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JK in 2018: Political tussle, central rule and a horrific rape

Press Trust of India

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Srinagar, Dec 23: Jammu and Kashmir saw political turmoil in 2018 after the PDP-BJP coalition collapsed, necessitating imposition of Governor’s rule in the state and subsequently President’s rule, and was also rocked by a horrific incident of rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl.

Though militant-related activities in the state resulted in the loss of lives of many, officials claimed there was a marked improvement in the security scenario in the Kashmir Valley ever since the imposition of Governor’s rule.

The political scene in the state remained hot since the beginning of the year with the then chief minister Mehbooba Mufti sacking her finance minister Haseeb Drabu in March for going against the PDP line and asserting that Jammu and Kashmir shouldn’t be seen as a conflict state or a political problem, but as a society with social issues.

 

On April 30, Mehbooba carried out a reshuffle in her council of ministers to fill some of the vacancies as both the PDP and BJP got in some new faces. The new ministers included Kavinder Gupta, who swapped the post of Assembly speaker with Nirmal Singh for becoming the deputy chief minister.

As the new ministers must have been still settling in their new jobs, the BJP, in a sudden but not unexpected move, decided to pull out of the coalition government with the PDP and also withdraw support from the government.

The then Governor N N Vohra, who was six days away from completing his second term at the Raj Bhawan in Srinagar, decided to impose Governor’s rule in the state. He, however, kept the assembly in suspended animation as outgoing chief minister Mehbooba had not made any recommendation for dissolution of the the lower house of the legislature.

The elected government fell on June 19.

After completion of six months of Governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir on December 19, the state came under President’s rule from midnight of December 20.

President Ram Nath Kovind signed the proclamation for imposition of central rule in the state after receiving a report from Governor Malik and after considering it and other information.

In January, the eight-year-old girl belonging to a Muslim nomadic family was found murdered in Kathua district of the state.

The girl was reported missing by her family on January 10 but was found dead eight days later. Post-mortem report said she had been repeatedly raped under the influence of sedatives and later killed by her tormentors.

While not much headway was made in the early stages of police investigation, the government ordered a crime branch probe into the murder. Investigations revealed gory details of the crime against the minor girl, shaking the nation and leading to widespread protests demanding stern punishment to those involved in the crime.

BJP’s Chaudhary Lal Singh and C P Ganga, who were ministers then, participated in a rally organised in support of the accused persons in Kathua and demanded a CBI probe into the matter. This led to quite a controversy.

However, Mehbooba, as chief minister, put her foot down and resisted all pressures from her alliance partner for recommending a CBI probe.

As the alliance partners were heading for a showdown, the BJP high command defused the situation, forcing Singh and Ganga to resign from the council of ministers.

However, Singh — a former Congress Lok Sabha member who defected to BJP after he was denied ticket in 2014 Lok Sabha polls — organised several rallies, criticising the PDP-led government.

With the security situation in the Valley deteriorating, the BJP chose to withdraw from the government.

The fall of the government led to a rebellion within the PDP as a section of leaders revolted against Mehbooba’s leadership accusing her of nepotism and favouritism.

Several of these leaders gravitated towards Peoples Conference, which had only two MLAs in the 87-member house but enjoyed support of the BJP, in an attempt to form a fresh government by getting 19 MLAs from the PDP to switch sides in order to avoid attracting anti-defection law.

Prominent among those who openly rebelled against Mehbooba were influential Shia leader Imran Ansari, his uncle Abid Ansari, MLA Tangmarg Mohammad Abbas Wani, MLA Baramulla Javaid Beigh, MLCs Yasir Reshi and Saifuddin Bhat.

Even senior PDP leader Muzaffar Beigh put the party on notice saying he was not consulted on key issues including the PDP decision to boycott the urban local bodies polls. He was, however, mollified by Mehbooba by appointing him party patron.

Several other leaders have since left the party with Drabu, former law minister Basharat Bukhari and Peer Mohammad Hussain being the notable ones.

Bukhari and Hussain have since joined PDP’s arch rival National Conference.

As Vohra completed two highly successful terms as governor, he was given a two-month extension by the Centre to avoid any disruptions in the Amarnath Yatra.

On August 21, Bihar Governor Satya Pal Malik was named to take full charge of Jammu and Kashmir — the first political person to head Raj Bhawan since the days of Jagmohan in 1990.

Malik decided to hold ULB and panchayat polls in the state despite most of the political parties advising against it in view of the prevailing security situation.

As the governor’s administration refused to postpone the elections, the National Conference and the PDP decided to stay away from the elections. The boycott only helped the BJP candidates.

So poor was the participation in the municipal polls, that one third of seats in the valley failed to find a candidate while many more wards were won uncontested. The poll percentage in the valley was an abysmal 4.2 per cent compared to nearly 40 per cent 13 years ago when the last such exercise was conducted.

The panchayat elections, however, saw better participation of the electorate as there was a 41.3 per cent turnout. In Jammu division, it was business as usual as high turnout marked another election in the region


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GMC admits: Patients referred to Srinagar attended by juniors

Nisar Dharma

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Srinagar, Jan 21: The Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar Monday acknowledged that the patients referred to its associated hospitals in Srinagar are being treated by junior doctors.

A circular by Principal GMC, Dr Samia Rashid said it had come to her notice that “patients referred from various district, sub-district hospitals and peripheries for specialised treatment in Associated hospitals of GMC Srinagar are being attended by Junior Residents without taking advice and consultation from their Registrars and Consultants on emergency duty.”

The circular asked the head of departments and units to ensure that referral patients are only seen by registrars or senior residents on emergency duty.

 

“The head of the departments and units are also impressed upon to ensure that Consultants on emergency duty…should make periodic rounds on their emergency day and take final evening round in emergency areas. Registrars and other resident staff on emergency duty should note down their advice in respect of patients admitted,” the circular reads.

The GMC Principal, as per the circular, asked the medical superintendents of the associated hospitals to monitor the work of Resident Medical Officers (RMOs) and Casualty Medical Officer (CMOs).

“…check whether they are discharging their duties as per their job profile…take necessary disciplinary action against the RMO/CMO who fails to discharge their assigned duties.”

The GMC circular follows the Thursday’s incident in which a pregnant woman, who was referred from Kupwara to Lal Ded hospital, was forced to deliver her baby on road when the doctor on duty refused to admit her.

The baby delivered in sub-zero temperatures died soon after.

Facing flak, the hospital ordered a probe immediately, which, eventually, concluded: “The doctor with her clinical assessment/USG findings did not anticipate the precipitate delivery in her, although unfortunately the doctor on duty went against the SOP for referrals by not admitting the patient.”

 

No negligence will be tolerated: Adv Kumar

Jammu, Jan 21: Taking a serious note of alleged mishandling of a pregnant lady from District Kupwara at L. D Hospital, Advisor to Governor, K Vijay Kumar Monday conveyed his sympathies with the affected family and assured a thorough enquiry into the unfortunate incident.

Chairing a high level meeting in this regard attended by Principal Secretary, Health & Medical Education, Atal Dullo; Principal, GMCs of Srinagar and Jammu; Directors of Health Services of Kashmir & Jammu besides Medical Superintendents of several hospitals the Advisor informed that the Governor has instructed that Hospital authorities across the State should strictly adhere to the Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) in the case of referrals to tertiary care hospitals adding that no negligence in observing these SoPs would be tolerated in future.

He said maintaining high standards of health care delivery to the citizens of the State should be observed at all costs and that the Governor’s Administration is committed to fill in all the existing gaps of manpower, equipment and infrastructure to strengthen the primary healthcare system across the State.

The Advisor sought recommendations to identify the lapses and gaps so that such incidents do not take place in future. He directed the Principal GMC Srinagar and Jammu and Director Health Services Kashmir/ Jammu to identify Nodal Officers who shall solely be responsible for streamlining the referrals from primary and secondary health care institutions to tertiary care hospitals in the State.

He said that directions have been issued as part of the ‘Auditing Mechanism’ that doctor’s prescription shall be inscribed with seal/ stamp mentioning name and credentials of the prescribing and referring doctor so that responsibilities can be fixed in any eventuality.

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‘Bukhari tried to sell PDP for his personal gains’

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Refuting that Altaf Bukhari’s name was at any point suggested as an interim president of the party, Vice President Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Abdul Rahman Veeri on Monday said that seeking “self-promotion through illicit, undemocratic and unethical measures” was Bukhari’s sole agenda in PDP.
Veeri, in a statement, said that across the state, party functionaries, workers and activists en-masse support Mehbooba Mufti in her every endeavour to get the state out of the present cycle of violence.
“Every person associated with the PDP has witnessed how amid the tumultuous times Mehbooba Mufti built the party brick by brick and made it a guiding force in Jammu and Kashmir’s political landscape,” Veeri said.
He added that in spite of taking over in very trying circumstances, PDP president ran the government with “integrity and caliber”.
“However, she was back-stabbed by some people especially Altaf Bukhari,” he said.
Veeri said that by giving out his desire to become PDP President, Bukhari had “exposed his real agenda which he initiated within days after Mufti saheb’s death.”
“For that he even made Nagpur Yatra in a bid to seek their blessings for forming the government at the cost of party and state interest. Ever since the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he tried to grab the party and sell it out for promotion of his personal ambitions,” said Veeri.
The PDP Vice President stated further that every person is now aware that when party President Mehbooba Mufti was standing firm before the government of India, Bukhari even went up to Nagpur to offer his services as an alternative. “Such action of his sabotaged the agenda of alliance and the negotiations Mehbooba Mufti was having with the government of India, demanding implementation of specific points in the agenda of alliance as a precondition for taking over as the Chief Minister of the state,” Veeri said.
The PDP veteran added that even when the government headed by Mehbooba Mufti was formed in April 2016, a clear signal was given to Bukhari as he was dropped from the cabinet. It was later, according to Veeri, on assurances of good conduct from Bukhari that his position was restored.
He said that the ousted leader had no problem with the party till the government was in place and he begun inventing issues soon after the dissolution of assembly.
“Till the dissolution, Bukhari had the hopes of getting the government back. Though, till then, he was behaving like a party man but his one foot was in PDP and his soul and spirit were with all other parties except PDP. He was in contact with the outlaws and even made hectic efforts to instigate rebellion within the party,” Veeri said, adding that soon after dissolution of assembly, Bukhari saw only one way of finishing the PDP and that was by taking over as president and he openly told some party leaders that he wants to take over as a prize for him to stay in the party.
“He had a one point agenda and that was to take over the party and sell it out for promoting his political and other interests. Now exposed, he is openly declaring his ambitions in public,” Veeri said.
He added that people of the state know Mehbooba Mufti as a person with “selfless courage and a desire to ensure betterment in peoples’ lives.”
“It is not Mehbooba Mufti who needs PDP. It is actually the PDP which needs the person of her stature. Her command and sincerity in work is already being praised by one and all, not only in JK but across the country. She has battled against various forces very bravely and the impression she has left on the minds of people is that she is actuated by high sense of fairness and impartiality. Every person associated with the PDP is proud of her leadership and is hopeful that she will lead the people of the state to their permanent prosperity,” said Veeri.

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Dy Mayor assaulted during SMC’s councilors session

Global News Service

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Srinagar, Jan 21: Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation, Sheikh Imran was Monday injured when “two corporators” allegedly assaulted him during the councilor session of the corporation.

He was shifted to police hospital for immediate treatment.

A senior police official confirmed the incident and said that a case has been registered and further action taken up.

 

After being discharged from hospital, Imran addressed a presser alleging that he was attacked by two “RSS and BJP-backed corporators”.

He said assault on him was pre-planned by the “BJP-backed mayor” and hoped that police will take appropriate action in the case.

“I will not bow down by such tactics. I will continue to speak against corruption and injustice,” he said, adding that he was attacked for launching a “tirade against BJP and Hindutva campaigns.” Imran said that he was committed to “kicking out” the BJP from Kashmir.

“From the first day, I urged the administration to look into the issue of BJP, RSS sponsored Mayor but they turned deaf ears to my pleas,” he said.

 

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