Srinagar, Oct 22: Two days after announcing the municipal poll results, the Chief Electoral Officer, Shaleen Kabra, on Monday announced the schedule for the nine-phase panchayat elections beginning November 17.
Addressing a press conference, the Chief Electoral Officer said the elections would be held for 316 blocks in 4,483 Panchayat Halqas comprising 35,029 Panch constituencies.
“The polling will be held on November 17, 20, 24, 27, 29, December 1, December 4, December 8, and December 11,” he said.
The dates of notification would be October 23, 26, 29, December 1, 3, 6, 9, 12, and 14, respectively, he said.
The dates of scrutiny of nominations will be October 31, and November 3, 6, 9, 12, 14, 17, 20, and 24.
Kabra said the last dates for withdrawal of candidature would be November 2, 5, 8, 12, 14, 16, 19, 22, and 26.
The number of electorate in panchayat polls, he said, would be 58,54,208.
He said the counting of votes would be done on the day of polling and in some cases, if required, the counting would take place the next day.
The Chief Electoral Officer said the voting would be done with ballot papers.
“In view of recent amendments making direct election to sarpanch, the electors shall cast their votes for panch as well as sarpanch, for which two separate coloured ballot papers will be used,” he said.
He announced that poll timing would be from 8 am to 2 pm and entire polls process would be completed by December 17.
Asked about the reduction in polling time, he said there would be less voters in panchayat polls than the urban local body elections.
For the panchayat polls, he said that ballot boxes are being brought from Haryana.
About the apprehensions about security being raised by the aspiring candidates, he said, “Appropriate security arrangements are being put in place to ensure peaceful elections.”
CEO admits media barred from entering polling booths
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Oct 22: Chief Electoral Officer, Shaleen Kabra, on Monday said media was barred from entering the polling booths in the recently concluded municipal elections to not put the voters to “unnecessary disadvantage”.
Kabra said special cards were issued by his office for the media men to cover the elections.
“The media people can visit any polling booth. But sometimes, they are barred not to put the voters into unnecessary disadvantage,” Kabra said.
In the urban local bodies elections, the media personnel were not allowed to go inside the polling booths at various places.
Chief Electoral Officer said 178 wards were left vacant in the urban local bodies.
“Separate elections will be held for the vacant wards,” he said.
Asked about low voter turnout, he said he was not the appropriate person to put this question to.
“We made all the arrangements and asked people to vote. Why people did not turn up should not be asked to me.”
The four-phase urban local body elections were held on October 8, 10, 13 and 16.
The overall poll percentage of all phases across the state has been 35.1 percent. Jammu recorded a voter turnout of 68.4 per cent, while in Kashmir it did not cross double digits in any of the phases.
Model code of conduct to continue
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Oct 22:The Chief Electoral Officer, J&K, Shalin Kabra has said that the model code of conduct that came into effect since the start of Local Body Polls will continue till the completion of the Panchayat Polls.
An official order said, consequent to the above, the following instructions are hereby issued for strict compliance by all the Administrative Secretaries, Heads of Departments, District Development Commissioners and District Superintendents of Police:
(i) There shall be a ban on the transfer of officers/ employees who are connected with the conduct of Panchayat Elections – 2018 till the completion of the electoral process. However, in cases where the transfer of an officer/ official is considered absolutely necessary in public interest, the concerned Administrative Secretary may approach the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K with full justification and obtain prior clearance before issuance of any such order.
(ii) All officers/ officials involved in the conduct of Panchayat Elections including Designated Police Officers shall be under the administrative control of the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K for superintendence and discipline.
Further, all the District Election Officers (Deputy Commissioners) and District Superintendents of Police are enjoined upon to strictly adhere to the instructions issued by the Chief Electoral Officer, J&K from time to time in order to ensure free and fair elections.
Accused in Central Jail incident identified, chargesheet to be completed soon
Srinagar, May 25: The accused in the April 4 incident of clashes inside the Central Jail Srinagar have been identified and booked and the chargesheet against the same will be filed soon, J&K has said.
The matter was discussed during the visit of DGP Police & Prisons J&K Dilbag Singh to the Central Jail on Saturday, who held a detailed security review meeting with the Jail Superintendent, officers, Zonal SP, DySP and concerned CRPF officers.
During the meeting, a police spokesperson said, the DGP impressed upon the officers to ensure that the security of the Central Jail is further augmented in view of the incident of the “rioting and violence” in leading to serious intervention and action against the culprits for causing damage to the jail buildings and other infrastructure.
“Progress on the case FIR No. 19/2019 registered at Police Station Rainawari in this regard was reviewed with the Zonal SP and DySP. It was reported that considerable progress has been made. Most of the accused persons have been identified and booked, shall be charge-sheeted soon,” the spokesperson said.
He added that part of the restoration works of the damaged areas has already been initiated and the remaining shall be taken up soon after the approval and grant of funds from the state authorities.
As reported by The Kashmir Monitor early this month, the authorities had shifted at least 60 inmates – and were planning to move many more – from Srinagar Central Jail to other jails of the state following the incident of clashes and protests within the facility in April.
In the intervening night of April 4 and 5, as many as 400 inmates were engaged in night-long clashes with the jail authorities after the latter tried to move them out of their barracks.
The facility was damaged even as tear-gas shells and pump-action pellet guns were used against the inmates. At least, two of them were grievously injured. The jail is located in a densely populated area of the city.
The administration alleged the inmates “attempted jailbreak” while the inmates said they protested against the alleged desecration of the religious scriptures by the jail staff, a claim that was totally negated by the Jail Superintendent.
A week later, the inmates went on a hunger strike and refused to meet any of the visitors including their kin.
Their demands then included withdrawal of FIR against them in connection with the protests and clashes and transfer of the Jail Superintendent.
A team comprising of the members of High Court Bar Association (HCBA) had also visited the Jail after Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), Srinagar, had asked the jail authorities to permit and facilitate the visit.
The team filed their report to CJM on April 13.
The team, as per the HCBA statement, had found that the “inmates felt a conspiracy was being hatched against them and the state had adopted a hostile attitude towards them for their political ideology and thought.”
The Bar members had also found that after the incident, there was a communication breakdown between the inmates and the jail administration.
Noted Kashmir expert Yousuf Buch passes away in New York
Srinagar, May 25: Yousuf Buch, a noted Kashmir expert, former Pakistani minister and former Senior Advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations, passed away in the US on Friday evening at his home in New York.
“Grieved to hear about the death of Ambassador Yousuf Buch in US, a legend and a living encyclopaedia on Kashmir who dedicated his life to the Kashmir cause. He was a close aide of Mirwaiz Yousuf Shah in Muzzafarabad who later served as advisor to UN Sec Gen for 18 years. Praying for the magfirah of this illustrious son of Kashmir,” tweeted Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
“M Yusuf Buch a scarcely known authoritative voice on Kashmir is no more. Civil servant, policy maker, political advisor & much more. A Kashmiri to the core, an intellectual with Graham Greene, Paul Sweezy, & Baran as friends. Would like to be remembered as Ambassador Buch. RIP!” former J&K Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu tweeted.
The Secretary General of Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, in an emailed statement said the funeral prayers of Ambassador Yusuf Buch will be held at Makkah Masjid in Brooklyn, New York.
He added the body of the deceased will be transported to Pakistan where he will be buried in Muzaffarabad.
Born in Kalashpora Srinagar 1922, the Buch’s were three brothers: Yusuf, Ghulam Naqashaband, who eventually became the Resident Commissioner in Delhi and Mohammad Amin Buch, who became the Chief Conservator of forests in Jammu and Kashmir and would also run Chenar newspaper.
Yusuf Buch, according to reports, topped a civil administration examination during Dogra rule and was appointed as Tehsildar somewhere around the early forties. He was posted in Baramulla for a few years.
Buch was one of the many persons exiled by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1949. Open source information suggests that the staunch Muslim Conference supporter, Buch was arrested and driven to Suchetgrah in Jammu and later sent to Pakistan. He was accompanied, in the same bus, by Agha Showkat Ali, Barrister Abdul Gani Rentoo, and Mahmood Hashmi.
Buch was considered as an encyclopaedia on Kashmir as he had witnessed almost every major development from a very closer quarter.
Buch came to the US in 1953 as a winner of an International Essay Contest sponsored by the United Nations. Later, he worked as a correspondent at the United Nations. He also, ran a Free Kashmir Centre in New York from 1957 to 1972. He remained a Senior Advisor to the United Nations Secretary General for over 18 years.
Muslim couple thrashed after beef rumours in MP
Omar says ‘just the beginning’; ‘Horrified’ reacts Mehbooba
Bhopal, May 25: In an appalling case reported from Seoni district of Madhya Pradesh, a Muslim couple was brutally thrashed for allegedly carrying beef. The victims have complained that they were forced to chant ‘Jai Shree Ram’ by the accused men.
The local police Friday arrested five vigilantes after the video went viral showing five men beating up three persons including the Muslim couple on suspicion of carrying meat.
The video further shows ‘gaurakshaks’ forcing the three to shout ‘Jai Shri Ram’ slogans. The incident happened on May 22 but the police came to know of it on May 24 when the video came to the fore.
Dunda Seoni police station incharge Ganpat Uikey said that Shubham Baghel, a habitual offender, Yogesh Uikey, Deepesh Namdev, Rohit Yadav and Shyam Dehriya have been arrested for assault. The five have been booked under IPC sections 143, 148, 149, 341, 294, 323 and 506 and also section 25 of arms act.
On May 22, Taufik, Anjum Shama and Dilip Malviya were arrested under the anti-cow slaughter act and sent to judicial custody after the cow vigilantes informed the police that they were allegedly carrying the meat in an autorickshaw and a two-wheeler from Khairi village. The meat has been sent to a laboratory for testing. Seoni SP Lalit Shakyawar said the situation was under control.
Ganpat said that a relative of one of the three persons filed an FIR after the video surfaced. He said the vigilantes informed the police after roughing up and beating the trio. He added that one of the accused Shubham Baghel belongs to an organisation called Shriram Sena.
Meanwhile, former J&K CMs, Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah reacted to the incident.
“Horrified to see cow vigilantes thrash an innocent Muslim with such impunity in MP. Hope @OfficeOfKNath takes swift action against these goons,” Mehbooba tweeted.
Omar Abdullah’s remark was a bit poetical referring to the rise of Hindutva in BJP 2.0 regime.
“Ibtedaae ishq hai rota hai kya, Aage Aage dekhiye hota hai kya,” he tweeted. The Urdu verse roughly translating into, “It’s the start of love, why do you cry? Behold, there is more to follow.”