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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Kashmir Bar disputes credibility of judiciary

Hurriyat supports call to freeze Valley on Durbar day

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 8: Kashmir Bar Association---an organization of the Valley’s legal practitioners that has been a constituent of the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference for over a decade and has been making efforts to unify its split groups---has disputed the credibility and impartiality of the law courts in Jammu & Kashmir. Expressing serious concerns over the‘faulty’ administration of justice, Government’s attempts of “changing Kashmir’s demography in the current census operation” and “human rights abuse by armed forces”, KBA has called for a total shutdown on Monday next and its call has been immediately supported by most of the Valley’s secessionist groups and alliances, including both factions of Hurriyat Conference. Civil Secretariat and offices of Heads of Departments are scheduled to open here on May 10th after Durbar’s functioning in the winter capital of Jammu for six months.

Addressing a news conference here today, KBA President, Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom, lamented that the judiciary in the conflict-riddled state was a mute spectator to abuse of authority by the executive, more so in matters of human rights violation by Police and armed forces. He complained that District Magistrates (DMs) had been indulging in gross misuse of the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) and they had been blindly slapping it repeatedly on the political detainees. He referred to PSA detention of certain Hurriyat leaders and separatist activists and said that it had been invoked for Massarat Aalam as many as eight times, for Shabir Shah seven times and for many others for four times.

Qayoom sought action against the DMs and alleged that the draconian law, that had been actually made for facilitating confinement of timber smugglers, was being blatantly misused by the government for “illegal detention” of the separatist political leaders and activists. According to him, over 50,000 Kashmiris had been arrested by Police and other government agencies in the last 20 years of the armed insurgency and more than 20,000 of them had been detained, with extension after extension, by DMs and other authorities.

Qayoom said that Government’s claim of having detained just 100 persons under PSA since January 2009 was far from truth. According to the figures quoted by him, as many as 728 persons had been arrested and detained under PSA. He said that 412 of such detainees were still languishing in different jails. KBA chief claimed that judges of the state law courts were “fully aware” of this but they had chosen to be mute spectators. According to him, ‘faulty’ administration of justice in itself was a source of cruelty for the people of Kashmir. He made specific mention of Chief Judicial Magistrate of Bandipore and alleged that the judge had been implementing “his own laws” in dealing with the political detainees. He also castigated judges for not permitting meetings of the detainees with their relatives on the Old High Court premises.

KBA chief alleged that Police and security forces had unleashed a reign of terror against the innocent civilians and asserted that a number of Kashmiris, not involved in any criminal activity, had been eliminated by armed forces in fake encounters during NC-led coalition government in the state.

Taking exception to deployment of non-Kashmiri staff for conducting the census operations, Qayoom called for engagement of local teachers for the job. He was critical of a trade union leader’s demand of not engaging schoolteachers for the census and alleged that Government had ill intentions of “changing Kashmir’s demography” by conducting the ten-yearly operation through non-Muslim, non-Kashmiri staff.

Qayoom alleged that NC-led coalition government was also contributing to “sinister gameplan of changing Kashmir’s demography” by way of reserving 8 percent of job vacancies in all districts of Kashmir valley for Scheduled Caste population of Hindu-dominated Jammu province. According to him, no reservation had been provided in the lately passed law in Legislature for Scheduled Tribe population that belonged to Muslim community and existed in all districts of Muslim-dominated Kashmir province.

Expressing his gratitude over the Kashmiri IAS topper Dr Faisal Shah’s historic achievement in the Indian Civil Services examination of 2009, Qayoom said that the young boy from Kupwara had exploded the myth---according to him created by Kashmiri Pandits---that Kashmiri Muslims were too incompetent to clear such tough examinations. He lamented that such Kashmiris in the Indian decision making were not being allowed to assert according to their conscience and law, particularly in the matters of Jammu & Kashmir. He complained that a Kashmiri-American woman “holding the Muslim name of Farah Pandit” had also done nothing for Kashmir and Kashmiris in the US Administration.

KBA chief’s call for total shutdown on May 10th was immediately supported by both factions of the Hurriyat Conference, led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Dukhtaraan-e-Millat and most of the other secessionist outfits and alliances. In their separately issued statements, they asked the Kashmiris to completely freeze the Valley on Monday next.

J&K’s sons and daughters in IAS

1 Anil Goswami J&K cadre 1978
2 Iqbal Khanday J&K 1978
3 A K Mangotra Manipur-Tripura 1978
4 R K Jerath J&K 1980
5 A K Angurana J&K 1980
6 Khursheed Ahmed Ganai J&K 1982
7 Kewal Kumar Sharma UT 1983
8 B R Sharma J&K 1984
9 Pramod Kumar Jain J&K 1985
10 Atul Duloo J&K 1989
11 Rajnesh Gupta UP 1990
12 Ms Nidhi Khare Jharkhand 1992
13 Dr Asgar H Samoon J&K 1993
14 Dr Pawan Kotwal J&K 1994
15 Ms Idzes Angmo Kundan Maharashtra 1996
16 Gulshan Bamra MP 1997
17 Sanjeev Verma J&K 2001
18 Dr Ms Mrinalini Darswal Orissa 2002
19 Dr Ms Yogita Rana AP 2003
20 Dr Sanjeev Kumar Maharashtra 2003
21 Rigzin Sampheal UP 2003
22 Ms Sheetal Nanda J&K 2006
23 Simrandeep Singh J&K 2008
24 Dr Shahid Iqbal J&K 2009
25 Raghav Langar UT 2009
26 Sumit Kumar Jangral Haryana 2009

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dr Faisal would have no room in NC’s autonomy, PDP’s ‘self-rule’

Omar, Mehbooba should learn a lesson of silence from Geelani, Mirwaiz

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 7: Kashmiris, identifying themselves with a positive transformation in this piece of the world, have every reason to be ecstatic over Dr Shah Faisal’s historic achievement of becoming this state’s first topper in Indian Civil Services examination in the last over 60 years of Independent India. Everybody, from intelligentsia to an ordinary Kashmiri, seems to be justifiably thrilled. Valley’s separatist leadership has reasons to its silence: Faisal’s father, Ghulam Rasool Shah, who was gunned down by the armed Messiahs of our pro-Azadi leaders in July 2002, was buried without a word of condemnation from politicians. Secondly, praising Faisal’s accomplishment would obviously run the risk of romanticizing the infidelity of Kashmir’s integration with the ‘occupational India’.

After abusing the Indian Civil Services---particularly Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) --- in a competition of over 10 years, both the mainstream majors, namely National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have suddenly begun to outclass each other in showering praises on Dr Faisal for doing his home state proud by standing first in order of merit among hundreds of thousands of the candidates of this country, whose population is over 1,000 million. Since Thursday afternoon, greetings have been exuberantly pouring in from all men and women of consequence in Dr Farooq Abdullah’s NC and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s PDP.

Rulers and ex-rulers, who had not the courtesy of allotting a government accommodation to Shah’s destitute family in the wake of its migration from Sogam village of Kupwara to Srinagar, have been shamelessly shooting off greetings and statements of praise on the woman who has given the history’s most befitting reply to the killers of her husband. Shah, according to his neighbours in Lolab valley, was neither an “Indian agent” nor an informant of Police or security forces. Forgetting a fellow villager’s beheading on the premises of Jamia Masjid of Sogam few months back, he had done the mistake of resisting a foreign militant’s “hand shake” with a girl of his neighbourhood. He was eliminated within a day.

Then Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah’s Minister of State for Home and Law, Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, who lived at a stone’s throw from Shah’s house, chose to be a mute spectator to both of his neighbours’ slayings. He became famous for his trademark abusing of “renegades” (Kashmiri militants shifting their loyalties to Police and armed forces) but still failed to get militants’ support of silence to his election campaign. In two month’s of Shah’s killings, Lone was gunned down alongwith his armed guard in full view of his Police and CRPF protection and over a thousand of his audiences at an election rally at Tikkipora village. His brother, Mohiuddin, was not spared either. In the next three months, he met the NC leader’s fate outside his residence in Sogam.

Shah’s wife, Mubeena, who teaches Kashmiri at a high school, came over the tribulation in utter helplessness. She raised both of her sons--- Faisal and Shahnawaz--- as doctors. Her daughter got a job in Education Department. Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s as well as Saif-ud-din Soz’s congratulations to Faisal and his mother are understandable in the sense that both believe in the state’s undiluted integration with the rest of the country. Governor N N Vohra’s appreciation of Faisal’s feat and a public invitation to him and his mother also deserves respect. But, one fails to understand what precisely has thrilled leaders of the ruling NC and opposition PDP who have been both avowed detractors of central Civil Services in Jammu & Kashmir.

Getting thrilled over Faisal’s historic achievement in a civil services competition has got to be patently different from the street excitement over Qazi Tauqeer’s distinction in a countrywide singing competition on television. Faisal is obviously going to join IAS---a central administrative service which has no room either in NC’s “greater autonomy” or in PDP’s “self-rule”. Unlike NC, PDP can celebrate Faisal’s success with one-odd firecracker after Muzaffar Hussain Baig’s recent statement in which the legal luminary suggested a marginal provision for IAS and IPS in Jammu & Kashmir.

To simplify, a couple of the sons of soil like Dr Faisal could be accommodated in the state government if PDP one day succeeded to get “self rule” from New Delhi. All 26 sons of soil, who are currently in IAS, would have to be disowned and thrown out to the Centre if New Delhi ever granted “greater autonomy” to this state of special constitutional status. Fate of those in IPS and the separately managed Indian Forest Service would have to be no different. Yes, all the brilliant members of the IAS, IPS and IFS club, preserving laminated originals of their Permanent Resident Certificates (PRCs), would be entitled to owning immovable properties in their state of domicile.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Kashmiri doctor Shah Faisal tops in IAS 2009

Militants had gunned down Shah’s father in Kupwara village in 2002

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 6: Twenty-six-year old Dr Shah Faisal of Sogam, a far-flung village in Lolab valley of Kupwara district, today created history by becoming Jammu & Kashmir state’s first topper of the Indian Civil Services examination in 63 years of the independent India. In its year-long exercise, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has selected 875 incumbents out of 4.09 Lakh candidates who had applied in the country’s toughest and the most prestigious competitive examination.

According to the UPSC notification issued today, Dr Shah Faisal of Sogam, Kupwara, (Roll No 025085) has stood at the top in the merit list of all the 875 candidates selected for the prestigious Indian Foreign Service (IFS), Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and all other central services in the year 2009. After completing his MBBS from Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS) Medical College, Bemina in March 2009, Shah Faisal has got this historic distinction in his first attempt.

A Bachelor of Technology from IIT Delhi, Prakash Rajpurohit has got the second position in his second attempt for Indian Civil Services examination while as a post-graduate in geography from Jawahar Lal Nehru University, Delhi, Ms Iva Sahay has secured the third position, again in her first attempt. She is the topper among all female candidates selected by UPSC.

A total of 4,09,110 candidates had applied for the examination. As many as 1,93,091 appeared for the preliminary examination and 12,026 qualified for the mains in which 2,432 were shortlisted for personality test in order of merit. UPSC finally selected 875 candidates who have been recommended for appointment to IFS, IAS, IPS and other Central Services.

Of the top 25 candidates, 15 are male and 10 female. Of them, 13 are from Engineering, 9 from Commerce, Management, Humanities, Science and Social Sciences and just 3 from Medical background. While only 4 of the top 25 candidates, including Dr Shah Faisal, have cleared it in their maiden attempt, 4 got the success in second attempt, 11 in third attempt, 3 in fourth attempt and one in seventh attempt. Of the 875 selected, 30 are physically challenged. Those selected include 399 in General category, 273 OBC, 127 Scheduled Caste and 76 Scheduled Tribe.

After a Bihar (Now Jharkhand) cadre IPS officer, Abdul Gani Mir (presently on deputation in J&K as DIG CID), Dr Shah Faisal is the second candidate from the border Kupwara district who has directly cleared the Indian Civil Services examination. Coming from a lower middle class socio-economic background, Faisal’s father, Ghulam Rasool Shah, had joined government service as a Laboratory Assistant after he failed to continue his Bachelor of Engineering. Later, he rose to the position of a teacher and became very popular in entire Lolab valley. However, on July 3rd, 2002, he was gunned down by militants in his village. Neighbours said that a day earlier an outspoken Shah had publicly objected to a Pakistani militant’s attempt of shaking hands with a girl of his neighbourhood.

Even as Ghulam Rasool Shah’s assassination came as a jolt for the family, his wife Mubeena shifted her residence to a rented house in Srinagar and managed to continue the studies of two of her sons and a daughter. Mubeena is a Master, who teaches Kashmiri at Government Boys High School Rawalpora. The family is now living at a relative’s house in Hyderpora locality. Mubeena’s daughter, Talat, has been appointed as a teacher on compassionate grounds under SRO-43 as a result of her father’s killing by militants.

After their Matriculation studies at Government Higher Secondary School Sogam, Kupwara, Mubeena managed both of her sons admission at the Christian Missionary Tyndale Biscoe School in Srinagar. Getting a distinction in his class 12th examination, Faisal was selected for MBBS course which he completed in March 2009 at SKIMS Medical College, Bemina. His younger brother, Shahnawaz, was selected against a reserved seat at a minority Medical College in Riva. He too has, of late, completed his MBBS and is preparing for a masters in medicine.

Determined to make it to IAS, Faisal took a brief course of coaching at Hamdard Study Circle in New Delhi and cleared the prestigious in his maiden attempt.

As news of a Kashmiri candidate’s securing the first position in order of merit in the UPSC examination spread in the Valley, there was remarkable jubilation in all sections of the population. Reports from Sogam and Hyderpora said that hundreds of relatives, acquaintances and well-wishers of the family dropped in with their greetings to the Shah family. Regular recruits of IAS, IPS as also those in Indian Forest Service and other Central Services were seen eagerly looking for telephone numbers of Shah Faisal and other of his family members. Greeting kept pouring in till late tonight. In Delhi, Faisal remained continuously busy while giving interviews to media and receiving felicitations from different corners.

In a message from his overseas visit, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah sent his greetings to Faisal and said that the Kashmiri doctor had done the state of Jammu & Kashmir proud with his unparalleled achievement at the national level. Similar greetings came from Union Minister of Health and former J&K Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad. In a message from Manipur, former DGP of J&K, Gopal Sharma, told Early Times :”I feel proud as if my son has topped the IAS. I am so happy for Dr Faisal”.

Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Khursheed Ahmed Ganai, who is a 1982-Batch IAS officer of J&K cadre, also expressed his happiness over Dr Faisal’s success and wished more and more youth from the state to follow him.


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Political, intellectual support to stone pelting begins to diminish in Valley

Srinagar civilian’s murder draws widespread flak against ‘only tool of resistance’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 4: Many in politics and media attempted to underplay it as a routine incident of a civilian getting hit by a ‘stray’ stone during a street clash between the demonstrators and Police in this turbulent capital city. Others slogged to create an impression that the class 4th official of Jammu & Kashmir State Board of School Education died of a ‘gunshot wound’. But, in the last five days, Kashmiris holding diverse political beliefs have been unanimous over the fact Shafeeq Ahmed Sheikh of Nattipora had been horribly killed in Batmaloo area on Friday last by a group of stone pelters who have embraced this form of social terrorism as a result of immense political and intellectual support in the Valley.

That the politicians and intellectuals, known for justifying stone pelting as “our only tool of resistance against the state repression”, have been isolated by the people at large is evident from the fact that nobody in Kashmir has accepted Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s initial suggestion of Sheikh’s death in ‘firing’. A day before Mr Geelani’s visit to the bereaved family, Hurriyat (G) spokesman, Ayyaz Akbar, had quoted “people who performed Sheikh’s funeral rituals” as having spotted “gunshot wounds” on the civilian’s body.

When the brutal killing refused to pass off as a death in firing---which is conveniently attributed to Police or CRPF in Kashmir---Geelani swerved to safety and asserted that “some black sheep” had intruded into ranks of the pro-Azadi demonstrators. Identical reactions poured in from Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other “pro-freedom leaders”. As that too failed to click and even the ideologically paralyzed National Conference (NC) organized its maiden show in Srinagar Civil Lines with hardcore statements and slogans against the stone pelters and their political godfathers, Geelani was quick to withdraw his support to this anarchical form of ‘resistance’. Addressing his followers in Sopore, he even advised the demonstrators not to shout anti-India slogans.

This kind of acrobatics used to be characteristic of the state actors whenever armed forces or their locally raised counter-insurgents killed civilians or militants in fake encounters in the Valley several years ago.

In 2009-2010, Geelani had emerged as the biggest supporter of stone pelting with his stylish argument. “This is not good but these boys feel that this is our only tool of resistance against the state repression”, hardliner separatist leader had invariably said in his statements. His first volte face came a day after an eleven-day-old infant was killed by stone pelters in the lap of his mother in Baramulla.

Some of the mainstream political parties, also known for their encouragement to the stone pelting crowds, shot off a new theory. In a subtle categorization of “good stone pelters” and “bad stone pelters”, on the pattern of “good terrorists” and “bad terrorists”, they began alleging that the NC-led government had raised a “sarkari brigade of the stone pelters---Ikhwanis”.

As the Baramulla tragedy faded into memory, quite a number of the Valley’s politicians---pro-Azadi as well as pro-India---began lamenting that the “alienated youth” had no other way of asserting themselves against the “state repression”. In a lengthy debate, that included the world’s first ever conference on stone pelting, intelligentsia in Srinagar took pride to justify the lawless shows with subjective reference to religious history and jurisprudence. While the photo captions in media glorified the stone pelters as ‘brave hearts”, editorial comments and opinion articles---some of them drafted in luxury hotels---claimed that freedom thinktanks like Edward Said had had the privilege of performing stone pelting.

Death of the middle-aged civilian of Nattipora seems to have changed everything. In contrast to what was initially being projected as “a stray stone”, the driver and the conductor of the minibus stated on camera that there was neither any clash between demonstrators and Police nor any deployment of Police or paramilitary forces when the vehicle was intercepted by an unruly group of eight to nine men. According to them, one person came close to the slowing vehicle with a weighty stone in his two hands and threw it on a windshield with full force. It shattered the glass and crushed the poor commuter’s head, leading to his death on way to hospital. That is what deflated the balloons of “gunshot” (from Police/CRPF) and “a stray stone” (from the angry youth clashing with Police/CRPF).

Sheikh’s death by a gunshot wound, or even Police or paramilitary presence 500 yards away, would have undoubtedly led to massive demonstrations and days of continuous shutdown in Valley.

Statements of the SKIMS Medical Superintendent, Dr Syed Amin Tabish, corroborated by a team of Kashmiri Muslim doctors who conducted Sheikh’s post mortem, not only prompted the paralyzed NC to stage its first demonstration against the menace of stone pelting but also forced a number of the stanch supporters of the stone pelting in media and politics to change the tack. For them, brave hearts have suddenly turned into hooligans.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Delhi terror operative Umar Zargar held in Srinagar

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 02: Resident of Nawab Bazar area of downtown Srinagar, Umar Zargar, has been arrested by Police and subjected to sustained interrogation for his alleged involvement in planning and executing terrorist strikes for Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba in different places of New Delhi. Having intercepted certain e-mail communications, in which Zargar had been assigned a key role, intelligence and security agencies of a number of foreign countries, particularly United States of America, had sounded a red alert and advised their citizens to stop movement in a number of the Indian cities last month.

Authoritative sources revealed to Early Times that Umar Zargar had been picked up by District Police Srinagar on specific inputs from national and foreign intelligence agencies. His e-mail IDs and mobile phones had been identified and both were being scanned on the basis of his revelations made during the course of his sustained interrogation. Sources said that entire criminal activity of the accused would be investigated in Srinagar but they did not rule out his shifting to New Delhi for focused interrogation by national and foreign agencies.

Sources said that the sleuths were busy with the process of seizing Zargar’s laptop and two more of his mobile phones. They said that entire call detail records of the telephones used by Zargar were being tracked to identify others in his network. Sources said that Zargar’s key handler was a Pakistani national whose identity was being ascertained and he was likely to be arrested by FBI through Pakistani security agencies and Police as in certain cases US nationals seemed to be the priority targets than the Indian nationals.

Sources said that Zargar was supposed to have received an explosive consignment in Srinagar last month. However, he could not be contacted by his handlers as he had been found involved in some incidents of stone pelting and put in detention from April 23 to April 26. For unknown reasons, Police had set him free on April 26th.

The alerts as regards the terror strikes in New Delhi have come from the intelligence agencies of the countries like US, UK, Australia and Canada. The US has warned its citizens in an advisory of "imminent" strike in the capital. It has also asked Americans to avoid markets like Sarojini Nagar, Karol Bagh and Greater Kailash.
Intelligence agencies had alerted the Centre of a possible terror strike on Saturday. Sources said the sustained interrogation of the captured youth was on and some vital clues were expected at his instance.
Sources the terror threat in Delhi was aimed at disrupting the Commonwealth Games in Delhi later this year. Emails received by sports bodies in UK, Canada and Australia had warned them not to send athletes to Delhi for the games. These emails had been traced to servers in Pakistan, the sources added.
Sources say terrorists are planning to target Commonwealth Games infrastructure, participants and organisers ahead of the Games.There was credible intelligence that at least three terror modules had been asked to trigger attacks in Delhi.


Minister, NC leaders on streets ask CM to rein in killers, stone pelters

NC’s theatre of the absurd in Srinagar after Omar’s departure to overseas

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 2: For the first time in the last 16 months of the coalition government, ruling National Conference (NC) today organized a rally against the menace of stone pelting in Kashmir valley in which the party leaders, including a junior Minister, called upon Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to rein in the hooligans and bring to justice everybody involved in the killing a civilian in Batmaloo area on Friday last. Making frontal attacks on hardline separatists, particularly Syed Ali Shah Geelani, NC’s leaders organized the rally at a time when Chief Minister was on a foreign tour but the party patron, Dr Farooq Abdullah, was present in the summer capital.

‘Qatiloon kau pesh karau’ (get the killers arrested) was the main slogan of the NC leaders who gathered at the party headquarters of Nawai-e-Subah and marched to Regal Chowk on the fashionable Residency Road at 1030 hours. Nearly 2,000 of the NC activists were led by Kashmir Province president, Ali Mohammad Dar, MLAs and former Ministers, Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamaal and Chowdhary Mohammad Ramzan, MLA Zadibal, Peer Afaq Ahmed, Sheikh Ghulam Ahmed Saloora as also MLA Amirakadal, Nasir Aslam Wani, who also happens to be Minister of State for Tourism and Urban Development. They urged their own government to strike on the stone pelters who had killed a 45-year-old civilian, Shafeeq Ahmed Shah of Nattipora, by crushing his head in a minibus with a weighty stone on Friday.

Even as authoritative sources today revealed to Early Times that two of the lead hooligans had been identified---one hiding in Batmaloo with his cellphone switched off and another’s mobile phone signals indicating his location in Pattan area of Baramulla district---Police had not made any arrests till late tonight. Sources said that a murder case has been registered at Police Station Batmaloo and efforts were strenuously underway to get the killers arrested.

High-pitch slogans shouted by the NC workers and carried on placards condemned those indulging in stone pelting and attempting to spoil a bustling tourist season in the Valley. The NC activists and leaders were unequivocally critical of the hardline separatist leaders, particularly Syed Ali Shah Geelani, as also pro-anarchy leaders of some mainstream political parties. They asserted that calls of shutdown after shutdown from certain separatist leaders were ruining Kashmir’s economy and perpetuating dark days in the conflict riddled state.

Since none other than Chief Minister happens to be the Home Minister and the man responsible for bringing the killers to justice, slogans of the participants of the rally were interestingly directed on Omar Abdullah. Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, is currently on a private foreign tour with his family. Party’s patron and former Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is also Minister of New and Renewable Energy in the federal Cabinet, was present in Srinagar since yesterday. After the rally concluded, Dr Abdullah appeared at the ailing NC General Secretary Sheikh Nazir’s residence to enquire about his health before leaving for New Delhi in the afternoon.

Ali Mohammad Dar, Nasir Aslam Wani, Dr Mustafa Kamal and Chowdhary Mohammad Ramzan addressed the rally at Regal Chowk, a business hub in Civil Lines.

NC’s rally with hardcore slogans and speeches against the ‘disruptionists’ came amid exchange of heated statements between two key confidantes of the former Chief Minister, namely Mohammad Shafi Uri and Sharief-ud-din Shariq, and the hardline Hurriyat Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Even as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is widely perceived to be in favour of adopting a soft stance vis-à-vis separatists—including stone pelters and their godfathers---Dr Abdullah has reportedly triggered off a campaign through statements of his senior colleagues against Geelani since last fortnight.