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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Five grenade blasts rock Srinagar after NSA's visit

DGP says 'Sopore module footprints' evident in fresh offensive

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jul 24: In just two days of the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval's maiden visit to assess the security scenario in Kashmir, suspected militants on Friday rocked the summer capital of Srinagar with a chain of five hand grenades, albeit taking care apparently that there were no fatal casualties.

It was for the first time in the last over two years that the unidentified persons carried out a series of grenade attacks in uptown Srinagar and spread a wave of terror around the government’s seat of power and the civil lines. In an attempt to reduce the level of panic, authorities labelled two blasts as "not subversive", insisting that one was a “firecracker” and another an accidental explosion of a “vehicle's battery”.

Government officials seemed to be labouring under the apprehension that the news of five grenade attacks around the time of Amarnath Yatra could scare away pilgrims and tourists.

Informed official sources nonetheless told STATE TIMES that in the first attack, suspected militants appeared at a franchise of the telecommunication company Aircel at Karan Nagar. They commandeered all the employees, salesmen and customers out and lobbed a Chinese grenade that caused extensive damage to the showroom interior. Nobody was injured in the blast caused around 400 metres from the offices of IGP Kashmir and other senior Police officers at 11.15 a.m.

A franchise of the telecommunication company Vodafone became the target of the second identical attack at Gole Market, Karan Nagar. Eyewitnesses said that everybody was asked to move out before the suspected militants threw a grenade at 11.30 a.m. The showroom suffered considerable damage.

The third grenade hit a BSNL base transceiver station at the premises of one Ali Mohammad Dar close to Police Station Shaheed Gunj, 400 meters from Civil Secretariat. An auto driver sustained splinter injuries.

Subsequently, another grenade blast occurred at Gogjibagh, in close vicinity of a CRPF battalion headquarters. It didn’t cause any damage. Police officials claimed it was a cracker blast. The fifth explosion of the day took place at Magarmal Bagh. Police claimed it was an accidental blast in a vehicle's battery.

Informed sources, however, insisted that the 4th and the 5th explosion were also "grenade blasts aimed at spreading a wave of terror without causing casualties". They insisted that small size Chinese grenades were used in all the five attacks. Tyres of two parked vehicle did burst in the blast caused at Gogjibagh.

Director General of Police K. Rajendra Kumar told STATE TIMES that he visited the spots and later took a meeting with senior Police, CRPF and intelligence officers. "We believe that it was the handiwork of a militant network mainly operating in Sopore-Pattan belt of North Kashmir. Footprints of the estranged Hizbul Mujahideen militant Qayoom Najar are evident in all the three grenade attacks", DGP said.

Rajendra revealed that Police had recovered same type of lever and ballistic material from two spots which had been previously recovery in identical attacks this year in Sopore and Pattan. "We are working on it and we are sure to solve these blasts very soon", DGP asserted. He said it was clearly an offensive of Qayoom Najar's group.

Significantly, in a statement purportedly issued from across the LoC on Thursday, Hizbul Mujahideen’s spokesman claimed that his organisation had expelled Najar for attacking innocent people, particularly those associated with mobile telephony. A number of civilians had died and sustained injuries in a series of such attacks, mostly in Sopore-Pattan area of Baramulla district two months back.

An unknown outfit launched under the banner of Lashkar-e-Islam had claimed these attacks while directing people associated with mobile telephony to immediately stop their business operations in Kashmir. However, most of the militant and separatist groups had alleged that the Indian agencies were behind the offensive. After the Hizb statement, it has become clear that none other than the organisation's most feared militant Qayoom Najar had carried out the attacks. Najar's rejoinder or clarification has not been received by news offices on Friday.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Amid hectic lobbying with BCCI, Farooq returns with "support" of Srinivasan's lobby and a BJP Minister

◆Imran Ansari too lobbying in New Delhi

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Jul 22: An influential cricket coterie loyal to the former President of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Narayanaswami Srinivasan is understood to have assured "full support" to the Farooq Abdullah-led body of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) elected for a term of three years in 2014 but toppled through a controversial meeting of the Working Committee and mid-term election on last Monday.

During his two-day stay in New Delhi, Dr Abdullah is understood to have met a number of his old contacts in BCCI besides a Union Cabinet Minister who, according to highly placed sources, assured the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister that BCCI would continue to recognise only the body of the working committee and office bearers who have been elected in May 2014.

N. Srinivasan, the former BCCI President who landed into a controversy on account of the activities of his son-in-law last year, continues to be the most influential person in the Indian cricket world. He is also currently Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and was, in June 2015, reelected as President of Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) contrary to many speculations. Sources revealed to STATE TIMES on Wednesday that Srinivasan and his strong lobby in BCCI have assured "total support" to Dr Abdullah.

Equally significant is the support a senior BJP leader and Cabinet Minister, who is also an important functionary of BCCI, has reportedly lent to Dr Abdullah when the two met in New Delhi the other day.

BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmia, Joint Secretary Amitabh Choudhary and Treasurer Anirudh Choudhary are some of very important people of Srinivasan's coterie.

Both the contenders for the top position of the President in Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA)---former Chief Minister and the opposition National Conference supremo Dr Farooq Abdullah and the ruling PDP leader and Minister incharge Sports Imran Raza Ansari---have started intense lobbying to win the recognition of the BCCI.

While as Ansari had been installed by a dissident group with visible support of the Mufti Sayeed government as President through a disputed election on Monday, Dr Abdullah on Tuesday claimed to have captured back headquarters of JKCA as a civil court in Jammu had put the Minister's election in abeyance. He held a press conference at the same place where the Minister had taken control of the association a day before.

Both, Dr Abdullah and Ansari, left for New Delhi on Tuesday ostensibly to pursue their routine schedules. While as Dr Abdullah was to be the guest of honour at a function where the former RAW chief A.S. Dulat's book "Kashmir: The Vajpayee Years" was to be released on Wednesday, Ansari was to attend a diplomatic dinner hosted by the American embassy.

Dr Abdullah returned to Srinagar in the afternoon today while as Mr Ansari would be returning tomorrow. However, there is a possibility of his staying in New Delhi for one or two more days as Thursday's Cabinet meeting in Srinagar has been cancelled.

Sources in New Delhi said that Monday's controversial election of JKCA, in which a government-controlled group of the Working Committee toppled Dr Abdullah and installed the Minister of Sports Imran Raza Ansari as the new President, had already become an issue of prestige for the Mufti establishment that, according to another PDP Minister, would leave "no stone unturned to influence the BCCI through the coalition partner BJP so that Ansari's election as President is protected".


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

'Mehboob can do anything but never expected it from Imran'

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, July 21: During Tuesday's press conference at headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA), National Conference supremo and former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah turned a little emotional while mentioning that the Mufti Sayeed government's coup to dislodge him from the post of the President had at its forefront Minister of Sports Imran Raza Ansari.
"Mehboob (bureaucrat Mehboob Iqbal who has joined PDP after his retirement and has been elected as Chairman of JKCA in place of senior Congress leader Arvinder Singh Micky on Monday) can do anything but I had never expected it from Imran. I feel sad that Imran is part of this game. We have had deep family relationships. I made his father Minister even when he was in Congress", Dr Abdullah said about the young cleric-politician who for years was like a son to the former Chief Minister and whose father late Maulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari was known for his proximity to Dr Abdullah. 

According to reports as lately as on the day of Eid on last Saturday, two of the PDP's Cabinet Ministers called on Dr Abdullah’s son and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah with their greetings. One of them was Imran Ansari. 

Imran's father Maulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari had shot into political prominence when he gave a tough fight to Dr Abdullah’s mother Begam Akbar Jahan who nonetheless defeated the Shia leader from Srinagar with a sizable margin in Lok Sabha elections of 1977. Later, Ansari joined Congress and contested Assembly elections against NC in 1977 when he lost to Abdul Rashid Shaheen and also in 1983 when he won and defeated Shaheen---both times from Pattan. In 1984, Ansari as head of Congress Legislature Party and Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as President of Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee played key role in dislodging Dr Abdullah as Chief Minister, engineering defection in NC and installing GM Shah as the new CM. 

However, when Congress under Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi's leadership formed a coalition with NC in 1987, Ansari emerged as Chief Minister Dr Abdullah’s bosom friend. Congress with Dr Abdullah’s favour inducted him as a Cabinet Minister in 1989. Thereafter, Ansari's intimate relationship with Dr Abdullah dominated Kashmir's mainstream politics. 

In 1996, NC helped Ansari win on Congress ticket from Pattan. He defeated Janata Dal candidate Abdul Rashid Shaheen. Notwithstanding stiff resistance from within his NC which had got two-third majority of its own, Dr Abdullah inducted Ansari into his Cabinet as Minister of Housing and Urban Development. He was once removed for his alleged involvement in so-called Sidhra land scam which was not established in Justice retired KK Gupta's commission of inquiry. However, allegedly under influence of Chief Secretary Ashok Jaitly and CM's Principal Secretary BR Singh, then DGP rank IPS officer and Vigilance Commissioner RV Raju indicted Ansari. It didn’t affect relationship between Ansari and Dr Abdullah. 

However, relationship between the two political heavyweights turned sour between when Ansari was allegedly humiliated by some NC leaders and bureaucrats and CM ignored it. Finally, Ansari resigned from NC in 2005. Later that year he joined PDP. Even after that, the duo had been occasionally visiting each other till Ansari passed away in 2014. 

Ansari's sons used to call Dr Abdullah as their 'Uncle'.


Informed sources revealed to STATE TIMES that even while drafting an application to SHO Ram Munshi Bagh seeking registration of FIR for "trespassing" against some JKCA men, Dr Abdullah removed Minister Imran Ansari's name. When his colleagues asked for reason, he told them that Imran was "just a boy, who is being used by some other people". The application mentions only the names of Iqbal Shah, Abdul Rauf, Mohammad Iqbal, Javed Ahmad Kitab, Ashraf Bhat and Manzoor Ahmad Wazir.

'We will proceed against DIG, Div Com who facilitated trespassing'
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, July 21: National Conference patriarch Dr Farooq Abdullah, whose position as President of JKCA has been for the time being protected by a court, said at his press conference that some government officials had presided over the trespassing and “removing of important records” by the government-sponsored group that captured the association’s headquarters after electing Minister of Sports Imran Raza Ansari as President on Monday.

"Can you imagine an officer of the rank of DIG and Divisional Commissioner (Dr Asgar Samoon) facilitated this criminal act of trespassing in blatant violation of the court orders. Let it be clear that we are going to proceed against them legally. It was none of their business to be here. They have no locus standi in this matter", Dr Abdullah told mediapersons. He however did not identify the DIG.
Dr Abdullah said that he filed an application before SHO Ram Munshi Bagh requesting him to register FIR for trespassing, ransacking of office and theft of important records from JKCA premises. "Initially the SHO refused to entertain our application. Police have to register an FIR whether they like it or not. Later, the SHO received our application and assured us that he would examine it and take action. However, so far we have not been given a copy of the FIR.
STATE TIMES asked SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar as to why FIR had not been registered and how a DIG and Divisional Commissioner had remained present during the disputed JKCA meeting and election. He said: "It doesn't constitute any crime as entire proceedings and activity took place under the supervision of a duly deployed executive magistrate. Police have received and filed the application in its Daily Diary". He said that DIG and Divisional Commissioner were present only as "observers" in presence of an executive magistrate.

Farooq holds press conference at JKCA hqs, claims to have regained premises

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, July 21: National Conference patron and former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday held a news conference at headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) and claimed to have captured the premises back from the sports society's government-backed faction.

"We have taken this premises back into our possession as the court has put in abeyance the illegal election done by some dissidents yesterday. We are going to break their illegal locks and put our own locks on the doors (on the JKCA office)", Dr Abdullah asserted at a hurriedly called news conference before his departure for New Delhi.

At the press conference, JKCA staff installed back Dr Abdullah’s portrait as President. His supporters also shouted a couple of slogans in his favour. He was flanked by Arvinder Singh Micky, ML Nehru and Ghulam Mohammad Bhat who in 2014 had been elected Chairman, General Secretary and Treasurer, respectively, for a term of three years. JKCA's Chief Administrative Officer Saleem Khan was also present.

Dr Abdullah said that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government had "enacted exactly what it had wrongfully done in 2003 to dislodge me as President".

He said that 12 years back Mufti had installed then Minister of Sports Haji Nisar Ali as President "through fraudulently held elections". "However, that time also we challenged it in the court. In 2007, Justice Bashir Ahmed Kirmani of Jammu and Kashmir High Court dismissed the government-sponsored elections as null and void and held that only the Preside could call elections through a notice to be issued only by General Secretary. Court held that the elections should be held essentially in presence of the President", Dr Abdullah said and recalled that those elections had not been recognised by BCCI either.

He asserted that the JKCA office bearers had been duly elected in 2014 for the current term of three years. "We have completed one year and we have still two years. So there was no question of holding a mid-term election", Dr Abdullah said while displaying a copy of the resolution of enhancement of the term from one to three years, moved by Working Committee and approved by General Council.

In Working Committee two each members represent 25 recognised cricket clubs and seven government-controlled institutions. General Council comprises of 5 nominees from each constituent and the same by constitution is authorised to take key decisions including enhancement of term. By way of an identical resolution in 1997, Dr Abdullah has been elected as lifelong member of JKCA, making the total number of WC members as 65.

Dr Abdullah said that on his direction, General Secretary Nehru had already called a Working Committee meeting to discuss certain issues. It will be held as per schedule on July 24. Later, Chairman Micky said that the WC meeting would take place at its notified venue if Hotel Grand Palace (Lalit) in Srinagar.


"A lot has been said about this body. It has been said the committee is defunct and its members are not working. If it's true, how have our boys won glory for the State in Mumbai? We have organised 180 junior level matches and 170 senior level matches. Our boys are doing well not only on national but also on international level. We have arranged the best available coaches, two each in Kashmir and Jammu, and are determined to engage more of the reputed and experienced coaches to train our boys", Dr Abdullah said.

He said that he called Education Minister (Naeem Akhtar) when it was brought to his notice that some Ministers were exerting pressure on the members to attend and vote for Imran Ansari. "He (Akhtar) assured me that he was not interfering with the JKCA affairs. But yesterday it became clear that they are all part and parcel of this fraud", Dr Abdullah added. He alleged that some JKCA members and vice president of Jammu wing had engineered the coup fearing punishment for their involvement in the fund scam.


"They have done it when their names emerged in the fund scam. The process is rapidly going on in the court. They thought by capturing JKCA they can scuttle the legal process. But Farooq Abdullah is here to protect the JKCA. We will not allow it and will not be cowed down by their tactics. They said Farooq Abdullah is a thief. If Farooq Abdullah is thief, let them prove it. I haven't taken a penny. On the other hand, I gave money (from MPLAD) to JKCA for developing infrastructure and better facilities in two colleges of Kashmir. Everything will come out. Truth will prevail. Why are they not happy? What's the problem with them?" Dr Abdullah said.

He vowed to fight the rival group legally and politically. "We are not goondas. We will fight legally. We will not pick up guns and lathis", he asserted.

"I had not expected this from Mufti Sahab. We thought he would work for development and bring relief to the flood victims whose suffering is unabated. But now it is clear that the government is further dividing the people on regional and religious lines. Let me tell you the situation is not under control. I am afraid it shouldn't get out of hand. Instead of being channelized into right groups, the youth are getting more and more radicalised with virulent propaganda. There are magazines coming up with alternative propaganda. The government doesn't seem to be concerned about it. Instead they are indulging in this type of activities", Dr Abdullah said.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Farooq: ‘Handiwork of people involved in fund scam’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Jul 20: Former Chief Minister and National Conference patriarch Dr Farooq Abdullah rejected today’s election of the office-bearers of JKCA including his own replacement as President by the PDP leader and Minister incharge Youth Services and Sports Imran Raza Ansari.

“This is no election. It is completely illegal as we have still completed only one year of our three year term”, Dr Abdullah told a host of television news channels at his residence. He asserted that he would fight this “fraudulent election” legally as well as politically as, according to him, it was nothing but the PDP-led government’s vendetta against him. “But, let us be assured that Farooq Abdullah is not a fish that can be picked up and thrown out of the water. I will fight it out with all my strength”, he asserted.

Dr Abdullah claimed that the JKCA Working Committee had amended the constitution and enhanced the term of all office-bearers from one to three years. He pointed out that in 2011, office-bearers were elected for three years. Later, in 2014 again, the President and other office-bearers were duly elected for a term of three years. According to him, Mr Ansari was completely wrong in claiming that the term was specifically for one year.

Significantly, Dr Abdullah alleged that today’s government-sponsored coup in JKCA had been engineered “by the same people whose names figure and who have been found guilty in the funds embezzlement scam”. He said: “As soon as the investigation was completed and they were held guilty, they started the process of removing me as President. I have stopped releasing money to them because they have swindled funds. I have demanded accounts from them which they don’t submit”.

Dr Abdullah said that by virtue of the court order he would continue to operate as President of JKCA. Another NC leader reminded that in 2003, Mufti Sayeed’s government had similarly elected then Minister of Sports Haji Nisar Ali as President of JKCA. “That election was challenged in court. High Court declared it null and void and upheld the position of Dr Sahab as President. That fraudulent election was also rejected by BCCI”, he said and claimed that as per JKCA constitution only the General Secretary can call the Working Committee meeting on the direction of the President. “No other person can call such a meeting”, he asserted.

STATE TIMES made repeated attempts to learn from BCCI whether it recognised Dr Abdullah or Imran Ansari as the bonafide President of JKCA. BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmia’s phone was continuously switched off. He did not respond to a message recorded on his phone or an SMS. General Secretary Anurag Thakur was continuously not reachable.

Farooq removed, Imran elected JKCA President but court puts it in abeyance

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jul 20: The PDP-BJP coalition’s coup d’├ętat in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association [JKCA] was accomplished on Monday with the removal of the National Conference Patron and former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah from the key position of the sports body’s President and his replacement by the PDP leader and Minister incharge Youth Services & Sports Imran Raza Ansari.

As exclusively reported by STATE TIMES, JKCA’s pro-government component attended the Working Committee’s meeting at Sher-e-Kashmir International Cricket Stadium. The participants claimed that 42 of the 64 members of the WC attended the meeting which had been called in controversial circumstances by JKCA’s Vice President of Jammu Wing Rakesh Kumar.

The members---two each from 25 recognised cricket clubs and 7 government-controlled educational and sports constituents---were on the occasion asked to elect the new office-bearers. It was emphasised in the meeting that the office-bearers had rendered themselves non-functional and most of the works and sports activities undertaken by JKCA had been “completely frozen”.

While as the nominee of J&K Youth Services and Sports Department, Imran Raza Ansari was unanimously elected as President in place of Dr Abdullah, retired bureaucrat Mehboob Iqbal, who has joined PDP after his superannuation in government service, was elected Chairman. Besides, Mohammad Iqbal Shah was elected as General Secretary in place of M.L. Nehru and Abdul Rauf as Treasurer. Mr Nehru represents North India as Vice President in the apex sports body Board of Control for Cricket in India [BCCI].

Sources said that representatives of the two government-controlled universities of Kashmir and Jammu besides nine affiliate clubs did not participate in the meeting and election. Later, at a news conference, Mr Ansari claimed that 42 members participated in the meeting and the voting. He said that the constituent members elected the four new office-bearers unanimously.

Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir, Dr Asgar Hassan Samoon, and Director General of Youth Services and Sports Jehangir Mir, were conspicuously present during the voting. However, there was no observer from BCCI.


JKCA’s Chairman Arvinder Singh Micky, meanwhile filed a civil suit in the court of Excise Magistrate Mr Amarjit Singh Langeh to scuttle the government-sponsored process of the removal of the office-bearers duly elected for a term of three years in 2014. President of High Court Bar Association Abhinav Sharma appeared in the court in Jammu on behalf of the petitioner and sought maintenance of status quo. The court ordered that the meeting in question would remain stayed and the proceedings if any conducted today would remain in abeyance.

Mr Ansari in conversations with media in Srinagar denied knowledge of the petition and the court order but advocate Sharma claimed in Jammu that the court orders had been immediately passed on to the respondents. “By virtue of today’s court order, Dr Farooq Abdullah will continue to exist and act as President of JKCA and Mr Ansari’s purported election as President would remain in abeyance”, advocate Sharma told presspersons.

Mr Ansari claimed that his elections, as also that of other office-bearers, had happened lawfully and majority of the electors had participated in the voting. He contested Dr Abdullah’s claim that the office bearers had been elected for three years as per an amendment made to the JKCA constitution, enhancing their term from one to three years in 2011. “As per the JKCA constitution, all office bearers are supposed to be elected after one year”, Ansari asserted.

Later, informed sources told STATE TIMES that Police and JKCA staff broke open the locks of the rooms and almirahs at the office and took all records into custody. Unconfirmed reports said that a fresh account was also opened today in a branch of Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd with the authorisation of the new President. However, the operational code issued by BCCI was lying in the custody of General Secretary ML Nehru.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Govt-sponsored process to remove Farooq as President JKCA begins

◆Minister Imran to replace Farooq, Mehboob Iqbal to grab Micky's position

◆Farooq returns from London, calls WC meeting on July 24

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jul 19: Supported by the PDP-BJP government, the dissident group of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) is meeting here on Monday to dislodge the National Conference patron and former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah as President and senior Congress leader and former Chairman of J&K Legislative Council Arvinder Singh Micky as Chairman of the organisation by bureaucrat-turned-politician Mehboob Iqbal.

Informed sources revealed to STATE TIMES that the State government was clearing decks to install Minister incharge Youth Services & Sports Imran Reza Ansari as the all powerful President of JKCA in place of Dr Abdullah.

Incumbent Chairman Arvinder Singh Micky is sought to be replaced by senior PDP leader Mehboob Iqbal, a retired Commissioner-Secretary to Government who has joined active politics years after he served as Chairman JKCA with Dr Abdullah as President. Dr Abdullah, facing charges of swindling huge funds received from BCCI, has held monopoly in JKCA for most of the times in the last 25 years while functioning as its President.

JKCA's Vice President of Jammu wing Rakesh Kumar, who is leading the dissident group, has called a crucial meeting of the Working Committee (WC) at Sher-e-Kashmir International Cricket Stadium in Sonwar at 10.00 a.m. on Monday. Comprising 62 members----two each from 25 enrolled cricket clubs and seven government-controlled educational and sports institutions----JKCA's WC has been called by Kumar to attend the crucial meeting in Srinagar. Main agenda, according to sources, would be a coup d'etat to replace the nominees of the previous NC-Congress regime elected in June 2014.

Even as Kumar had strategically called the WC meeting during Dr Abdullah’s medical vacation in London, the octogenarian politician returned dramatically from England today and held an informal meeting with the WC members at his Gupkar Road residence. Sources present in the meeting said that almost all the members, with the remarkable exception of Rakesh Kumar, attended and assured their support to Dr Abdullah.

"Dr Sahab is hale and hearty. He asserted to fight the government-sponsored attempts of reshuffle in the association", said a member indicating the possibility of a protest demonstration or press conference tomorrow.

Sources said that on Dr Abdullah’s direction JKCA's General Secretary ML Nehru has issued notice for an important meeting here on July 24. However, influential government functionaries including a Cabinet Minister of PDP and three senior IPS officers are reportedly making "every possible effort" to make Monday's State-sponsored meeting a success and achieve the objective of Dr Abdullah’s and Mr Micky's replacement by Imran Ansari and Mehboob Iqbal.

Seven government-controlled constituents, which have a pivotal role and can tilt the balance in favour of the government-sponsored nominees, are Department of Youth Services and Sports (which will project its Minister and nominee Imran Reza Ansari for the most powerful position of President), Sri Pratap College Srinagar, Amar Singh College Srinagar, University of Kashmir, Government Gandhi Memorial Science College Jammu, Sri Pratap Commerce College Jammu and University of Jammu.

Sources said that on learning about a Minister’s "efforts to influence the election", Dr Abdullah called him by telephone and registered his "protest". However, the Cabinet Minister, according to the sources, denied the charge and asserted that he was not interfering in any manner with the JKCA affairs. "Dr Abdullah has also learned that DGP has been directed by the government to shut the gates of the venue at 10.00 a.m. and ask Police not to allow in "any uninvited member or non-member", said a source.

Asked for his reaction to the dramatic development, Dr Abdullah asserted that he will not make any statement till tomorrow. "I may call a press conference or issue a statement as calling this meeting is brutally illegal and unconstitutional", Dr Abdullah told STATE TIMES.

Another office bearer, who wished anonymity, claimed that only President and General Secretary were authorised to call a meeting of WC for election of office bearers. He asserted that Dr Abdullah and all other office bearers had been elected lawfully for a term of three years in June 2014 under the supervision of a retired District and Sessions Judge who had been appointed as Observed by the Court. He said that Gen Secretary Nehru alone, who is also representing North India as Vice President in BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) was the only authorised office bearer after President to call the WC meeting.

"Dr Abdullah has still two years of his term set by a resolution of Working Committee. How can he be removed by a manipulated and illegal election? He has the additional distinction of being the only life member of JKCA", said the association’s office bearer, asserting that BCCI would never accept a "fraudulent election".


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pak, ISIS flags waved after Eid prayers in Srinagar

Mufti, Omar attend congregational prayers at Hazratbal amid clashes in downtown

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Jul 18: Even as Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah participated in the 60,000-strong Eid congregational prayers at Hazratbal on Saturday, separatist demonstrators clashed with the Police and paramilitary forces in downtown Srinagar and some of them waved Pakistani and ISIS flags while shouting pro-Azadi and pro-Pakistan slogans.

Official sources insisted that over 80,000 Muslims formed the State’s thickest Eid prayers congregation at Hazratbal where Mufti and Omar attended the session in the lead row amid tight security arrangements. Authorities had placed around 300 Police recruits in civvies, mostly from Police Training School Manigam, to dominate the crowd around the VVIPs so as to provide an extensive security ring.

However, independent estimates put the number of the participants at Hazratbal at around 60,000. Some 30,000 people performed the congregational prayers in the forenoon at the traditional venue of Eidgah even as the cleric-politician Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who is also Chairman of a faction of the separatist alliance Hurriyat Conference, had been placed under house arrest at his residence in Nageen area, near Hazratbal. Those held in detention and denied permission to attend the Eid prayers included hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik, Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Shah, National Front head Nayeem Khan besides Bilal Lone, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat and Maulvi Abbas Ansari.

In an interesting development, Mufti and Omar shook hands at Hazratbal at the prayers session and exchanged Eid greetings. This was one of the rarest meetings of the two mainstream politicians in the last several years. No political activity or demonstration marred the Eid prayers at Hazratbal.

Nevertheless, immediately after the conclusion of the prayers at Eidgah, when the participants were returning to their home destinations, groups of the separatist demonstrators shouted pro-Pakistan, pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans. They also waved some Pakistani and ISIS flags while facing no resistance from Police for about 30 minutes. Later, unruly separatist groups resorted to stone pelting on Police and CRPF. Ding-dong clashes at some spots in downtown continued intermittently even as the authorities used tearsmoke and baton charge to disperse the violent but thin demonstrations.

Reports of some slogan shouting and clashes of medium intensity were received from two Civil Lines neighbourhoods of Kothibagh and Hyderpora besides from Baramulla, Sopore and Anantnag towns.

Geelani had called for “peaceful demonstrations” after the Eid prayers. However most of the participants ignored the call and avoided to play any sort of politics--- preferring to visit relatives and friends and celebrating the festival with fervour and gaiety. Congregational prayers were held at all Eidgahs and most of the major mosques with the exception of Jamia Masjid of Srinagar as the administrators had organised the prayer assembly at an open-air venue at Eidgah.