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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Moderate separatists call Kashmir ‘Pakistan’s jugular vein’

Mirwaiz: ‘Pakistan incomplete without J&K’s separation from India

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Dec 25: That New Delhi’s entire investment on encouraging “moderate separatists” in Kashmir has gone down the drain became unmistakably clear today when two of the most influential leaders called Jammu & Kashmir “Pakistan’s jugular vein” and asserted that Pakistan was incomplete without Kashmir’s separation from India.

‘Azad Kashmir Unit’ of Anjuman-e-Sharyee Shia’an, headed by Budgam-based Shia cleric and separatist politician Aga Syed Hassan Al-Moosavi, today organized a conference in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on “The Kashmir dispute and Quad-e-Azam (Mohammad Ali Jennah)”. While addressing the conference from Srinagar on telephone, Chairman of so-called “moderate faction” of the Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, paid rich tributes to the founder of Pakistan, Mr Jennah, and endorsed his ideology that J&K was Pakistan’s “jugular vein”. He referred to Jennah’s refrain that Pakistan was incomplete without Kashmir’s separation from India and its accession to the Islamic Republic.

Mirwaiz described Jennah a great political visionary and said that creation of a theocratic state in the name of Islamic Republic of Pakistan was his greatest achievement. He said that both Pakistan as well as Kashmir were “incomplete” until the Kashmiris were granted right of self-determination. He asserted that the separatist struggle would reach its “logical end” as hundreds of thousands of people in the “occupied land” had laid down their lives and offered all other sacrifices to see Kashmir separated from India.

In his telephonically delivered speech, Aga Syed Hassan too echoed Mirwaiz Umar’s sentiments and emphasized that India’s claim on permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) should be essentially related to its “barbaric role in the occupied territories of Jammu & Kashmir”. He too described Kashmir as “Pakistan’s jugular vein” and lamented that “forcible Indian occupation” should be terminated with mobilization of the public opinion and other means sooner than later.

Aga stressed on implementation of the UN resolutions of 1948-49 and expressed his gratitude to the successive governments in Pakistan for providing all possible support to the Kashmiris who, according to him, were “engaged in their freedom struggle”.

Mirwaiz and Aga respectively are spiritual and political leaders of the majority Sunni Muslim and the minority Shia Muslim communities in Kashmir valley. Mirwaiz was just a student at school when his father and founder of pro-Pakistan Awami Action Committee, Mirwaiz Maulvi Mohammad Farooq, was assassinated, allegedly by militants of a formidable pro-Pakistan guerilla group, on May 21, 1990. Junior Mirwaiz later formed an umbrella of most of the Valley’s separatist organizations, under the banner of Hurriyat Conference in 1993. He served as its Chairman twice before it split in 2003.

Since 1947, Mirwaiz legacy had the distinction of being the most credible pro-Pakistan constituency in Kashmir. However, in 1977, Mirwaiz Farooq became part of Morarji Desai-led Janata Party and created a new history by inviting him to Mirwaiz Manzil in downtown Srinagar during the thick of campaigning for Assembly elections. The alliance, however, received a dressing down at the hustings as JP could bag not more than two segments in entire Kashmir valley. Mirwaiz-supported Abdul Rasheed Kabuli defeated NC’s candidate in Iddgah constituency in Srinagar and JP’s stalwart, Abdul Gani Lone, made his victory from Handwara.

Aga Syed Hassan was also JP’s candidate in the Assembly elections of 1977 in Budgam but NC’s Syed Ghulam Hussain Geelani defeated him with a thick margin of votes. Later, in 1987, Mirwaiz again became part of the newfound alliance of NC and Congress when he joined hands with Dr Farooq Abdullah and then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in lieu of two assured seats to his AAC in Srinagar city. Consequently, NC and Congress helped victory of Mirwaiz Farooq’s nominees, Pir Mohammad Shafi and Mohammad Shafi Khan, who served as MLAs in J&K Legislative Assembly for three years of NC-Congress coalition government.

In sharp contrast to so-called hardliners, like Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Government of India has placed both the separatist leaders, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Aga Syed Hassan, in the highest Z-plus category of security. Over a hundred men of J&K Police have been deployed on their personal protection, house protection and escort duty. While projecting the duo as “neutralizers of hardliners”, officials from Srinagar to New Delhi have also provided to the two separatist leaders almost all privileges and facilities enjoyed by Ministers of the rank of Cabinet.

These state-sponsored facilities include bullet-proof cars, personal security officers, static house-guards, escort personnel, frisking personnel of Security Wing and wireless operators. Government has been spending over Rs 2.00 Cr annually on these facilities provided to the two “moderate separatists”.

Though both the separatist leaders had adopted a “soft line” and they had been talking of only “Azadi”, they have now left behind all hardliners, including Geelani, in toeing a hawkish policy in favour of Pakistan and against the country proving them all mundane privileges and comforts. Successive governments, both NDA and UPA, in New Delhi, have been supporting and encouraging these so-called moderates in Kashmir while facing hard questions and criticism from the Indian taxpayers.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

KU Prof booked for ‘vulgarity’ after receiving award from President Patil

It’s academic terrorism to please hardline separatists: Shaad Ramzan
It’s genuine Police action against promoters of obscenity: SP, DIG

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Dec 23: Days after initiating criminal action against a College teacher for setting ‘objectionable’ question paper, Srinagar Police have booked a senior Professor on the charges of ‘promoting vulgarity’ among the young examinees in Kashmir valley. The high profile academic has received prestigious Sahitya Academy award for his literary works from President Pratibha Patil in Goa in August and has been associated with UPSC, UGC, NBTI, CIIL, Sahitya Academy and J&K PSC as an advisor, jury and expert of Kashmiri language and literature in the last over 15 years.

SP Hazratbal, Maqsood-uz-Zamaan, and DIG Central Kashmir, Abdul Gani Mir, maintained that Prof Shaad Ramzan, a Professor and former Head of Post-graduate Department of Kashmiri Language and Literature at the University of Kashmir, has been booked by Police on December 21st on the charge of ‘promoting vulgarity among the young Kashmiri examinees of undergraduate level’. They told Early Times that Dr Shaad Ramzan had set a question paper for students of B.A. First Year in which students of Kashmiri subject had been asked to translate “an objectionable passage” from English to Kashmiri.

SP and DIG said that Police Station Nageen, Hazratbal, had registered case FIR No: 89 of 2010 under sections 294, 292 and 34 against the identified accused as also others who would be found involved in the ‘criminal act’ during the course of investigation. They said that the accused KU teacher would be arrested and prosecuted like a teacher of Gandhi Memorial College, Noor Mohammad Bhat, who had been booked under Unlawful Activities Act earlier this month and has been languishing in Srinagar Central Jail since last fortnight. Two judicial magistrates have dismissed Bhat’s bail application.

Bhat had been booked and arrested by men of Police Station Nageen, Hazratbal, after mediapersons in Srinagar reported that he had set a question paper and asked the examinees to reply whether Kashmir’s stone pelters were “real heroes”. The text suggested that the Indian State had been committing “genocide” in the Valley.

SP Hazratbal elaborated that during investigating Bhat’s crime, Police learned that Prof Shaad Ramzan too had set “an objectionable” question paper, asking the young examinees to translate an ‘explicitly vulgar’ biological passage from English to Kashmiri. He asserted that Police took a suo motto action and insisted that there were no complainants in the second case.

The passage that Ramzan asked students to translate reads: “From the ancient times, women have been concerned about the shape and size of their breasts. Breast development is the vital part of reproduction in human females. Unlike other mammals, however, human females are the only ones who develop full breasts long before they are needed to nurse their offspring.”

Both SP Zamaan as well as DIG Mir justified the Police action with the argument that “promoting vulgarity among the young examinees” could not be tolerated at any cost. They asserted that protection of society and the social value system was a duty of Police and other law enforcement agencies everywhere in the world. “It was not a question paper of anatomy for MBBS students of a Medical College. It was a language paper for which the teacher could have easily selected a passage from any other subject. Why was he constrained to only pick up a text from biology that generated concern among the society in October?”, SP Hazratbal asked.

He admitted that the passage selected would not be ‘vulgar’ for students of higher classes or even the young students living in different cultures in other states and countries. He, however, asserted that translation of the biological text in Kashmiri language was “offending” even for the students hailing from culturally over-exposed families.

Defending himself firmly, Prof Shaad Ramzan asserted that there was “nothing objectionable” in the text he claimed to have selected from a prescribed textbook of Unani Medicine. He dismissed registration of FIR against him as “academic terrorism” and alleged that Police had resorted to the action “only to appease hardline separatists”. He said that Police had been finding itself at the receiving end since the day of arresting a College teacher as certain political circles had blown it over as interference in academic activity. “They were desperately looking for a neutralizer that could silence the separatists”, Prof Ramzan said.

Shaad Ramzan pointed out that his question paper had been taken by the examinees without any objection and the examination had been conducted as long ago as on October 25th. He pleaded that if there was still anything objectionable, that would have been addressed by the University authorities in due course of time. He said that a couple of days after the day of examination, some of his “professional rivals” had approached some hardline politicians and forced them to issue a statement in which he had been publicly denigrated as an “Indian agent”.

He argued that in case his controversial passage was described as “objectionable”, Police would have to also book senior Ministers, bureaucrats, officials and many other academics for allowing “hundreds of objectionable texts of prose and poetry” that, according to him, existed in syllabi of schools, colleges and universities in J&K. He pointed out to “more explicit references to breasts” in the poetry of legendary Kashmiri poets, including Mehmood Gami, Rasool Mir and Maqbool Kralwari.

Working as a Professor of Kashmiri language and literature for the last about 25 years, Dr Shad Ramzan functioned as Head of Department (Kashmiri) at University of Kashmir until October this year. Author of as many as 20 books on Kashmir’s literature and culture, he received the country’s top most literary award from Sahitya Academy for his publication “Anhaar te Akas”, Kashmiri translation of short stories in different Indian languages. He was honoured on behalf of Sahitya Academy by President of India, Pratibha Patil, in Goa in August this year.

Shad has functioned as an advisor, jury and subject expert of Kashmiri for the last over 15 years with Sahitya Academy, Central Institute of Indian Languages run by Ministry of Human Resources Development, University Grants Commission, Union Public Service Commission, J&K State Public Service Commission and National Book Trust of India.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Bureaucracy subverting selection process of Director SKIMS

Post advertised 3 years after High Court order; No Selection Committee constituted; CS calls CVs of applicants to Civil Secretariat

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Dec 22: With blatant disregard to directions of Jammu & Kashmir High Court as well as decision of the hospital Governing Body, headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, bureaucracy has begun to interfere with the process of selection of the regular Director for Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS). Even as the top post has been finally advertised with delay of over three years and 13 candidates have submitted their applications, all of their documents and CVs have been forwarded by the autonomous hospital to the Chief Secretary’s office in Civil Secretariat without properly constituting a Selection Committee.

Previous PDP-Congress coalition government, headed by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had lost little time in removing Prof Meraj-ud-din as Director of SKIMS on account of his “deep connections” to Dr Farooq Abdullah, his family and the National Conference. Beneficiary of the change of guard was obviously a senior Congress leader’s son-in-law and HoD Cardiology, Dr Sheikh Jalal-ud-din. Mufti-led government started the process in 2004 with constitution of a Selection Committee. Headed by then CS, S S Bloeria, the Selection Committee had bureaucrats Vijay Baqaya and Sonali Kumar, besides then Secretary General Administration Department, as its official members.

Directors of AIIMS, New Delhi, and PGI, Chandigarh, were also associated as its members but, fearing the process as just a fixed match, neither of them participated in any meetings. Government later arranged involvement of eminent physician and former Principal of Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar, Dr Syed Naseer Ahmed Shah. As widely expected, Dr Jalal was ‘selected’ and appointed as Director SKIMS.

One of the unsuccessful candidates, Dr Mohammad Ashraf Bhat, challenged Dr Jalal’s selection in J&K High Court. In 2007, Mr Justice Hakeem Imtiyaz Hussain quashed Dr Jalal’s appointment with the observation that Chief Minister Mufti had acted as head of the government, not as head of the legitimate appointing authority (Governing Body) and picked up his favourite from the middle of the panel without seeking necessary confirmation from the Governing Body. Court ordered immediate removal of Dr Jalal and issued orders that a suitable incumbent be appointed as interim Director parallel to a fresh process of selection.

An appeal against Single Bench’s judgment was dismissed by a Division Bench which upheld Justice Imtiyaz Hussain’s orders. Ghjulam Nabi Azad-led coalition government appointed HOD Endocrinology, Dr Abdul Hameed Zargar, as the interim Director. However, neither Azad nor his successor, Governor N N Vohra, advertised the post till Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, as head of Governing Body, directed the authorities to start a fresh selection process in accordance with SKIMS appointment rules and orders of the High Court in April 2010.

After a great deal of procrastination, SKIMS issued Notification No: 2 of 2010 on 4-8-2010, seeking applications from the eligible candidates.

Thirteen candidates submitted their applications and CVs till the last date on 31-10-2010. They included incumbent interim Director, Dr Abdul Hameed Zargar, who is otherwise due to reach superannuation in April 2011, Dean of SKIMS Dr Mohammad Ashraf Darzi, Medical Superintendent and HoD Hospital Administration Dr Syed Amin Tabish, HOD Anesthesiology, Dr Shagufta Qazi, HOD Cardiology Dr Khursheed Iqbal, HOD Gastroenterology Dr Shaukat Ali Zargar, HOD CVTS Dr Abdul Gani Ahangar, Professor of Pediatrics Dr Altaf Shera, HOD Social and Preventive Medicine at GMC Srinagar Dr Muneer Masoodi, former Principal of GMC Srinagar Dr Mushtaq Shah, former HOD Surgery at GMC Srinagar Dr Muneer Khan, Principal GMC Srinagar Dr Shahida Mir and Principal SKIMS Medical College Bemina Dr Mushtaq Ahmed.

Implementing the Court orders in breach, authorities avoided to constitute the Selection Committee. Informed sources said that when head of the Governing Body and Chief Minister desired to know about the progress, he was informed on 21-10-2010 that only two candidates had come forward with their applications. Nobody in the meeting pointed out that the last date was still ten days away. Consequently, instructions were issued to instead appoint a “Search Committee”.

Well placed authoritative sources at SKIMS revealed to Early Times that the selection process was underway without constitution of any Selection Committee. They revealed that a group of influential bureaucrats, who have been overtly and covertly supporting a particular candidate, prevailed upon Chief Secretary S S Kapur whose office, in the first week of December 2010, forced Joint Director, Rafeeq Ahmed Mir, to forward applications and CVs of all the 13 candidates to the Civil Secretariat in Jammu.

“Chief Secretary and other bureaucrats/ Ministers have absolutely no authority or intervention in the selection process. The only competent authority is the SKIMS Governing Body that is headed by Chief Minister of the state”, explained an official source. He insisted that certain bureaucrats and officials were trying to mislead Chief Minister so as to help their favourite. He said that under the rules mentioned in the notification, the Selection Committee was supposed to shortlist the most meritorious candidates as per their academic qualification besides their technical, research and practical administrative experience.

“When, there is no Selection Committee, who will conduct interaction with the shortlisted candidates?” asked a couple of officials at SKIMS. They said it was first time that the custodian of the candidates’ applications and CVs had given the same in the unjustified custody of the bureaucrats in Civil Secretariat who have no authority or intervention under rules of appointment.

While JD Administration at SKIMS, Rafeeq Ahmed Mir, was not reachable, sources in his office confirmed that the applications and CVs had been given into custody of Chief Secretary’s office. According to them, Chief Minister and Head of Governing Body, Omar Abdullah, was being misled “only to arrange undue favour to one of the candidates”.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

100 killings in first 100 days, no killing in next 100 days

So, where does the fault lie?

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Dec 21: For a change, rhymes have replaced the slogans in Kashmir. “khoon ka badla June mein lenge” (We’ll take revenge of all killings in June next) and “bootan sale, bab gau fail” (Enjoy the grand sale of shoes as the father has failed at last). This is the fun that keeps this valley of bloodletting alive for decades and centuries of unbroken jinx.

First one describes the despondency that has befallen droves of Kashmir’s stone-pelters who had discovered the battlefield of advantage on the streets in Srinagar this summer. It also denotes desperation among the urban e-Jihadis who had found free-to-all broadcast stations in YouTube and FaceBook. There’s of course a promise of June next but who doesn’t know it would have been January had the blood been ‘danwari’ or ‘kanwari’ in the Kashmiri or Urdu glossary.

The next rhyme indicates an uncanny sense of celebration among the sidewalk vendors who starved for 120 days of shutdown but are now back to a brisk business. Unmistakably ‘father’ in the stanza means the man whose calls of shutdown froze Valley all through the turbulence for five months. Everybody from the great Indian media to bureaucracy called him ‘The Ultimate’. Unlike the poor, diminutive street vendor, leech politicians fattening on the conflict are still in a state of coma. Elections alone can take them out of the slumber but they are far, far away.

The first mortality---rightfully put in the list of the ‘Police killings’--- happened in the death of 17-year-old Tufail Matoo on June the 11th. The last political killing happened at Palhalan when Police and paramilitaries gunned down four civilians---demonstrators, stone pelters, attackers, whatever---on September 6th. Later, one more of the injured died at a hospital. Next fortnight, 18 civilians and a Police constable died in firing and lynching on September 13th but the primary subject of mobilization was neither Azadi nor an incident of human rights abuse by the ‘ruthless’ J&K Police or ‘Indian forces’. It indeed was a controversial act of blasphemy in USA that outraged the religious sentiment in Kashmir.

In an astonishingly sharp contrast to the bloody mayhem for five months across the summer, nobody on the Valley’s streets has died for Kashmir’s Azadi in the last over 100 days. Admittedly, nobody would make the mistake of concluding that peace had returned and the trouble was over for good.

But, what exactly did suddenly bring the thaw? Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s tantrum that Kashmir had ‘only acceded to, not merged into India’ ? Home Minister Chidambaram’s out-of-box confession that Kashmir was a “unique political problem that requires a unique political solution”? Srinagar visit of all-party Parliamentary delegation? Harnessing of a fresh team of three interlocutors who have failed to meet a single leader in the Valley’s separatist camp? Grabbing of nearly entire media attention by Commonwealth Games and 2G scams?

Has the UPA government at the Centre revived the dialogue process with Pakistan and the Hurriyat that the J&K Chief Minister believed had led to the crisis in post-2008 Kashmir? Has the United Jihad Council and Hizbul Mujahideen been engaged in a political process? Has the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) been revoked and the 700,000 troops withdrawn from Kashmir? Or, has acquisition of non-lethal pump action guns and ammunition snatched away the separatists’ advantage of having killings in singles and doubles in all street demonstrations?

Those who justified participation of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris in elections 18 years after the outbreak of movement with the argument of “sadak, bijli, paani”, are now asserting that the Kashmiris are “simply fatigued” after months of ‘repression from Police”. Earlier, they used to rouse the stone pelters with the epic reference of 1,000 years of war. Could detention of 400-odd youngsters really restore calm in a week’s time? Has Omar overnight removed the “governance deficit” from his government that used to be the staple refrain of many from PDP in Srinagar to the Cabinet Committee on Security in New Delhi?

If none of the above is right, one may be left with the last contention that Bill Clinton’s visit consumed 35 Sikhs in 2000 and BURAQ HUSSAIN Obama’s three-times more in 2010. Faiz had said in the middle of last century: “sheeshoon kaa Maseeha koyee nahi, kyon aas lagaye bethe hau?