Srinagar. Jan 10: Expressing concern over the shadows of fear and intimidation that have been cast around the Panchayat Election process in the State, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said such threats should be taken very seriously by the State Government as any politicization of the process by any quarter would be counterproductive and risk a spurt in turmoil.
“These alarming threats should be taken seriously by the State Government and before any decisions are taken – the security situation in the State should be taken into account. It is the prerogative of the Government to conduct Panchayat Elections but it is also the responsibility of the same Government to protects its citizens and safeguard their lives. The Panchayat System is a conflict-neutral political system that aims to empower the people at the grassroots level and there should be no political motives or machinations to distort or misuse this process for political objectives”, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said.
Dr. Farooq also expressed grave concern over the deteriorating security scenario in Kashmir and said the PDP-BJP Government had failed to wane away youth from isolation due to various ideological U-turns and contradictions.
Interacting with Party Workers at his residence in Srinagar, Dr. Farooq Abdullah also said that the shadow of fear that has been cast over the Panchayat Election process is alarming and unfortunate and should be taken seriously by the State Government.
“The security scenario in the Valley is a matter of serious concern and underlines the political vacuum that has resulted in accentuating the alienation on the ground, especially among the youth. The past three years have seen one ideological compromise after another by those who are in power today and this consistent tendency of inconsistency has had a direct and adverse impact on the psyche of our youth. With every passing day we are witnessing educated young men taking the path of armed militancy in a trend which threatens to take the State back to the throes of turmoil and uncertainty that we witnessed in the early 90s”, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said.
The National Conference President said the rhetoric of reconciliation was little of little value and consolation when one analyses the growing disenchantment and disillusionment among the youth. “Both the Central Government and the State Government will have to realize the unimaginable consequences of allowing the atmosphere of disenchantment to persist in the Valley. The youth deserve more than the occasional rhetorical statement or press note. It is the onerous responsibility of the State Government to reach out to the youth and bring the Valley back to the path of stability and peace. However, unfortunately, the State Government continues to function in a manner which is adding to the alienation on the ground – be it their utter and complete governance failures or their numerous political compromises and U-turns”, Dr. Farooq Abdullah added.
The National Conference President reiterated the need for a sustained, structured and result-oriented dialogue between India and Pakistan over all outstanding issues including that of the Kashmir and said there was no alternative to dialogue both at the internal and external fronts.
“Seeking dialogue with Pakistan is a matter of realism and is based on our aspiration to see an end to instability, violence, death and destruction in Jammu and Kashmir. We have always sought dialogue both on the internal and external fronts and will continue to seek dialogue regardless of how such genuine and practical appeals are distorted. New Delhi and Islamabad need to restore the credibility and sanctity of the institution of dialogue and stakeholders within the State should also be taken on board to make the process meaningful and goal-oriented. The State has witnessed enough death, destruction, mayhem and turmoil and we cannot delay the resolution of the problem any longer”, Dr. Farooq Abdullah further said.
Dark homes, waterlogged streets: Story of Kashmir after few inches of snow
Srinagar, Jan 17: The public utility services, especially power and transportation, have been badly hit by Wednesday’s snowfall exposing the authorities’ lack of preparedness.
Kashmir received light to moderate snowfall since Wednesday morning and with it, the supply of electricity, which was already patchy, became even worse.
People, even after the snowfall stopped, complained of facing abrupt power cuts.
Mohammad Altaf, a resident of south Kashmir’s Kokernag, said that electricity was yet to be restored in his area.
He termed the assurances given by the government regarding the early restoration of electricity as “baseless”.“People of this constituency have been suffering terribly due to the absence of electricity. In addition, many roads have not been cleared yet,” he said.
The residents of main town Anantnag and its adjoining Dialgam and Kadipora areas too complained of unscheduled power cuts.
The situation is almost similar in the summer capital.“For the last two days, we face abrupt power cuts. Our children are not able to prepare for the exams due to power cuts in the evening hours. They have to study under candlelight and lanterns,” said Gulzar Ahmad, a resident of Habak, an otherwise metered area.
In non-metered ones, the supply is even worse.“We face frequent power cuts. We don’t know when the power will remain on and off,” said Kaisar Ahmad, a resident of Qamarwari.
The residents of the main town Baramulla too complained of facing unscheduled and frequent power-cuts, especially since Wednesday.
Chief Engineer, Power Development Department, Kashmir, Hashmat Qazi, claimed the electricity had been “restored almost in all areas”.“Some areas face power cuts due to overloading,” he added.
Waterlogged streets were another issue that people had to deal with.“There is immense water logging in our area due to lack of drainage system,” said Ghulam Jeelani, a resident of Qamarwari.
Due to waterlogging, the city areas including Tourist Reception Centre, Jehangir Chowk, Batamaloo, and Budshah Chowk witnessed heavy traffic jams.
An official of Srinagar Municipal Corporation said that only 40 per cent Srinagar has a proper drainage system in place.
“Under AMRUT scheme, the centre will provide Rs 390 crore in the next five years for the drainage system in Srinagar and Rs 300 crore will come from the World Bank project for it,” the official added
He agreed that there were several by-lanes, which have not been cleared yet due to lack of adequate snow clearing machines.
Kin of 9 arrested youth protest for their release
Srinagar, Jan 17: Scores of women Thursday protested at Rajouri Kadal here demanding the immediate release of their sons and kin, who, they claimed, were being handed over to National Investigation Agency (NIA) after being detained by J&K Police last year.
Shouting slogans against the state police and the NIA, the women, most mothers of those arrested, assembled at Rajouri Kadal square in the morning and blocked the main road.
They demanded an immediate release of the nine boys, who were arrested by the police in November.
The detained persons, as per news agency GNS were identified as Tahir Ahmad Khan son of Ali Mohammad of Chandrigam, Tral, and Haris Mushtaq Khan son of Mushtaq Ahmad of Wathoora, Budgam.
The duo was arrested by the police in Srinagar on November 23.
On their disclosure, police sources said that seven more persons were arrested in subsequent days.
They included Abdul Ahad Mir son of Ghulam Mohammad of Khurhama, Kupwara and six other Srinagar residents: Asif Suhail Nadaf son of Latief Ahmad of Rainwari; Irfan Ahmad Seeru son of Mohammad Shaban of Nawa Kadal; Wahid Abbas Bhat son of Mohammad Abbas of Rajouri Kadal; Ashiq Hussain son of Bashir Ahmad of Nowhatta; Haris Rashid Langoo son of Abdul Rashid of Malik Sahib Gojwara; and Arif Majeed Khan son of Abdul Majeed of Hawal.
Quoting police sources, GNS had reported that all the arrested were “working as over-ground workers (OGWs) of militant outfits and police had also recovered two pistols along with 14 rounds, three grenades, one bara bore single barrel rifle, one ISIS flag and one cutter.”
The protesting women, however, claim their sons and kin are “innocent”.
“Police had assured he will be released soon but even after frequent visits to the police station, he has not been released yet. We read from the internet a few days ago that they will be sent to Jammu for NIA investigation,” said Sameena, whose brother is among those arrested.
Another woman, who has already lost her husband, said her son is in jail for the last around two months “without any charges”.
The police have already refuted the reports claiming the youths were being handed over to the NIA. “In this context, it is clarified that the instant case FIR No 93/2018 was registered at Police Station Kothi Bagh under the relevant sections of law. This case was subsequently taken over by NIA and all the arrested accused persons in this case are presently in Judicial Custody,” the police spokesperson said.
Alok Mittal, NIA spokesperson too denied such reports saying: “We did not receive any such cases.”
IGP Kashmir and SSP Srinagar did not respond to repeated phone calls.
Political astuteness not economic packages needed to resolve Kashmir: Mehbooba
Srinagar, Jan 17: Former Chief Minister and President People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti on Thursday reiterated that dialogue and reconciliation between India and Pakistan have become inevitable for the resolution of Kashmir issue and that the decades old conflict cannot be resolved by the announcement of the economic packages.
While addressing the party functionaries and activists from Rajpora assembly segment, Mehbooba said that the resilience of the PDP workers is worth to hail as they in spite of the harsh weather attended the meeting in large numbers and gave a clear message that the party is going to emerge victorious and more stronger in the coming time.
Hailing the impeccable courage and determination with which the PDP workers have been strengthening the party on the ground, Mehbooba said that the real asset for the PDP since its foundation in 1999 has been its ground level workers.
PDP President stated further that after the 2014 polls accorded fragmented mandate to state’s political landscape, PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Sayeed decided to stitch the common ground with BJP will the sole motive to reincarnate the Vajpayee era in the state and to stop the vicious cycle of unabated killings and violence. “Even when I told my father that the decision to join hands with the BJP has more risks than rewards and would decline party’s popularity in the state, he said he was ready to sacrifice everything including his own self if that resolves the decades old conflict,”
Mehbooba said, adding that her father was confident that dialogue and reconciliation would be initiated and same measures taken during Vajpayee’s time shall be witnessed once again. “However, when on November 7, 2015 Prime Minister Modi addressed a rally in Srinagar, he announced 80 thousand crore package but exhibited reluctance in pitching for a thaw between India and Pakistan for peace in the state. This disheartened everyone including the people who had come from far flung areas to listen to the Prime Minister,” Mehbooba said.