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Geelani steps down, Sehraie steps up

Mubashir Bukhari

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By Mubashir Bukhari

Srinagar, Mar 19: Senior separatist leader Muhammad Ashraf Sehraie was on Monday appointed as the chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH), a dominant part of Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat (G) faction.
“In a unanimous decision taken in an extraordinary meeting of its highest decision making body (Majlis-e-Shoora) of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat appointed Mohammad Ashraf Sehraie as interim Chairman, till the organizational elections, to be held late this year,” read a TeH statement.
The Tehreeq-e-Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Geelani Monday held a meeting at its office in Srinagar and appointed Sehraie as party chairman, thus replacing Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
The decision to replace Geelani with Sehraie, who is his old-time friend and associate, was taken after an executive meet of the organisation.
Geelani while addressing the members of Shoora, said that they were aware of the prevailing situation of the valley and hard times the “pro-freedom” camp was facing especially Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
“By the grace of Allah Almighty and your timely cooperation I have stood my stand despite testing times of Jails, Interrogations, domestic hardships, physical and psychological onslaught, but for the last 8 years of continuous house arrest, restrictions on the interactions with my party colleagues has dented the function of the organization,” Geelani said.
He added that merely holding a position without practical contribution is injustice not only with the post, but the conscience as well.
“So today I willfully step-down from the chairmanship, and advise the shoora to arrange an alternative at the earliest. I extend my fullest cooperation and sincere wishes to the would-be leadership of the organization,” Geelani, as per the TeH statement said.
Later, before conclusion, the Shoora “unanimously appointed Sehraie as interim chairman till the party elections to be held later in the year”.
Geelani and Sehraie were among the founding members of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) when it was formed in 2004 after Geelani had a rift with Jamat-e-Islami, its parent organisation.
Sehraie, then a member of Jamat, was instrumental in the formation of the new separatist outfit, say sources. Sehraie parted ways with the Jamat more than a decade ago.
Sehraie, who was until now the general secretary of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, was tipped to be the first choice to replace Geelani. In fact, three years ago, Geelani had decided to nominate him as his successor in the Hurriyat but the announcement was halted at the last moment after some members questioned Geelani making a nomination when organisation had an election system.
Sehraie’s appointment also comes two days after Geelani said he rejected an offer of talks by the Modi government in New Delhi when an official of Intelligence Bureau (IB) had visited him at his residence here.
In November 2015, Geelani was elected as lifetime chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat .
Though reports say that the handing over of the charge was due to the old age of Geelani, some say there may be other factors which may have pushed in the change.
As per reports, Sehraie, a few months ago, had written to Geelani expressing his displeasure about some developments within the faction.
Sehraie did not attend many executive council meetings of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and the Hurriyat as well.
The change of guard also comes at a time of an unprecedented crackdown by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the separatist camp.
NIA has arrested several senior pro-freedom leaders in the past one year. They are currently detained in Tihar Jail in New Delhi.
Apart from senior Hurriyat leaders Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan, Shahid-ul-Islam, Farooq Dar alias Bitta Karate, Meraj-ud-Din Kalwal, Peer Saifullah and Ayaz Akbar, Geelani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah is presently under NIA detention while his sons Naeem Geelani and Naseem Geelani were summoned by the agency many times in the past.
A resident of Tikki Pora Lolab in North Kashmir’s Kupwara district, Sehraie joined Jama’at in 1950s a few years after Geelani.
He is credited to have worked as a “foot soldier” in JeI in the trying times. He has held various positions in JeI including that of Secretary General.
When JeI J&K decided to launch its student wing, Sehraie was chosen to lead Shooba-i-Talaba since 1977. Shooba-i-Talaba was renamed as Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) later on and the current framework of IJT has been designed by Sehraie himself in 2001.

 

Mubashir joined The Kashmir Monitor as a reporter/ sub-editor in Jan 2013. Since then, he has been consistently covering beats including conflict, politics, education, and health. He is also handling online section of the paper besides working as Video Producer.

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Assembly, Parl polls: ECI seeks security report from JK

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Jan 19: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has sought a report from the Jammu and Kashmir government about the security situation in the state before taking a final call for conducting parliamentary and J&K Assembly polls.
Almost all the political parties have suggested holding assembly elections simultaneously with parliamentary polls in the state.
The ECI has sought the report from the Chief Electoral Officer about the security situation in J&K.
“The decision about holding of polls will be taken once the final report is submitted to the ECI,” an official at Chief Electoral Office said.
The CEO, the official said, has already briefed the ECI on the preparedness for the parliamentary and assembly elections.
“The CEO JK is set to meet the ECI next week in connection with the polls and submit the final report about the security situation in the state,” the official said.
He added that the state government has constituted two teams headed by divisional commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu. “The CEO will first hold meeting with them before submitting the report to the ECI,” he said.
Following which, the ECI team will visit the state and hold a review of preparedness for the polls.
CEO J&K, Shailendra Kumar, said they held several meetings with the ECI about the preparedness of the polls. “We also held a meeting with the ECI on January 10 and responded to poll body’s queries. Rest I can’t say anything,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
On Friday, Kumar held a meeting with representatives of political parties to discuss holding of polls. Almost all the parties were of the view that parliamentary and assembly elections should be held together.
The CEO told the political parties that his office has already taken necessary steps for holding the elections, but decision lies with the ECI.
Kumar said more than three lakh new voters have been added to the voters’ list in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that many as 3,07,813 additions, 1,25,834 deletions, 94,565 corrections and 14,989 transpositions have been made in the latest voters’ list.
J&K is under President’s rule after six months of Governor’s rule, which began after the BJP withdrew support from the PDP in June last year.

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Woman delivers on road after LD refuses admitting her, newborn dies soon after

Govt orders probe; concerned health officials, facilities widely criticised

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Srinagar, Jan 19: The J&K government Saturday directed Principal, Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar to probe the incident in which a woman was forced to deliver on the roadside in sub-zero temperatures in Srinagar leading to the death of her baby.
The woman from the far-flung area of Moori, Kalaroos in north Kashmir’s Kupwara was reportedly refused entry by doctors late Thursday night after which she gave birth to a baby on the roadside near Lal Ded, Kashmir’s premier maternity hospital here.
Suraya Begum delivered a girl around 8.30 pm in chilling weather and her baby died soon after birth, The Indian Express reported.
The woman’s brother, Hami Zaman, as per the report, said Suraya had developed labour pain on Thursday at home.
With nearly 3-feet snow in the area, the road between Mooree and Kalaroos, where the nearest hospital is located, was not motorable. “Around 15 people put my sister on a charpoy and we walked for six hours to reach the hospital (in Kalaroos, around 14 km away),” he said.
Doctors there referred her to Kupwara hospital, from where she was further referred to Lal Ded Hospital in Srinagar.
At Lal Ded, the family said, Suraya was kept under observation for a few hours. Hospital authorities, as per the Express report, subsequently refused to admit her.
“At around 8.30 pm, my sister developed severe pain again and delivered a baby girl on the road. The newborn died immediately,” Zaman said.
The normal delivery by the woman also puts a question mark on the functioning of peripheral hospitals especially in Kupwara from where she was referred late in the evening to Srinagar.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan said that a formal order has been issued to Principal GMC requiring him to look into the factual position as regards denial of entry of the woman into the hospital leading her delivering on the roadside as a consequence of which her baby died.
“This incident needs a thorough inquiry to find out the factual position, so that appropriate action is taken against the concerned if found liable for such negligence/act,” reads the order issued by the Divisional Commissioner to the Principal GMC.
“You are accordingly directed to enquire into the matter and furnish the inquiry report along with your explicit comments within two days, treating the matter most urgent,” the order added.
Medical Superintendent of Lal Ded hospital, Dr Shabir Sidiqui said that the matter has been already taken up with the head of the Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr Farhat Jabeen.
“Pending inquiry, the doctor who was on duty on Thursday has been attached to Principal GMC, Srinagar,” the Superintendent said.
The incident was widely condemned.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti expressed pain and anguish over it.
Taking to Twitter, Omar said he hoped the administration led by governor Satya Pal Malik would take immediate take action in the tragic case.
“I hope the state functionaries working under the command of @jandkgovernor take immediate action in this tragic case,” Omar wrote on Twitter.
Mehbooba expressed her pain for turning away the pregnant woman from the lone maternity care hospital in capital city, saying “she cannot even begin to fathom the pain & trauma the parents must feel.”
“Heart wrenching that a pregnant woman was turned away from a hospital, which ironically is named after the great Kashmiri mystic saint Lal Ded. She later gave birth to a still born in frigid temperatures. Cannot even begin to fathom the pain & trauma the parents must feel,” she tweeted.
JJ panel directs CWC to register case
The Juvenile Justice Panel Saturday expressed deep shock and anguish over the “criminal negligence” of Lal Ded hospital Authorities in refusing to admit and to provide medical assistance to the woman from Kalaroos, Kupwara.
Justice Hasnain Masoodi, Chairperson, Selection cum Oversight Committee and G A Sofi, Mission Director, ICPS lamented over the gross negligence of the doctors at LD, while inaugurating one day Capacity Building workshop for Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) for Chairperson and Members of CWCs of Jammu Division.
It was pointed out that right to be born and right to survive are important rights of a child, recognized under International Convention on Child Rights (CRC), Constitution of India and the State and any violation of the rights is not only condemnable in strongest words but punishable under Law. The incident was said to indicate insensitivity of stakeholders to the Child Rights and Child Protection issues.
Justice Masoodi requested government to initiate a time bound probe into the matter so that erring Doctors/officials are identified and dealt with under Law without any delay and consider overhauling the Hospital Administration in the meantime.
The CWC, Srinagar has been asked to enquire into the matter and on the basis of outcome get a case registered against the Doctor responsible for the incident, under relevant provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013 as also Ranbir Penal Code.

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PDP expels Altaf Bukhari for ‘anti-party’ activities

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Srinagar, Jan 19: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Saturday expelled its leader Altaf Bukhari from the party alleging he was involved in “anti-party” activities, which were being “watched with concern for quite some time”.
“Ever since the passing away of our founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he (Altaf) has been pursuing his personal political ambition at the cost of the party and state interest,” a PDP spokesperson said in a statement.
“Bukhari inspired and led dissent in the party at its most crucial stage, which resulted in serious damage to our efforts at implementing the agenda of alliance of our coalition government. While the party leadership was engaged in negotiations with its partner and the Government of India insisting on implementing some agreed points before forming the new government, the dissension weakened its bargaining position forcing subsequent events against its will,” PDP said.
“In spite of this obvious backstabbing and subversion of people’s interest, the party leadership believed in subsequent explanations and assurances of Bukhari and reposed complete trust in him by reinducting him in cabinet,” PDP spokesperson added.
“Unfortunately, ever after the end of the coalition, Bukhari, instead of pursuing party interest in accordance with the expectations of our voters and workers, started open attempts at breaking the party by hobnobbing with its rivals,” the statement said, adding that newspapers have been running stories almost on daily basis to create impression of Bukhari being at the centre of a ‘rebellion’ brewing in the Party.
“The leadership waited in the hope of Bukhari rejecting these reports to clear the air. But unfortunately he did nothing to remove this impression. It was therefore decided to expel Bukhari from party’s basic membership with immediate effect,” the spokesperson added.

 

Bukhari welcomes move: ‘Was imprisoned, feel free now’

 

Srinagar, Jan 19: Former finance minister, Syed Altaf Bukhari on Saturday welcomed the decision taken by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to expel him, saying that he feels “freed from the confinement”.
Soon after being expelled, Bukhari, as per Kashmir News Service, said: “I am happy that the party has taken a decision to expel me. I feel that I have been relieved from a huge burden and I am freed from the imprisonment and confinement.”
He added that to be in the party was against his voice of conscience. “I am happy that the party has taken this decision. I welcome the party’s decision.”
Altaf was considered as the top leaders of PDP ever since he joined the party. He was inducted in the cabinet twice and served in different portfolios.
In political circles, he was presented as the Chief Minister candidate from the party after the death of former Chief Minister and PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.
Notably, the political maneuvering in Jammu and Kashmir is getting momentum as various political leaders are moving to other political parties ahead of the parliamentary and assembly elections here.
The decision of expelling Altaf from the party is likely to strengthen the third front that is currently being revived in the State.
Several leaders including Altaf Bukhari, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami, Ghulam Hassan Mir and Hakeem Muhammad Yaseen are among the leaders who are in talks to revive the third front.
The leaders had told KNS that the third front will be reemerged in the state likely ahead of the elections

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