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I am not only Governor but CM too, says Malik

Hirra Azmat

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Jammu, Feb 11: Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday said that “he plays the role of Chief Minister too” and would give a befitting reply to anyone who attempts to politically corner the Central government.

Countering the criticism over division of Ladakh, the Governor said, “Governor house is not built so that the Governor plays golf all day. Rather I am a representative to the President, who heads a government in Delhi.”

He told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Katra township of Reasi district, “If you continuously target the same government, then someone is bound to give a befitting response. Since I am the Governor, the role of Chief Minister is also played by me and I won’t shy away from responding to the abuses,”

 

Malik denied when asked whether his administration plans to give divisional status to any other region of the state.
“It (divisional status) was imperative for both the districts of Leh and Kargil…let those talking about it come to power and do so,” the Governor said.

The Governor also came out in support for the Army officer who allegedly beat a man from Pulwama and threatened to kill him in an encounter, drawing a strong backlash from mainstream and regional parties.

“I have full faith in Army and stand by them,” he said.

Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had visited the injured man in SMHS hospital and demanded action against the officer.

 

By claiming to be CM, guv wants to delay assembly polls: NC

Srinagar, Feb 11: National Conference on Monday hit out at Governor SP Malik for his claims of being Chief Minister of State and termed his statements blatant efforts to delay assembly elections in J&K.

The spokesman said that Gov SP Malik has been “planted” by New Delhi as Governor of the State, a measure that in all respects is interim till a democratically elected government takes shape.”

Governor Malik’s statements made at Katra Jammu, claiming to be “not only the Governor of the State but the Chief Minister also” were not only outrageous but dangerous to the institutions of democracy in J&K. He said that such statements have demeaned the institution that Malik is holding.

While expressing shock over his iteration that “Raj Bhawan is not for playing golf only”, the spokesman said, “People of J&K would have liked to believe that Raj Bhawan will smoothen the path to democracy while maintaining an impartial, apolitical approach towards day-to-day governance issues… but that is not to be.” He said that Governor Malik wanted to lord over J&K sans any accountability.

He said that Governor Malik is a nominated individual who is at the helm of affairs in J&K because his political masters in New Delhi wanted someone plaint, unlike his predecessor NN Vohra who is known to have taken a pro-state stand on many issues. “We have seen how his decisions taken without taking people of State on board have deepened the trust deficit in a sensitive state like J&K,” the spokesman added.

NC said that it is “no secret” that Governor Malik is a “stooge” of BJP in J&K and is actively campaigning for the party from Raj Bhawan. Imran said that Governor’s compromised stance was “more clear than ever” after the recent decision of keeping headquarters of a newly carved out division of J&K permanently in Leh. “Like BJP, the Governor is playing partisan politics,” he said. He called the silence of Governor despite mass-scale protests in Kargil “criminal” and said it only proved that Raj Bhawan had been relegated as a local political headquarter of BJP now.

NC urged that Governor Malik guards his tongue and keeps the political ambitions of his masters out of Raj Bhawan. “The State is a very sensitive one, and the reckless statements of Governor can render a jolt to the harmony of the regions,” he said.


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Lethpora attack: UN urges India, Pak to defuse tensions

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Geneva, Feb 20: UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called on India and Pakistan to exercise “maximum restraint” and offered to mediate in the face of rising tensions following the attack at Lethpora in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir that claimed the lives of 49 CRPF troopers.

Guterres, through a spokesman, said that the UN is deeply concerned about the situation while offering to mediate if the two parties request it.

The head of the UN received on Wednesday the Pakistani ambassador, Maleeha Lodhi, whose government has asked the organization to intervene in the current crisis, Efe reported.

 

For now, Guterres calls on both sides to “exercise maximum restraint and take immediate steps” to defuse the tension, spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

The historic tensions between the two nuclear nations skyrocketed in recent days after New Delhi accused Islamabad of supporting the militant group that killed 49 CRPF troopers in a suicide bombing with a vehicle loaded with explosives on February 14, the deadliest attack in the region in 30 years.

In addition, nine people, including four army soldiers, a cop, and a civilian were killed in a gunfight again in Pulwama on February 18.

Rupert Colville, Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), said the UN was also saddened by the further loss of life reported from the gun battles in Pulwama on February 18.

“We hope escalating tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours will not add further to the insecurity in the region” he said.

Colville said the High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, is also concerned about reports from India that some elements are using the Pulwama attack as justification for threats and potential acts of violence targeting Kashmiri and Muslim communities living in different parts of India.

“We acknowledge actions taken by the Indian authorities to tackle these incidents and we hope that the Government will continue to take steps to protect people from all forms of harm that may be directed at them on account of their ethnicity or identity,” he stressed.

Following the February 14 attack, India announced that it will take all possible diplomatic measures to isolate Pakistan from the international community.

UN asks additional escorts for military observers:

After one of its vehicles was stopped by a group of protesters in Jammu, the UN has asked the Indian government for additional escorts for its military observers in Kashmir.

“The observer group reported on February 16 that a UN vehicle in the city of Jammu was surrounded by a group of protesters who placed a Pakistan flag in front of the vehicle. The vehicle attempted to bypass the flag but was unable to do so,” Dujarric told the media on Tuesday.

He said the circumstances of the incident was “regrettable and unavoidable” and that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) had informed the governments of both countries.

“The Mission also requested India to provide additional escorts and will be conducting an investigation,” he added.
The 44-member UNMOGIP, now led by Uruguayan Major General Jose Eladio Alcain, began operations in 1949 to monitor the ceasefire in Kashmir following up a Security Council resolution the previous year.

India maintains that UNMOGIP has become redundant because under the Shimla Agreement of 1972 between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistan’s then-President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto the Kashmir dispute is a bilateral issue with no role for third parties. (With IANS inputs)

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Govt downgrades, withdraws ‘security’ of 18 separatists, 155 others

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Jammu, Feb. 20: In a major step on Wednesday, the Government of Jammu & Kashmir downgraded and withdrew the security of 18 Hurriyat leaders in the state.

According to the spokesperson of Home Department, it was felt that providing security to these separatist leaders is “wastage of scarce state resources which could be better utilised elsewhere”.

“Among the leaders whose security has been downgraded and withdrawn are SAS Geelani, Aga Syed Mosvi, Maulvi Abbas Ansari, Yaseen Malik, Saleem Geelani, Shahid ul Islam, Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Mukhtar Ahmad Waza, Farooq Ahmed Kichloo, Masroor Abbas Ansari, Aga Syed Abul Hussain, Abdul Gani Shah and Mohd Musadiq Bhat,” a government handout said.

 

This is in addition the 4 persons whose security was withdrawn on Sunday.

In addition, the handout said the security of 155 political persons and activists, who did not require the security provided to them based on their threat assessment and their activities, was also withdrawn. This includes Shah Faesal, who resigned from the IAS and PDP member Waheed Parra.

“Through this, over 1000 police personnel and over 100 vehicles are freed to do regular police work,” the handout said.

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Reservation to EWS: Guv welcomes central law’s extension to JK

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Jammu, Feb 20: Governor Satya Pal Malik has welcomed the decision of the Union Cabinet regarding giving reservations in admission in educational institutions, for appointments and posts in favour of economically weaker sections of the citizens and giving benefit of promotion in service to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

“The reservation to the economically weaker sections of the citizens will be in addition to existing reservation and subject to maximum of 10 percent of totals seats/posts,” a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said.

It is pertinent to mention that the Constitution (Seventy Seventh Amendment) Act, 1995 provides for giving benefit of promotion in service to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and the Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 provides for giving reservations in admission in educational institutions and for appointments and posts in favour of economically weaker sections of the citizens.

 

“Both these amendments in the Constitution of India were not applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir in the present form. The Union Cabinet’s approval to the extension of these amendments will enable providing of 10 % reservation in admission in educational institutions and for appointments and posts in favour of the economically weaker sections of the citizens,” the spokesperson said.

He added that the move will also give powers to the State for making provisions for reservation in the matters of promotion to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.

Governor, the spokesperson added, has described these decisions as having far reaching consequences in helping to ameliorate the lot of the weaker sections of society and in ensuring their economic progress and prosperity.

SAC to meet tomorrow

Srinagar, Feb 20: The J&K State Administrative Council (SAC) will meet under the chairmanship of Governor Satya Pal Malik at Raj Bhavan Jammu on 22 February.
This is likely going to be last SAC meeting before Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for General Elections-2019 comes into force.

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