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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Beef is Halal for Muslims and no force on earth can stop us from cow-slaughter: Geelani 

'Sacrifice animals on Eid according to true Islamic spirit'

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz 
SRINAGAR, Sep 23: Even as many of the BJP leaders and senior government officials were heard claiming in Jammu on Wednesday that the Hurriyat hardliner had been "tamed" and that he would appeal Muslims not to sacrifice bovine animals on Eid-ul-Azha, Syed Ali Shah Geelani asserted that beef was Halal for Muslims and no force on earth could stop them from the practice of cow-slaughter.

Those celebrating Geelani's statement and claiming that it would defuse a potential crisis include Jammu's Divisional Commissioner Pawan Kotwal and several Deputy Commissioners. Sources said that many of the DCs and SSPs heaved a sigh of relief over whispers that Geelani had agreed to appeal Muslims not to sacrifice cows on the festival.

However, when Geelani's much speculated statement came out, separatrly from his organisation Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and his faction of the Hurriyat Conference, it contained nothing of what the BJP leaders and government officials had spread through their whispers and telephonic conversations.

"Allah has made beef Halal for us and no force on earth can make it proscribed for us or stop us from its consumption", Geelani said in the statement issued in Urdu. He, however, advised Muslims that the sacrifice of animals must be only to pratice a Sunnat and in no way aimed at hurting the sentiments of the followers of any religion.

"This (sacrifice of animals) is our religious dogma which we have been practicing since long and will continue to practice in future", Geelani added. He implored the Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir to "adhere to decency and spirit of Sunnat" while making such sacrifices to please the Almighty.

"Geelani Sahab expressed his anguish and deep concern over the reports that the court's recent controversial order on stopping cow-slaughter has caused tension and vitiated the atmosphere in Jammu province. Some insane elements are attempting to foment communal tension and drive a wedge between Muslims and Hindus with their conspiracies", said the statement. Geelani, it added, made an appeal to the Hindus "to be aware of the machinations of Shiv Sena and other Sangh Parivar outfits" and maintain communal harmony and brotherhood at any cost.

"We don't do cow-slaughter for hostility (of the Hindus). Nor do we intend to hurt their sentiments. We do it for it is a religious obligation for us", Geelani asserted. "However, it should be strictly according to the religious prescription and in no way turned into a means to provoke others and hurt their sentiments", Geelani said while avoiding to be specific where the cow-slaughter should happen around this Eid or not.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Law Minister terminates engagement of two BJP-sponsored Govt advocates

◆Vishal sought reasons of his shifting to Education, RDD
◆Parimoksh refused to withdraw anti-beef PIL

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 22: Law Minister Basharat Bukhari on Tuesday gave a major affront to PDP's coalition partner BJP by terminating services of Additional Advocate General (AAG) Vishal Sharma and Deputy Advocate General (DAG) Parimoksh Seth on account of their failure to toe his party's line on a petition against cow-slaughter in Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

After taking Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on board, Bukhari, according to sources, directed Law Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir to terminate the services of the two BJP-sponsored advocates. Law Secretary accordingly issued a Government Order.

While as Sharma, who had been allocated Home Department upon his engagement earlier this year, had been lately shifted to Education and Rural Development departments, Seth was designated as DAG in Jammu.

Highly placed government sources revealed to STATE TIMES that Bukhari had in the last two days attempted to take Dy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh into confidence, explaining to him "PDP's political compulsions" for disengagement of the two Jammu-based lawyers. However, talks between the two Ministers failed as Singh insisted that their termination would cause damage to BJP's credibility, influence and vote base in Jammu. Thereafter, Bukhari, on advice of the top PDP leadership issued direction for the two advocates' termination.

The termination order will definitely cause remarkable embarrassment to BJP as both the lawyers are well connected to the Sangh Parivar and are known to have been appointed on the recommendation of RSS earlier this year. Vishal Sharma happens to be the son of senior advocate Leela Karan Sharma, currently J&K State head of Vishwa Hindu Parushad. The elder Sharma was also head of Sagharsh Samiti that sponsored the turbulent Amarnath Land allotment agitation for about three months in 2008.

Parimoksh Seth is a senior leader of BJYM and son of senior BJP leader Onkar Seth. He is also known for his close association with Anurag Thakur, BJP youth leader, MP from Himachal Pradesh and a top functionary of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

Sources revealed to STATE TIMES that Vishal Sharma had addressed a letter through Advocate General to Law Secretary asking him to explain the reason of his shifting from Home to Education and RDD. Law Department had earlier this month shifted Sharma from Home as he had failed to represent the PDP-led government in a PIL seeking enforcement of the ban on cow-slaughter in Jammu and Kashmir. As the PIL went uncontested, a Division Bench directed Director General of Police to strictly enforce Section 298 A, B, C and D that makes anybody indulging in cow-slaughter liable for imprisonment of 10 years and fine.

Seth was the petitioner of the PIL which he had filed in 2014, months before his appointment as DAG. When, Law Department asked Seth to withdraw the PIL, he initially agreed but later refused to take the Law Department's diktat. A couple of days ago, he straightaway communicated to Law Secretary and Law Minister that he had been advised by BJP and particularly Deputy Chief Minister not to withdraw the PIL. 

"He said plainly that he had filed the PIL on the direction of his party high command and he could withdraw it only on the direction of the high command. Chief Minister and other PDP Ministers took exception to the two advocates' conduct. This led to termination of their service", said a senior bureaucrat.


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Police failure leads separatists to target govt over kid’s killing

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 21: Inability of the Police, both in striking on the proactive militants and cracking even a single mysterious killing by unidentified gunmen in Sopore and Baramulla districts this year, has led the separatists to blame "government agencies" for the barbaric assassination of a former militant and his three-year-old son in north Kashmir.

Some of the senior Police officials have asserted while responding to questions from media that the killers of Shabir Ahmad Bhat of Sagipora and his son Burhan were none other than militants. However, Police as well as security forces have avoided issuing a detailed statement and naming the group or the 'militants' they believed to be the assassins. Significantly, even the brother of the slain civilian has said that some people chased away the gunmen and captured one of them who was let off when his accomplice threw a grenade.

Sustained silence of Police and Army officers has apparently led many to believe that the assassins could be the government-sponsored guerrillas associated with Hizbul Mujahideen’s breakaway faction 'Lashkar-e-Islam'. "We admit it's our failure as we have failed even to tell the truth. People at large expect the government to be resourceful and knowledgeable about every single guerrilla killing. When we remain tightlipped, we make ourselves suspects in the eyes if the people", said a Police official wishing to remain anonymous.

"Had it been done or initially perceived to be done by Police, Army or the local counter-insurgents, whole of Sopore, Handwara and Baramulla would be gathered at Sagipora and started massive demonstrations. Skeletal attendance at the twin funeral is an indication that there are few takers of the separatists' narrative and the militants' accusations against security forces. But this can change as there's no response or formal explanation from the government", he added.

On the other hand, separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, albeit after a day’s silence, was the first who suggested that a number of civilians, including Sagipora's father-son duo, had been eliminated by what he called government-sponsored gunmen. He referred to the Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's statement that India would be within its right to use terrorists against the terrorists. In follow up to Geelani’s, coupled with Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin's statement, almost all the mainstream and separatist outfits and prominent leaders have condemned the brutal killing. On their call, Valley observed a protest shutdown on Sunday.

Salahuddin on Monday targeted media on running what he called "state-sponsored narrative" of the twin killing in Sagipora.

“Modi government is hell-bent upon reviving the SOG culture in the state. But we will not let their designs to succeed", Salahuddin said in a statement on Monday. He was critical of a section of media "for creating an impression that such killing were taking place as a result of factional war between Hibul Mujahideen and Laskari Islam". He warned that media should refrain from such “state-sponsored narrative” and added that there was no organisation by the title of Lashkar-e-Islam. “Indian agencies are actually using name of Lashkar-e-Islam to cover its nefarious activities,” he said.

The statement issued by Hizb spokesperson Saleem Hashmi quoted Salahuddin said that the “barbaric act of killing three-year-old Burhan is an aimed at tarnishing the image of Islam and the freedom fighters in Kashmir".

“Such killers cannot have any association with Islam or with Kashmir’s freedom movement,” he said.

The Hizb chief alleged that "Special Operation Group (SOG) of State Police and their paid agents" might be behind the killing. He said that Modi government wanted to revive the Ikhwan era in Kashmir and the spate of killings by so-called unidentified men was "part of this nefarious design of New Delhi".


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

Sunday, September 20, 2015

7 mysterious killings in Baramulla district in 6 days

Hizb militant gunned down by unidentified assassins in Tangmarg

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz 
SRINAGAR, Sep 19: With the death of a father-son duo in a shootout in Sopore, followed by the assassination of a prominent militant of Hizbul Mujahideen in Tangmarg, as many as seven mysterious killings have occurred in Baramulla district, in North Kashmir, in the last 6 days.

Residents of Devbugh, on Kunzar Hardushora road, sighted an unidentified human body in combat fatigue in paddy fields early in the morning on Saturday. Police sources said that seven to eight AK-47 shots were found to have been fired on the chest of the unidentified person who was later on identified as Hizbul Mujahideen’s militant Fayaz Ahmad Bhat of Vailoo, Pattan.

At Kunzar, on Srinagar-Gulmarg Road, some people gathered and attempted to enforce a protest shutdown while pelting stones on the traffic. Police swung into action and forced the crowds to disperse. After the body's post mortem, the slain militant was buried at his village, Vailoo. Reports said that 500 to 700 people participated in his funeral procession and prayers.

Senior Police officials, including IGP Kashmir Javed Mujtaba Geelani, maintained to media that Bhat had been kidnapped and killed in Hizbul Mujahideen's internecine fued by a rival group. Quite a large number of the people seemed to believe that the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Bhat had been killed in group rivalry.

Officials told STATE TIMES that Bhat was believed to have been captured and killed by a rebel group of Hizbul Mujahideen during last night at a different place. His body seemed to have been thrown subsequently at a different place. No arms or ammunition were recovered from Bhat's combat uniform. "There were some blood stains but no empties at the spot where the body had been dropped", said an eyewitness.

Contrary to the Police and Army claims, which insisted that Police or security forces did not clash with any militant during last night, nor was anyone ambushed and killed by them, Hizbul Mujahideen’s operational spokesperson Burhan-ud-Din maintained that Bhat had been killed by Police and security forces in an encounter. 

On September 14, three militants of Hizbul Mujahideen were found killed in mysterious circumstances in Pattan area. After a day of silence, Hizbul Mujahideen claimed that all the three were its active members. It alleged that they had been killed by armed forces in custody. Next morning, ond more civilian was found dead in Kunzar area of Tangmarg.

On September 18th, unidentified assassins shot dead a former militant of Jamiatul Mujahideen, Bashir Ahmad Bhat, alongwith his 4-year-old son Burhan at Sagipora in Sopore-Handwara belt, raising the number of the mysteriously killed persons to six. With the Hizbul Mujahideen militant's assassination today, seven persons have been shot dead in almost identical situations in Baramulla district in the last 6 days.

Most of the mainstream and separatist leaders have severely condemned the killing of a civilian and his 4-year-old son at Sagipora. They include Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

In a statement, Geelani held government agencies responsible for all the seven mysterious killings including that of the former militant and his young son. He called for Kashmir shutdown in protest of these killings on Sunday. Geelani suggested that there was a link between this week's mysterious killings and the Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parikar's statemen in which he had said that India had a right to use terrorists against terrorists.


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]