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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Militants mulling ban on recruitment of SCs in Valley

Omar calls separatists ‘merchants of death’, Geelani hits back on Sheikh dynasty

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 13: With the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the secessionist Hurriyat Conference yet again creating the atmosphere of regional and communal polarization over reservation of 8 percent vacancies for the Scheduled Castes (SCs), militants are considering ‘blanket ban’ on recruitment of all non-Kashmiris in government service in Kashmir valley.

Authoritative sources disclosed to Early Times that a Pakistan-based militant alliance was seriously considering to impose ‘blanket ban’ on recruitment of the SC candidates in all state government services in Kashmir valley. This, according to sources, was likely to be proclaimed with the argument that reservation of 8 percent vacancies in all ten districts of the Muslim-dominated Kashmir province could bring about a demographic change in the Valley. As and when announced, this diktat would mean ‘ban’ on recruitment of SC candidates at both, district as well as divisional level, as none of them would ordinarily muster courage to seek a government job against the quota of 8 percent reserved for them in a lately enacted legislation in the Assembly.

The militant alliance, according to sources, was planning a riding on a public sentiment that was currently being made wider and popular by almost all the separatist as well as mainstream political parties---excluding the ruling coalition partners of NC and Congress---in Kashmir valley. A number of PDP and Hurriyat leaders, besides High Court Bar Association, have been mobilizing cadres to corner the ruling coalition over reservation of 8 percent of the government jobs in the Muslim-dominated valley for the SC candidates who were nearly all Hindus and belonging to Jammu province. Sources said that some government agencies had intercepted “dangerous communication” between Muzaffarabad-based guerrillas and Srinagar-based separatist leaders.

From PDP stalwart Muzaffar Hussain Baig to the Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a large number of Kashmiri politicians have been critical of the reservation and alleged that it had been made in the wake of NC’s “surrender” before some Hindu extremist forces. At a news conference, Geelani today described NC, Congress and RSS as “friendlies”. He alleged that both reservation for SCs in Kashmir, as well as the current census operation being conducted by the Union Home Ministry, were aimed at changing the Valley’s demography in favour of the minority community.

Geelani read out statistics to establish that percentage of Muslims in Jammu division had drastically reduced in the last 60 years with regard to total population of the province. According to him, percentage of non-Muslims had been shown to have remarkably increased as compared to Muslims in Kashmir valley inspite of mass migration of Kashmiri Pants in 1989-90. He asserted that non-Kashmiris and non-Muslim labours, particularly from Bihar, Rajasthan, West Bengal, were being pushed into the Valley, “under a conspiracy” by the Government of India with the support of the state rulers. According to him, it was all “part of a conspiracy to change the state’s--- particularly the Valley’s--- demographic character.

Even as National Conference President and Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, today reiterated at a rally of the employees of Rural Development Department that the separatist leaders, according to him, promoting stone pelting and disruption of tourism and education, were “merchants of death”, Geelani hit back on the Sheikh dynasty at his news conference. He ridiculed that a family of the Valley’s secular rulers had become a zoo of the members of Sikhs, Hindus and Christians. “They want to uproot our religious basis and turn entire Kashmir into a similar mosaic”, Geelani said.

In contrast to a statement from Hurriyat (Mirwaiz), in which an advocate had asked the Kashmiri Muslim government employees to themselves handle the entire census operation, Geelani asked the government employees to stay away from it.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Some of J&K politicians are surviving on bloodshed: Omar

‘Stone pelting will fail to take away an inch of Kashmir’s land’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, May 11: Sensing disillusionment among the ruling National Conference (NC) cadres over his questionable malleability towards hardliners, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today spent a couple of hours with his party workers and made an attempt to boost their morale. In sharp contrast to his actions and statements of moderation for 16 months, Omar publicly castigated NC’s detractors in separatist as well as mainstream politics as the “politicians surviving on bloodshed” and asserted that the menace of stone pelting would never take away an inch of Jammu & Kashmir state’s land.

Addressing a gathering of his followers after inaugurating a community facility centre at Nawpora in downtown locality of Nawpora, Omar sounded bitterly critical of the hardliners in separatist as well as mainstream politics. Calling the NC detractors as the “politicians surviving on bloodshed”, Chief Minister asserted that neither the stone pelting nor some politicians’ encouragement to this anarchical form of demonstration would succeed in seceding an inch of Jammu and Kashmir state’s land. He said that like the guns and grenades in the last 20 years, stone pelting was destined to fail. “Guns and grenades have failed to take away an inch of our land in the last 20 years. Stone pelting, even if practiced in the next 20 years, would similarly fail to achieve anything”, Omar asserted.

He said that some of Jammu & Kashmir’s politicians, thriving on bloodshed, mayhem and miseries of people, were leaving no stone unturned in perpetuating an atmosphere of turbulence as, according to him, they had developed huge vested interest in the turmoil. “They want to put the society in economic distress, make people jobless and set in retrogress in all fields to satisfy their mindset while we are determined to defeat them by bringing about developmental revolution, provide jobs to youth, catapult economy and help resolve political issues in the political arena in a peaceful and conducive atmosphere through sustained dialogue”, he said without naming any of the politicians.

Omar said that the NC founder and his grandfather, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, had preferred personal suffering rather than subjecting the poor people of Jammu & Kashmir to hardships, miseries and atrocities. “Sher-e-Kashmir and his colleagues remained behind the bars and faced wrath of then autocracy and the authorities at the helm but safeguarded the lives and dignity of the common masses”, he said, adding that present day separatist leadership was exposing hapless people to bullets while enjoying to satisfy its vested interests.

Omar said that when Sheikh Abdullah was advised by certain quarters to pick up the gun for giving momentum to his struggle, he told them bluntly that it was absurd as none of his owns sons was ready to join a militia. According to him, Sheikh made it unmistakably clear that the children of others could not be pushed to graveyards. “This should be the lesson for all those who instigate the sons of poor people for violence and bloodshed while for themselves playing politics on dead bodies and miseries of people”, he added.
He asserted that the practice of stone pelting would only hamper socio-economic development and set in decay in the state’s fragile society. “How could our children achieve excellence and higher goals in education? How could our artisans, petty shopkeepers, labours, taxi wallas and small traders earn their bread and butter when they were forced to stay indoors due to shutdown and stone pelting every next day?”, he asked.
For the first time in the last over one year, Omar was enthusiastically treated to a warm welcome by his followers and party workers who included a number of women showering flower petals and sweats, putting garlands in his neck and singing ‘wanwun’---welcome songs in Kashmiri.

Facing hard-hitting attacks from some of the Opposition leaders---notably Hurriyat (G) Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Dukhtaraan-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi and PDP President Mehbooba Mufti---NC has avoided to react sharply until last month when the party stalwarts like Mohammad Shafi of Uri and Sharief-ud-din Shariq took Geelani and the stone pelting groups head on. NC’s maiden rally to castigate Geelani and the stone pelting groups came out from the party headquarters of Nawai-e-Subah last fortnight and concluded with Dr Mustafa Kamal’s hardcore criticism of Geelani, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and others over their sustained tirade against Sheikh Abdullah and his party.

According to well placed sources in the party, NC cadres have nourished disillusionment to the extent that they have been openly assailing Chief Minister for his “softness and passivity” he, according to them, has adopted for “ruffians and anarchists” since the day he assumed power in January last year.
Meanwhile, Anantnag Bar Association has strongly condemned the attack of a group of stone pelting youth last evening on a cavalcade of judges who included Principal District & Sessions Judge, Sheikh Altaf Hussain, Sub Judge Bijbehara Gowhar Majeed Dalal and Mobile Magistrate, Mohammad Ashraf Bhat. The cavalcade had been subjected to stone pelting in Ananatnag township while it was returning from an official function at Wailoo in Kokernag. Bar called for an inquiry into the attack of the judges and alleged that it was an attempt to draw a wedge between the Bar and judiciary. It asked Police to arrest the real culprits rather than trying its hands on the people not involved in it.