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PDP-BJP break-up:Celebrations in parts of Kashmir, some fear lack of transparency in Guv rule

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Srinagar:The break-up of the PDP-BJP coalition in Jammu and Kashmir sparked celebrations in parts of the Valley, even as some people expressed apprehension that Governor’s rule might lead to lack of transparency and worsen the situation in the state.
The BJP pulled out of the alliance with the PDP yesterday, following which Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tendered her resignation. Governor’s rule was imposed in the state this morning.
In several areas of Kashmir, including Srinagar, Kupwara and Pahalgam, people burst firecrackers after the news broke out.
“This alliance was unholy. The PDP should not have joined hands with the BJP in the first place. But better late than never. We are happy that this alliance has ended,” Faizan Mir, a resident of Srinagar, said.
Mudassir Nazir, a businessman, described the PDP-BJP alliance as a coalition of north and south poles as the their ideologies are in stark contrast.
“Their ideologies are totally opposite. The BJP has its own interests and does not care about the people of Kashmir. They were totally opposite to what PDP stands for and hence, the people were suffering,” he said.
The businessman also accused the coalition government of being corrupt and hoped for a clean and transparent administration under Governor N N Vohra.
“There would be no ministers now and no lust for power or money. I am sure the Governor will be able to give a clean, transparent and corruption-free administration. We have seen this in the past,” he said.
The celebrations over the end of the alliance were reported from south Kashmir — the PDP’s bastion — as well.
Speaking over phone from Pahalgam, Hameed-ullah Wani, a PDP supporter, said the people wanted to get rid of the alliance right from day one.
“We never appreciated the PDP for joining hands with the BJP. This was their biggest blunder and they will pay for it. We are happy that it is over as this alliance caused agony and suffering to the people of the state, especially in the Valley.
“However, it would have been better if the PDP would have ditched the BJP rather than what happened,” he said.
However, some people felt that an elected government was any day better than the Governor’s rule.
“A democratically elected government is much better any day than the Governor’s rule which essentially means New Delhi’s direct rule in the state where now they will have absolute control over the administration and the security apparatus.
“They can do anything now in the absence of a government which otherwise could built pressure on them on certain issues,” Feroz Ahmad Bhat, a resident of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal said.
Bhat’s views were echoed by Sheikh Tanveer, a resident of uptown Srinagar.
Tanveer said when a government is in place, people can take their grievances to their representatives and hold them accountable, which is not the case in Governor’s rule.
“Whether you like it or not, you cannot do anything about it (Governor’s rule). That is the major difference. You can hold the government responsible, your representatives and ministers are reachable and they listen to you because they have a constituency which the Governor does not have,” he said.
Tanveer said it would have been better if the regional parties the PDP and the National Conference would come together with the support of the Congress to cobble up a coalition government.
“The regional party government acts as a buffer in states like Jammu and Kashmir. I wish the PDP and the NC would have come together rather than having this unholy coalition or the Governor’s rule,” he said.
He expressed apprehensions over the situation worsening in the days to come.
“I think it (situation) will worsen. There was some calm because of the ceasefire and then the government had some control over how to deal with the situation. Now, the forces will have a free hand,” he said.
The Governor’s rule, which has been imposed in Jammu and Kashmir for the eighth time, was necessitated in the state after chief minister Mehbooba resigned yesterday following BJP pulling out from the over three-year-old coalition.


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Art 35-A row: SC to take ‘in-chamber’ decision on listing of plea

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New Delhi, Jan 22: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would take an “in-chamber” decision on listing of a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35-A, which provides special rights and privileges to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Advocate Bimal Roy Jad mentioned the matter before the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna.
He sought urgent hearing of the petition, filed by ‘We The Citizens’, saying the court had earlier ordered listing of the matter in the second week of January.
In August, the apex court adjourned hearing on a batch of petitions challenging Article 35 A till January this year, after taking note of submissions of the Centre and the state government that there was a law and order problem in the state.
Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the state.
The apex court had on August 31 deferred till January the hearing on the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35 A, which provides special rights and privileges to natives of Jammu and Kashmir, after the Centre and the state said that polls to local bodies polls there would go on till December.
Earlier, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had said that certain aspects of Article 35A needed to be debated upon and said, “It can’t be denied that there is an aspect of gender discrimination in it (Article 35A).”
On August 6, the apex court had said that a three-judge bench would decide whether the pleas challenging Article 35A should be referred to a five-judge constitution bench for examining the larger issue of alleged violation of the doctrine of basic structure of the Constitution.
Several petitions including by political parties like the National Conference and the CPI-M, have also moved the Supreme Court in support of Article 35-A that empowers the state assembly to define “permanent residents” for bestowing special rights and privileges to them.

 

‘JK women marrying non-natives don’t lose residency rights’

 

Srinagar, Jan 22: Women hailing from Jammu and Kashmir who choose to marry men from outside the state do not lose their residency and inheritance rights under Article 35-A of the Constitution, a top legal expert said on Tuesday.
“This issue was settled by a full bench of Jammu and Kashmir High Court in the case titled State and others vs Dr Susheela Sawhney and others in October 2002 by striking down the proviso of the state subject (permanent residency) law according to which women marrying outsiders would lose their permanent resident status,” former advocate general of Jammu and Kashmir government Ishaq Qadri said.
The bench, in the landmark judgment on 7 October 2002, held by a majority view that the daughter of a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir will not lose her status as a permanent resident upon her marriage to a person from outside the state.
Qadri’s remarks come after the Supreme Court said earlier on Tuesday it would take an “in-chamber” decision on listing of a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35-A, which provides special rights and privileges to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the then PDP-Congress coalition government challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court but later withdrew its petition.
“Then law minister Muzaffar Hussain Beigh brought Jammu and Kashmir Permanent Resident Status (Disqualification) Bill 2004 in the state legislative assembly and it was passed by the lower house in March 2004,” the former advocate general said.
“Since it was a Constitutional amendment bill, it needed two-thirds majority to be passed. The National Conference, which was in the opposition, supported it, ensuring the passage of the bill in the assembly,” Qadri said.
Had the bill passed the scrutiny of the legislative council — the upper house of the state legislature — and got the governor’s assent, the women marrying men outside the state would have lost their status as permanent residents, he added.
However, there was an outcry against the bill, mainly in the Jammu region.
It was taken up for discussion in the legislative council but the then chairman Abdul Rashid Dar adjourned the House sine die without taking a vote on it, Qadri said.
“As A result, the bill lapsed and it was never reintroduced,” he said, adding that the high court ruling on the permanent residency rights of women marrying outside the state stands as on date.
Article 35-A was incorporated in the Constitution in 1954 by an order of President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the then Cabinet headed by Jawaharlal Nehru.
In the previous hearing of the petition filed by NGO ‘We The Citizens’, a lawyer had given an illustration and said if a native woman of the state married an outsider, she loses several rights, including property rights, in the state, but if a man marries a Pakistani woman, he and his spouse get all rights.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is representing the Jammu and Kashmir government in the apex court, had agreed to the contention that Article 35-A and certain aspects needed to be debated upon.
He said, “It can’t be denied that there is an aspect of gender discrimination in it (Article 35A).”

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Avalanche hits Ramban, 12-year-old girl among 2 killed

Heavy snowfall closes Sgr-Jmu highway; weather to improve from today

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Srinagar, Jan 22: Two persons were killed and many others went missing after an avalanche hit them while they were heading home at Kawana Trigam village in Ramban district on Tuesday.
Official sources said that snow avalanche, which occurred at around 3 pm near Kawana at Trigam, swept away four persons.
Bodies of two persons were recovered and they have been identified as Rafiq (25) son of Ghulam Qadir and Sumerna (12) daughter of Mukhtar Ahmed.
The missing persons have been identified as Fatha Begum (30), son of Surkh Ahmed and Taja Begum (32) wife of Margob. All residents of Trigam, 50kms from Ramban, were moving towards their home when the avalanche struck them.
Deputy Commissioner Ramban has sanctioned ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh in favour of each of the Next of kin of the deceased.
Meanwhile, the local meteorological department predicted improvement in the weather conditions from Wednesday.
Deputy Director MeT, Mukhtar Ahmad said there will be improvement in the weather conditions from Wednesday.
Ahmad further added that there is no further prediction of rain or snowfall across the Valley till January 29 but on Jan 25, the weather would remain cloudy throughout the day as per the present forecast.
The intermittent rainfall continued to lash plains since Sunday evening while as the higher reaches and other districts of the Valley experienced fresh snowfall.
The snowfall at various places especially Srinagar-Jammu highway led to the continuous closure of the only road connecting Valley with rest of the States.
The highway was closed for second straight day today in view of the fresh snowfall that triggered slippery conditions of the roads.
Meanwhile, hundreds of passengers are stranded on the highway at Banihal or other districts in Jammu due to the closure of roads who have demanded authorities to open the highway for vehicular movement at an earliest.
However, officials said that men and machinery has already been deployed to clear the road but the fresh snowfall on Tuesday disrupted the road clearance work.
“The road clearance work is on and the road will be thrown open after the roads are cleared,” they added. (With inputs from GNS)

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Observe Jan 26 as ‘Black Day’: Joint Hurriyat to people

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Srinagar, Jan 22: The Joint Hurriyat Leadership on Tuesday urged people to observe January 26 as a ‘black day’ to register their strong protest against New Delhi for not resolving Kashmir dispute.
In a statement, the Joint Hurriyat comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik said that for past 71 years people of J&K have been demanding the right to self-determination that Indian leadership promised to them.
“However, till this day not only has that commitment not been fulfilled but those that remind them of it are rewarded with bullets and pellets are incarcerated and gagged,” the statement said.
They said that lakhs of armed forces are deployed to suppress the aspirations of people and draconian laws like AFSPA and PSA are invoked to ensure people’s sentiments do not get out of hand.
“Hundreds of people are lodged and languishing in jails in JK and outside whose only crime is their demand for restoration of basic human and political rights the fundamental right to decide their destiny,” the Joint Hurriyat said.

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