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Jitendra hits out at NC, PDP for ‘selective outrage’ over civic polls

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New Delhi, Sep 25: Union Minister Jitendra Singh Tuesday hit out at the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for their “selective outrage” over local body polls in Jammu and Kashmir and said they only want to carry on dynastic politics at the cost of common people.
Both the NC and the PDP have announced that they would not contest the upcoming urban body election and panchayat polls.
“NC and PDP, claiming to be mainstream parties, stand exposed before their own people. NC has always been vociferously advocating rule of autonomy but it is opposed to granting autonomy to the popularly elected panchayats and their sarpanches. It in other words means that this party has a vested design to ask for autonomy in order to continue dynastic rule but is not in favour of democratic autonomy for popularly elected local bodies,” he said.
Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, said this also exposes their “scandalous” design of not allowing central grants for the local bodies and panchayats to reach the elected representatives.
“These parties have also betrayed the facts that they not only take their people for granted but also their party cadre. Some of the cadre of NC and PDP have rejected dynastic diktat and have rebelled,” he said, suggesting alleged discontent among these parties’ workers.
In a related development, NC spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu has resigned from the party earlier in the day over the party’s decision to boycott the local body and panchayat polls.
Singh said when the BJP took the decision to withdraw from the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir on June 19, a senior NC leader and his team began a sustained campaign on Twitter asking for immediate dissolution of state Assembly and holding of mid-term Assembly polls at the earliest.
“At that time they did not utter a single word of concern with regard to Article 35 A. But when the announcements for panchayat elections happen, they raked up the bogey of Article 35 A. It is now for their party leadership to explain whether they will revive their decision to dissolve the Assembly election or stick to not to contest any Assembly elections because of concerns on Article 35 A,” the minister said.
He said if they don’t do so then they would only be exposing themselves that they are interested in Assembly polls in a bid to grab ministerial berth but they want to deprive the local representation by opposing panchayat elections.
Article 35 A of the Constitution bars people from outside Jammu and Kashmir acquire any immovable property in the state.
The Supreme Court had on August 31 deferred the hearing on a bunch of petitions challenging Article 35 A of the Constitution, as the Centre had urged the court to take up the matter after panchayat elections in the state.


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Kashmir

No Friday prayers at Jamia, Mirwaiz put under house arrest

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Srinagar, Mar 22: The authorities put under house arrest the Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Friday and barred the congregational prayers at the historic Jamia Masjid in here.
Reports said that the authorities placed restrictions at several parts of Old City including Nowhatta where authorities did not allow people to offer the Friday prayers.
An official said restrictions were imposed in view of call for protests issued by the Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising of Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik.
Joint Hurriyat had called for peaceful protests after the prayers against the “custodial death” of Awantipora school teacher Rizwan Assad Pandith.
Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who addresses the faithful at the mosque every Friday was put under house arrest. He termed the disallowing of Friday prayers as “religious assault”.
“While repression, killings and arbitrary arrests continue unabated, for the 3rd time this month #JamaMasjid put under lockdown and Friday prayers disallowed. Condemn the authorities for this religious assault,” Mirwaiz wrote on Twitter. This was on the third time in this month that authorities barred the Friday prayers at the Jamia Masjid.

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IUST, KU faculty groups condemn teacher’s custodial killing

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Islamic University Faculty Association (IUFA) Friday condemned the alleged custodial killing of a teacher Rizwan Assad Pandith and has termed it outrageous and a tremendous loss to education while demanding immediate justice for him.
In a statement, the IUFA said Pandith worked as a guest faculty in the Polytechnic College, Islamic University of Science and Technology in 2018.
“He was not just a competent academician, but a thorough gentleman as well. His untimely death is a huge loss to education in South Kashmir where he was heading a school and a coaching center as well,” the statement of the Association said.
The association has demanded that the perpetrators of such crimes be brought to justice at an earliest as there is no place for such horrific crimes in civilized and responsible societies.
The Association has once again expressed dismay and concern over the delay in the dispensation of justice in the custodial killing of another teacher Shabir Ahmad Mango, a college lecturer by Army personnel on August 17, 2016. “Such gory cases of the custodial killings of teachers have caused an immense damage to the intellectual capital of the education sector in the state and we again call for justice to Mango also,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, Kashmir University Teachers Association (KUTA) too has strongly condemned the killing and demanded immediate dispensation of justice. “Such treatment to the ‘nation builders’ on sustained basis does not augur well for the peace and stability in the state,” reiterated the KUTA spokesperson.
The two associations have also called for an immediate end to the continued human rights violations in Kashmir.

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MPs of 2014 have been mute spectators in Parl: Altaf Bukhari

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Srinagar, Mar 22: Terming the upcoming parliament and assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir as one of the crucial elections, former Finance Minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Friday said these elections would likely pose a serious challenge for the special status of the State and to its inclusive political culture.
Addressing a workers’ convention at his private office here, Bukhari emphasized on the state’s electorate to compare and elect their candidates on promises made versus performance basis.
The former minister observed that people of the state particularly that of the Kashmir valley, have not forgotten that they were asked for votes in lieu of a ‘mandate for a mission’.
“People have not even forgotten being promised to ‘make the parliament a forum for representing the Kashmir issue at the national level’. But what they did in the Parliament later?” Bukhari asked, adding, “Analyze their attendance and performance on internet and you will witness their dismal track record of attending and intervening in the House. They have simply been mute spectators in the Parliament and wasted the mandate of people.”
The former finance minister remarked that people need to elect their representatives after proper application of mind and wisdom. “While we need to show a united face and defeat the nefarious designs of some divisive political forces, at the same time we need to strengthen the hands of the leadership that has the courage to call a spade a spade.”
Bukhari opined that the electorate of Jammu and Kashmir especially in the valley must decide whether they want to go with the forces who berated and bartered their mandate for their petty political gains or the forces who can safeguard their interests and the special identity of the State.
He said a drastic electoral division or fragmented vote will not be in the interests of people as the same can give a hegemonic control over all state institutions, as well as the public discourse in the hands of forces who are inimical to the identity of this state.
The former minister also stressed on a need for creating a conducive and peaceful atmosphere for holding elections saying that political activities cannot fetch a desired change in an atmosphere of mass arrests, raids, civilian harassment and custodial killings.
“Although almost all the mainstream political parties have condemned the recent custodial killing of the school teacher but mere words cannot heal the wounds of that family. The probe in this incident needs to be conducted in a transparent and time bound manner so that the culprits are booked as per law,” Bukhari reiterated his demand.

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