walked out of Lok Sabha proceedings demanding a statement from the prime minister himself.
Soon after the House met for the day at 11 AM, opposition parties raked up the issue of Trump’s remarks made in the presence of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The US President had on Monday claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to play the role of a mediator on Kashmir.
India’s position has been consistent and clear on Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir and has always maintained that it will not accept third party mediation in purely bilateral issue.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said Prime Minister Modi never made any such request to the US leader and reiterated that Kashmir is a bilateral issue.
He said all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally, thereby ruling out any third party mediation.
“I would like to categorically state that no such request has been made by the prime minister to the US President,” he said.
The minister said it has been the consistent position of India that all outstanding issues with Pakistan can be discussed only bilaterally.
“Any engagement with Pakistan will require an end to cross border terrorism,” he said, adding Shimla and Lahore accords signed between India and Pakistan provide the basis for resolution of all issues bilaterally.
Opposition parties were, however, not satisfied by the statement of the External Affairs Minister and wanted the prime minister to come to the House and clarify.
This led to heated exchanges between opposition benches and Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, who adjourned proceedings for nearly an hour.
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said that her party will raise the issue related to the statement made by Trump, who claimed that Modi had asked him to mediate on the issue of Kashmir.
Asked if Congress will seek a reply from the Prime Minister in Parliament on Trump’s statement, Sonia Gandhi said, “You will see it in the House. We will raise the issue and Congress is raising now also.”
Meanwhile, leaders from opposition parties, including Congress, NCP, AAP, PDP, DMK, CPI (M), CPI, RJD, Samajwadi Party and TMC asked Prime Minister Modi to give a clarification on the US President’s statement in both Houses of Parliament.
Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “No matter which government was in power at Centre in the past, whether it was Congress or NDA, our foreign policy has been that Kashmir is a bilateral issue and no third party can intervene. President Trump made this statement while talking to Prime Minister of Pakistan. If he would have made it while talking to some other nation, then we understand that he could have said it in a lighter mode, but he knows how serious this Kashmir issue is between India and Pakistan. He also knows that India’s policy has been to solve this issue bilaterally.”
He added, “Trump would have thought about it and then said it. We are ready to believe our Prime Minister. We are not saying that our Prime Minister is lying… We want our Prime Minister to say it in the Parliament that Trump is lying. But this is not correct if some officer says that you are trusting President Trump and not our Prime Minister.”
Azad went on add that “from Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh, whenever any Prime Minister used to go on an official visit to any country and meet the head of states there, then they used to give statements in both the Houses of the Parliament after returning back.”
“But in last six years, Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has visited so many countries, but didn’t give any statement in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha regarding his visits… Rather than External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Prime Minister Modi should address both the Houses himself and say that he didn’t say anything like this,” he added.
Senior leader D Raja said, “India’s position continues to be a consistent one on Kashmir issue, on disputes between India and Pakistan. They are all bilateral disputes, bilateral issues, and no question of allowing third party mediation… It is a serious issue. We do not want to believe US President. We want to believe our Prime Minister. That is why we demand that the Prime Minister should come and tell the Parliament what exactly he spoke to President Trump… Parliament is in Session. Prime Minister should take the people and country into confidence.”
Resonating similar sentiments, TMC leader Derek O’Brien said that Prime Minister should “clear the air” regarding his discussion with Trump.
“My colleagues including Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad from the Congress party, NCP, AAP, PDP, DMK, CPI (M), CPI, RJD, Samajwadi Party and the TMC are here. Our position is very, very clear. We have a simple, straight-forward demand or request – the Prime Minister of India has to come and clear the air,” he said.
Surprised by India’s reaction: Imran on Trump’s Kashmir mediation offer
‘K-issue won’t be resolved bilaterally’
Washington, Jul 23: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday said that he was surprised by India’s reaction to US President Donald Trump’s offer of mediation on Kashmir.
“Surprised by reaction of India to Pres Trump’s offer of mediation to bring Pak & India to dialogue table for resolving Kashmir conflict which has held subcontinent hostage for 70 yrs. Generations of Kashmiris have suffered & are suffering daily and need conflict resolution,” Imran tweeted.
Donald Trump offered to mediate in Kashmir dispute between India and Pakistan ‘if mediation is required’.
He also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked him to play the role of a mediator on Kashmir
Trump said this during his meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan in White House in Washington DC on Monday.
The statement created a ruckus in the political circles in India as opposition parties took on the Modi-led government over its stand on the issue.
India’s position has been consistent and clear on Pakistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir and has always maintained that it will not accept third party mediation in purely bilateral issue.
Imran, however, told an American news outlet that there will never be a resolution to the Kashmir issue bilaterally and asserted that the US and President Trump can play a “big part” in mediation.
“Bilaterally there will never be (a resolution of the Kashmir issue),” he told Fox News after his meeting with US President Donald Trump.
“There was one point when there was General (Pervez) Musharraf and Prime Minister (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee of India when we did get close to the resolution of the Kashmiri issue. But since then, we are poles apart and I really feel that India should come to the table. The US could play a big part. President Trump certainly can play a big part,” he added.
“We are talking about 1.3 billion people on this earth. Imagine the dividends of peace if somehow that issue could be resolved,” Imran Khan further told the Fox News host.
The Pakistani Prime Minister was also asked if they would give up their nuclear weapons if India did so, to which he replied, “Yes because nuclear war is not an option. Between Pakistan and India, the idea of nuclear war is actually self-destruction because we have two-and-a-half thousand-mile border.”
He also made a reference to the standoff between India and Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack, the responsibility of which was claimed by Pak-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). India undertook airstrikes which targeted terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot after the incident, following which Pakistan violated India’s airspace. A dogfight ensued leading to India shooting down a Pakistani F-16.
“I think there’s a realisation in the subcontinent that and there was some incident happened last February and we again had tensions at the border…So, there’s a realisation and that’s why I asked, President Trump that if he could play his role, the US as the most powerful country in the world, the only country that could mediate between Pakistan and India and resolve the only issue is Kashmir,” Khan said.
Imran Khan also claimed that Kashmir is the only reason why India and Pakistan “have not been able to live like “civilised neighbours” since the last 70 years.
Teachers suspended on Eid await charge-sheet, reinstatement
Srinagar, Jul 23: Forty five days on, the education department has neither reinstated nor issued the charge-sheet to 23 school teachers who were suspended after being found absent from duties on the second day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
During surprise visit to four schools in Habak and Batamaloo areas on second day of Eid, the authorities found that several teachers were absent from duties. As a result, 23 teachers were placed under suspension.
The government decision created a hue and cry with people taking to social media criticizing the authorities for suspending teachers because they stayed home on the second day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
“The teachers are placed under suspension for unauthorized absence from schools; charge sheet shall be issued separately. The suspended officials will remain attached in the same school,” read an order issued by CEO Srinagar, Malik Naseer.
One and half months later, the authorities have neither issued charge-sheet nor reinstated the teachers.
“We have not been receiving our salaries for the last two months despite attending our duties regularly. We have a family to support but the government does not care,” said one of the suspended teachers.
He said under rules the authorities have to give them charge-sheet so that they could explain their position. “Neither have they issued charge sheet nor released our salaries,” rued the teacher.
Chief Education Officer, Srinagar, Malik Naseer, however told The Kashmir Monitor that after completing the official procedure, the teachers will be reinstated.
“Their (teachers) case is still pending. Teachers shall have to answer the charge sheet once they receive it. It is under consideration. They will be reinstated after completing the official procedure,” he said.