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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Forget Kanna, who made ‘renegade’ Usman Majeed a Minister?
PDP makes Chidambaram’s juicy ice-cream a hot potato for NC


SRINAGAR, Feb 4: Having intelligently perceived Omar Abdullah-led coalition government’s low level of confidence, poor memory and instinct of panic reaction, coupled by abject failure its media machinery, opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief, Mehbooba Mufti, has successfully turned the prominent counter-insurgent Moma Kanna’s nomination for the prestigious Padma Shree into a hot potato for the real target National Conference (NC). Ms Mufti has remarkably amplified her diatribe on Kanna immediately after the NC patriarch Dr Farooq Abdullah confirmed his support to Kanna and Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, distanced himself as well as his government from the much maligned ‘renegade’.

It doesn’t take much to notice that in almost everything---transfer and appointment of officers, release of separatist activists, detention of Police officers on perception rather than facts---13-month-old coalition government has placed itself on a defensive wicket. It appears to be keener to be in crease than to take the risk of making a run. That is perhaps a major reason why it has failed to lay its own impression. It publicly threatened to bulldoze “illegally raised” newspaper offices but, after learning that it had not the spine, it discovered expediency in eating the humble pie.

Mufti Sayeed’s 16-MLA PDP Government had conveyed its authority to all concerned in a more practical and understandable language. His bulldozers spared neither a prominent JKLF leader’s relatives at Maisuma nor an influential Urdu daily office at Children’s Park in Srinagar. That Mufti’s party continues to retain influence over both, media as well as the separatists, even after losing power is evident from the fact that not a single newspaper or television news channel reported a mob’s attack on the PDP chief in Shopian until she herself revealed it in Legislative Assembly months later. She, in fact, wanted to establish that NC and its Government had organized the attack.

Rather than using their own Government machinery to ascertain facts about the controversial Padma Shree awardee, Ghulam Mohammad Mir alias Moma Kanna of Magam, three of the NC’s Ministers---Ali Mohammad Sagar, Nasir Aslam Wani and Mubarak Gul---resorted to second-hand usage of this newspaper’s interview with the character in question. Apparently briefed by their officials or party workers, the Ministers on tour in Srinagar (read Srinagar Civil Lines) restricted their “counter-offensive” on Ms Mufti to Kanna’s claim that he was instrumental in getting Mufti’s kidnapped daughter Rubaiya Sayeed released from the clutches of JKLF militants in December 1989 from Uthoora village in Baramulla district.

Kanna had, in fact, revealed much more pertinent: That Mufti’s Ministerial colleague George Fernandes and Governor Girish Chander Saxena remained directly in touch with him in whatever he did in 1990-91. His more emphatic assertion, which definitely warrants Ms Mufti’s reaction, was that she and her Government’s Minister incharge Hajj & Auqaf, Sarfaraz Khan, fielded Kanna’s daughter Ateeqa as PDP’s candidate in the municipal elections of 2005 in Magam. Perceptibly apologetic Sagar thought it prudent to just make his NC pot and the PDP a kettle, calling the former black.

Fact of the matter is that Kanna became a counter-insurgent in 1989-90 when there was no conception of the counter-insurgent Ikhwan he has been labeled. Media has raised an uproar over the criminal FIRs registered against him but, till date, failed to find one beyond that infamous attack of BSF in Magam on the journalists. Unlike Kukka Parray and Papa Kishtwari, “victims” are yet to come forward with allegations of “rape, torture, kidnapping, custodial killings and extortion” against Kanna.

On the other hand, serious allegations of rape, extortion, torture, custodial killing and extortion do exist against equally or perhaps more prominent counter-insurgents like Kukka Parray, Javed Shah, Papa Kishtwari, Liaquat Ali, Usman Majeed et al. Neither NC nor PDP can be put to blame for making Kukka Parray an MLA. Kishtwari and Liaquat unsuccessfully contested elections while facing opposition from both NC as well as PDP.

Dr Farooq Abdullah’s act of making militant-turned-counterinsurgent Javed Shah a Member of Legislative Council is perhaps more unpardonable than recommending Kanna for a Padma Shree, if one believes that Omar Abdullah and Sagar should be really apologetic on the man who never chose to become a militant. Perhaps the better course would be to seek a public apology from the “Kashmiri nation”.

But, how could one forget that it was none other than Ms Mufti’s father who inducted militant-turned-‘renegade’ Usman Majeed as a Minister of State in his government in 2002-05. Has the former MLA from Bandipore been absolved of all charges after being sworn in as a Minister in Mufti’s government? If not, why shouldn’t Ms Mufti be bolder enough to seek another apology for that “blunder”? As Congress is not her coalition partner today, why shouldn’t she conveniently blame “Ghulam Nabi Azad’s strong pressure” to give her father a clean chit?


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