Srinagar, Jan 10: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday termed the resignation of Shah Faesal, the first Kashmiri IAS topper, from the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) “sad”, saying the world will take note of his cry of anguish and defiance.
“Though sad, I salute Shah Faesal IAS (now resigned). Every word of his statement is true and is an indictment of the BJP government. The world will take note of his cry of anguish and defiance,” the former Finance Minister tweeted.
Chidambaram also referred to retired police officer Julio Ribeiro who led the Punjab Police during the insurgency.
“Not long ago, Ribeiro, the legendary police officer, said the same thing, but there was not a word of reassurance from the rulers. Such statements from our fellow citizens must make us hang our heads in regret and shame,” the leader added.
Faesal announced on Wednesday said he had quit the coveted service in protest against unabated killings in Jammu and Kashmir and against the marginalisation of Indian Muslims by the Hindutva forces, “reducing them to second class citizens”.
Meanwhile, Union minister Jitendra Singh said the resignation of Faesal displayed a “lack of conviction” on his part and that the former civil servant should have been “ready to condemn the act of terrorism”.
Singh’s rebuke was countered by National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah, who had, on Wednesday, welcomed Faesal to the “fold”.
Singh, who is the minister of state (independent charge) for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, North East India, as well as minister of state for the Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, along with the departments of Atomic Energy and Space, spoke to ANI, addressing Faesal.
“You can’t enjoy protection of security forces against a potential attack and at the same time not be courageous enough to point at a terrorist and call him a terrorist but find a soft target in an Indian state which is tolerant and gives leverage to your expression,” Singh said.
Singh’s suggestion that Faesal has enjoyed a life free from the “violence of terrorism” was torn apart by Abdullah who pointed out on Twitter that the Faesal’s father had “died in the hands of militants.”
“Dr Sahib, Shah Faesal’s father was killed by militants but I don’t expect you to bother to educate yourself before you speak. No one more than Faesal knows the pain & suffering militancy & violence have brought upon Kashmir & its people,” Omar replied to Singh’s reaction.
After topping the 2009 civil services, Faesal was allotted the home cadre of Jammu and Kashmir. He served as District Magistrate, Director of School Education and Managing Director of the state-owned Power Development Corporation.
Rasheed offers a party berth
Srinagar, Jan 10: Former legislator and AIP chairman Er Rasheed on Thursday said that the resignation of IAS topper Shah Faesal showed that New Delhi was denying rights to Kashmiri people, even as he appealed him to ‘not let people down and prove his words’.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, Rasheed said that by quitting IAS, Faesal had “proved that sincere people can’t serve under corrupt political dispensation and is authentication of the fact that Kashmiris are being denied their rights and are facing worst state terrorism.”
He said the reasons given by Faesal for his resignation confirmed that New Delhi was treating J&K as a “colony” and that the Kashmiri officers especially hailing from majority community were facing discrimination and alienation within the system.
“…otherwise an IAS topper would never have been compelled to leave the job as he could have served more as a top class bureaucrat than as a politician.”
Rasheed said it was for Shah Faesal to decide how he can achieve his goal. “While Shah Faesal’s decision deserves respect, like-minded people must sincerely offer him cooperation and he should in return not disappoint those who have high hopes on him,” said Rasheed.
“Since Shah Faesal has condemned atrocities on Kashmiris and has talked about legitimate rights of his people, as such he knows better than anyone that people are seeking resolution to Kashmir dispute in accordance with UN resolutions, end to nepotism, corruption, VIP culture, misgovernance and dynasty rule, hence he must not ignore the popular sentiment and sacrifices of masses.”
While taking next step is Shah Faesal’s own choice, Rasheed said, his joining any party not with good track record will lead to confusions and the intentions of Shah Faesal will come under question mark.
Rasheed said that his party will like to offer Shah Faesal to join AIP or even if he floats his own party or contests parliamentary elections as an independent candidate “we will love to join hands with him, subject to the condition he will speak louder and with sincerity about sacrifices and sentiments of masses and will not collaborate with those who don’t believe in giving right to self-determination to Kashmiris.”
Rasheed reiterated that his party is ready to merge with or follow any party and work with any individual who sincerely believes in fighting an everlasting resolution to Kashmir dispute in its historic perspective.
5 dead, as many missing as avalanche hits Khardung La pass
Srinagar, Jan 18: Five persons were killed and five others missing after their truck came under an avalanche in the Khardung La area of the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday, officials said.
The avalanche hit the truck carrying 10 persons at the Khardung La pass in the Ladakh region at 7 am, an official of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) said.
The BRO pressed into service its men and machinery to rescue the passengers of the truck, who were believed to be trapped under the debris, he added.
The police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel had also reached the spot, the BRO official said.
“So far, the bodies of five persons have been recovered from the avalanche site, while a search is on for the other missing persons,” he added.
A bulldozer driver posted at the Khardung La Pass said two tippers and a Scorpio vehicle carrying about 12 persons left towards K-top area early morning to load snow to Leh.
“One tipper was already loaded with snow. However, the mishap occurred when they were loading another vehicle. Suddenly, an avalanche hit them and 10 people in a tipper were buried under the snow,” he said.
A senior police official said, “At least 10-12 people were trapped under the snow and a body of a local resident from Leh has been recovered from the area. Fresh snowfall took place in the area on Thursday and they had gone to collect snow in a vehicle.”
Rescue teams of police, Border Roads Organisation and Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management Force reached the spot.
A high alert for avalanche was sounded on Thursday by the administration following adverse weather advisory by the Met department.
Guv expresses grief, announces Rs 5 lakh compensation
Jammu, Jan 18: Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed grief over loss of precious lives due to snow avalanche at Khardung La in Leh district, Friday morning.
In his message, a Raj Bhavan spokesperson said, the Governor prayed for eternal peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief.
Governor has announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh for the next of the kin of those killed in the avalanche.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference president Farooq Abdullah and vice president Omar Abdullah too expressed deep sorrow over the loss of lives in the avalanche.
The party spokesman in a statement said that the duo has urged the administration to expedite the rescue operation and ensure all support to the families of the deceased.
Both Farooq and Omar urged the governor administration to gear up its men and machinery to meet any eventuality in wake of heavy snowfall as predicted by the local MeT officials.
Impressing upon the administration to ensure that people don’t have to suffer due to the vagaries of weather, the duo urged the administration to ensure all arterial and other routes are kept open to avoid any suffering to people.
Kashmir braces for heavy snow spell from today
Srinagar, Jan 18: As the meteorological department has predicted another spell of moderate to heavy snowfall in the Kashmir region from Saturday onwards, people in Kashmir are readying themselves by keeping ample stock of food and ensuring proper heating arrangements are put in place.
With the western disturbances likely to affect the region, the officials have also warned of disruption of road, rail and air traffic from Saturday afternoon.
“The western disturbances are most likely to affect the state and its adjoining areas from January 19 to 25, with the main activity between January 20 and 23 and gradual decrease thereafter,” Sonam Lotus, director Meteorological department said.
He said moderate to heavy snowfall and rain was expected at widespread places of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.
“Some places may receive very heavy rain and snow during this period,” he said, adding that light snowfall would begin at a few places in Kashmir on Saturday morning and increase in intensity and distribution thereafter.
On Friday, Kargil recorded the night’s lowest temperature at minus 19.2 degrees Celsius while neighbouring Leh recorded a minimum temperature of minus 15.6, Met office said.
Drass town was the coldest in the Jammu and Kashmir at minus 27.1.
Srinagar, the summer capital of the state recorded a low of minus 0.7 while the mercury in Qazigund in south Kashmir settled at a low of minus 0.7 degrees Celsius.
Gulmarg, the famous skiing resort in north Kashmir, recorded a low of minus 10.0 degrees Celsius while night temperature in Pahalgam – the famous health resort settled at a low of minus 10.3 degrees.
Kokernag town recorded a low of minus 2.0 degrees Celsius while Kupwara town in north Kashmir registered a low of minus 2.8 degrees Celsius last night.
Jammu city recorded 5.3 degrees Celsius, Katra 6.3, Batote 2.5, Bannihal 0.7 and Bhaderwah minus 0.8 degree Celsius.
Twin grenade attacks in city-centre, Shopian
Srinagar, Jan 18: Less than 24 hours after the Rajbagh grenade attack, militants on Friday carried out two more grenade attacks on government forces in Kashmir, including one in the city-centre Lal Chowk here.
Militants lobbed a grenade at a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) bunker at Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Lal Chowk in the afternoon, a police official said.
The grenade exploded on the roadside, he said, adding that no one was hurt in the attack.
A private car parked on the roadside was partly damaged due to the explosion, the official said.
Window panes of a few shops on either side of the road were also damaged because of the blast.
This was the second such attack on government forces in Srinagar within 24 hours.
Earlier on Thursday, militants had hurled a grenade on police personnel at Zero Bridge here, resulting in injuries to three policemen.
In another incident on Friday, militants lobbed a grenade at a police camp in Gagran village of Shopian district of south Kashmir. However there was no report of loss of life or damage to property.
A police spokesperson came out with the following statement later in the day: Police had to attend two “terror” crime spots today following the reports of grenade attack by militants at Srinagar and Shopian. Officers from the local police units immediately reached to both the crime spot this (Friday) afternoon to initiate the investigation in the matter.
“While attending the crime spot, officers did not receive any report pertaining to the loss of life or property. Police has registered cases for both the incidents. Officers from the local police units are at work to establish the full circumstances which led to these incidents. If you have any information that can assist police in its investigation, you may kindly contact Police,” the spokesperson said.
The three attacks come days ahead of the Republic day and is likely to push government forces for taking even more stringent ‘security’ arrangements, especially in and around the city.
Later in the day, militant outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed the responsibility of the grenade attacks in Srinagar and Shopian.
A spokesperson of JeM Mohammad Hassan in a statement to news agency GNS claimed that three forces personnel were injured in the attack at City Centre Lal Chowk.
He also claimed that several forces personnel were critically injured in the attack at Gagran in south Kashmir’s Shopian district.
The Kashmir Monitor also received a phone call from one Hamza Rashid, who said he was the spokesperson of Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front, and claimed the responsibility of the Lal Chowk grenade attack.