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Friday, August 20, 2010

2 more killed as crowds continue attacks on camps

30,000 Muslims attend Friday prayers at Hazratbal shrine

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 20: With two more fatal casualties in Sopore and Bijbehara towns, number of the civilian demonstrators killed in different incidents of clashes with Police and CRPF since June 11th has reached 60. Even as the crowds continued demonstrations and attacks on Police stations and camps at several places in the Valley, authorities succeeded to maintain control on the supersensitive Hazratbal shrine where around 30,000 devout Muslims today participated in the afternoon prayers on occasion of second Friday of the holy month of Ramazan.

Informed sources told early Times that one of the youngsters wounded in last night’s CRPF firing at Chinkipora, Sopore, succumbed to injuries at SKIMS in the wee hours today. He was identified as 18-year-old Mudassar Nazir Hajam S/o Nazir Ahmed Hajam. As already reported in this newspaper, a fierce clash had taken place between a group of youth and CRPF when the paramilitaries were withdrawing at the end of the day at Chinkipora in Sopore. One Assistant Commandant of CRPF 177 Bn, S K Dass, got critically injured when someone hurled a broken bottle of glass on his neck. In retaliation, CRPF opened fire, causing injuries to at least two of the civilians. One of them, namely Mudassar Nazir, later died at SKIMS.

However, some of the residents insisted that Mudassar Nazir was hit over one Kilometer away at Hajam Mohalla, in close vicinity of the Police Station. On their complaint, Police Station of Sopore today filed a murder case under section 302 RPC against the men of CRPF 177 Bn. CRPF spokesman, Prabhakar Tripathi, maintained that only one incident occurred in Sopore last evening. He claimed that a violent crowd attacked the CRPF party, which had also some men from J&K Police, at Chinkipora. He asserted that CRPF fired some rubber bullets only in defence.

Reports said that groups of youngsters today violated declared and undeclared curfew restrictions in Sopore, Baramulla and Handwara towns and they engaged CRPF and Police in intermittent clashes. A number of people from both sides are said to have sustained injuries in these clashes.

Sources said that another fierce clash took place between CRPF/Police and demonstrators at Bijbehara, on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway in the forenoon today. Residents said that CRPF thrashed pedestrians and pelted stones on the vehicles plying on the highway. They said that it provoked hundreds of local people who took to the streets and clashed with forces and Police. It was during these clashes that CRPF opened fire. A local shopkeeper, 25-year-old Nazir Ahmed Wani S/o Abdul Rehman Wani of Mohalla Pir Shah, got killed and at least three others sustained injuries.

People returning from Wani’s funeral also attacked the residential house of local National Conference leader, Ghulam Qadir Tak. Police guards on duty opened fire and the crowds dispersed. Damage was caused to Tak’s house. Sources said that the angry crowds set on fire three vehicles and a motorcycle. They also attempted to torch Police Station and the office of Sub Divisional Police Officer. Curfew was imposed on the township and vehicular traffic on way from Jammu to Srinagar was stopped at Banihal under orders of DIG South Kashmir, Shafaqat Wattali. It had not resumed onward movement till late this evening.

Reports said that the unruly crowds staged demonstrations and attacked camps and CRPF bunkers at several places. One CRPF bunker was attacked near Islamia College in Srinagar. In addition to Police Stations at Sopore and Bijbehara, crowds also attacked DC’s office at Shopian. Yet another group of violent youth attacked the CRPF-guarded cash carriage of J&K Bank at Kralpora on Srinagar-Chadoura Road. CRPF guards opened fire and dispersed the mob.

Enjoying a day’s relaxation in Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led Hurriyat’s shutdown, people in most of the localities today attended businesses and government offices. Reports said that massive traffic jams choked the movement of vehicles for hours. Still, curfew continued to be in forces in certain downtown localities in Srinagar besides a few towns.

Meanwhile, sources said that the authorities succeeded in maintaining control of the much revered Hazratbal shrine where, amid considerable uncertainty and apprehensions of trouble, nearly 30,000 Muslims participated in the Friday afternoon prayers. Reports said that there was no disturbance. One of the Police companies guarding the shrine since long has been replaced on the peoples’ demand by a fresh company of police.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Clash at Hazratbal shrine despite Govt’s surrender
33 injured in fierce clash at Soura shrine; JKP-CRPF post removed

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 19: Raising questions over Omar Abdullah government’s competence of holding custody of Kashmir’s revered shrines, a group of people today clashed with Police and Auqaf authorities at Hazratbal even after the administration’s surrender and replacement of the Police deployment. Sixteen civilians and seventeen Police and CRPF personnel sustained injuries in another clash at Janab Sahib Soura. Amid shutdown, demonstrators clashed with security forces at several places including at Seelu in Sopore where at least five civilians and a CRPF soldier sustained injuries.

Daily prayers have not been held at Kashmir’s most revered shrine of Hazratbal since Friday last when a group of people had clashed with Police, captured the public address system and shouted pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans. Residents had later decided not to participate in the mass prayers until the J&K Armed Police company, guarding the shrine, was removed completely. Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Meraj Ahmed Kakroo, in coordination with SSP Srinagar, Syed Ashiq Hussain Bukhari, and Chief Executive of Muslim Auqaf Trust, Prof M Y Qadiri, had yesterday made an agreement with the residents. The shrine premises were accordingly scheduled to be washed jointly by residents and Auqaf authorities, following which prayers were to be conducted and the JKAP company was to be replaced.

DC Srinagar told Early Times that when the residents and the Auqaf officials were completing the ‘Gusul’ at the shrine, two youth came shouting down from a balcony with the claim that two playing cards had been found on the pulpit. They later created a scene and clashed with Police. He said that the situation was tense but brought under control.

Informed sources added that a group of youngsters shouted anti-Police, anti-India, pro-Azadi and pro-Islam slogans and launched a fierce attack on the Police party outside. SHO Nageen was severely manhandled and beaten up. Police resorted to firing in the air when the Inspector was likely to be lynched by the crowd.

SP Hazratbal, Maqsood-u-Zaman, spoke to Early Times from the shrine late this evening. He said that Police did not use aggressive force and offered to be at the receiving end with the apprehension that a clash would cast a negative effect on the atmosphere at the revered place of worship. He said that the SHO was rescued after he sustained minor injuries. He said that the ‘Gusul’ was completed inspite of the disruption and the evening prayers were also conducted there. Even as most of the residents stood away “for fear of hooligans”, the Auqaf authorities and many others, according to him, participated in the prayers. He said that under the agreement with the residents, he was well in the process of replacing the shrine deployment with a new company of JKAP 8th Bn. However, some residents said over telephone that the youth, who created a scene, did not leave until they locked entire shrine premises.

In a statement this evening, Dukhtaraan-e-Millat Chairperson, Asiya Andrabi, said that the shrine would remain “continuously locked” till the government withdrew its Police and forces from Hazratbal completely. She said that some “government agents” entered the shrine to open the mosque forcibly but the people around attacked the Police and dragged everybody out after finding playing cards “and other objectionable things”. She asserted that the shrine and mosque would remain locked until the forces withdrew fully from the revered place of worship.

Another revered shrine, Janab Sahib Soura, remained scene of fierce clashes between residents and Police/CRPF for about 24 hours since last evening. Holy relics of Prophet Mohammad are preserved at Hazratbal and Soura shrines where large prayer congregations take place on all auspicious days of the Islamic calendar, particularly the holy month of Ramazan.

Informed sources said that hundreds of residents from different localities of Soura-Anchar belt shouted pro-Azadi, pro-Islam and anti-India slogans and launched intermittent attacks on a CRPF-Police platoon headquarters outside Janab Sahib Soura from evening to the midnight last. In the forenoon today, a 2,000-strong crowd launched another attack on the camp of CRPF 158 Bn. Residents, however, insisted that the clash occurred after CRPF and Police trooped into houses, roughed up inmates and smashed window panes.

Sources said that during the fierce daytime clash, the crowds dismantled CRPF bunkers and resorted to heavy stone pelting on the camp. They also cordoned a bullet-proof bunker and caused extensive damage to the carriage. During this clash, CRPF opened fire that left at least four civilians injured. Sources said that 12 more civilians besides 12 CRPF and 5 JKP personnel also sustained injuries in the daylong clashes at Janab Sahib. Residents alleged that CRPF barged into residential houses and opened indiscriminate gunfire on inmates, causing gunshot wounds to three members of a particular family.

CRPF spokesman and Commanding Officer of 117 Bn, Prabhakar Tripathi, told Early Times that the unruly mob dismantled several bunkers and structures and also caused considerable damage to a bullet-proof bunker. He said that CRPF opened fire in order to rescue the men in the bunker. According to him, three of the demonstrators sustained injuries in the shootout and they were rushed to the nearby SKIMS. He said that 12 CRPF men besides 5 Police personnel also sustained injuries in today’s clashes at Soura. “We are vacating the area and withdrawing the CRPF-Police camp permanently tonight”, he said.

Medical Superintendent at SKIMS, Dr Syed Amin Tabish, said that four persons with firearm injuries and 12 others with other types of injuries from Soura were admitted to SKIMS. Three of them belonged to one family. He said that Habibullah Tiploo was admitted with gunshot wound in his chest, his daughter Sumaira with gunshot wounds in her chest and abdomen and another member of the family, namely Fatima, with a gunshot injury in her leg. He said that Sumaira was critical but all the four were reported as stable late tonight. He said that one person with gunshot injuries came in from Sopore.

Sources in North Kashmir said that a crowd attacked a CRPF party while it was withdrawing from daylong deployment at Chinkipora in outskirts of Sopore this evening. Assistant Commandant of CRPF 177 Bn, S K Dass, who was leading the party, was severely injured when someone hurled a broken bottle on his neck. Sources said that at least four of the demonstrators also sustained injuries in the retaliatory action.

Earlier today, sources said, a thick crowd attacked a CRPF camp at Seelu on Sopore-Kupwara Road. This came after at least four of similar attacks on the armed forces camps at Seelu in the last ten days. One CRPF soldier broke his jaw when he was hit in his mouth. Sources said that at least one civilian sustained gunshot wounds and over a dozen others got injured in stone pelting and stampede.

Amid near-total shutdown on the call of Hurriyat Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, besides declared and undeclared curfew in several urban localities, including downtown Srinagar, an 8-year-old boy, namely Meelad Ahmed Dar S/o Mohammad Amin Dar R/o Wanpora Khudwani, Kulgam, succumbed to injuries at a hospital today. He had got critically injuries during a fierce clash of demonstrators and CRPF in his locality on August 14th.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Incredible: Shoe-thrower was seated in Home Secretary’s chair

IG security was out in Leh, No DIG posted after Wattali’s transfer to Anantnag

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 18: Suspended head constable, Abdul Ahad Jan, who attracted world attention by hurling his shoe on Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, on the Indian Independence Day here on August 15th, has been found seated in the chair reserved for the state Home Secretary Tashi Dorjay in the VIP Pavilion. Dorjay, who was late in his arrival by a couple of minutes, consequently occupied an absentee official’s seat in a different row.

Authoritative sources investigating a security lapse, unparalleled in the insurgency ridden state’s history, revealed to Early Times that the shoe-thrower had not only managed to accommodate himself in the VVIP closure but had also occupied the Home Secretary’s seat. Until Aug 17th, Dorjay remained posted as Secretary in the Home Department that has entire administrative control of J&K Police and all of his organizations, including Security and CID. Senior IAS officer, Sameul Varghese, holding the rank of Financial Commissioner (equivalent to Chief Secretary), has been functioning on the top most position in Home Department.

Investigators have learned in preliminary quizzing of some officials on duty and also some guests of the I-Day event that Jan reached the VVIP closure just three minutes before Chief Minister’s arrival and took a seat in the fourth row just behind senior IAS and IPS officers and a number of Ministers, MLAs, MLCs and judges of J&K High Court. At least six middle and junior rung officials from General Administration Department and Divisional Commissioner’s office were present on duty for proper seating arrangement of the VVIP and VIP guests. Records indicate that four spotters in civvies from CID were also present for identification of the guests.

Over a dozen personnel from Security Wing were additionally posted to ensure that there was no violation of the security blue book rules. While a CCTV arrangement was also in place, central and state intelligence and security agencies had installed some still and video cameras for complete recording of the proceedings. However, one of the premier central agency’s camera failed to work at the eleventh hour. Footage was later acquired from a private television channel.

Television footage shows Jan taking a seat in the left of Director Hospitality & Protocol, Mr Jamwal. He, later, shifts to Mr Jamwal’s right hand side and takes a seat reserved by name for the state Home Secretary. Surprisingly, nobody either questions or escorts Jan to the seat. Dorjay reaches the closure a minute later and adjusts himself in a vacant chair.

On Tuesday, Cabinet shifted Dorjay as Secretary to Government Administrative Reforms & Inspections Department. Official sources, however, clarified that his shifting was in no way related to the security lapse of Aug 15th. “He was earlier Secretary in Home Department and has been elevated now to the rank of a full-fledged administrative Secretary”, a senior bureaucratic source clarified.

With different people on different positions passing the buck of the I-Day security lapse, it has been learned by this newspaper that the seniormost official, IGP Security Ram Lubhaya, had left for Leh on August 13th to assist SSG in making security arrangements for the visits of AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi followed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Taking things lightly around I-Day, year’s second highest threatened event in Kashmir since 1990, Omar Abdullah’s government had not posted anybody as DIG Security after Mr Shafqat Wattali was shifted to the executive Police and appointed as DIG South Kashmir in July. SP Security, Rafeequl Hassan, happened to be the senior most official looking after security arrangements for all 10 chief guests (Ministers) of the I-Day function in the Valley.

Militants have fired rifle grenades and rockets on some occasion on I-Day towards Bakhshi Memorial Sports Stadium from 1990 but these failed to hit the target and cause any damage. Security forces also recovered IED and explosive material in close vicinity of the venue around the I-Day on a couple of occasions. Militants succeeded in causing an IED blast in close vicinity of the stadium, on the highest protected road five years ago. That too failed to cause damage as the explosion occurred over an hour after the VIP cavalcade returned.

First and the last subversive incident, in which a number of schoolchildren sustained injuries, took place five years before militancy erupted in 1989-90, when an underground group caused a blast of minor intensity well on the main entrance of Bakhshi Stadium. Government had blamed and prosecuted then Peoples League supremo Shabir Shah for the explosion.

Shoe-thrower says DIG asked him to name Geelani, Mufti

After Govt’s send off at PCR, Jan gets separatists’ reception in Bandipore

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 18: Shoe-throwing celebrity and suspended Police official, head constable Abdul Ahad Jan, has made a turnabout and praised hardliner separatist Syed Ali Shah Gelani, as also his political cause, a day after his meeting with Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, here on Tuesday. This, within hours of his getting a warm send-off from Chief Minister’s Advisor, Mubarak Gul, at Police Control Room in the capital city today.

Obviously on Mr Abdullah’s direction, senior National Conference leader and Advisor to Chief Minister, Mubarak Gul, today handed over 53-year-old Abdul Ahad Jan to his family members and relatives at Police Hospital on the PCR premises.

“A warm send off was given to the suspended Head Constable, Mr. Abdul Ahad Jan at Police Control Room here. Advisor to Chief Minister, Mr. Mubarak Gul saw him off in presence of police officers and kith and kin of Ahad Jan. Ahad Jan was handed over to his family members and other relatives, who had turned up to receive him following the Chief Minister’s decision to pardon Ahad Jan and withdraw case against him”, an official press release from the state government said.

It added: “Earlier, the Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah had called Mr. Jan to his residence the other day where after hearing him he had directed the police authorities to set him free. The Chief Minister’s magnanimous gesture is in sync with the holy month of Ramzan which teaches us to be compassionate, righteous and forgiving. Ahad Jan on the occasion praised the government and shouted slogans in favour of government and police. He was in high spirits and retentive of his impudent action”.

However, informed sources in North Kashmir added that over two hundred people gathered around Jan’s Tata Sumo when he was being examined by doctors at Sub District Hospital of Hajjan. On sighting him emerge from the hospital, they shouted slogans in his favour and Azadi while hailing him as a “great hero” of the Kashmir nation.

Jan was mounted on the top of Tata Sumo and carried all the way to his home in Ajas village of Bandipore. Reports said that the crowd swelled to around 2,000. He was treated to a hero’s welcome by enthusiastic youngsters who shouted pro-Azadi, pro-Islam and anti-India slogans. They also chanted” “teri jaan, meri jaan, Ahad Jan, Ahad Jan’.

Sources said that Jan was made to address the gathering. In contrast to his conversation with Omar Abdullah in Srinagar on Tuesday, Jan told the gathering that he had thrown his shoe on the Indian Parliament which had remained a mute spectator to “bloodshed and civilian killings by armed forces” in Kashmir. He said that he was moved by the “sighs and sobs of Kashmiri mothers” whose young sons had been killed by forces in the last two months and that was the impulse that drove him to throw a shoe at the I-Day event in Srinagar.

He praised separatist leaders, namely Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Asiya Andrabi and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and claimed that he was supportive of their cause of “Kashmir’s freedom from India”. He expressed his gratitude to these leaders and claimed that they had done a lot to get him released. He also claimed that he had already resigned his job in Police and would, now on, active participate in the separatist movement.

In a significant development, Jan claimed that a senior officer of the rank of DIG had asked him to name hardliner Hurriyat Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani or PDP patriarch, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, as instigators behind the shoe-throwing act but he declined to take the offer. He claimed that during his interrogation, he was promised elevation to the rank of Dy SP if he agreed to act according to the government’s directions. He said that he even turned down Chief Minister’s offer of sending him back to his family in a state helicopter and preferred to travel in a Tata Sumo like any ordinary Kashmiri.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Shoe-throwing ‘hero’ disappoints separatists, gets released after meeting with CM

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 17: Suspended head constable, Abdul Ahad Jan, who had become a hero among separatists over his audacity of hurling a shoe angrily on Mr Omar Abdullah, has been released after he met Chief Minister at his Gupkar Road residence today. This anti-climax of 48-hour-long drama has made an unprecedented excitement among Kashmiri separatists shortlived.

Informed sources told Early Times that under treatment and detention at Police Hospital Srinagar, Abdul Ahad Jan expressed the desire of meeting with Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, in order to express his remorse on the show-throwing incident of August 15th. Jan had hurled a shoe towards Chief Minister and Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda, when Mr Abdullah was taking salute on the Independence Day ceremonial parade after unfurling the Tricolour. He had also yelled a pro-freedom slogan.

Sources said that Jan’s desire was communicated to Chief Minister who lost no time to send back his positive signal. Thereupon, a Police team, led by IGP Kashmir, Farooq Ahmed, escorted Jan to CM’s Gupkar Road residence. In his 20-minmute-long conversation, he was extremely remorseful on his audacious act but sought to make it clear that his “real target” was DGP Kuldeep Khoda. He, according to sources, narrated how he had been “brave and dutiful” throughout his 34-year-long service career in Police but his promotion prospects had been always marred.

He narrated how he had evacuated then DGP, J N Saxena, and other injured officials of top rungs of J&K Police when militants of Hizbul Mujahideen had caused one of the most successful IED blasts in which Police Headquarters had suffered extensive damage and a number of senior officers had sustained injuries, on January 25th in 1992. While he had been denied promotion and rewards on account of his meritorious work, he said that those doing nothing had been promoted by J&K Police officials. He complained to Chief Minister that J&K Police officials had done “grave injustices” to him and he had been emotionally disturbed beyond imagination.

Jan, significantly, told Chief Minister that all through his life he and his family in Ajas village of Bandipore had been stanch supporters of National Conference. Tears rolled down his cheeks on a couple of occasions when Jan was in conversation with Chief Minister. Mr Abdullah told him that he need not to worry on the ugly incident as he had understood his agony and had already directed Police to withdraw Sunday’s criminal matter and release him unconditionally, more so in honour of the holy month of Ramazan.

Reached over telephone for his comments on today’s dramatic development, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah told this correspondent that he had directed Police to withdraw Aug 15th FIR, registered with Police Station Shergarhi, and release him at once. He clarified that other FIRs against Jan would stand and the investigations would be carried out on merits. “He said that his anger was against J&K Police which, he believed, had been unfair to him”, Chief Minister said. “He told me that not only had his promotions been derailed but also the files had been misplaced by Police officials”.

Later, a contrite Jan was escorted back to Police Hospital. Hospital sources said that he was free to go back to his home but had expressed his desire to take counseling at the hospital’s de-addiction centre for a few days.

Interestingly, Jan’s audacious act had won him laurels among the separatist circles who thronged his home in large numbers and celebrated the insult he had done to CM and DGP by throwing his shoe and shouting pro-Azadi slogan.

Dukhtaraan-e-Millat Chairperson, Asia Andrabi, had immediately declared Jan a “great freedom fighter” and in recognition of his “extraordinary service to the freedom struggle” announced a gallantry award, Tamga-e-Shujaat-e-Imani, in his favour. Separatist hardliner and Chairman of Hurriyat, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, had also declared Jan as a hero in his statement. Besides, Kashmir’s pro-Azadi individuals and groups had projected Jan as an icon of bravery and freedom struggle on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and the free-for-all broadcast station YouTube.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Security lapse

Cop hurls shoe on CM at stadium, 15 suspended
Shoe-thrower critical at SKIMS after severe beating by SSG; Govt suspects politician’s hand

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 15: In a major security lapse, a suspended head constable of Jammu & Kashmir Police today attacked Chief Minister Omar Abdullah with his shoes on occasion of the ceremonial Independence Day parade at Bakhshi Memorial Sports Stadium. The shoe-thrower, who had managed to take seat among senior IAS and IPS officers in the VIP gallery, was captured and mercilessly beaten which led to his admission at SKIMS. Fifteen security officials of lower ranks have been placed under suspension even as the investigation into the security lapse is underway and Police claimed that the head constable of “criminal and dubious background” had revealed how a mainstream politician had facilitated his entry into the VIP gallery.

Eyewitnesses told Early Times that an I-Day ceremony guest, seated in 4th row of the VIP gallery in the Central Pavilion of Bakhshi Stadium, took out his shoe and hurled it on Chief Minister when Mr Omar Abdullah just reached the podium and began unfurling the Tricolour at 10.15 a.m. today. It, however, missed the intended target as well as Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda, who was at the ceremonial ritual beside chief guest and Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah. Thereupon the man in militant mood loudly shouted the slogan: “Weeee waaant freedom”. He was found to have reached the VIP pavilion alongwith a black piece of cloth which he perhaps intended to hoist to mark his anger---frustration, according to officials---against the Indian control over Jammu & Kashmir.

Even as the SSG personnel guarding the Chief Minister removed the shoe, part of police uniform, quickly with their feet in an attempt to hide it and play down the spectacle, DIG JP Singh, who was seated in the 5th row, jumped on the man and captured him before he could throw his next shoe. He was handed over to SSG personnel who immediately whisked him away to an undisclosed destination.

Chief Minister Omar Abdullah sought to play down the attack, first of its kind in Jammu & Kashmir. In his speech after concluding his salute and inspection of the ceremonial parade, he said that it was a benign form of protest and not harmful like stones. Nevertheless, his security guards mercilessly beat up the man to the extent that he began vomiting blood. Informed sources revealed to this newspaper that the shoe-thrower was rushed to Police Hospital where doctors examined him and referred him to SKIMS, Soura. He was identified as head constable Abdul Ahad Jan S/o Mohammad Dillawar Jan R/o Ajas Bandipore, presently posted in District Police Kulgam but under suspension since May this year.

Medical Superintendent at SKIMS, Dr Syed Amin Tabish, told Early Times late tonight that 50-year-old Abdul Ahad Jan was admitted to Accidents & Emergency Department of his hospital at 7.15 p.m. as a patient of accelerated hypertension. He said that there were no torture marks on his body and the patient was improving after necessary medical treatment. Yet another source at SKIMS, who examined Jan, said that his blood pressure was as high as 210/140 at the time of his observation on admission which ultimately came down to 170/130 at 10.00 p.m.

Sources said that Jan was under interrogation of a specially constituted team consisting of Dy SP, Sanjay Raina, of SOG Srinagar besides men from Security Wing and Intelligence Bureau. They said that the interrogators had failed to extort anything from Jan till late this evening as he was not in a position to make any statement and doctors had also advised against putting him under any further stress.

However, a statement issued from zonal headquarters of Kashmir Police said that Jan had revealed a mainstream politician’s involvement in facilitating his entry into the stadium and the VIP pavilion.

“During preliminary interrogation the suspended head constable Abdul Ahad Jan, who had hurled a shoe at the independence day function at Srinagar, revealed that he was approached by a political party leader. He also revealed that he used entry pass of the political party leader to gain entry into the venue”, read the Police statement issued late tonight.

“As has been reported earlier, Abdul Ahad Jan s/o Dillawar Jan r/o Ajas District Bandipora, a suspended Head Constable is reportedly mentally unsound and facing charges in a criminal case under FIR No:123 dated: May 21st 2010 registered against him in Police Station Parimpora. He was arrested by Parimpora Police in this case and was later bailed out by the Court. He was suspended for his criminal activities vide Kulgam Police order No: 360 dated: May 22, 2010.The suspended head Constable was earlier arrested in a robbery case registered in police station Shergarhi, Srinagar in 2008.He has been under continuous psychiatric treatment in psychiatric hospital as well as with private doctors”, it added.

Officials did not identify the politician, who, according to them, had been named by Jan. Sources, however, said that Police were concentrating on one of the PDP’s MLAs from North Kashmir. These sources said that as many as five criminal FIRs were found registered against Jan at Police Stations of Parimpora, Saddar, Shergarhi and Pantachowk in Srinagar besides one in Police Station Kulgam. Sources said that forgery of documents related to one of his relative’s ex-gratia case had led to registration of an FIR against Jan at Police Station Parimpora earlier this year.

He had been promoted to the rank of ASI but later reverted to the rank of head constable following his involvement in a criminal matter in Kulgam where he stood suspended and attached to District Police Lines.

Inquiries revealed that Jan was among a group of Police officials who had evacuated then DGP, J N Saxena, when a powerful IED blast had badly damaged Police Headquarters in Srinagar on January 25th in 1992. Later, then IGP late Mr Amar Kapoor had recommended four constables for out-of-turn promotion. Jan also staked his claim but was not included. He was later alleged to have fraudulently inserted his name into the list which was detected and he was placed under suspension. He also approached court of law and got some relief but the orders were not implemented for years.

Meanwhile, his son, Showkat Ahmed Jan, worked as an active militant with Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Toiba. He was later arrested and released following which he has been operating as a shopkeeper in his village.

Highly placed officials admitted that today’s incident of shoe-throwing on CM was a major security lapse. They said that 15 officials of Security Wing of J&K Police had been immediately placed under suspension. They included two Sub Inspectors. It was being investigated as to how the suspended head constable managed to reach VIP pavilion and take a seat well among the senior IAS and IPS officers, including a number of Principal Secretaries, Commissioner-Secretaries, IGPs, DIGs and senior legislators and politicians.

Eyewitnesses said that Jan was escorted by officials on duty to a seat actually reserved for senior IAS officer, Tashi Dorjay. He first sat in the left of Director Hospitality & Protocol Mr Jamwal and later shifted to his right seat. Middle rung officials from General Administration Department, Divisional Commissioner’s office, besides Security Wing were on duty for proper seating of the VIP guests while a number of spotters in mufti were also on duty from CID.

Early Times learned that IGP Security Ram Lubhaya was presently in Leh, making security arrangements alongwith SPG for the visit of Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi and MoS Defence on August 16th and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on August 17th. There was also no DIG posted in security wing after Mr Shafqat Wattali was transferred as DIG South Kashmir last month. Hence the senior most official looking after security at the I-Day venue was SSP Security, Rafeeq-ul-Hassan.

Meanwhile, Dukhtaraan-e-Millat Chairperson, Asiya Andrabi has announced “gallantry award” for Jan and described him as a “great freedom fighter”. In her statement, she claimed that “many of such freedom fighters” had infiltrated into different ranks of the government. She ridiculed DGP Kuldeep Khoda’s description about Jan and asked the Police chief how a “mad man” had managed to reach the VIP pavilion.

Reports from Bandipore said that around 1500 people from several villages gathered at Jan’s residence immediately after learning about his attack on CM and hailed him as a hero. They enthusiastically shouted slogans: “Teri Jan, Meri Jan, Ahad Jan, Ahad Jan”.

What went wrong with Omar’s Kashmir?

Part 3

Omar fumbled and faltered from day one in office
Hate-India sentiment became a craze with mainstream politicians

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 14: New Delhi’s policy of having no Kashmir policy proved to be disastrous in the current turbulence. Even as Congress became NC’s coalition partner both at the Central as well as the state level, Kashmir continued to be handled by intelligence and security agencies. Perhaps this would not have been the position with men like Rajesh Pilot in Sonia Gandhi’s Congress and UPA. Left to bureaucracy and the intelligence and security agencies, Kashmir was turned into a political laboratory. In the last several years, Farooq Abdullah’s politics of jingoism—that was perceived to be turning dangerous with NC’s insistence on autonomy---was replaced by Mufi Sayeed’s politics of appeasement.

Enjoying a riding on the tiger for several years, New Delhi found itself in a whirlpool in 2008 when it realized that the Valley’s radical sections were the real beneficiaries of Mufti’s healing touch policy. That they had regrouped and expanded their base substantially became clear when Geelani emerged as the hero of Amarnath land row turmoil and Mufti’s PDP became completely irrelevant. Assembly elections turned the tables soon and an anti-incumbency factor favoured Dr Abdullah’s party. All but one of Mufti’s Cabinet Ministers were defeated by the NC candidates.

Hate-India sentiment was publicly promoted by Mufti and his party to the extent that nobody questioned one of Mufti’s senior Cabinet Ministers as to how Lashkar-e-Toiba militants had stayed at his residence for several weeks before setting out for Ahmedabad in Gujarat to launch a Fidayeen attack on Akshardhaam temple. The Minister resigned when the story appeared in media but Mufti advised him not to quit on “such small matters”.

One of the PDP Ministers lately revealed in a television interview that New Delhi had sent a lot of money to J&K, which Mufti filled in envelops and sent it to the families of the militants dying in encounters with the Special Operations Group and the Indian

security forces. None of the civilian killings, suspected to be done by militants, was ever condemned by then Chief Minister or any of his Ministerial colleagues.

Dangers of leaving the hardline politics uncontested politically became evident in the worst form in the middle of current year when New Delhi failed to get a single politician, with the exception of J&K PCC President, Saif-ud-din Soz, to say a word in entire J&K state against the separatist hardliners grabbing entire space in the Valley. Everybody seemed to be talking of the need to reach out to 500-odd stone pelters and nobody even consoled hundreds of thousands of the shopkeepers, a substantial chunk of the population associated with tourism and equal number of students losing their months due to continued shutdown and clashes.

Congress leader and Minister of Medical Education, R S Chib, visited SKIMS but not to call on the people injured in different incidents of violence. He enquired about a single patient---Syed Ali Shah Geelani---and directed Director of the hospital to provide best possible treatment to the separatist leader. On occasion of the assassination anniversary of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s father in May, another Congress leader and Minister of Health, Sham Lal Sharma, organized a blood donation camp at SKIMS and marked attendance of all of his senior and junior officials at the separatist show.

Without bearing in mind that NC could never take PDP’s position in the Valley’s separatist camp, Omar Abdullah picked up the threads of his job where these had been left by Mufti in November 2005. Even after becoming Chief Minister, he did little to enquire about the condition of the families of nearly 3,000 NC workers and leaders killed by militants for their association with Sheikh Abdullah’s party they held responsible for J&K’s accession to India.

During the first test of his confidence, Omar blindly toed the “popular” line in Shopian in June-September 2009. He and his Ministers attempted to outsmart everybody from PDP to Hurriyat in presenting themselves as “anti-Police”. On one fine morning, Government’s Advocate General, senior separatist advocates and a specially engaged Supreme Court lawyer were seen drafting charges and evidences against four Police officials on a shared table. Even as the CBI investigation later came as an embarrassment for the government, the NC politicians’ public trial of the accused officials demoralized middle and lower rungs of J&K Police.

While demonstrating lack of self confidence, Chief Minister also seemed to be living under serious inferiority complexes. Finding himself at the receiving end of his detractors’ canard, Omar began presenting himself as a Kashmiri Muslim, no inferior to Mufti and Mehbooba. He was shown on official media occasionally performing his prayers in the lead row at Hazratbal. Many here believe that the Khatam-e-Sharief at his residence has become a bolder feature than Cabinet meetings. Analysts insist that religious affiliation of some members of his family has grown as a complex for the young Chief Minister.

(To be continued….)
2 killed in clashes at Anantnag, Narbal

Demonstrations, attacks on camps continue inspite of curfew in Valley

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 14: Taking the toll of the civilians killed in clashes with Police and CRPF since June 11th June in Kashmir valley to 54, demonstrations and attacks on camps of armed forces continued amid total shutdown and curfew today. For the first time today, groups of youth seized much revered Hazratbal shrine and shouted pro-Azadi slogans after an attack on Police barracks while as someone reportedly fired on CRPF from a .12 bore rifle at Narbal, leaving five personnel wounded.

Informed sources told Early Times that an unruly mob attacked a CRPF party while it was withdrawing in the evening at Lazbal in Ananag this evening. During the fierce clash, CRPF opened fire. One teenager, namely Irshad Ahmed Latoo S/o Mohammad Ramzan Latoo R/o Sher-e-Kashmir Colony got killed and four others sustained gunshot wounds. Two of them were reportedly rushed to SKIMS and two more admitted to SMHS Hospital Srinagar.

Medical Superintendent SMHS Hospital, Dr Waseem Qureshi, said that two persons injured in the firing at Anantnag were admitted with gunshots in their knees. He said that both were given medical treatment and they were stable. He said that one 65-year-old civilian, who has reportedly sustained gunshot wounds in Kupwara, was also under treatment at SMHS Hospital.

Sources said that a clash took place between a group of people and CRPF at Narbal this evening when the paramilitary party was returning from Magam. CRPF opened fire. One person, namely Umar Ahmed Dar S/o Mohammad Ramzan Dar R/o Narbal got killed.

An official spokesman said that security forces withdrawing from K P chowk came under heavy stone pelting from a huge mob at Sarnal Laazbal,Anantnag. The mob attacked the vehicles as well as the CRPF party. The forces tried their best to control the mob by using minimum force.

However, the mob did not relent and the forces had to resort to a controlled fire in self defence in which one person identified as Ishtiaq Ahmed Latoo is reported to have died. He said that another CRPF party returning from Magam, on Srinagar-Gulmarg Road,came under heavy stone pelting . Someone among the miscreants fired on the CRPF column with .12 Bore gun, injuring 4 CRPF personnel. The forces retaliated in self defence injuring one person who later succumbed to his injuries.

The CRPF personnel who got injured have been identified as HC G. Singh, HC FD Wadana, Ct Buttal Singh Ct Y Chandra Babu are being treated in District Hospital, Budgam, where the doctors on duty confirmed that they have recieved .12 bore injuries.

However, residents at both places insisted that CRPF opened fire when people were returning to home peacefully after performing evening prayers at local mosques. They said that two youths were killed in the firing and several others sustained injuries.

Earlier in the day, officials said that a mob attacked Army camp at Seelu as also a Police-CRPF camp at Bumai in Sopore area. Over a dozen demonstrators reportedly sustained injuries in retaliatory action from the armed forces. One person got injured in an early morning clash at Singhpura, Pattan, and another was reportedly injured in a shootout at Shopian.

Sources said that clashes between the unruly mobs and separatist demonstrations took place at more than 50 places in Kashmir valley today. In all, 2 people died and at least 60 sustained injuries in these clashes and attacks.

Here in Srinagar, pro-Azadi demonstrators created a huge scene when they, for the first time in 13 years, attacked barracks of Police guards at Hazratbal shrine and later took the revered shrine into their control. They also shouted anti-India and pro-Azadi slogans for over half an hour on the public address system. Police succeeded in driving the group out but not before a number of the officials, including a Dy SP, sustained injuries.

Curfew and shutdown remained in force in almost entire Kashmir valley.