Srinagar, May 13: There is an “undeclared internal war” going on in Kashmir, the Mehbooba Mufti-led government is just a “farce”, and the state is on the brink of breaking apart – these and many other arguments formed a damning article written by former Union Minister P Chidambaram.
Titled ‘Across the aisle: India is failing the test on J-K, the article published by The Indian Express on Sunday saw Chidambaram mincing no words while describing the current situation in Kashmir.
His entire argument was based on “six pillars that hold India together” and how they have been “damaged” while dealing with J&K.
One among them was how “the King” was expected to “never raise the sword against his own people”.
“With great sorrow, it must be admitted that there is an undeclared internal war in the Kashmir Valley. The muscular, militaristic approach to quell dissent (including stone-pelting) has pushed the Valley to the brink of disaster…The PDP-BJP coalition government lacks even a shred of legitimacy, yet the Chief Minister will not end the farce that is becoming a tragedy,” Chidambaram said.
Among other “damaged pillars”, Chidambaram listed, was the Constitutional provision to the state.
Article 370, he said, was an historical compact between the Union of India and the Ruler of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir.
“Is it the intention to breach that agreement or ask for the repeal of the new Article 30 or 40 years hence?” he asked.
The “apolitical” nature of armed forces was yet another “pillar” that did not stood as it should have been in Kashmir.
Chidambaram referred to the antithesis between the recent all-party meet in J&K on ceasefire (and how it resolved to call upon the Government of India on it) and the Army Chief’s statement declaring “Azadi is never going to happen.”
“The Army Chief defined Azadi (according to his perception) and warned ‘Azadi is not going to happen, never… If you want to fight us, then we will fight you with all our force’. Was that the Central government’s official answer to the demand for a unilateral ceasefire?” he asked.
The other “damaged pillar”, according to him, was “the Council of Ministers will be collectively responsible to the legislature and the people.”
Exposing the fault-lines between the alliance partners, Chidambaram opined that the Council of Ministers in J&K was “hopelessly divided” with one half acting as if it were the government of Jammu and the other half as if it were the government of Kashmir.
“Even as the Chief Minister demanded a unilateral ceasefire from Ramzan till Eid, the Deputy Chief Minister said “a ceasefire cannot be implemented from only one side,” he said.
The other pillar – every executive action will be responsible action – “stood on its head” in J&K, Chidambaram wrote.
“In J&K every executive action is an impulsive and insincere action. From inviting the Prime Minister of Pakistan to the swearing-in of the new government in May 2014 to the impromptu visit of Narendra Modi to the nuptials of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s granddaughter in December 2015 to the despatch of an all-party delegation to J&K in September 2016 to the triumphal announcement of a cross-border action (the so-called ‘surgical strike’) by the Army in end-September 2016 to the appointment of an interlocutor in October 2017, there was not one decision that was part of a well-thought-out policy.”
As such, he said, no one in Kashmir believed in the sincerity of the government of India.
“As every day passes, I despair more. All that India, as a nation, has stood for —unity, integrity, pluralism, religious tolerance, a government accountable to the people, dialogue to resolve differences etc — are on test in J&K. India, as a nation, is failing the test,” he concluded.
Pak ‘duty-bound’ to share info: Guv
Says militant infrastructure ‘disrupted’, remaining militants to be sternly dealt with
Srinagar, Jun 19: Asserting that his administration has “disrupted” militant infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Wednesday said that Pakistan is “duty-bound” to share intelligence inputs about militant attacks with the Government of India.
However, in an apparent jibe, the Governor said “it needs to be seen how many attacks Pakistan is able to stop on its own soil.”
“Pakistan is duty-bound to share intelligence inputs with us. But it also needs to be seen how many attacks are they (Pakistan) able to stop on its own soil,’ Malik said at a police function in SKICC, Srinagar on Wednesday.
Asked about the recent increase in militant activities in the valley, the Governor said as his administration has disrupted the militant infrastructure in the state, the militants are doing “one-odd attacks to keep themselves relevant.
“No one has been able to stop one or two attacks, not even America, England or France. But we are working on it and will be able to find a solution to the problem. We will deal with them (militants) sternly and with precision,” he said.
He said that militant recruitment and stone pelting incidents across the Kashmir Valley have also come down.
“No stone pelting takes place anywhere now not even after Friday prayers. A number of youth have also joined their families back and are leaving the militant ranks. Yesterday only two more boys returned to their families,” Malik said.
Last week on Saturday, the Governor had made a similar briefing about the state while addressing the 5th Governing Council meeting of Niti Aayog.
He’d told the meeting that the militant activities have come down in J&K as the people of the state are “not giving shelter to militants.”
Malik had also said time had come to focus on development of the state while giving a PowerPoint presentation and figures about militant activities.
The Governor had claimed that the administration was getting information about militants and their “activities by locals and that they are not offering shelter to those involved in militant activities.”
JK Bank case: ACB widens ambit, seeks admitted signatures of 13 officers including two past chairmen
Srinagar, Jun 19: Widening the ambit of the investigations, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has sought the admitted signatures of 13 senior officials of Jammu and Kashmir Bank including its two former chairmen in connection with the case related to alleged backdoor appointments.
A top source in the Anti-Corruption Bureau told The Kashmir Monitor that Senior Superintendent of ACB recently wrote a letter to the incumbent chairman of the J&K Bank to provide details of 10 admitted signatures, handwriting, and initials of 13 officers of the bank.
Among the13 officers, the source said, two are former J&K Bank chairmen. “Most officials have either served in the Human Resource Department or are still posted there,” the source said.
The ACB had registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act on the basis of a complaint about the alleged illegal and fraudulent appointments made in the bank.
The allegations reflected in the complaint disclose commission of criminal misconduct by J&K Bank officers.
“This constitutes offence under section 5(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act Samvat 2006 and punishable under section 5(2) of the Act. A case FIR No 10/2019 was registered in Police Station Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Central Kashmir in Srinagar. Investigation of the case has also been taken up,” a spokesman of ACB had said.
The ACB officials refused to share the details saying: “The case is under investigation”.
However, a senior official, who wished not to be quoted, said: “Once we receive the admitted signatures, handwriting, and initials, the same will be forwarded to Forensic Scientific Laboratory to ascertain whether they match with the records we have seized during raids.”
The ACB is currently investigating 1,200 appointments, made allegedly at the behest of some political leaders of the previous PDP-BJP dispensation.
The government recently removed Parvez Ahmad as JK Bank Chairman. There are also allegations of large-scale irregularities in matters related to loans, finances and appointments.
The ACB sleuths on Wednesday raided the official residence of deposed chairman of JK Bank Parvez Ahmad near Polo View Lal Chowk. The ACB team also raided the house of Ahmad’s brother at Natipora area.
The union home ministry and the state government have decided to split the post of chairman-cum managing director of the bank in accordance with Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines.
RK Chhibber, who was the bank’s executive president, has been named as the interim CMD.
Jammu and Kashmir government has 59.3 percent stakes in the bank, which has been established in 1938.
Modi chairs all-party meet; Cong, TMC give it a miss
New Delhi, Jun 19: “Most parties gave their support to ‘One Nation, One Election‘, CPI(M) and CPI had a difference of opinion but they didn’t oppose the idea, just the implementation of it,” Defence minister Rajnath Singh declared on Wednesday after the all-party meet on the same concluded.
He added, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address, said that a committee will be constituted to give its suggestions on the subject (One Nation, One Election) in a time-bound manner.”
One of the affirmative voices came from Biju Janata Dal (BJD) chief Naveen Patnaik, who on Wednesday said, “Our party is supporting the idea of One Nation, One Election.”
The Modi government-led meeting of the heads of political parties to discuss the proposal of ‘One Nation One Election’, among other issues was held in the Parliament even as several party patriarchs skipped the meet.
Out of those who opted to sit out this ‘crucial meet’ were Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President M K Stalin, Trinamool chief Mamata Banerjee and Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu. Bahujan Samajwadi Party chief Mayawati and her former ally Samajwadi Party too decided to skip the meeting. Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal too did not attend the meeting but the party sent Raghav Chaddha as its representative.
Attacking the moot point of the meet today, BSP chief Mayawati said that holding simultaneous national and state elections “appears to be an undemocratic and unconstitutional” idea for a vast country like India. She added that elections in any democracy can never be a problem “nor elections should be weighed from the point of view of expenditure and extravagance”.
‘One nation, one election’ is not an issue before the country, she said. Elections through ballot papers are actually the national issue and our party will continue its struggle for it,” Mayawati declared.
On the other hand, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also claimed that she would have joined the meeting had it been on EVMs. She had declined the invitation to attend and had asked the Centre to instead prepare a white paper on the “one nation, one election” issue for consultations.
Sources said that Opposition parties are wary of the meeting convened by the prime minister as they feel this might be a “trap” set by the BJP and needs proper discussion before going ahead.
The agenda for the meeting also includes the celebration of 75 years of Independence in 2022 and the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. It will be followed by a dinner meeting with all the MPs on Thursday.
Meanwhile, JD(U)’s chief Nitish Kumar, National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, BJD’s Naveen Patnaik, PDP’s Mehbooba Mufti and YSRCP’s Jaganmohan Reddy are among those who attended the meeting.
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