Srinagar, May 11: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been confronting, almost routinely, its ruling partner Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) since the two joined hands for what is often described as an ‘unholy alliance’ in Jammu and Kashmir.
The latest is the BJP’s opposition to the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s announcement of appealing New Delhi to enforce a unilateral ceasefire in Kashmir in view of Ramadan and Amarnath pilgrimage.
She had made the announcement after an all-party meeting convened by her to discuss the growing crisis in Kashmir Valley.
Just a day after the meeting, the BJP rejected it, saying, “Her decision wasn’t in the nation’s interest.”
The issue has put both the coalition partners at the loggerheads with members of both the parties taking on each other.
“Their objection won’t matter when the decision is for the people’s welfare and accepted by all others parties,” the PDP spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir said.
Prior to it, the Chief Minister had to face embarrassment on the Kathua rape and murder case in which she supported Crime Branch investigation, which was again opposed by the BJP.
On February 14, after a group of people led by a BJP leader took out a protest in favour of an accused Hindu police official in the case, the CM tweeted: “Appalled by the marches & protests in defense of the recently apprehended rapist in Kathua. Also horrified by their use of our national flag… this is nothing short of desecration.”
Following public outrage, Mufti reportedly forced two BJP ministers to resign from her cabinet.
However, later Chaudhary Lal Singh, former Forest and Ecology minister, reorganized rallies and demanded resignation of the Chief Minister.
“Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti must take responsibility of the incident and quit,” he had said.
Earlier this year in February, the BJP also snubbed Chief Minister for calling a dialogue between India and Pakistan to end the civilian casualties in cross-border firing and militant violence.
The BJP called a press conference by its spokesperson Sunil Sethi who took on Chief Minister by saying that “amidst the sound of bullets and missiles and spilt blood, a certain class is advocating for talks between Pakistan and India and advocating that latter must take forward step for it”.
“It is not at all suitable at the time when Pakistan is openly supporting militants for carrying out attacks in the state and especially when the slain militants who attacked Sunjwan military station hailed from across the border,” he has said.
Since the last two years of Chief Minister, Article 370 has been constantly debated between the coalition partners, with both expressing divergent views on the issue.
In 2017, Mufti said that the “anybody weakening Article 370, which grants special status to the state, will be doing the biggest anti-national act.”
The statement was responded differently by the former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh then who asserted that Article 370 has caused harm to Jammu and Kashmir and called for abrogation of the provision.
“The Article 370 has done more harm than anything. The BJP had set 44 plus target in last state assembly elections which the party could not achieve and got only 25 seats. If we would have got 44 plus, things would have been different,” Singh has said.
The BJP asserted that Article 35-A of the Constitution, which grants special status to the State is “not a sacred cow that cannot be touched“.
In 2016, soon after when Mehbooba Mufti took over as the Chief Minister of the state, controversies started between BJP and PDP over issues of Sainik Colonies and abrogation of Article- 35 A.
On the floor of the house, the Chief Minister said that the state government had no proposal for Sainik colonies and the exclusive colonies for migrated Pandits.
However, BJP continued supporting the idea of settling Kashmiri Pandits in transit accommodation and setting up of Sainik colonies.
“BJP is in favour of setting up Sainik Colony in Kashmir as well as resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits. If a Sainik Colony can be set up in Jammu, why not in Kashmir?” BJP National Secretary, Shrikant Sharma, has said.
Internet blockade fails to curb violence: Stanford study
JK loses $28.4 million due to 3-day internet blackout’
Srinagar, Mar 25: Kashmir has recorded the highest number of the internet shutdown in India, however, such information blockades have proven less effective in controlling violence, says a study by Stanford University.
The study ‘Of Blackouts and Bandhs: The Strategy and Structure of Disconnected Protest in India’ by Jan Rydzak, Global Digital Policy Incubator at Stanford University, shows that nearly half of the internet shutdowns in India last year were witnessed in Kashmir.
As per it, India witnessed 134 network shutdowns in 2018 of which 47 per cent occurred in Kashmir.
“In India, the majority of shutdown events occur in the relatively volatile western or northwestern states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and particularly the contested territory of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). Out of 36 states and union territories, these four regions account for more than 75% of all recorded shutdown events in India (2012-17), while Jammu and Kashmir alone comprises about 47%,” the research says.
While the government enforces these internet shutdowns with an aim to restrict agitation and maintain ‘law and order’, the Stanford University research challenges this theory claiming “rumours and disinformation continue to spread with or without access to digital communication networks.”
“If shutdowns truly disrupt the spread of rumors and the coordinated collective action that stems from it, a disproportionate increase in riots, which are more disorderly and more loosely coordinated than peaceful resistance, should follow,” it reads.
“The findings cast considerable doubt on whether shutdowns are a useful device in the quelling of unrest. These (shutdowns) are less reliant on effective communication and coordination,” it adds.
“It is as important to consider whether particular patterns of repression are effective as it is to determine whether they produce uniform patterns of dissent. Considering differences in levels of coordination, I expect that the incidence of riots will increase and that of non-violent demonstrations will decline when a blackout is in place,” it says.
The Stanford working paper said that the effectives of these internet shutdowns to curb unrest was not even known to the Government of India.
“Despite the prolific use of network shutdowns across the country, neither India nor any other national government has conducted publicly acknowledged studies on the effectiveness of shutdowns as a means of suppressing unrest,” it said.
“While shutdowns are occasionally spurred by security concerns during peaceful mass events such as festivals and processions, a large proportion of known cases are implemented with the explicit goal of ensuring or restoring public order. In most instances, this has been tantamount to preventing or quashing protests, riots, or collective violence.”
The Stanford study also explains how colonial era laws have been used by the government’s to justify it blackouts, particularly during discontinuing of 22 social media websites in Jammu and Kashmir during 2017.
“Colonial-era laws such as the Telegraph Act of 1885 have also been used during the disconnection of 22 social media services in Jammu and Kashmir in April 2017. In August 2017, India’s Ministry of Communication announced new regulations governing the suspension of telecommunication services, amending the Telegraph Act (2017),” it said.
“ Empirically, these regulations have done little to dampen shutdown occurrence or usher in more prudence in executing them; 29 incidents were recorded in the final five months of the year and a further 45 in the first four months of 2018,” the study said.
Putting up the impact of internet blackouts on economy, the study claims that a three day without internet services cause a loss of $28.4 million in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The economic loss of approximately $3.04 billion during the total duration of shutdowns in India between 2012 and 2017, which accumulates 16,315 hours (680 days). 2018’s calculation of the costs of shutdowns in India, a three-day blackout equates to a revenue loss of at least $559,000 while the work of civil society organizations suggests that a blackout of the same duration in J&K would cost the state economy $28.4 million.”
Farooq hints long term NC-Cong tie-up ; Files nomination for Srinagar LS constituency
Srinagar, Mar 25: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah Monday filed his nomination papers for the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.
Farooq, who is seeking re-election from the constituency, was accompanied by his son and NC vice-president, Omar Abdullah and other party leaders to the office of returning officer, Srinagar, where he filed his nomination.
Talking to the reporters after filing the papers, he said: “Fascist forces are emerging in the country. We all are together to fight evil in India.”
Asked over the reports about rift between the Congress and National Conference over contesting of seats, he said: “There is no difference. We all are together to fight the fascist forces.”
He, however, refused to comment whether or not 2019 elections will see a ‘Modi wave’ like the one in 2014 when the BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls.
Farooq is the joint candidate of the National Conference and Congress. The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat is going to polls in the second phase of the general election on April 18.
He was declared the winner of the Srinagar Lok Sabha by-election in April 2017. He defeated the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Nazir Khan by 10,766 votes.
Earlier, Farooq suffered the first-ever defeat of his career in 2014 when he lost to the then PDP candidate, Tariq Ahmad Karra.
Only a few vehicles of the NC leaders were allowed inside the deputy commissioner’s office complex in Tankipora area.
The police had barricaded the entire area as part of security arrangements to prevent any untoward incident and did not allow any supporters at the venue.
The returning officer had earlier issued guidelines, saying the maximum number of people allowed at the time of filing of nomination by a candidate would be five, including the candidate, whereas the maximum number of vehicles allowed would be three.
The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat is spread over three districts: Srinagar, Budgam, and Ganderbal. It has 12,90,318 voters who will cast their votes at 1,716 polling stations set up in the constituency. The last date for filing nomination papers for the second phase is March 26 and the scrutiny of the papers will be conducted on March 27. The last date for withdrawal of nominations is March 29 and the polling will be held on April 18, from 7 am to 6 pm.
Rasheed files papers for Baramulla seat
Srinagar, Mar 25: Awami Ittihad Party (AIP) supremo Er Rasheed on Monday filed nomination papers from Baramulla constituency which is going to polls in the first phase on April 11.
Speaking to journalists outside the DC office in Baramulla, Rasheed said that National Conference (NC) is “more dangerous” than the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that NC should come clean on its alliance with Congress.
While Farooq Abdullah talks day and night of supporting Congress but NC’s parliamentary candidate Mohammad Akbar Lone calls Congress more evil and harmful than BJP and both Congress and NC need to tell the truth about their agenda of exploitation and vote grabbing politics.”
He also accused Peoples Conference candidate Raja Aijaz Ali of exploiting the sentiments of Pahari community.
“Just being a member of a particular community does not mean that any person has a right to mislead the deprived and oppressed masses of that community,” Rasheed said.
He also lashed out PDP president saying that Mehbooba Mufti can go to any extent to get power and can join hands with any one.
Rasheed asked people to judge his ten-year tenure as MLA before deciding to vote for any particular party and ask their conscience who can represent them better in parliament.
Stronghold! In 4 decades, NC has lost only twice in Srinagar
Srinagar, Mar 25: National Conference has lost the central Kashmir Parliamentary seat only twice since 1977 emphasizing the party’s stronghold on the constituency from which Farooq
Abdullah filed his nomination on Monday.
The Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency is scheduled to go for polls on April 18 and has 12,90,318 voters, who will cast their votes at 1,716 polling stations set up in the constituency.
The Srinagar Lok Sabha seat is spread over three districts: Srinagar, Budgam, and Ganderbal. It has 12,90,318 voters who will cast their votes at 1,716 polling stations set up in the constituency.
While Farooq, who submitted his nomination papers on Monday, is a joint candidate of the National Conference and Congress, the Peoples Democratic Party has decided to field Aga Syed Mohsin from Srinagar.
The National Conference president was earlier declared the winner of the Srinagar Lok Sabha bye-election in April 2017.
He defeated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Nazir Khan by 10,766 votes.
Earlier, Farooq suffered the first ever defeat of his career in 2014 when he lost to the then PDP’s leader Tariq Hamid Karra.
The NC faced a defeat in 1996, when the Congress candidate Ghulam Mohammad Mir (Magami) emerged winner from Srinagar parliamentary constituency.
In rest of the elections, the NC candidates emerged winners from Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.
Begum Akbar Jehan Abdullah represented it in 1977, Farooq Abdullah-1980, Abdul Rashid Kabuli-1984, Mohammad Shafi Bhat 1989 (uncontested), Omar Abdullah-1998, 1999, 2004, and Farooq Abdullah-2009 against PDP candidate Iftikhar Ansari.
National Conference, General Secretary, Ali Mohammad Sagar, said that people of Kashmir need a ‘louder and credible” voice to represent them in Parliament.
“Dr Sahab (Farooq Abdullah) is the one who can raise the issues of Kashmiris. He is a well experienced politician and Kashmiris have no other choice,” Sagar said.
“Dr Sahab has done a lot for Kashmiris. The National Conference has taken many welfare initiatives in the state, which are non-comparable,” he added.
While the PDP seems sure of its candidate’s ‘win’ despite him being a lesser known face. “You can measure from the works we did during our tenure. Our candidate is a well-respected and honest person. People shall give him a chance and see how he will represent them in the Parliament,” PDP Chief Spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir said.