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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Minister, DGP not allowed in to attend Army function

Chib, Prasad, Sahai miss lunch with CM as JAKLI gate shut on them at old airport in Srinagar

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Aug 28: Minister of Medical Education, R S Chib, and Director General of Police, Ashok Prasad, returned to Srinagar ‘in protest’ after they were humiliated publicly and the gates were shut on them at the main entrance of JAKLI headquarters of Army at Rangreth, near the old Srinagar Airport today. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who had been invited as the chief guest, was allowed in and he attended the function, knowing nothing about the treatment meted out to his Cabinet colleague, DGP and other officials of the state government.

Highly placed authoritative sources disclosed to Early times that DGP Ashok Prasad would be communicating his ‘official protest’ to General Officer Commanding 15 Corps over the “shabby treatment” meted out to him, other senior officers of J&K Police and a Cabinet Minister ( R S Chib) by army staff at the main entrance of Jammu & Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) at Rangreth, near old airport of Srinagar. Messers Chib, Prasad and IGP Kashmir, S M Sahai, were prevented from entering the military formation where they were going to attend lunch at conclusion of a JAKLI ceremonial function, known as Reunion Day, held after every four years.

Official sources, corroborated by eyewitnesses, said that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who had been invited as chief guest and happens to be an honorary member of the JAKLI mess, reached on time at around 1300 hours. He was, as usual, escorted by an SSG cavalcade and drove straight to the venue without any hindrance.

Minutes after the CM’s arrival, senior Congress leader and Minister of Medical Education, Youth Services and Sports, R S Chib, reached the main entrance. He was escorted by his PSOs, radio operator and two Police escort vehicles. Mr Chib, DGP Prasad, IGP Sahai, and several other state government dignitaries had also been invited for the lunch. However, the JAKLI security staff shut the gate at once and told the Minister and his security staff curtly that they could not be allowed in as they had reached “late”. Even as the Minister’s staff argued that the VIP had been invited only for the lunch and he was not supposed to attend the Reunion Day function in the forenoon, JAKLI guards did not relent.

Thereupon, SHO of Police Division Humhama, Sub Inspector Ghulam Jeelani, Naib Tehsildar who was posted as executive magistrate, and Dy SP Traffic (Rural), Gh Hyder, reached the spot. Their requests and arguments too fell on the deaf ears of the JAKLI guards. SHO was seen pulling the barriers physically but the JAKLI staff resisted his move firmly and made it clear that they would not permit anybody in. Interestingly, some civilian contractors walked in smoothly.

On this occasion, DGP, Mr Ashok Prasad, and IGP Kashmir, S M Sahai, too arrived in their cavalcades and their security staff learned that no more guests were being allowed in. They watched the scene for a while. Suddenly, DGP signaled his pilots to turn back and the entire VVIP cavalcade drove back towards Srinagar.

DIG Central Kashmir, Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba, and SSP Budgam, Uttam Chand, had already entered the premises and were both waiting for DGP after receiving Chief Minister. As they came to know that neither Mr Chib nor the DGP had been allowed in, they too left the spot hurriedly and began chasing the VVIP cavalcade, without taking the lunch.

Mr Chib did not respond to repeatedly made calls from this newspaper when attempts were made to know his reaction. DGP’s personal staff advised to “wait for some time” with the assurance that they would call back as soon as their boss would be free. However, three repeated attempts failed to evoke a response. However, senior officials, privy to what they described as “unfortunate incident”, confirmed all details of the treatment meted out to the Minister and senior officers of J&K Police.

Both, SHO as well as Dy SP of traffic on duty, confirmed that the two VVIP cavalcades returned towards Srinagar after their entry was blocked at the JAKLI entrance. “We did our best to do our duty and resolve the crisis but the JAKLI guys did not relent for over 5 minutes”, said maintained.

While as Defence PRO, Lt Col J S Brar, said that he was outside the state on leave, his junior and officiating PRO, Mr Naresh, claimed that no such incident had occurred at the event. “Aisa kuch nahi hai”, he asserted.

However, highly placed sources at Civil Secretariat told Early Times that DGP had taken “serious note” of the treatment meted out to senior Police officers besides a Cabinet Minister who had himself served in Indian Air Force before joining politics in 1983. Sources said that DGP would communicate his ‘note of protest’ to the Corps Headquarters and seek necessary corrective measures to sustain harmony between Police and security forces.


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