Connect with us

Lead Stories

Not really of the people, by the people, for the people

Published

on

IST


By Rashid Ahmad

Srinagar, Oct 6: The idea of elections as the ultimate democratic device is a deep-seated principal of political democracies.

The other day when Home Minister, Rajnath Singh said that by holding civic body elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the government wanted to take democracy to the grass-root level, he must have had the importance of elections in mind.

 

Elections, indeed, are the soul of democracy. But where the point is missed is elections are also a participatory process. It is the participation of people that fundamentally makes the difference. If there are no elections or only sham elections, it can be termed failure.

There are 11 Municipal Councils/Committees in three districts of Pulwama, Shopian and Kulgam with 133 wards. Out of 133 municipal wards, only one ward is going to ‘elect’ its member in the ongoing civic poll process. All other 132 wards have either a single nominee or no nominee.

Eighty five (85) wards of these Municipal Councils/Committees are vacant with no nominees while 47 wards have single nominees (elected unopposed). Only one ward is scheduled for polling for having more than one candidate.

What makes the process even more absurd is that, at least, five municipal councils/committees have more than 50 percent seats vacant, and two committees with 26 wards have no nominee. All these seats are vacant.

Not quite a democratic process.

In Pulwama district, Awantipora is the only Municipal Committee where one seat is scheduled for polling. The Committee has 13 wards. Eleven of them are vacant (having no nominees). One seat has a single nominee (won unopposed) and one seat has two nominees. The polling for this seat would be held in the third phase on October 13.

Not a single candidate has filed nominations in 13 wards of Khrew Municipal Committee of the same district. All the seats of the Committee are vacant. In Tral Municipal Committee, nine seats are vacant and four have got elected unopposed. In Pampore, out of 17 seats, 11 are vacant and six have single nominees (elected unopposed).

In the main Pulwama Municipal Council, out of 13 wards, only three wards have single nominee (elected unopposed) while 10 other wards are vacant with no nominees.
Kulgam district also depicts the same picture.

In Frisal Municipal Committee, all the 13 wards are vacant for want of candidates. For six wards of Yari Pora Municipal Committee, three got elected unopposed and three remain vacant with no nominees. All the eight members of Devsar Municipal Committee have got elected unopposed. In seven wards of Qazigund, four got elected unopposed whereas three lay vacant. In Kulgam Municipal Council, eight wards have no nominee while five others have single nominee.

The Shopian Municipal Council with 17 wards, 13 have single nominees (elected unopposed) while remaining four have no nominee.

In Anantnag (Islamabad) district, for Pahalgam Municipal Committee, eight members have got elected unopposed while five seats are vacant. For 17 Wards in Bijbehara, 12 are vacant and five have single nominees. The Mattan Municipal Committee is likely to have keen contest for 11 Wards while two other wards have got their members elected unopposed. Aishmuqam has contest for two wards. For the 13 wards, nine members have been elected unopposed, two have no nominees while two others would see contest.

The picture in Duroo is not clear as the 13 BJP and Congress candidates who had filed nomination papers are reported to have withdrawn from the contest. Sixteen Wards of Anantnag Municipal Council would also see contest. Nine members of the Council have got elected unopposed.

What adds to the absurdity of these elections is that most of the members who got elected unopposed are either Kashmiri Pandits living in Jammu or BJP-sponsored members staying in hotels isolated from the public mainstream.

Legal position

Other distinctive feature of these elections is that five councils/ committees—Kulgam (8), Pulwama (10), Tral (9), Pampora (11) and Awantipora (11)—have more than fifty percent of seats vacant. Two other committees Khrew and Frisal have all the seats vacant. How these Committees would function and what law says about it is to be ascertained.


Comments

Lead Stories

3 militants killed in Shopian encounter

Slain includes IPS officer’s brother; civilians, forces personnel among injured

Published

on

Srinagar, Jan 22: Three militants, including the brother of an IPS officer, were killed and an army soldier wounded in a gunfight in Shopian district of south Kashmir on Tuesday.

Reports said that the gunfight broke out Tuesday morning after a joint party of the army and the state police launched a cordon-and-search-operation in Shirmal village following inputs about the presence of militants.

They said the militants opened fire on the forces after the latter fired several shots towards their hideout located in an orchard in the village.

 

There was a momentary lull before the firefight resumed, leading to the killing of three militants, news agency Global News Service reported.

One army soldier has also sustained injuries during the course of the gunfight, it reported while quoting unnamed sources.

Quoting official sources, news agency GNS said the slain militants included Shamsul Haq Mengnoo son of Mohammad Rafiq Mengnoo, a resident of Draggud village of Shopian district.

Shamsul Haq was pursuing Bachelors of Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) at government college Zakura when he joined militancy. His elder brother Inamul Haq is 2012 IPS batch officer who is posted in North East.

The identity of the two other militants was being ascertained, police said.

Reports, however, identified the two other slain as Amir Ahmad Bhat (21) son of Late Abdul Aziz Bhat of Chadipora, Shopian and Shuaib Ahmad Shah (19) son of Ghulam Rasool Shah of Zahapora, Shopian.

The slain, as per reports, were affiliated with Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit and were involved in a number of attacks in the southern district.
After conducting all necessary formalities, the bodies of the trio were later in the evening handed over to their families for last rites, reports said.

They added that at least seven persons were injured in clashes near the site of the encounter at Heff Shirmal as government forces resorted to tear gas shelling and pellet firing.

Later in the day, a police spokesperson said a cordon and search operation was launched jointly by police and other forces in Shirmal area of

Zainapora in Shopian area after credible inputs about the presence of militants.“As the searches were going on, the search party was fired upon by the militants. The fire was retaliated leading to a gunfight. In the ensuing encounter, three militants were killed and the bodies were recovered from the site of encounter. Their identities and affiliations are being ascertained,” the spokesperson said.

He added that it was a difficult operation due to the terrain and there were clashes in the area which was handled by the government forces.

“Only five cases of injuries were reported and three of them were discharged after preliminary medical attention. Separately six security forces personnel injured during the clashes have been discharged after medical attention,” the spokesperson said.

Police, he said, has registered a case and initiated investigation in the matter. Incriminating materials including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter.

 

Shamsul met ‘sad end’ despite his IPS brother’s efforts: Ex-DGP

Srinagar, Jan 22: Former Jammu and Kashmir Police chief Shesh Paul Vaid on Tuesday said that Hizb militant Shamsul Haq met a “sad end” despite efforts by his IPS officer brother to bring him back.
Taking to Twitter soon after the news of his killing in Shopian gunfight started doing the rounds, Vaid, who was the director general of police in J&K when Haq turned to militancy, said: “I remember the efforts that were made by his (Haq’s) brother /other family members and J&K Police to bring him back to mainstream but he met a sad end today.”
Haq, brother of IPS officer Inam ul Haq, was killed along with his two associates in a gunfight in Shirmal village of Shopian.

Militants killed in Budgam affiliated with Al Badr: Police

Srinagar, Jan 22: Jammu and Kashmir Police on Tuesday said the three militants slain in a gunfight with the government forces in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Tuesday were affiliated with Al Badr militant outfit.
In a statement, a police spokesman said that the slain militants were identified as Sabzar Ahmad son of Ali Mohammad Mir resident of Lassipora Pulwama, Syed Rabani son of Mohammad Hussain resident of Nazneenpora Shopian and Towseef Ahmad Itoo son of Abdul Aziz resident of Nowpora Payeen Pulwama.
The slain militants, he said, were affiliated with proscribed outfit Al-Badar and were wanted by the law.
“Incriminating material including arms and ammunition were recovered from the site of encounter. All these materials have been taken in the case records for the purpose of investigation,” he said.
Bodies of the slain militants were handed over to their families after completion of medico-legal formalities, he added.
The three militants were killed after a daylong gunfight in Hapatnar forests on Tuesday.

Continue Reading

Lead Stories

4 photojournalists injured in pellet firing: Reporters without Borders, KEG condemn incident

Published

on

Srinagar, Jan 22: Four photojournalists were hit by pellets while covering the Tuesday’s gun battle in Shopian district.

The injured included Hindustan Times photojournalist Waseem Andrabi, Rising Kashmir‘s Nisar ul Haq, and Junaid Gulzar and Mir Burhan, both working with local publications.

Andrabi had six pellet wounds in his face and neck, narrowly missing his eyes.

 

Reports said the photojournalists were walking towards the encounter site in Shopian when they came across a blockade put up by the protesting youth.

Government forces and locals were engaged in violent clashes around the same area where the journalists were present.

“At some distance, the police and CRPF parties were holding their position as stone pelting had begun. I raised my camera to show that we were photojournalists and out of nowhere, we were showered with pellets,” Andrabi told The Wire.

Andrabi was hit with six pellets, including on his lips, forehead and neck.

The incident prompted statements of condemnation from all major journalist bodies in Kashmir.

Kashmir Press Photographers Association (KPPA) termed the incident as a brutal, murderous assault on photojournalists by security forces.

“KPPA believes that the oft-repeated assault on the photojournalists is uncalled for and employing such tactics by the government forces won’t deter us from carrying out our professional duties. The association urges the governor Satya Pal Malik and director general of police Dilbag Singh to personally look into the matter and order a magisterial enquiry into the incident followed by strict action against the erring cops,” the association said

The Kashmir Press Club said “It is not the first time such an incident has happened. Most unfortunate that journalists are made a targeted when they are only performing their duties. It is appalling that pellets were fired at them”.

Kashmir Video Journalist Association (KVJA) and Kashmir National Television Journalist Association also condemned the attack on journalists in Shopian and asked state’s governor and DGP to initiate strict action against those responsible.

“This has become a routine that journalists while performing their professional duties are either thrashed or at time showered with pellets. KVJA appeals to governor and DGP to initiate strict action against those who are involved in today’s incident and make sure that it doesn’t happen in the future”.

Reporters Without Borders or Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF), an international body for journalists, Tuesday called upon the Indian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the pellet firing at journalists in Shopian.

In a statement on Twitter, RSF said the government forces’ violence’ against Kashmiri photojournalists is ‘unacceptable.’

“Unacceptable violence by #India’s security forces against photojournalists covering a gunfight in south,” RSF tweeted.

“We call on #indian authorities to conduct a thorough investigation on this blatant attack on press freedom. #JournalismIsNotACrime,” it tweeted.

Meanwhile, Kashmir Editors’ Guild (KEG) too strongly condemned the use of pellets against a group of journalists.

“This is not for the first time that the law enforcing agencies have used force against the media persons when they were covering the events on the streets within and outside Srinagar. This has become a routine,” a KEG spokesman said.

He added that every time the issue is being brought to the notice of the authorities, the media is being promised that they will investigate the issue.

“It has rarely happened that action was initiated against anyone for violating the basic conduct vis-a-vis media. Already one photo-journalist has lost an eye to pellets in Srinagar. While police is issuing statements on every single incident from detaining gamblers to seizing fukki, it avoided even mentioning the incident in routine daily statement,” the spokesman said.

KEG demanded a quick and time bound investigation into the incident and action against the personnel found guilty.

“The attacks on media are detrimental to the very existence of a society in 21st century,” the spokesman said.

Continue Reading

Lead Stories

Srinagar youth hit with stone ‘hurled by CRPF’

Admitted to SKIMS with fractured skull; CRPF spokesman claims ‘youth fell down’

Published

on

Srinagar, Jan 22: A youth from Habba Kadal locality of Srinagar was hospitalised in a serious condition after a stone allegedly hurled by CRPF trooper hit his head on Tuesday afternoon.

Family sources said the boy identified as Mohammad Younis had left home to buy some vegetable, however, a CRPF trooper hurled a stone from the bunker located near Habba Kadal, resulting in serious head injuries to the boy.

Soon after the incident, the injured was rushed to Srinagar’s SMHS hospital, from where he was referred to SKIMS, Soura.

 

Medical Superintendent SKIMS, Dr Farooq Jan, as per a local news agency KNO, said that “parietal bone of the youth had fracture and the bone fragment has sneaked into the skull, leading to contusions.”

He also said that CT scan of the patient will be repeated to ascertain the damage. He, however, maintained that they are monitoring his condition as of now.

Meanwhile, CRPF spokesman, Sanjay Sharma, as per news agency KNO, said a group of five to six youth started pelting stones at the bunker and while chasing them away, a youth “slipped and fell down”.

Continue Reading

Subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Kashmir Monitor and receive notifications of new stories by email.

Join 980,511 other subscribers

Archives

January 2019
M T W T F S S
« Dec    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  
Advertisement