New Delhi, June 22: The Congress on Friday dismissed the claims of party leader and former union minister Saifuddin Soz on the choice of Kashmiris as stray remarks and “cheap gimmick” to sell his forthcoming book and said the party’s Jammu and Kashmir unit will take appropriate action.
In his book, Soz has said that “independence” is the first choice of Kashmiris as he supported former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s assessment in this regard.
“Musharraf had explained that if Kashmiris were given a chance to exercise their free will, they would prefer to be independent. In fact, this assessment of Musharraf seems to be correct even today,” he has written in the book.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala rejected Soz’s contention and said that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and will continue to be so and that is an incontrovertible and unquestionable truth.
“Congress party and every rightful citizen of India reject such content as a gimmick to sell a book that is yet to come into the market. There is incontrovertible unquestionable truth and that is J&K was an integral part of India, is an integral part of India, and will always remain an integral part of India,” he told reporters.
The Congress leader said that many people will make many statements “either to sell a book or to gain cheap publicity through friends of the media”.
He also said the statement made by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad that civilians should not be killed while carrying out operations against militants in Jammu and Kashmir, was in support of the common people of the state and should not be viewed as something which is “anti-national”.
Asked about what action the Congress would initiate against Soz, Surjewala said, “Pradesh Congress Committee of J&K will take an appropriate action and decide on the issue”.
He cited statements of former finance minister Yashwant Sinha made in Srinagar and by BJP veteran L K Advani on Mohammed Ali Jinnah to hit out at the BJP.
“We have also seen in the past how BJP’s the then deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh made a public statement saying that they would have perhaps told security forces to not take action if BJP-PDP government knew that Burhan Wani, dreaded militant, was inside,” he said.
Surjewala also took a dig at Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, saying while the prime minister invited the ISI which is responsible for terrorist attacks to investigate the Pathankot air base attack by militants, the BJP chief expressed confidence in the ISI.
The Congress leader cited the remark made by former chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed in the presence of Modi, during his swearing-in thanking separatists and Pakistan and not the security forces and election commission, for formation of the government in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We also saw as to how PDP-BJP government made Asifa Andrabi – the poster girl for ‘Beti Bacho Beti Padhao’ in J&K – while she also went to Pakistan and addressed public rallies with terrorists,” Surjewala said.
“So let us not try to divert agenda based on a stray statement made by some individual which we reject in toto,” the Congress leader said.
Delhi obsessed with Kashmiri Pandits, silent about Kashmir massacres: Rasheed
Srinagar, Jan 21: Paying rich tributes to the “martyrs” of Gawkadal massacre on their 28th anniversary, AIP President Er Rasheed said that Delhi and its institutions have failed to kill, humiliate and deny justice to Kashmiris has become the permanent interpretation of “nationalism and patriotism”.
In a statement issued here, Rasheed said that national media, politicians and a section of “pseudo-intellectuals with a communal mindset” have been often calling few unfortunate killings of Kashmiri Pandits at the hands of unknown persons as “genocide” but don’t speak even a word on Gawkadal massacre and other worst massacres which took place in every area of Kashmir at the hands of men in uniform.
The huge sacrifices offered by Kashmiris deserve a response within India and at the international level. The state has used its institutions and huge propaganda machinery to mislead the world community and create confusions about what Kashmiris stand for. The Gawkadal massacre reminds Delhi and the world community that after 29 years, the will, commitment and desire to get Jammu & Kashmir dispute resolved in accordance with UN resolutions have not only deepened but India is finding it difficult day by day to prove its narrative, Rasheed said.
Rasheed added that Kashmiris are not worried about the behaviour of New Delhi and are mature enough to understand that the colonial mind. However, the truth lies on the side of Kashmiris and they cannot compromise on their stand or surrender before the New Delhi.
NHM employees stage protest, demand regularisation
Srinagar, Jan 21: Employees of National Health Mission (NHM) on Monday staged a protest rally in Bandipora district of north Kashmir, demanding regularisation of their services.
Scores of the employees while shouting anti-governmental slogans held a protest rally from Hospital to mini secretariat Bandipora where they provided a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.
The protesting employees said that most of employees working in the department have passed half of the age but were not regularised till date. “Govt must take any action to regularise us now,” one of the protesting employee said.
According to the protesting employees, the government had promised them social security benefits but till date, there were no initiatives taken by the government in this regard.
The protesting employees said that government is violating the guidelines of Supreme Court by not paying the equal pay for equal work, adding that people with the same profession in Delhi and Haryana are being benefited fully but their counterparts in valley are not.
The protesters threatened of more protests if their demands are not fulfilled.
Anantnag’s Kothar residents protest to demand degree college
Srinagar, Jan 21: Scores of residents from Nowgam Kothar village of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Monday staged a protest to express their dismay over government’s indifference and demanded for the establishment of Women’s Degree College in the area.
The residents including the senior citizens of the area assembled here at press enclave in Srinagar and raised slogans in favour of their demand.
Protesters carrying placards read “we want Degree College” and “we want Justice”.
The proposed college was first promised to the Shangus constituency but was later given to Chattisinghpora.
We were sure that the government would announce the college for their area said the protestors.
“In September 2018, when governor administration announced 40 colleges, we started the process. We completed all the formalities and were sure that college would be allotted,” said a protestor Mushtaq Ahamd.
“Our girls are forced to seek admission far from the home, either in colleges at Anantnag or in Srinagar. It is very hectic for them to travel long distances to reach to their colleges. It is not only expensive, but time consuming as well,” another protestor Bashir Ahmad said.
The protestors said that they would launch a full-fledged agitation to ensure that the government sanctions college in their favour.
“We would hit streets regularly to lodge our protest. We urge authorities to allot the college at an earliest or else be prepared for the consequences,” warned Bashir Mir.
“Any law and order problem arising out of our protests would directly be the responsibility of the government if it does not address our genuine concern immediately,” Mir added.
“We did everything that was required as far as official formalities are concerned. We met Advisor to the Governor, Khurshid Ganie. Later on we even sent the documents to the governor. We fail to understand as to why the authorities have not allotted the college. All the assurances provided to us proved futile,” the protesting residents said.
The Nowgam Kothar area comprises of 1041 households with no degree college. As per the locals, the said area has all the feasibilities required for the establishment of a college including land. “The college was not still allotted to us rather was given to a less feasible area,” the aggrieved protesters said.
Protestors appealed Governor Satya Pal Malik to look into the matter and fulfil their demand at an earliest.