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Govt plans to take foreign envoys to JK

Monitor News Desk

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New Delhi, Oct 7: Under pressure from the international community over restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government plans to take a group of foreign diplomats to the state.

The fact-checking mission is meant to show them that all is well. Highly placed sources in the government said that several diplomats have already been “sounded out” about the trip, but a final decision is awaited, Asian Age reported on Monday.

It is learnt that the government is waiting for the situation to become little more conducive to take the diplomats to Kashmir.

 

It may be mentioned here that there is growing impatience with regard to the prolonged security curbs in the state in many western countries.

On Monday, it was 64 days since, fearing an uprising, government sent more troops to J&K, imposed curfew restricting people’s movement, put political leaders under house arrest, and cut all Internet and mobile phone services, rendering the media severely constrained and unable to report and function.

With most Kashmiri political leaders still under detention, and media unable to function to its capacity due to restrictions on movement and communication lines, the international community has expressed concerns over the human rights situation in J&K, the report said.

On Saturday, American Senator Elizabeth Warren, a presidential candidate of the Democratic Party, expressed concerns over the communication blackout and lockdown. “The US-India partnership has always been rooted in our shared democratic values. I’m concerned about recent events in Kashmir, including a continued communications blackout and other restrictions. The rights of the people of Kashmir must be respected,” she tweeted.

Warren is the second US presidential candidate after Bernie Sanders to air such concerns. “When President (Donald) Trump meets with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Houston, we will hear much about the friendship between the American and Indian peoples, however, there will be a deafening silence on the human rights crisis unfolding right before our eyes — and that is unacceptable,” Mr Sanders had commented on Kashmir situation on September 22.

“We would like to see, as early as possible, lifting of restrictions there (in Kashmir). It has to be done in accordance with the security issues and other issues but there should be no violation of human rights and transgression of any provisions… The Indian government is saying that development in J&K is important. It will be a challenge and all will be watching what changes are happening there,” German ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner, said recently.

Last month, chief of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Michelle Bachelet, too had raised concerns over restrictions in Kashmir and the detention of political leaders. Similar concerns were also raised by the European Union (EU) as it stressed on the importance to restore the “rights and freedoms” of people in Kashmir.

The government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and external affairs minister S. Jaishankar, has been constantly countering allegations of human rights violations alleged by Pakistan and trying to convince the world that the situation in J&K is largely normal, with restrictions in place only in a few areas.

The government has also said that given the terror threats and possibility of disturbances in the area from Pakistan-based groups, lifting of curbs is happening in a planned and staggered manner. The government has also been highlighting the several initiatives it is undertaking for the development of J&K.


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Lead Stories

Govt directs DCs, SSPs to provide security to Panchayat members

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 22: Waking up to militant threats, Jammu and Kashmir government has directed district development commissioners and district police chiefs to provide security cover to Panches and Sarpanches during their visit to respective constituencies. 

The Kashmir Monitor had broken the story about Panchayat members’ reluctance to visit their constituencies due to alleged militant threats.

A top source in the divisional commissioner Kashmir’s office said Sarpanches and Panches have told government that they are scared to visit their constituencies.

 

“They have told the government they live under constant fear and are unable to review the developmental works,” he said.

Sensing danger, the government directed district development commissioners and district police chiefs to make adequate security plan for Panches and Sarpanches during their visit to constituencies.

“Prior to their visit, they have to inform the concerned SHOs so that necessary security arrangements are put in place,” the source added.

Additional Director General of Police, Law and Order, and Security, Munir Ahmad Khan, said directives have gone to DCs and SSPs to ensure security of Panches and Sarpanches.

“Wherever they (Panches and Sarpanches) need security, they can approach concerned SSPs and DCs. They have been assured of security cover when they intend to visit their respective constituencies,” Khan told The Kashmir Monitor.

Centre has announced to release Rs 3700 crore for Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir, of which around Rs 1000 crore stand released so far.  

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently stressed for empowerment of Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir.

 Panchayats, in addition to being involved in the selection of eligible beneficiaries for various government welfare schemes, can get Rs 50 lakh-80 lakh per year for implementation of key national schemes such as the National Health Mission, Samagra Shiksha, etc.

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ACB registers 60 cases in 2019: Top babus, politicians under investigation for graft

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Oct 22:  Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has gone whole hog against corrupt politicians and government officials and registered 60 cases under different anti-graft laws in 2019 across Jammu and Kashmir.

Official details accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that the ACB has registered 29 cases in Kashmir and 31 in Jammu in 2019 so far. Some of the cases have been registered against top politicians and bureaucrats in the state.

Cases were registered against deputy mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, J&K Bank and government officials for “illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama”.

 

The anti-graft has also registered a case against former chairman of the bank for allegedly misusing his position. A case has also been registered against former Director Archives and Archaeology Department for allegedly misusing his position by ordering enhancement of consolidated wages without authorization.  

A case has also been registered against former directors of Rural Development Department Jammu for allegedly misusing official position and causing loss to state exchequer. The anti-graft body has also registered a case against former Managing Director JAKFED for misuse of official position.  It has registered a case against a Naib Tehsildar in Srinagar for allegedly misuse of official position.

The anti-graft body has registered a case against former senior town planner and former commissioner municipal corporation Jammu.  They have been booked for alleged criminal misconduct, abuse and misuse of their official position as public servants.

The ACB has also booked Divisional Manager of State Forest Corporation (SFC) Udhampur in a graft case. A case has also been registered against former Assistant Commissioner Development, Rajouri on corruption charges.

Last year, Governor Administration set up ACB to combat corruption in Jammu and Kashmir.  Later The ACB was given more teeth to take on highly influential people.

An official of ACB said that there are complaints against several top government officials for their involvement in corruption. “Some are still at an initial stage and action would be taken in next few weeks,” he said

Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that “Anti-Corruption Bureau won’t spare anyone even those who are part of big political parties.”

Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam had said the establishment of ACB would do away with the shortcomings and multiplicity of roles in the existing anti-corruption mechanism operational in the state.

“The ACB has been empowered. It is as powerful as CBI. The government has strengthened the ACB so it acts against powerful people,” he had said.

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Govt employees of UTs of J&K, Ladakh to get all 7th CPC allowances from October 31

Monitor News Bureau

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SRINAGAR, OCTOBER 22: The Union government on Tuesday issued orders announcing that the employees of the new Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — will get salaries and other benefits as per the recommendations of the 7th Pay Commission from October 31.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah has approved the proposal of payment of all 7th CPC allowances to the government employees of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh, which shall come into existence from October 31, 2019.

The move will benefit 4.5 lakh government employees who are working in the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir and will become the employees of UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh from 31 October 2019.

 

The annual financial implications of 7th CPC allowances like Children Education Allowance, Hostel Allowance, Transport Allowance, LTC, Fixed Medical Allowance etc in respect of 4.5 lakh government employees of existing State of J&K shall be Rs 4800 crore tentatively.

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