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Govt will re-examine the issue of accountability to legislature: Guv

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Srinagar, Dec 4: Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik Tuesday allayed fears of J&K bank employees and said safeguarding the autonomy and operational independence of the institution would remain the key objective of the state administration.

Malik gave the assurance to a delegation of bank employees who called on him here, an official spokesman said.

Last month, the State Administrative Council (SAC) headed by the governor approved a proposal for treating the J&K Bank Limited as a PSU, bringing it under the purview of the Right to Information Act, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner guidelines and the state legislature.

 

The SAC move has come under widespread criticism from mainstream political parties, separatists and business and trade organisations.

“As far as the PSU matter is concerned, the J&K Bank is regulated (i) by the RBI as an old generation private sector bank, (ii) by the Registrar of Companies as it is a Government Company under the Companies Act and (iii) by SEBI as it is a listed company. It will continue to be regulated by the RBI, SEBI and the Registrar of Companies. No changes are being made here or contemplated,” the governor told the delegation.

“The J&K Bank is registered as a government company under the Companies Act. The word PSU has no legal connotation. The bank continues to be a government Owned company. No new changes are being made here,” he said.

The governor said as a government company, the J&K Bank is a public authority under the RTI Act and hence is automatically subject to the transparency provisions of the RTI.

“Nothing new is being imposed in this regard. Transparency is good for the bank in the long term,” he said.

Malik said as far as the accountability to the legislature is concerned, all government-owned or controlled companies, including the J&K Bank which is registered as a government company, are accountable to the legislature in some respect.

“This is what has been stated in the SAC decision. This does not add any new element. However, in view of the concerns expressed, and to give comfort to employees, the government will re-examine the issue of accountability to legislature,” he said.

He said the J&K Bank is a premier institution of the state and its financial health and future growth is of utmost importance to Jammu and Kashmir. “Therefore, the administration would support all initiatives and take necessary steps to make the J&K Bank a vibrant institution,” the governor said.

He said the workers should not be concerned about their employment, future prospects or salary structure under any circumstances. “The board of the bank is competent to take decisions in this regard and the powers vest in the board. No changes are being contemplated on this front,” he said.

Malik said the board of the bank is the appropriate forum for taking and implementing all decisions. “Safeguarding the autonomy and operational independence of the bank is a key objective of the administration at all times,” Malik added.


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Lethpora bombing fallout: Kashmiris in Jammu, elsewhere face rage

Ensure Kashmiris are safe: Centre to states

Hirra Azmat

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Srinagar, Feb 16: Tensions continued to simmer in J&K after violence against Kashmiris was reported in Jammu and other states across India on Saturday as well.

The incidents are fallout of the Thursday’s bombing on the highway in Pulwama in which 49 CRPF troopers were killed after a local Jaish fidayeen rammed an explosive filled vehicle into the forces’ convoy.

Like Friday, Saturday too saw mobs attacking a number of quarters belonging to Kashmiris, especially ones at Janipur area, amid an officially declared curfew in the state’s winter capital.

 

A number of people called from Janipur and said they were attacked by the frenzied mobs despite the presence of police.

The mobs entered inside the premises and attacked quarters of Kashmiris while police, according to the callers, remained a mute spectator.

On Friday, there was widespread violence in which mobs torched 30 vehicles and damaged over 50 of them during a strike called by the Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries and Bar Association against Thursday’s attack.

Not just in Jammu, Kashmiris, including students and businessmen, in others states were at the receiving end of right-wing violence.

Some of the Valleyites putting up in Bihar, Dehradun and Punjab were targeted by unruly mobs, who asked them to vacate their rented premises and leave the state.

Students being the soft target were beaten ruthlessly by the angered crowd in Dehradun. The 12 Kashmiri boys are students of Dev Bhoomi, BFIT, and Alpine college of Dehradun.

Others putting up in rented accommodations and hostels in Dehradun and Haryana were forced to vacate their lodgings by the landlords. The anger was predictably visible on social media with students receiving abusive texts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.“I was asked by landlord to vacate within 24 hours,” said Umar, who studies in a college in Dehradun.

“I can’t think of travelling by air since the fares are too high. To make the matters worse, the highway is closed and Jammu is under siege. In such a scenario, going by road is not an option,” he lamented.

Asked why he was asked to vacate, Umar said: “The goons threatened to vandalise the property of my landlord if I didn’t leave the building.”

Another student hailing from Kupwara who too studies in Dehradun, said, “Our hopes of studying here for quality education are dashed. We are vulnerable and have nowhere to go. The politicians will never give a thought about our well-being. Their concern is to gain votes.”

A student studying in Jammu wishing not to be named said, “I received threatening texts on FB and Twitter. The sender asked me that revenge will be taken, using many cuss words.”

Many videos surfaced on social media showing the escalating mob violence. In one of videos, the Kashmiri shopkeepers in Bihar are threatened by mob to close their shops in 24 hours and leave the state.

Jammu has remained on the edge since Friday as bricks were hurled towards the residential quarters of Durbar Move employees. A similar pattern was witnessed on Saturday in sensitive areas like Janipora and Rehari, Subhashnagar.
Secretariat Employees Union President Ghulam Rasool Mir condemned the attacks and urged the administration to ensure the safety of the people from Kashmir.

“The feeling of defenselessness in the face of mob violence cannot be described. Despite the assurances that the security cover will be provided, we know from bitter experience that the cops won’t act when mobs run amok,” he said.
Kashmiris out of the valley, meanwhile, continued to share on social media the dangers they faced.

Akash Hassan, a valley-based journalist posted on Facebook: “I am in Jammu from last two days and without a reliable internet connection. The situation is terrible here. Can someone help me get out from Raghunath Bazar to Chenni area? I am confined to my hotel room. There is strict curfew.

I don’t know how long hoteliers will allow Kashmiris to stay in their hotels. They are also running short of supplies.”
Azmat Arif, a resident of Awantipora had this to post: “I have my brother at Dehradun. He is studying there. They are 8 students, no one is giving them any shelter … if anyone can get some help from anywhere …that will be much appreciated… I have tried to contact police.. and they are not taking my calls…. they are hiding right now….please someone help (sic).”

The messages are being circulated on social media platforms asking Kashmiris living outside to exercise caution.

Fellow Kashmiris are being asked to avoid discussion on Kashmir, stay in groups and avoid going to markets alone.

Jammu and Kashmir Police on Saturday said they have spoken to their counterparts in Dehradun following reports of harassment of Kashmiri students there. Besides, they have issued helpline numbers to ensure the safety of Kashmiris’ outside the state.

Ensure Kashmiris are safe: Centre to states
Press Trust of India
New Delhi, Feb 16: The Centre Saturday asked all states to ensure safety and security of the students and people from Jammu and Kashmir living in their areas in the wake of threats to them in some parts of the country, officials said.
The advisory came hours after Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured an all-party meeting of doing the needful for the protection of the Kashmiri students and people who were allegedly threatened after the attack in Pulwama in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.
A Home Ministry official said there have been some reports of students and other residents of Jammu and Kashmir experiencing threats and intimidation. “Therefore, the Home Ministry today issued an advisory to all states/UTs to take necessary measures to ensure their safety and security,” the official said.
Some Kashmiri youths studying in the Uttarakhand capital, Dehradun, have alleged that they were harassed and have been asked by their landlords to vacate accommodations fearing attacks on their properties in the aftermath of the attack.

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Governor reviews situation, appeals for peace

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Jammu, Feb 16: Governor Satya Pal Malik convened a high level meeting at the Raj Bhavan on Saturday and reviewed the present law and order situation in the State in the aftermath of a major militant attack on a CRPF convoy and killings 49 troopers at Lethpora on Thursday.

The Governor directed the Police to take strict action without mercy against those indulging in any type of violence, arson or rumour mongering irrespective of political and religious affiliation.

The Governor reviewed the situation of students from Jammu and Kashmir State in various Universities and Colleges across the country.

 

He was informed that the Liaison Officers appointed at all major locations were working effectively and coordinating with University Authorities and local Police ensuring the safety of our students. Some minor developments happened in Baba Fareed Institute of Technology, Dehradun, Maharishi Markand University, Ambala and Chitkara University, Batti (HP).

In all three places, Liaison Officers worked with the Deans/ Vice Chancellors to ensure safety of J&K students. The Governor directed that the LOs should continue to be in close touch with J&K Students and ensure their safety.

The Governor was informed that the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu held the Peace Committee meeting in Jammu on Friday.

In the meeting, all Parties universally condemned the unfortunate incidents in Jammu city and agreed to restrain their supporters from indulging in any unlawful behaviour.

The Governor directed Divisional Commissioner, Jammu to hold another Peace Committee Meeting today and appeal to all parties to maintain peace and harmony.

The Governor asked all Political parties and senior Political leaders to appeal to people to maintain peace and harmony. He requested them not to pay heed to rumours or misleading information that is being circulated.

He appealed to the Political parties that in case any untoward incident comes to their knowledge, they should report it immediately to the Police or to anyone in the Government who will respond immediately rather than escalating the situation by calling for counter strikes in other parts of the State.

The Governor stated that the situation in Jammu has been restored back to almost normal and it should be our collective endeavour to maintain this.

The Governor appealed to the people to maintain peace and communal harmony so that the forces trying to disrupt the peaceful environs for their petty interests are defeated. He said that the people of the State have always believed in mutual brotherhood and co-existence throughout the ages.

The meeting was attended by Advisors, Vijay Kumar, Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, K K Sharma and K Skandan besides B V R Subramanyam, Chief Secretary, Dilbagh Singh, Director General of Police, Umang Narula, Principal Secretary to Governor, and Shaleen Kabra Principal Secretary, Home.
Jitendra meets Governor: Dr. Jitendra Singh, Minister of State, Prime Minister’s Office, called on Governor Satya Pal Malik at Raj Bhavan here on Saturday.

Governor and Dr. Singh discussed various important issues including prevailing law and order situation in Jammu. They hoped that the situation will normalize soon as the people of Jammu region are known for upholding the values of communal harmony and mutual brotherhood.

Dr Jitendra apprised the Governor that he met various sections of the society in Jammu including college students and appealed to them to maintain peace and harmony in the region.

Div Com establishes helpline

Srinagar, Feb 16: The office of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir Saturday issued an official communiqué informing that a helpline has been established in the office in view of the concerns ventilated by certain quarters, especially those students residing and studying outside the state and to overcome the same.
According to the communiqué, the helpline numbers are Additional Commissioner, Kashmir 9906578433, 0194-2478663, Assistant Commissioner (Central) 9419484646, 0194-2473135/2483718, Principal Pvt. Secretary to Divisional Commissioner 9419094535, 0194-2455357/2452643.
The helpline has also been established in respective district headquarters of Kashmir Division.

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Traders calls for valley-wide bandh today

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Feb 16: While threatening to boycott trade with Jammu, trade bodies in Kashmir on Saturday called for a shutdown on Sunday against the incidents of miscreants attacking Kashmiris in the winter capital.

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) and Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Association (KTMF) held a joint protest at Press Enclave.

Addressing media persons, president, KCC&I Sheikh Ashiq Ahmad urged the government to bring the situation to normal.“The atrocities on innocent people in Jammu should stop. We should not be forced to boycott trade with Jammu,” he said.

 

The trade bodies also observed a shutdown after 3 pm in city centre Lal Chowk and adjoining areas to protests attacks on Kashmiris in Jammu and outside the state.

Pertinently, curfew continued to remain in place in Jammu where dozens of vehicles belonging to Kashmiris were torch by a mob since Friday in reaction to the bombing attack on Thursday which killed 49 CRPF troopers on the highway near Lethpora.

“We would not tolerate the ill treatment meted to our elders, students and others. Kashmiris have always strengthened the pillars of communal harmony,” said president KTMF, Mohammad Sadiq Baqal.

J&K High Court Bar Association Srinagar too held a protest march at Saddar Court here, condemning the attacks on Kashmiris.

The Bar Association appealed to the International Community including the United Nations, Amnesty International, Asia Watch, other human rights organizations of the world and members of Indian Civil Society to come to the rescue of the people of Kashmir.

They appealed them to save Kashmiris from the brutalities being inflicted on them by the “ruthless communal and fanatic forces of Jammu and other places of India.”

In order to show solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren, the Bar Association also decided to support the Kashmir Bandh call issued by Kashmir Traders Federation for 17 February.

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