Srinagar, May 01: Anger has been brewing against the PDP-BJP government over inclusion of Rajiv Jasrotia, who took part in a rally supporting rape and murder accused of 8-year-old Muslim girl in Kuthua, into the cabinet.
Three senior BJP leaders, Chowdhary Lal Singh, Chandra Prakash Ganga, and Rajiv Jasrotia, participated in a Hindu Ekta Manch rally in support of the accused.
Singh and Ganga had resigned in the wake of national outrage over their participation in the rally. Their resignations were seen as a damage-control move from the BJP.
Surprisingly, Jasrotia has been included into the Mehbooba Mufti-led cabinet amid growing anger against the coalition partners.
Joint Hurriyat Leadership, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Mohammad Yasin Malik, said, “Inducting another organizer of the pro rapist rallies-Ravinder Jasrotia-into the government clearly shows that BJP does not believe in deviating from its politics of polarisation and appeasement of certain communities for votes, even on a basic human issue like this, which is not surprising.”
The Joint Hurriyat said, “It just reinforces the fact of how helpless the local collaborators, the PDP are and how shameless they can be to stay on for the sake of chair. It also indicates how much justice can be expected for Kathua girl from a system run by such people.”
They also condemned the “outrageous and inhuman” statement by Kavinder Gupta of BJP that the deliberate and gruesome rape and murder was a “small matter”.
“It reflects the sick, communal mindset and value structure of the proud RSS man,” they said.
General Secretary Kashmir High Court Bar Association, G N Shaheen, said that the PDP-BJP government had no “political morality”.
Over induction of Jasrotia into the cabinet, he said, “It is as two criminals are shunt out and two criminals inducted. This entire exercise is motivated and just gives a message that they are partners in the crime.”
Kashmir’s trade bodies-Kashmir Economic Alliance and Kashmir Traders Manufactures Federation- have condemned the inclusion of Jasrotia into the cabinet.
KEA Chairperson Haji Mohammad Yasin Khan said his forums would “boycott” events where ever Jasrotia is invited as a guest.
Khan, who also heads the KTMF, said, “It is unfortunate that to be in power the ruling PDP is rubbing shoulders with pro-rapist faces, who want release of gangsters involved in gang-rape and murdered of Kuthua girl.”
“This is not the issue of politics or religion but humanity. When even New Delhi based media, which is otherwise seen anti-Kashmir has taken stand against elevation of the pro-rapists as ministers, how can people of the home state tolerate elevation of pro-rapist lobby,” Khan said.
He said the KEA and KTMF had distanced themselves from functions where the then “pro-rapist” ministers Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash Ganga were present.
Meanwhile taking a dig at Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta’s remarks that Kathua rape and murder was a “small incident”, he said “The RSS man’s remarks have insulted humanity.”
Advocate Deepika S Rajawat, lawyer of Kuthua rape victim, said, “If he (Jasrotia) was participating in the rally there shall be action against him.”
However, she refused to comment over his inclusion into the PDP-BJP government.
Zahid Parvaz Chowdhary, who is part of Gujjar Bakarwal Youth Conference, claimed that Jasrotia was the “mastermind” for organizing rally in support of the accused.
“Jasrotia brought Lal Singh and Ganga in the rally. Giving Jasrotia forest department portfolio has further worries the Gujjars as the BJP has been opposing extension of Forest (tribal) Right Act to the state,” Chowdhary said. Civil society and people from all walks of life have expressed their resentment over his inclusion.
Reacting over Jasrotia’s induction, Opposition National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah has said the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, “seemed confused” over her stand on Kathua incident “as one of the participants in pro-rapists rally is now a minister in her cabinet”.
“Two BJP ministers removed in J&K for attending a pro-rapist rally & a MLA who is reported to have attended the same rally is promoted as a minister. Why are the BJP/ @MehboobaMufti confused about where they stand on the #Kathua rape?” Omar wrote on his twitter handle.
However, the PDP-BJP leaders prefer silence over the issue.
Senior PDP and Gujjar leader Qamar Hussain refused to comment over Jasrotia’s inclusion into the cabinet. However, he said that BJP was “bringing” problems to Muslims in Jammu region.
BJP General Secretary, Ram Madhav, also dodged questions on Monday over his inclusion.
New party in the offing: Faesal wants public money for ‘clean politics’
Srinagar, Jan 23: Former IAS officer Shah Faesal Wednesday launched a crowd-funding campaign for “clean politics and corruption-free administration” in Jammu and Kashmir hinting towards his plans to float his own political party.
The 2010-batch topper of the UPSC civil services exam said it was a “people’s movement for change”.
“Be a part of this journey for clean politics and corruption-free administration in J&K. Support Shah Faesal with your small donations,” he tweeted.
Faesal, who resigned from government service earlier this month, gave a bank account number for contributions and said payments could also be made through e-wallet.
Taking to a social networking site Facebook, Faesal wrote: “I had never imagined that my small act of defiance to highlight political deadlock in Jammu and Kashmir would evoke such a response across the world.”
He added that he had never thought that his “dream of clean politics and corruption-free administration” in J&K would take the shape of a “public movement”. “Respecting the public sentiment, I have decided to chart my independent political journey. And now in this new phase of public service, my mission is to support the true cause of humanity, stand up for the poor, marginalized and dispossessed and speak up for injustices, wherever in this world, irrespective of caste, colour, region, and religion,” he wrote.
Faesal said he imagined a politics where youth can “lead the change and take charge of their future”.“I wish to partner with a new generation of young leaders who can stand up for human rights, environment, free speech and rule of law. My idea is to seek help from the people of India, build alliances with the Indian civil society and intellectual class to humanize the narrative around Kashmir conflict so that lasting peace can be achieved in J&K State.”
He added that his “mission” was to “truthfully represent aspirations, culture, fears, and dreams” of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, across the world.“I wish to facilitate dialogue between people of various regions of the State – Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Pir Panchal, and Chenab Valley so that an environment of amity and brotherhood can be built. I believe that development and dignity must go together, and we have to work together for giving a sense of security, better education, healthcare, livelihoods, electricity and other civic amenities to people of J&K State.”
“This is a people’s movement and it will be funded by the people. People are the only agencies who will help this succeed. Believe in me, be patient with me in this long and difficult journey and donate for this cause,” he wrote.
Earlier Faesal had resigned dubbing it as protest against “unabated killings in Kashmir, and lack of any sincere reach-out from the Union government; the marginalisation and invisiblisation of around 200 million Indian Muslims at the hands of Hindutva forces reducing them to second-class citizens; insidious attacks on the special identity of J&K and growing culture of intolerance and hate in mainland India in the name of hypernationalism”.
While he has made it clear that he would like to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Faesal has not joined any political party so far. Speculation is rife that he might float a new political outfit.
Priyanka Gandhi debuts in active politics: Mehbooba dubs her ‘X factor of 2019 polls’
New Delhi, Jan 23: Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the sister of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, has finally taken the plunge into politics, just months ahead of the national election due by May.
Often dubbed the “Brahmastra” or the mythical ultimate weapon of the Congress, Priyanka will debut as the party’s general secretary in charge of the eastern part of Uttar Pradesh, which pitches her against the ruling BJP’s top two mascots, Prime Minister Narendra Modi–whose constituency Varanasi will be in her share–and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
“I have not sent Priyanka and Jyotiraditya for just two months. I have sent them to take the Congress’ ideology forward in Uttar Pradesh,” Rahul Gandhi told reporters.
Among many noted personalities congratulating Priyanka was former J&K Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, who tweeted: “Welcome Priyanka Gandhi to the rough and tumble of politics. She brings with her the grace of Gandhi Nehru lineage and her immense personal charm. Wish her the best. Could she become the Xfactor of 2019 poll battle?”
47-year-old Priyanka, who reminds many of her grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for both her charisma and the stunning likeness, is seen as a natural in politics but she has confined herself to the constituencies of her brother Rahul and mother Sonia Gandhi–Amethi and Raebareli–till now.
In national and state elections since 2004, the mother-of-two has campaigned exhaustively in the family seats where the Gandhis enjoy almost royal status.
Reports say her appointment to a key position reflects the Congress’s realisation that in a politically vital state like Uttar Pradesh, which has 80 parliamentary seats and is considered the route to power at the centre, the party needs to up its game and cannot afford just one in-charge. It is a huge gamble for the Congress, a sign that the party is all for aggressively taking on PM Modi and the BJP in the coming election.
The Congress dropped the Priyanka bombshell in the third para of a press statement that also announced that Jyotiraditya Scindia will be in charge of western UP. The giant announcement came as Rahul Gandhi began a two-day visit to Amethi. Priyanka Gandhi is in New York and is expected to return on February 1.
Congress leaders say Priyanka Gandhi’s arrival in party politics will galvanise the ranks that have been demoralised by the Mayawati-Akhilesh Yadav move to form an alliance in UP for the national election without the Congress, which has been pitching for a grand opposition alliance to take on the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi commented that the BJP was “panicking”.
The ruling party has been repeatedly targeting Priyanka Gandhi’s husband Robert Vadra, a businessman being investigated for allegedly corrupt land deals in Haryana and Rajasthan. Robert Vadra congratulated his wife in a Facebook post: “Congratulations P… always by your side in every phase of your life.”
In national and state elections since 2004, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has campaigned in the family seats where the Gandhis enjoy almost royal status.
Priyanka Gandhi was always active in decision-making and played a key role in the alliance with Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party in the 2017 Uttar Pradesh election. She also reportedly oversaw the party meeting in which her older brother was crowned Congress president.
The BJP shrugged off the Congress announcement. “Rahul Gandhi failed so they need Priyanka as a crutch. Can’t they find anyone beyond that family?” sneered BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra.
Srinagar-Jammu Highway still closed
Jammu, Jan 23: A massive snow-clearance operation was underway to restore the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar Highway which remained closed for vehicular traffic for the third consecutive day Wednesday, officials said.
The snow clearance operation on both sides of the Jawahar Tunnel–the gateway to Kashmir–was started and the snow-clearance operation is going on in full swing, said Deputy Superintendent of Police, Traffic Highway, Pardeep Singh Sen.
An avalanche had also struck the Jawahar Tunnel area on Tuesday, blocking both tubes on Qazigund side.
The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), which maintains the Jawahar tunnel stretch of the highway, pressed its men and machines to clear the road of the accumulated snow on Tuesday, Sen said.
“We are expecting the highway to be open for traffic by late afternoon. However, only the stranded vehicles will be allowed to move on the highway once we get the green signal,” he said.
Hundreds of vehicles, mostly trucks, are stranded at various places along the highway, the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with rest of the country, officials said.
They said the road from Banihal, which recorded over two and a half feet of snow, to Jawahar tunnel was also being cleared, while the Banihal-Ramban stretch is almost clear after agencies concerned removed minor landslides and stones which came down at different places due to incessant rains.
After three-day long wet spell across Kashmir, the weather showed improvement with local meteorological department forecasting dry weather till January 29.
The three-day-long wet spell ended across the Valley today. The MeT department had predicted improvement in the weather conditions from Tuesday evening.
The local Meteorological department said that there is no forecast of rain or snowfall across the Valley till January 29 here, saying that the weather would remain cloudy on Jan 25.
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