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Friday, October 2, 2015

Govt. strategises to kill pro-beef Bills in Assembly on Oct 8th

3 Bills in Assembly and 2 Bills in Council being pushed to fag end of session

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Oct 1: Even as the PDP-BJP government is attempting to foil a discussion on the proposed legislation on scrapping of a law that makes cow-slaughter in Jammu and Kashmir punishable by 10 years of imprisonment, the ruling coalition has devised a parallel strategy to kill the opposition's five private members Bills in the bicameral Legislature on October 8th and 9th. Probably the shortest duration autumn session is beginning on October 3rd and ending on October 10th.

On admitting a petition from the J&K Government on Wednesday, Supreme Court of India has fixed next Monday for the first hearing. The Mufti government has contended that the September 8th order from a Division Bench of the J&K High Court in Jammu followed by a Srinagar-based Bench’s notice were “in conflict with each other” and being "exploited by vested interests" for generating a political turmoil and alienation.

While as the Jammu DB, on a PIL filed in 2014, has ordered Director General of Police to ensure enforcement of section 298 A,B,C and D of Ranbir Penal Code against anybody indulging in slaughter or trade of bovine animals or anybody possessing or consuming beef, the Srinagar Bench on a counter PIL has issued notices asking J&K Government why the 1862 monarchical law be not scrapped.

With nobody knowing what the Supreme Court would order on Monday, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government, in complete coordination between the coalition partners, has initiated parallel attempts to ensure that there was no discussion on the five explosive Bills having potential of splitting the lawmakers on religious lines. A potential embarrassment either to BJP or to PDP, who have diametrically opposite stands on the three opposition Bills, could foreseeably lead to a political crisis including fall of the government.

While as BJP has sponsored a campaign to end cow-slaughter with strict enforcement of the 15 3-year-old law, PDP has adopted a pro-beef posturing in tune with the sentiment of its all-Muslim constituency in Kashmir and Jammu. All but one of BJP's 25 MLAs are Hindus while as all of PDP's 28 MLAs are Muslims.

Two of the private members Bills have been jointly filed in Assembly by the opposition National Conference's Ali Mohammad Sagar and Mohammad Akbar Lone. Two more of almost same substance have been moved separately by CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and independent MLA Engineer Sheikh Abdul Rashid. In Legislative Council, two identical Bills have been filed separately by NC’s Bashir Ahmad Veeri and Qaisar Jamsheed Lone.

All the ruling and opposition parties are meeting here on Friday to discuss their respective strategies and floor management during the 8-day-long session which would have just 6 days of substantive business.

Well placed authoritative sources revealed to STATE TIMES that rather than disallowing the three Bills in Assembly and two more in the Council, government was now in favour of admitting the same but strategically at the fag end of the session-----on October 8th in Assembly and on October 9th in the Council. Speaker is expected to place as many as 10 private members’ Bills for consideration on October 8th. The last three could be the pro-beef Bills filed by Sagar, Lone, Rashid and Tarigami.

In a possible pandemonium, the one-odd day fixed for the private members' Bills could pass without substantive discussion and voting. Similar situation could be created in the Upper House on October 9th.

The private members' Bills cannot be taken up on the next day under Business rules.

On the other hand, sources said, NC and other opposition parties would stress on preponement of the discussion on the private members' Bills with a strategy to place PDP and BJP in a tough situation. NC's planning to aggressively target not only the government but also the presiding officers of the two Houses became clear on Thursday with Omar Abdullah’s tweets. The Leader of the Opposition lashed out at Speaker Kavinder Gupta's interview in which he told NDTV that the pro-beef Bills were being moved with ill intentions to polarise the MLAs on religious lines.


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Dy CM among 69 who missed flights due to Srinagar traffic jam

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 29: Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Prof Nirmal Singh was among the 69 Jammu and Delhi-bound passengers who missed their flights on Tuesday due to a massive traffic jam on Srinagar-Airport road.

Sometime around 11.30 a.m. residents of Galwanpora village staged a dharna and blocked traffic at Hyderpora on the airport road, officially known as Indira Gandhi Road. They demanded supply of drinking water to their neighbourhood with the complaint that officials and engineers of Public Health Engineering (PHE) Department had failed to keep their promise of providing to them drinking water from a stable source.

The people on dharna complained that nobody in the government had responded to their demands and complaint in the last one week even as Police had assured them eight days ago that the PHE engineers would address their problem within a week's time.

"Left with no alternative, we have gathered here to communicate our just and genuine demand to the Government in the language it understands. We won’t withdraw until we get water", Ghulam Rasool Bhat of Galwanpora told STATE TIMES.

Entire vehicular traffic on Srinagar-Airport road, that also leads to Budgam and over two dozen major towns, came to a standstill due to the squatting of the angry residents of the area on periphery of the summer capital. Jammu and Delhi-bound passengers, who included elderly women, handicapped men and scores of young children, were seen coming out of the stranded vehicles and rushing towards the airport desperately while making efforts to catch their flights.

"It seems that there's no government in place in this State", a middle aged woman passenger carrying her heavy luggage complained.

It was only after 90 minutes of the anarchical situation that some Police officials and incharge DC of Srinagar reached the spot to mollify the demonstrators with the assurances that drinking water would be provided to the locality.

After about three hours of mayhem, authorities succeeded to convince the demonstrators for calling off dharna. Traffic was diverted to airport via National Highway Bypass and Rawalpora. It resulted in further jams on the Bypass. By the time traffic was restored, scores of passengers had missed their flights. Twenty of them were accommodated by Go Air in its late afternoon flights subsequently but around 50 returned to Srinagar disappointed. Some of the passengers were seen weeping over the predicament they were forced to face due to the authorities' failure to meet the demonstrators on time.

SSP Anti - hijacking at Srinagar Airport Manzoor Ahmad Dalal told STATE TIMES that Deputy Chief Minister Prof Nirmal Sigh and three of his staff members missed their Jammu-bound Air India flight 822 as they failed to show up by its departure time of 2.25 p.m. "Now Honoursble Dy CM will travel to Jammu tomorrow. He is booked on one of tomorrow's flights", Mr Dalal said. He said that one or two passengers do routinely miss a flight but it was for the first time in the last over one year that 69 passenger failed to show up. Dy CM reached airport at 2.45 pm when the flight had been pushed back on the tarmac.

In all, officials said, that 69 passengers missed their flights. However, Go Air managed to accommodate 20 of its no-show passengers in the afternoon flights subsequently. Of the 49 passengers who returned to Srinagar, 25 were booked on Indigo flights, 11 on SpiceJet, 9 on Jet Airways and 4, including Dy CM, on Air India.

Sources said that DGP K. Rjendra Kumar pulled up many of the Police and Civil officials for their failure to respond to the situation on time. While as SSP Srinagar Amit Kumar pleaded that Hyderpora was the jurisdiction of Budgam district Police, officials said that DC Srinagar Farooq Lone was currently on mid-career training. SSP Traffic Srinagar Maqsood-uz-Zamaan said that he had just returned from Hajj and had not yet joined his duty.

Phone of DIG Traffic Alok Kumar was continuously switched off. Unconfirmed reports said that he was himself among some senior officers who arrived in from Jammu or Delhi, got stuck in the jam and walked a distance to come out of the mess.