New Delhi, April 12: The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said social and religious groups including NGOs and Women’s Organizations must be actively involved in de-radicalization efforts. Chairing the 21st Meeting of the Governing Council of the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) here today, despite being the second most populous country, India has been negligibly affected by radicalization. Full credit for this goes to the minorities and their religious leaders and the composite culture and traditions of our country, he added.
Rajnath Singh said communal harmony is an issue that concerns not only Ministry of Home Affairs alone, but everybody has a stake in it and it is a characteristic of our entire nation. He said we should leverage the digital platform to promote communal harmony and asked for proper narratives to be developed for the social media. The Union Home Minister assured that he will visit Ajmer Sharif soon accompanied by members of NFCH Governing Council to promote the spirit of communal harmony that this shrine symbolises.
Rajnath Singh said we are the fastest growing economy in the world and among the top ten largest economies in the world. As we aim to break into the top five and eventually emerge among the top three economies, our growth should not be hampered by terrorism.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister for Textiles and Information & Broadcasting, Smt. Smriti Irani said the Government is committed to promoting communal harmony despite certain mischievous elements attempting to create a wrong perception of the communal situation in the country. She said the NBT and Directorate of Publications Division will organize exhibitions and sale of books sensitizing communal harmony in sensitive areas.
Religious and social leaders, who are members of the NFCH Governing Council, also gave their valuable suggestions on fostering communal harmony in the country. There were various suggestions for addressing the issue of communal harmony like revisiting the role and structure of NFCH, augmentation of its budget, enhancement of inter-faith dialogues, organising international conferences, symposia, publication and exhibition of books, documentaries and television programmes and promotion of communal harmony through social media. Other suggestions included the convergence of related schemes of various ministries promoting communal harmony, organizing conferences, poetic recitations and music concerts in the universities, academic institutions and in the public fora. It was also highlighted that the school children and the dropouts should be targeted for inculcating values of social harmony.
Home Minister agreeing with the most of the suggestions decided that he would form some committees including the members of the Council to cull out actionable points for formalizing them in the form of final decisions.
Dark homes, waterlogged streets: Story of Kashmir after few inches of snow
Srinagar, Jan 17: The public utility services, especially power and transportation, have been badly hit by Wednesday’s snowfall exposing the authorities’ lack of preparedness.
Kashmir received light to moderate snowfall since Wednesday morning and with it, the supply of electricity, which was already patchy, became even worse.
People, even after the snowfall stopped, complained of facing abrupt power cuts.
Mohammad Altaf, a resident of south Kashmir’s Kokernag, said that electricity was yet to be restored in his area.
He termed the assurances given by the government regarding the early restoration of electricity as “baseless”.“People of this constituency have been suffering terribly due to the absence of electricity. In addition, many roads have not been cleared yet,” he said.
The residents of main town Anantnag and its adjoining Dialgam and Kadipora areas too complained of unscheduled power cuts.
The situation is almost similar in the summer capital.“For the last two days, we face abrupt power cuts. Our children are not able to prepare for the exams due to power cuts in the evening hours. They have to study under candlelight and lanterns,” said Gulzar Ahmad, a resident of Habak, an otherwise metered area.
In non-metered ones, the supply is even worse.“We face frequent power cuts. We don’t know when the power will remain on and off,” said Kaisar Ahmad, a resident of Qamarwari.
The residents of the main town Baramulla too complained of facing unscheduled and frequent power-cuts, especially since Wednesday.
Chief Engineer, Power Development Department, Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi, claimed the electricity had been “restored almost in all areas”.“Some areas face power cuts due to overloading,” he added.
Waterlogged streets were another issue that people had to deal with.“There is immense water logging in our area due to lack of drainage system,” said Ghulam Jeelani, a resident of Qamarwari.
Due to waterlogging, the city areas including Tourist Reception Centre, Jehangir Chowk, Batamaloo, and Budshah Chowk witnessed heavy traffic jams.
An official of Srinagar Municipal Corporation said that only 40 per cent Srinagar has a proper drainage system in place.
“Under AMRUT scheme, the centre will provide Rs 390 crore in the next five years for the drainage system in Srinagar and Rs 300 crore will come from the World Bank project for it,” the official added
He agreed that there were several by-lanes, which have not been cleared yet due to lack of adequate snow clearing machines.
Kin of 9 arrested youth protest for their release
Srinagar, Jan 17: Scores of women Thursday protested at Rajouri Kadal here demanding the immediate release of their sons and kin, who, they claimed, were being handed over to National Investigation Agency (NIA) after being detained by J&K Police last year.
Shouting slogans against the state police and the NIA, the women, most mothers of those arrested, assembled at Rajouri Kadal square in the morning and blocked the main road.
They demanded an immediate release of the nine boys, who were arrested by the police in November.
The detained persons, as per news agency GNS were identified as Tahir Ahmad Khan son of Ali Mohammad of Chandrigam, Tral, and Haris Mushtaq Khan son of Mushtaq Ahmad of Wathoora, Budgam.
The duo was arrested by the police in Srinagar on November 23.
On their disclosure, police sources said that seven more persons were arrested in subsequent days.
They included Abdul Ahad Mir son of Ghulam Mohammad of Khurhama, Kupwara and six other Srinagar residents: Asif Suhail Nadaf son of Latief Ahmad of Rainwari; Irfan Ahmad Seeru son of Mohammad Shaban of Nawa Kadal; Wahid Abbas Bhat son of Mohammad Abbas of Rajouri Kadal; Ashiq Hussain son of Bashir Ahmad of Nowhatta; Haris Rashid Langoo son of Abdul Rashid of Malik Sahib Gojwara; and Arif Majeed Khan son of Abdul Majeed of Hawal.
Quoting police sources, GNS had reported that all the arrested were “working as over-ground workers (OGWs) of militant outfits and police had also recovered two pistols along with 14 rounds, three grenades, one bara bore single barrel rifle, one ISIS flag and one cutter.”
The protesting women, however, claim their sons and kin are “innocent”.
“Police had assured he will be released soon but even after frequent visits to the police station, he has not been released yet. We read from the internet a few days ago that they will be sent to Jammu for NIA investigation,” said Sameena, whose brother is among those arrested.
Another woman, who has already lost her husband, said her son is in jail for the last around two months “without any charges”.
The police have already refuted the reports claiming the youths were being handed over to the NIA. “In this context, it is clarified that the instant case FIR No 93/2018 was registered at Police Station Kothi Bagh under the relevant sections of law. This case was subsequently taken over by NIA and all the arrested accused persons in this case are presently in Judicial Custody,” the police spokesperson said.
Alok Mittal, NIA spokesperson too denied such reports saying: “We did not receive any such cases.”
IGP Kashmir and SSP Srinagar did not respond to repeated phone calls.
Political astuteness not economic packages needed to resolve Kashmir: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Chief Minister and President People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday reiterated that dialogue and reconciliation between India and Pakistan have become inevitable for the resolution of Kashmir issue and that the decades old conflict cannot be resolved by the announcement of the economic packages.
While addressing the party functionaries and activists from Rajpora assembly segment, Mehbooba said that the resilience of the PDP workers is worth to hail as they in spite of the harsh weather attended the meeting in large numbers and gave a clear message that the party is going to emerge victorious and more stronger in the coming time.
Hailing the impeccable courage and determination with which the PDP workers have been strengthening the party on the ground, Mehbooba said that the real asset for the PDP since its foundation in 1999 has been its ground level workers.
PDP President stated further that after the 2014 polls accorded fragmented mandate to state’s political landscape, PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed decided to stitch the common ground with BJP will the sole motive to reincarnate the Vajpayee era in the state and to stop the vicious cycle of unabated killings and violence. “Even when I told my father that the decision to join hands with the BJP has more risks than rewards and would decline party’s popularity in the state, he said he was ready to sacrifice everything including his own self if that resolves the decades old conflict,”
Mehbooba said, adding that her father was confident that dialogue and reconciliation would be initiated and same measures taken during Vajpayee’s time shall be witnessed once again. “However, when on November 7, 2015 Prime Minister Modi addressed a rally in Srinagar, he announced 80 thousand crore package but exhibited reluctance in pitching for a thaw between India and Pakistan for peace in the state. This disheartened everyone including the people who had come from far flung areas to listen to the Prime Minister,” Mehbooba said.