Srinagar, Feb 13: Governor Satya Pal Malik was implementing the BJP’s agenda of “dividing people to break” Muslim character of J&K, former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti alleged on Wednesday.
Referring to the recent Ladakh division status row, Mehbooba, in a presser here, warned the Government of India to desist from “playing with fire”.
“The creation a new division for Ladakh was a selective decision by the Governor who ignored the Muslim dominated Pir Panjal and Chenab valley,” Mehbooba said.
“The Central government, through its governor, is taking those decisions, which are against the people and the common sentiment of Jammu and Kashmir. The Centre has to accept that J&K is a Muslim majority state and every decision should be taken by keeping the sentiments of the community into consideration,” she added.
The PDP Chief–who by allying with rightwing BJP in 2016 paved its way into J&K’s political annals–said she had already warned the Centre about any decision of announcing “selective division” in the state.
“The people of Kargil are agitating for the last four days and people from Pirpanjal and Chenab are also crying discrimination. We had already warned the Centre that any such selective division will have serious consequences,” Mehbooba said.
She claimed that there was a Central Government’s “hand” in selecting headquarters at Leh.
“Kargil is far from Leh than Srinagar. Till 1992, the administrative units used to be on rotation in Leh and Kargil. People of Kargil are peace-loving, who now have started protesting for the last four days against this discrimination,” she said.
Mehbooba demanded rotational headquarters to be set up in Leh and Kargil on the lines of bi-annual Darbar Move in Srinagar and Jammu.
“This is a simple solution unless they have a motive to alienate the Muslim majority in the state. The headquarters should be on rotational basis in Kargil and Leh for six months each,” Mehbooba said.
She alleged a hidden agenda of the Centre to “disempower” the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir in the decision of ignoring demands of people from Kargil, Pirpanjal and Chenab valley.
“Centre is currently dividing Muslims of the state as shia- sunni, Kashmiri- Punjabi and Gujjar-Pahari, which we will never allow to happen,” she said.
The former Chief Minister said most of the decision taken during her government are being cancelled or reversed by the Centre.
“The government has entered into an agreement to share water of a river in Kathua with Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan, which is our right. They are yet to compensate us for the losses met due to the Indus Water treaty,” she said.
“Similarly, decision to wave off stamp duty for women has been reversed. Rattle power project is meeting the same fate, which seven power projects met during the tenure of Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah. BJP didn’t allow us to implement forest act, which is applicable across the country,” she said.
Mehbooba criticised the state administration for failing to mitigate the suffering of the people stranded on the Srinagar- Jammu National Highway.
“I thank the people of Jammu, especially the members of the Sikh community, and people in south Kashmir for arranging langars for the passengers stranded on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway. During our tenure there was no hue and cry while all such calamities were dealt speedily,” she said.
On incidents of roughing up of Kashmiri stranded passengers in Jammu, she said it was the handiwork of miscreants.
“These were miscreants from both the sides. Some of our stranded passengers started sloganeering, which led to the trouble. Jammu people are secular despite presence of many elements who try to communalism the atmosphere,” she said.
Asked about her party’s Rajya Sabha member Mohammad Fayaz Mir’s appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider returning the mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru and JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat to their respective families, Mehbooba said the PDP’s stance had not changed and their mortal remains be returned.
“Our stance has not changed. We stand by that and want that his (Guru’s) mortal remains be returned to his family,” she said.
“Mufti Sahab had resented the execution of Afzal Guru as prior to the incident, he wrote to the president of India. Similarly, after Afzal Guru’s execution a demand was put for the return of his mortal remains,” she said.
Inclement weather forecast: Admin asked to remain alert
Srinagar, Jun 25: The state government has asked the divisional administration of Kashmir to remain on high alert in view of the inclement weather forecast for the next one month.
This follows the meeting chaired by Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan to review the preparedness of the administration after receiving July weather forecast report from India Meteorological Department.
As per the minutes of the meeting, Divisional Commissioner was informed that the administration has to be on high alert to meet the challenges arising out of the “adverse weather conditions, in order to prevent recurrence of the situation that was witnessed in September 2014 floods”.
“The chair reiterated that a mock drill/exercise in this regard needs to be done and there should be no let off by any officer in addressing this situation,” reads the minutes of meeting.
During the meeting, the deputy commissioners apprised Khan that basic groundwork like identification of vulnerable areas, identification of rescue centers and preparation of evacuation plan, has been conducted.
Chief Engineer Irrigation and Flood Control told the meeting that the water holding capacity of river Jehlum, as compared to 2014 floods, has been increased and measures are being undertaken to further enhance the retaining capacity of flood spill channel.
“He requested that the Bailey Bridge temporarily constructed at the flood channel near Barzulla Bhagat needs to be removed in order to avoid any untoward incident in case the water level rises,” the minutes reads.
The district development commissioners have been directed to identify the low lying villages/areas, which may get inundated due to floods and caterogise them as per the threat of floods.
“DCs shall also identify rescue centers and buildings where the affected population shall be temporary relocated in the event of floods, and shall prepare evacuation plan for the purpose,” it reads.
Director Tourism, Kashmir, has been directed to liaise with the President JK Shikara Owners Association and direct him to provide Shikaras at a short notice in the eventuality of floods.
Director Meteorological Department, Sonam Lotus said it was difficult to predict on what day there would be rainfall. “But there will be rainfall in the month of July,” Lotus said.
Lotus however said people should not worry about any possibility of floods.
Parents should invest on quality education: Mirwaiz
Srinagar, Jun 25: Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Tuesday urged the people of Kashmir to invest their resources on imparting quality education to their children so that a better tomorrow is built.
Addressing a function at Four Friends Public School Gili Kadal in Nowshehra here, Mirwaiz termed quality education as “major tool for the development and upliftment of nations.”
“No nation in the world can progress unless it makes imparting quality education to its children as its mission and aim as it is quite evident that western countries have touched new heights in progress and development by putting in its resources into education and research in various fields,” Mirwaiz said while addressing a galaxy of students, teachers, civil society activists and youth present.
Mirwaiz said that Kashmiri children are full of talent and can compete with other students at any level. “The only thing is that their talent needs to be exploited in a better way,” he said.
Mirwaiz stressed while imparting worldly knowledge to the children, moral and ethical values should be inculcated among the students and Islamic teaching should act as guiding principles and there should be no compromise on this front.
“When Kashmir was under the tight grip of illiteracy, darkness, poverty and atrocities on all sides around 120 years ago, the then Mirwaiz Alama Ghulam Rasool Shah laid the foundation of Islamia school and launched a large scale war against poverty and illiteracy in Kashmir and today the whole valley is reaping the benefits of the step taken by late Mirwaiz Shah in the shape of educational institutions that have come up in every area of the region which is a welcome step,” he said.
War against corruption! ACB gets more teeth to take on influential people
Srinagar, Jun 25: The war against corruption has been intensified in Jammu and Kashmir after the Governor-led administration gave more powers to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to take on the corrupt high and mighty.
Last year, Governor Satya Pal Malik-led administration amended Prevention of Corruption Act Samvat, 2006 and Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Act, 2011 and established the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to combat the menace of corruption in the state.
Under the new law, the government has deleted the clause of Anti-Corruption Bureau from the State Vigilance Commission (SVC) Rules, 2019. Under the earlier law it was mandatory for ACB to submit hourly reports to SVC.
“While exercising powers of supervision, the Commission shall not direct the Anti-Corruption Bureau to provide individual details of the cases or investigate or dispose of the case in a particular manner,” the rules say.
Chief Secretary B V R Subrahmanyam has said the establishment of ACB would go a long way in doing away with the shortcomings and multiplicity of roles in the existing anti-corruption mechanism in the state.
“The ACB has been empowered. It is as powerful as CBI. The government has strengthened the ACB so that it acts against the powerful people,” he said.
For the last several months, the ACB has taken on the highly influential people in the state
The ACB sleuths recently raided J&K Bank offices after receiving the complaints of fraudulent appointments. The anti-graft body has also registered a case against the former chairman of the bank.
ACB is also probing into the allegations of large-scale irregularities in matters related to loans, finances and appointments in the bank.
It has also registered cases against deputy mayor Srinagar Municipal Corporation, J&K Bank and government officials for “illegal appropriation of subsidy with inflated project cost for establishment of CA storage at Lassipora, Pulwama.”
As per the official details accessed by The Kashmir Monitor, the anti-graft body has also registered a case against former commissioner and the senior town planner of Jammu Municipal Corporation for criminal misconduct, abuse and misuse of their official position as public servants while issuing illegal building permission.
The ACB also caught Block Development Officer Sopore red-handed while allegedly accepting bribe. A case has also been registered against Divisional Manager of State Forest Corporation (SFC) Udhampur on corruption charges.
The ACB also registered cases against several bureaucrats for allegedly being involved in corrupt practices.
Director ACB, Anand Jain did not respond to repeated calls.
However, a senior official said the ACB has more powers than any other anti-graft body of the country.
“The government has strengthened it by making necessary amendments in the rules. The recent action against influential people has unnerved tainted bureaucrats and politicians,” the official said.
Want to report corruption: WhatsApp or call this number
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Jun 25: The J&K Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) Tuesday launched call and WhatsApp helpline number 9419678060 on which the citizens can report demands for bribe and corruption through social messenger and also through call.
“The motive of the ACB behind the announcing a WhatsApp and call helpline is to encourage citizens to report cases of corruption and bribe demands,” a spokesperson of the anti-graft body said.
While launching the helpline number in Srinagar, Anand Jain, Director, ACB said that WhatsApp has become a very popular medium of communication and people are more comfortable using it.
Moreover, he said, WhatsApp will also enable the complainant to post picture and videos of any complaints through electronic medium on real time basis.