Srinagar, Dec 1: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and former J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has welcomed the opening up of Kartarpur corridor and has sought the opening of road link to SharadaPeeth, Hindu shrine, in Pakistan administered Kashmir, adding that “though it will be a measure specific to Pandit community but undoubtedly it would be welcomed by every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir.”
In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mehbooba wrote: “I greet you on the opening up of Kartarpur corridor with Pakistan to facilitate the Sikh pilgrims visit to holly places in that country and hope it would be a new leaf in the painful history of India Pakistan relations and will be a first step towards rediscovering avenues of peace and prosperity.”
Saying that the PDP has always considered people to people contact between India and Pakistan as an important Confidence Building Measure (CBM) and has been repeatedly advocating reopening of traditional routes connecting India through Jammu and Kashmir with the world around it, Mehbooba told PM Modi: “The initiatives taken by government of India by former Prime Ministers have resulted in opening of Muzafarabad and Rawalakot roads, adding that “there potential is yet to be realized. The opening of Kartarpur corridor has granted yet another window of opportunity.”
Saying that SharadaPeeth in Pakistan administered Kashmir is an outstanding relic of Kashmir’s glowing history, PDP chief said, “Though It connects the people here with their cultural and intellectual routes, for the Kashmir Pandits it is an important place of pilgrimage which was frequented by them till independence. Their urge to open it to pilgrimage has been projected ever since Srinagar-Muzafarabad road. Kartarpur has encouraged the Pandit community to see a possibility of the pilgrimage to SharadaPeeth in the same spirit.
Allying with BJP: A ‘supreme sacrifice’ my father gave
Srinagar, Dec 1: Peoples Democratic Party President, Mehbooba Mufti, on Saturday said her father gave a “supreme sacrifice” by joining hands with BJP for the “interests of Jammu and Kashmir”.
“Mufti Sahab took a tough decision by joining hands with BJP in 2014 for the interests of Jammu and Kashmir and to take the people out of difficulties. Hardly any leader in the country or across the world has given such a supreme sacrifice for the people,” Mehbooba told a New Delhi-based news channel in an interview.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) formed the alliance with BJP in 2014. However, the former Mehbooba-led government collapsed following BJP’s withdrawal of support on June 19.
The state has been under Governor Rule since then.
“We joined hands with BJP as per the need. Recently we (PDP, Congress and NC) joined together to protect the special status of the state.”
She said BJP tried to break other mainstream parties for government formation.
“I am not saying the prime minister did it, but there are a few leaders in BJP who made these efforts, forcing us to get together. In future we will contest the polls and will subsequently decide whether to make alliance with any party.”
She said PDP will have own manifesto based on which it would contest the polls.
“Our agenda has always been reconciliation, opening of new routes, and to make a suitable environment so that army is withdrawn from civilian areas and AFSPA is revoked.”
Calling for immediate rollback of the decision taken by Governor-led state administrative council (SAC) about the JK Bank, she said attempts were being made to take away the autonomy of institutions in the state.
“We have opposed the Governor’s decision. JK Bank is an asset for the state and its dilution is unjustified. JK people want more empowerment but New Delhi is snatching our assets from us. We also asked BJP to return at least two power projects to the state,” she said.
Her reaction came after the SAC approved the proposal for treating the J&K Bank Limited as a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU).
The bank has been brought under the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) act, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) guidelines and the State Legislature.
About Peoples Conference Chairman, Sajad Lone, statement that National Conference and PDP not wanting third family rule in the state, she replied, “Why did not he form the government for five months if he had the support of legislators. My workers and leaders are dedicated to the party except two people who issue the statements. I have struggled since 1996, then became the chief minister of the state. Lone was elected PC chairman the next day his father was killed. I laid the foundation of the PDP along with workers and leaders. There is hardly any place in J&K where I haven’t been.”
She also praised the statement from the governor that had he looked towards Delhi for instructions, Sajad would have formed the government.
“If it is the fact, we appreciated the governor for listening to his conscience.”
In an interview to a national news magazine, she said PDP was formed with an agenda.
“An important element of the agenda on whose basis we allied with the BJP in 2015 was to
She said she was thinking of approaching the court against those who levelled allegations that grand alliance was a conspiracy of Pakistan.
Need to replace idea of ‘Azad Kashmir’: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Dec 14: Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti Friday said there was a need to replace the idea of ‘Azaad Kashmir’ with a better one within the framework of the Indian Constitution.
Addressing a seminar ‘Kashmir – The Way Forward’ at the Observer Research Foundation in Mumbai, Mehbooba said, “We need to replace the idea of Azad Kashmir with a better idea within the framework of the Indian Constitution. We cannot go back to 1947, we have to move forward.”
Mehbooba, who led the PDP-BJP coalition government for over two years, said governance was only possible when there is peace.
“Thank God we are living in a democracy where people are allowed to vote and not cows,” she said.
“Kashmiris are the sufferers. Till when will our people keep witnessing this farce of people getting killed? Youngsters are taking up the guns. A 17-year-old boy who played a role in Hyder movie and 14-year-old boy recently got killed after they took up the arms.”
Referring to her coalition government with the BhartiyaJanta Party (BJP) in 2014, Mufti said it was a “suicide”.
“We put everything at stake because we hoped that Narendra Modi will pick up where Vajpayee Ji had left. Unfortunately, Modi ji could not rise to the occasion. Like Vajpayee, we invited him to address a gathering of around 30,000 people in Srinagar. Instead reaching out to people, he said he did not need anybody’s advice. We (Kashmir) are sufferers. If he does not listen to us, whom will he listen to?” she asked.
She said there was a total “distrust and disconnect” between people of Kashmir and New Delhi Delhi.
“They look inwards or outwards (outside the border) for support. During the time of Vajpayee, the people of Kashmir thought of him as a leader who cared,” she said.
“Even Pakistan responded positively resulting in reduction of militancy and ceasefire. Between 2002-05, it was the golden period of Kashmir, since for the first time the CM of Kashmir and PM of India were on the same page. Even Mirwaiz Umar, Yasin Malik, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat went New Delhi and met Vajpayee.”
She asked New Delhi to make Kashmiris its integral part instead talking only about the land.
“Vajpayee did not hand over Kashmir to Pakistan but he realised the pain of Kashmiris. But the Indian leadership is only stuck that Kashmir is an integral part of India without talking about its people. New Delhi has to make Kashmiris its integral part.”
While her party is losing more people in last few days, including former cabinet ministers, Mehbooba said she felt that SAARC countries were being held hostage to the animosity between India and Pakistan.
“For example, why can’t we have a SAARC Handicrafts University in Kashmir?” she asked.
“India is never an issue during Pakistan elections. However, that is not the case in India. It is for the country to rise up, reach the Kashmiris and find a solution. All the SAARC nations must come together and make Jammu and Kashmir a model of cooperation.”
“Unfortunately, the media which is an important stakeholder in this discussion, is only adding fuel to the fire. The shaking of fists and shouting at one another is not representative of the real Kashmir. We need to change the discourse,” she said.
JK first state with explicit law banning ‘sextortion’
Jammu, Dec 14: J&K has become first state in India to have a law explicitly banning sexual exploitation of women by those in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or a public servant.
The State Administrative Council (SAC) under the chairmanship of Governor, Satya Pal Malik approved the‘Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and the Jammu and Kashmir Criminal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018’.
The bill seeks to amend the Ranbir Penal Code whereby specific offence under section 354 E is being inserted to provide for the offence of ‘Sextortion’, said an official handout.
“Amendments are being made in section 154, 161 and Schedule of Criminal Procedure Code and section 53 A of the Evidence Act so as to bring sextortion at par with similar offences prescribed under Ranbir Penal Code and amendment is being made in Prevention of Corruption Act to amend the definition of misconduct and to provide that demand for sexual favors would also constitute misconduct within the meaning of section 5,” said the handout.
Real Kashmir ‘ill-treated’ by Gokulam Kerala
Kerala/Srinagar, Dec 14: Real Kashmir FC Friday said they were hurled abuses and manhandled by officials of Gokulam Kerala, who “deprived” the visitors of training facilities ahead of their I-League game in Kozhikode.
Lying third after a sensational start to their maiden season in top-flight, Real Kashmir are scheduled to face seventh-placed Gokulam Kerala at the EMS Corporation Stadium on Saturday. Real Kashmir even threatened to pull out of the game if they are not provided police protection.
The visiting Real Kashmir issued a statement, giving the sequence of events.
“An unfortunate incident happened today morning in Kozhikode in Kerala when the coach and other members of RKFC were abused and heckled by officials of Gokulam Kerala FC,” the Kashmir club said in a statement.
“As per protocol, the home team is supposed to provide a ground two days ahead of the main game for practice. However, RKFC was deprived of that. This morning no transport was provided to ferry the team from hotel to the ground and when they managed to reach themselves, the home team officials prevented physically from entering the ground,” it added in the statement.
Real Kashmir go into the match after a thumping 6-1 win against ShillongLajong at home.
They further said, “Abuses were hurled at the team members including their coach and finally the RKFC members were asked to leave the ground and stay indoors till the match tomorrow with Gokulam Kerala FC.
“There was no team bus, no proper training ground was provided by the host Gokulam Kerala FC, which is a mandatory requirement as per the guidelines of the I-League.”
This is Real Kashmir’s first season in the I-League after winning the second division last year while this is the second season when Gokulam are playing in the competition.
“We condemn the treatment that has been met by our team members who have been asked to stay inside the hotel till tomorrow’s game.
“Our coach and staff was abused by the officials of Gokulam Kerala FC. We need police protection and assurance that none of our players or staff members will be harmed. If we feel threatened, we may not play the game tomorrow. The matter has been taken up with appropriate authorities of law enforcement agencies as well as football federation,” said Real Kashmir.
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has demanded safety of the team.
“Have been told @realkashmirfcare facing numerous difficulties down south in the run up to their clash against Gokulam Kerala FC to the point where they are unsure they will be safe playing tomorrow. Request local authorities to intervene to ensure safety of players & staff”.
On their part, Gokulam Kerala FC issued a clarification and alleged “poor and irresponsible
behaviour by Real Kashmir FC.
Gokulam also took to Twitter to issue a clarification. Gokulam said that they had arranged for a bus for the club officials to the Medical College training ground — a bus they “never took” for training at Medical College.
Gokulam said that Real Kashmir invaded the EMS stadium where training a day before the match is not allowed. Gokulam also alleged that Real Kashmir officials manhandled the groundsman and used foul language.
“Today is ‘Harthal’ (Strike) organised by a political party. After a long previous night of arrangements to get the transport for both the teams, we managed to send the bus for RKFC. Medical college ground was booked for RKFCs training,” Gokulam wrote on their twitter handle.
“Before the bus arrived, RKFCs officials who are staying in a nearby hotel invaded the EMS Stadium, where training a day before the match is not allowed by any MC. To keep this in track, we refused to let them train in the EMS.
“RKFC officials stormed the FOP and manhandled the groundsman and threw his phone away when he tried to capture what Mr. Robertson and his club members tried to do.”