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Saturday, October 10, 2015

With NC mum, Mufti buries beef Bills in Upper House too

○ Delhi gets two 'secularism resolutions' passed: One by NC in Assembly, another by PDP in Council 

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Oct 9: Apprehensive of yet another polarisation on the religious lines in Jammu and Kashmir on the pattern of the 2008 turbulence, Centre on Friday managed to bury two private members' Bills in the Legislative Council after blocking three identical bills on decriminalisation of cow-slaughter and beef consumption in Legislative Assembly on Thursday.

Sources revealed to STATE TIMES that Omar Abdullah’s National Conference, that had moved the two pro-beef Bills in the Upper House had been "neutralised" overnight after New Delhi learned about its plans to hold a press conference and demonstrations against the Speaker's negative treatment to its three Bills in Assembly. Reports that could not be confirmed immediately said that some top BJP leaders managed to resolve the crisis through the NC patriarch Dr Farooq Abdullah.

Surprisingly, NC abandoned its plans of holding the press conference as well as the demonstration. Contrary to a many speculations, it did not make a murmur of protest in either of the Houses and extended unprecedented cooperation to the Treasury Benches and the Speaker. On certain occasions, it appeared that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and NC President Omar Abdullah were members of one party.

In reply to one of Mr Abdullah's questions, Mufti assured the Leader of the Opposition that his government would formulate a detailed project report in near future and develop Tossamaidan of his Beerwah constituency as one of the best tourist attractions of the State.

Contrary to the chaos witnessed in both Houses in the last four days, there were no altercations, heated exchanges, clashes or walkouts on Friday.

None other than Mr Abdullah got up to propose a resolution to be passed in the Assembly that, according to him, would make an appeal to the people to maintain communal harmony. He asserted that a chain of developments, including some BJP MLAs' physical assault on the independent MLA Engineer Rashid, had created a situation that could vitiate atmosphere in the two regions of the State.

Chief Minister readily agreed and appreciated Mr Abdullah’s initiative. Following Mufti’s approval, the resolution was unanimously passed by the Assembly. Within minutes, an identical resolution was moved by senior PDP leader and Minister of Education Naeem Akhtar in the Legislative Council and was unanimously passed by the House.

Mufti and Akhtar asserted that the resolution would send a message of religious harmony and brotherhood "against the growing extremism across India".

Referring to BJP MLAs' assault on Er Rashid, Omar said that the message of extremism had gone across with the incident. “Whatever happened yesterday is not the real face of the J&K. Not only do the people talk about that unfortunate incident in India but also across the world. It is this place from where Mahatma Gandhi saw a ray of hope of secularism when the country was being divided,” Omar said in a brief address in Assembly. He said that the popular slogan "Hindu Muslim Sikh Ittihad" was coined in Kashmir.

Omar said that under a well planned conspiracy efforts were being made to divide the people in the name of the religion. “We have different religions but we must respect each other’s sentiments and maintain brotherhood", he said.

“Everybody’s religious sentiments must be respected and there should be no place for the extremism. We have to rectify what went wrong yesterday and pass a unanimous resolution to reject extremism and maintain brotherhood,” Omar asserted.

While seconding Omar, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said Mahatma Gandhi saw a raw of hope from Kashmir at the time of Partition. Usually unexpected from him, Mufti showered praises on the NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and recalled his contribution to secularism in the State.

“I will talk about pre-1947 when freedom struggle was going on across the country and during that period people of J&K under the leadership of Shiekh Muhammad Abdullah presented their different roadmap and strategy,” Mufti said. “Prior to 1947, when Mohammad Ali Jinnah came to Kashmir, people here under the dynamic leadership of Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah took a different stand and strengthened the Indian secularism,” he said.

Mufti was all praise for Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and said he had a vision for the betterment of J&K.

“Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah developed a different road map and turned Muslim Conference into National Conference to give good governance. In 1938, when Muslim conference was turned into National Conference, it gave a new roadmap under the leadership of Shiekh Abdullah who was a visionary personality but could not take his mission ahead due to we people. We are here because of Sheikh Abdullah", Mufti said.

“Now we have to show the way and reject extremism. India has diverse people and we have to economically empower it for that we all have to be united. Seventeen crore Muslims who live in India have maintained secularism. If we are divided in the name of religion then we will destroy the country,” Chief Minister added.

Taking a cue from the completely changed atmosphere in the Assembly, Chairman of Legislative Council Haji Inayat Ali declared adjournment of the day's Business at 1.00 p.m---exactly when the deliberations on calling attention motions ended. Consequently none of the 10 private members' Bills came up for discussion. NC MLC Dr Bashir Veeri's and Qaisar Jamsheed Lone's pro-beef Bills figured at serial numbers 7 and 8 respectively. Chairman ignored NC's lackadaisical appeal to extend time for a discussion on its beef Bills.


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

Two ML leaders picked up as Police smell a rat in SI Altaf's killing in 'mysterious encounter'

○ LeT claims it was a well-planned strike executed by only 2 militants 

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Oct 9: Jammu and Kashmir Police have initiated an inquiry into the assassination of the top counterterrorist operative Altaf Ahmad Dar who died in a dramatic encounter in Bandipore on October 7th.

Well placed sources disclosed to STATE TIMES that a team of officials had been constituted to find whether Altaf's killing was the result of a chance encounter or a planned target killing by militants. As only one specific target has been hit and eliminated with a burst of AK-47 and none else has been injured, Police are investigating if there was involvement of any insider and if the militants had laid a counter-trap with full knowledge of Altaf's undercover operation.

Also being investigated is why Altaf and several others of the Police party were unarmed and the operation had been launched without the association of well-equipped quick reaction commandos.

Two of the separatist Muslim League leaders, namely General Secretary Showkat Hakeem and Merajuddin Manda have been arrested and subjected to sustained interrogation. Both are reportedly residents of Sumbal area of Bandipore district.

Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba on Friday claimed to have killed Altaf Dar in a "well planned operation". In an e-mail to media, including STATE TIMES, LeT chief spokesperson Dr Abdullah Gaznavi said that the organisation's chief Mehmood Shah appreciated Altaf's killing by the militants. "LeT does never spare its enemies. It was a well planned action to eliminate Altaf Dar and was carried out by just two of our militants who both reached back to their hideout safely", LeT chief said in a communication to his cadres.

"Altaf Dar's killing has broken the backbone of the Indian forces and similar actions would continue in future", LeT chief spokesman, quoting the organisation's head, said.

"LeT warns all such officers to dissociate themselves from the occupying forces and do not subscribe to the occupation of the Kashmiris. His death has caused a wave of jubilation in Kashmir and ended a chapter of terror", LeT chief said.

Unprecedented in the history of last 25 years, Jammu and Kashmir on Friday organised Quran Khwani for Altaf at the Jamia Masjid of Srinagar District Police. Senior Police officials including IGP Kashmir Javaid Mujtaba Gilani and DIG Central Kashmir Ghulam Hassan Bhat participated in the Quran Khwani along with other ranks and a group of citizens. 

According to the Police officers who inducted him in a crack counter-insurgent unit in 2006, Altaf Dar's death is as big a shock to the State Police as the "killing of over 100 SPs". They have rated him as number one in the entire counterterrorist grid in the State.


[Published in today's STATE TIMES] 

Friday, October 9, 2015

PDP-BJP alliance bulldozes pro-beef Bills after assault on Er Rashid

○ CM condemns assault, Dy CM refuses to condemn or apologise

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Oct 8: Strictly as per the strategy STATE TIMES had exposed on October 2nd, the PDP-BJP coalition on Thursday bulldozed all the three pro-beef Bills of the Opposition in Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly with the argument that no time was left for the scheduled item of the introduction of Private Members Bills.

Chaos and confusion marked the proceedings in both Houses of Legislature as the ruling BJP MLAs assaulted independent MLA Engineer Rashid in Assembly even before the Speaker's arrival at 9.55 a.m. As soon as Rashid entered the House and was about to take his seat, BJP MLAs Ravinder Raina, Shakti Parihar, Gagan Bhagat, Neelam Langeh and Rajiv Sharma accosted him without any instant provocation and roughed him up.

The MLA was pulled, pushed, slapped and dragged even as he too attempted to retaliate with full force.

While he was being manhandled, members of the opposition----Mohammad Akbar Lone, Altaf Wani and Majid Bhat of NC, Usman Majid of Congress and Hakeem Mohammad Yasin---rushed to Rashid's rescue. The BJP members said that they were "emotionally outraged" over so-called beef party which Rashid had organised on the previous evening at MLAs Hostel.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah was in chair while as Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed arrived a little after the physical assault on the MLA.

With the Speaker's entry, Omar got up amid a protest by the united opposition and condemned the assault. He said hooliganism in the House was completely unwarranted and unacceptable. He alleged that with the assault on an MLA, BJP had established its involvement in the lynching of a Muslim Mohammad Akhlaq who died in an attack in Dadri, close to the union capital, last month.

Omar said that whatever the provocation, the assault could not be justified. "Slaughtering a swine and eating its meat as well as consumption of liquor is prohibited in my religion. Does that mean we we can attack the people taking the swine flesh and liquor?", Omar shouted. He said that never before had a member been assaulted in the state Legislature this way.

Even as the entire Opposition walked out in protest, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed severely condemned the attack on the MLA. He implored members to control their emotions and sentiments. He asserted that the Legislature's sanctity and credibility should not be undermined in any circumstances.

Dy CM Nirmal Singh did neither condemn the attack nor apologise to the MLA on behalf of his party. He, however, said "it should not have happened".

"I don't approve of it", Dy CM asserted.

In both the Houses, BJP leaders linked the assault to Rashid's organising so-called beef party at MLAs Hostel on Wednesday evening. In Legislative Council, Law Minister Basharat Bukhari condemned the attack on Rashid and said his beef party should not have prompted BJP members to attack a colleague. Some BJP MLCs confronted Bukhari aggressively and shouted on him that their religious sentiments had been outraged.

Referring to the recent developments, Bukhari said that High Court had called for prosecution of the people under RPC. Subsequently Supreme Court stayed the High Court order for two months. As such nobody could presently stop a Muslim from consuming beef. Even as the Minister was critical of the MLA's way of holding a beef party, BJP members almost grappled with him.

Amid a chain of chaos and unruly scenes, Speaker in the Lower House announced adjournment of the House till Friday pleading that no time was left to take up the scheduled pro-beef Bills. He contended that Business Advisory Committee had in the past decided that there would be only one sitting and that would expire at 1.30 pm. He did not listen to the united Opposition's demand that the time be extended and discussion on the three Bills be taken up. Opposition asserted that Speaker was conveniently invoking the minutes of a Business Advisory Committee meeting of 2012. It claimed that no such decision had been taken by BAC for the current session.

PDP's Ministers Basharat Bukhari and Abdul Haq Khan supported Speaker's contention that the time for today's sitting was limited to only 1.30 pm.


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

Thursday, October 8, 2015

An IT wizard, a great investigator

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Oct 7: Officers of operational background in Jammu and Kashmir Police revealed to STATE TIMES that Altaf had voluntarily joined SOG Srinagar. 

"He purchased a laptop out of his salary and became an IT expert in a short span if time. He was unmatched in tracking the militants through Internet, analysing call detail records, navigating locations, tracking incriminating cyber traffic and using electronic data as evidence in terrorism related cases", said an officer. He said that Altaf had saved his life in two fierce encounters with militants.

Director SSG and former DIG Central Kashmir Syed Ahfadul Mujtaba said: "SI Altaf came in contact with me when he was a constable and I was SSP Srinagar in 2006. He had a great sense for investigation and even as constable contributed a lot in the investigation of fake encounter case of Ganderbal"

Mujtaba added: "Everyone speaks a lot about Altaf's counter terrorism operations and rightly so, but mainly he remained an investigator to the core. He contributed a lot in natorious murder case of Asrar Mushtaq and also Nazir Mahajan who had been killed by his son. Though he rose in ranks for his anti-militancy operations but all his operations basically were investigation based. He was one of the best police officer I have come across. May his soul rest in peace".

SSP Jammu Uttam Chand said: "Though his martyrdom is first and foremost an irreparable personal loss, I must say that J&K police stands poorer today with his passing away. For Altaf wasn't merely a person of great intuition and drive. He also possessed that qualities which are rarely to be found together---The combination of intelligence and bravado".

He added: "His contribution will forever be counted as a defining one in breaking the backbone of militancy. And though we may not be able to have another Altaf, his sacrifice only strengthens our resolve to continue our fight against terror. He leaves behind a little bit of himself in all of us; if not his abilities, at least his commitment and resolve to accomplish his unfinished task".


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

J&K Police suffer 'worst ever loss' in SI's death

○Dramatic encounter in Bandipore exposes too many chinks in the counterinsurgency armour

○ Close shave for SHO Bandipore, Dy SP Operations

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Oct 7: Lashkar-e-Tayyiba's Kashmir operations chief Abu Qasim on Wednesday struck the deadliest blow to the counterinsurgency grid of the Jammu and Kashmir Police by eliminating a Sub Inspector responsible for arrest and killing of over a hundred top notch militants in the last 10 years. SI Altaf Ahmad of Zanglipora Kulgam, who acted as head of a crack counter-insurgent unit of the J&K Police since 2006, was shot dead in a dramatic encounter near Gund-e-Dachhin village of Bandipore when he was tracking the LeT chief alongwith a group of eight militants in north-east of the Valley.

According to the well placed officers in J&K Police, SI Altaf left on a high profile operation with seven of his SIT South men in civvies in two civil light motor vehicle after receiving tip off about Qasim’s passage through Bandipore alongwith his six to nine militants. SSPs of Srinagar and Bandipore coordinated the operation of tracking down Qasim and his group.

At Gund-e-Dachhin, a village between Garoora and Nadihal, on Srinagar-Bandipore Road, SHO Bandipore Gazanfar Hussain came out of his civil vehicle and commanded the driver of a Tata-207 pick-up van to halt. SI Altaf and Dy SP Operations Bandipore also came out. As the driver slowed down but refused to stop, Gazanfer took out his pistol and warned him that he would open fire if he didn’t take the command.

Suddenly, unknown number of militants from the back jumped out with their AK-47 rifles in their hands. SHO and Dy SP had a narrow escape as they escaped but Altaf, who was fully exposed, became an easy target of the militants. He was critically injured. After the militants escaped, a reinforcement rushed to the spot and evacuated Altaf to a local hospital. He was later airlifted to Army’s 92 Base Hospital in Srinagar where he succumbed to injuries.

Officers who had groomed Altaf into Special Operations Group of J&K Police from 2006 told STATE TIMES that Altaf's death was equal to killing of 200 SPs. "We are all shaken and shattered. He was a Policeman of amazing operational and intelligence generating capabilities, unmatched in entire Police force", a senior Police officer said. He added that Altaf's death had caused "unimaginable, irreparable loss" to Police's counter-insurgency grid in entire Kashmir valley, particularly in Central Kashmir.

"Without fear of contradiction, I can say more than 50% of our counter-insurgency operations had been planned, executed and led from the front by Altaf in the last 10 years. From Muzafar Dar to Nisar Wani alias Gazi Misbahuddin and upto last month's operation in Ladoora Sopore, he was responsible for arrest and killing of over 200 militants including more than 100 top notch militants. He was the man who arrested once the most wanted militant Rayees Kachroo---the killer of nine Army soldiers in an IED blast. When Rayees managed to escape from custody, Altaf killed him within a few months in a fierce encounter. We can say he had almost completely wiped out Hizbul Mujahideen", another senior officer of high profile operational background said.

Yet another officer of SOG background claimed that Altaf's death was an unprecedented loss to J&K Police in the last 15 years. "Arrest and killing of almost all the high profile militants after 2006 were exclusively to his credit", he asserted. One more senior officer revealed that another equally----or a little lesser important-----asset of J&K Police was eliminated by militants in Srinagar district earlier this year.

Director General of Police K. Rajendra Kumar told STATE TIMES that Altaf's performance and contribution to peace could not be quantified. "He was a Policeman of outstanding qualities, capabilities and courage. He was the master of our most important operations. It's a great setback to Police but we will come out of it and fight terrorism with our unflinching commitment to restoration and maintenance of peace", DGP said.

In a special message to J&K Police, DGP later said: Today we lost one of our most outstanding and expert officers in Counter Insurgency , SI Mohammad Altaf, in an encounter. The intelligence was generated by him and was personally leading the Operation in which he attained martyrdom. An exemplary brave police officer with the heart of a lion and intelligence of exceptional nature who had a passion for hard work and launched relentless ops against terrorists in which a number of top terrorists were neutralised during the last decade or so. My salute to the Martyr. His martyrdom should further strengthen our resolve to wage relentless battle against terrorism and uproot this scourge from our State to bring total peace in the state".

Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, former CM and National Conference acting President Omar Abdullah, DGP Rajendra Kumar and other senior officers of J&K Police paid floral tributes to Altaf at a special wreath-laying function at PCR Srinagar.

Sources said that after completing graduation, Altaf had joined J&K as a Constable in 1998. In 2006, he was inducted into SIT---- SOG's parallel counterterrorist unit headquartered at Police Station Rajbagh. Then SP South Swayam Prakash Pani, currently on deputation with NIA, played key role under Rajendra, Shiv Sahai and other senior officers in establishing the SIT. Altaf headed it for 9 years. For his outstanding performance, he was granted four out of turn promotions to the rank of SI. However, sometime back, State Home Department had turned down the recommendation of Altaf's elevation to the rank of Inspector.

Sources said that the Police top brass were probing if there were any SOP violations in Wednesday’s operation. "There may an inquiry why only four of the12-member SIT team were carrying weapons and there were few BP vests", an officer said. "If it was an undercover operation, we don't know why the SHO, who is otherwise a very intelligent and competent officer, did expose himself and the Police party in civvies".


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

NC on boycott after suspension of 2 MLAs, 2 MLCs for rest of autumn session

○ Mayhem in Assembly as Speaker disallows NC's motion for discussion on Article 35A

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 6: National Conference on Tuesday declared boycott to the rest of the autumn session in both Houses of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature after the entire Opposition created mayhem in Assembly over the Speaker's negative treatment to an adjournment motion seeking discussion on Article 35A of the Constitution of India and four of the NC's members were suspended.

With the beginning of the Question Hour on the second day of substantive proceedings, entire Opposition in Assembly got up to support NC's demand for a special discussion on the State government’s response to a petition that has been filed in Supreme Court by an RSS-linked NGO seeking scrapping of Article 35A.

Article 35A of the Constitution of India provides legal and constitutional protection to the special privileges enjoyed by the Permanent Residents of the State of Jammu and Kashmir in terms of acquisition of immovable property, settlement in the State and right to scholarship and employment even if inconsistent with the fundamental rights. The NGO, namely 'We The Citizens' has challenged the law with the argument that the special privileges available exclusively to the Jammu and Kashmir State Subjects were ultra vires of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. It has maintained that these rights and privileges were also inconsistent with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948.

A Supreme Court bench has admitted the petition and asked the Jammu and Kashmir government to file its response by November 3.

Speaker Kavinder Gupta, followed by Minister of Law and Parliamentary Affairs Basharat Bukhari, contended that NC's adjournment motion had been turned down for a technical compulsion. Both made it clear that Assembly could not hold a discussion on the subject under Rule 58 Sub Rule 7 as it was sub judice in the apex court.

The Opposition MLAs in one voice rejected Speaker's and Law Minister’s argument and insisted that the scheduled business be adjourned and a discussion allowed on the government’s response to the petition filed in the Supreme Court. While as NC's Ali Mohammad Sagar confronted the Speaker, labelling him as "not impartial", Devinder Singh Rana had a virtual altercation with the Minister.

"We are here to safeguard and protect the Article 370 and Article 35A," Mr Bukhari said, amid thumping of desks by the treasury benches. "Question Hour is meant for raising issues of public interest in the House. Please stop creating disruptions," he stressed. "Go and read the rules. What are you shouting for? By creating this melee, you are only wasting the precious time of this House," Bukhari grumbled on the Opposition. He alleged that the Opposition was not serious in its demand as it wanted nothing but disruption.

"They only want to disrupt the house. It is not necessary to adjourn the Question Hour. Article 35A is sub-judice and there are rules which must be followed," he said.

The Speaker's and the Law Minister’s sustained refusal evoked belligerence from the opposition. Members of NC, Congress, CPM, PDF and independent MLA Engineer Rashid trooped into the well while shouting slogans, questioning Speaker's "partisan behaviour" and tearing off documents. Question Hour proceedings continued on Speaker's direction but hardly anything could be heard in the din.

A number of the agitating MLAs pulled out microphones of the Ministers' tables, stood up on benches, pulled and pushed watch and ward staff, shouted slogans and displayed banners. Attempting to physically prevent Speaker from holding the proceedings, NC's Altaf Ahmad Wani and Abdul Majid Bhat Larmi were dragged out by the marshals and subsequently suspended for rest of the session. In a similar ruckus in Legislative Council, Chairman ordered suspension of NC's MLCs Ali Mohammad Dar and Showkat Hussain Ganai.

Thereupon NC staged a walkout in protest in both Houses. Leader of the Opposition and NC President Omar Abdullah held a meeting of the Opposition members in Deputy Speaker Nazir Gurezi's chamber. While as Congress maintained that it would come up with its decision by the evening, NC decided to boycott proceedings in both Houses of the Legislature for rest of the session. Omar announced the boycott through his Twitter handle. He subsequently alleged that the four NC legislators' suspension was "dictatorial practice of the PDP/BJP combine".

"By suspending only JKNC's members in both houses the Govt has betrayed its true intention--to divide the rank of a united opposition", Omar tweeted. He added: "Mufti Syed confessed his unease to his colleagues at seeing the opposition close ranks over the last two days, especially today over 35A".


(Publushed in today's STATE TIMES)

Health Minister says Police are hand-in-glove with drug mafia in J&K

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Oct 6: Ebullient BJP leader and Minister of Health and Medical Choudhary Lal Singh on Tuesday caused an unprecedented embarrassment to his own government by claiming that Police were hand-in-glove with drug mafia in Jammu and Kashmir and the menace of narcotic trafficking could not be curbed until the Police officers are made accountable. 

Turning the faces of his own colleagues red after many of the PDP-BJP coalition showered praises on Police, Lal Singh said while speaking on a resolution moved by PDP's Javed Hassan Baig in the Assembly: "DG is listening. I don't care if anybody gets angry with me. Fact of the matter is that the drug trafficking owes its existence to indulgence of a section of Police". 

"After Punjab, it is the youth in the state of Jammu and Kashmir who is becoming target of the flourishing drug mafia", Singh added.

He said it is the duty of the police department to expose the nexus and track down the source if they are serious in their fight against chekcing drug menace in the state.

Referring to Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Singh said as Health Minister alone he cannot check the growing menace of drug trafficking. "I need active support of the Police department".

"Police Department comes directly under your charge. I want to make it clear as Health Minister I am working hard to check the drug menace. I can create de- addiction and rehabilitation centres but unless the police department cracks its whip and breaks the backbone of this trade, drug peddlers will flourish in the state and hand over poison to our young generation", Singh asserted.

He said all the drugs enter the state via Lakhanpur in Jammu and despite knowing this, government had failed to track down the culprits and bring them to justice. The minister said that there was need for the government departments to work in close coordination. “De-addiction initiative needs cooperation from all the stakeholders,” he said.

Responding to the points of discussion brought out by other members in the house, Singh claimed those who thought unemployment was the root-cause of growing incidents of drug menace were wrong. He said that the youths found taking the drugs purchased their regular doses by spending hefty amounts of money. They looted jewellery, were involved in chain snatching incidents and other goods such as mobile phones. He said unless strict measures are taken to curb the drug menace it would be difficult to save the youth from falling in the trap.

“There is a lot of work to be done as far as this menace is concerned. You can’t blame a poor drug addict for the problem. The problem lies somewhere else,” Singh asserted.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Speaker doesn't allow beef motions, Opposition doesn't allow him to run House 

●Amid ruckus, NC MLAs call Kavinder 'RSS man'

●I am proud to be RSS man: Speaker

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 5: Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly witnessed pandemonium with the beginning of business for the weeklong autumn session on Monday even as Speaker Kavinder Gupta disallowed Opposition's two adjournment motions for a discussion on the demand of scrapping the law that makes cow-slaughter and consumption of beef punishable by 10 years of imprisonment. The Opposition in turn labelled the Speaker as an "RSS man" and did not allow him to operate any proceedings----forcing him to adjourn the House for a day.

In all, Speaker had received five adjournment motions. One of the motions seeking urgent discussion on the situation created by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court order, dated September 8th, for enforcement of section 298-A, B, C and D, had been jointly filed by a number of the National Conference members who included Ali Mohammad Sagar, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Mian Altaf Ahmad. Another adjournment motion of the same substance had been moved jointly by CPM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and independent MLA Hakeem Mohammad Yasin. 

Speaker informed the House that he had disallowed both the beef-related motions under Rule 58 sub rule 7 that does not permit such discussion on a matter pending for hearing before a judicial court. He clarified that the three Bills on the same subject would come up for consideration on October 8, the scheduled date for private members' Bills.

Besides, PDP's Anjum Fazili, Javed Hassan Baig and Shah Mohammad Tantray had moved a motion to discuss rise in incidents of domestic violence and brurning of women. Congress MLAs had jointly moved two separate motions for revocation of the hike in service tax of helicopter services for Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine pilgrims and the government’s failure to provide relief to the flood victims of September 2014.

Speaker said that he has disallowed all three of these motions as it was a brief sessions of one week and the members could avail other tools (like 30 minutes discussion and 150 minutes discussion) to agitate these matters. He implored the agitating members to let him run the scheduled business without seeking any adjournment.

However, even before the Speaker's announcement, all the Opposition members got up on their toes and created a ruckus. After the first 7 minutes of disruption, Speaker adjourned the House for 15 minutes. As the members of NC, Congress, CPM and some independent MLAs including Engineer Rashid and Hakeem Yasin did not relent, Speaker ordered another adjournment for one hour.

When the Speaker returned at 12.02 p.m, entire Opposition joined the course of anti-BJP, anti-PDP and anti-RSS slogans. Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as well as NC Chief Omar Abdullah were in attendance. The NC brigade led by Sagar labelled Speaker Gupta as an "RSS man" while forcefully alleging through slogans that the BJP-PDP coaltion was running the "RSS agenda" in Jammu and Kashmir.

On one tumultuous occasion, NC’s Devinder Singh Rana shouted on Speaker, asking him to clarify whether he was a BJP MLA or an RSS man. Speaker retorted: "I'm proud to be an RSS man". This incensed the entire Opposition and members of different parties trooped into the well. They stood up on tables, tore off papers and continued with slogans against the coalition and the Speaker. 

Two of the NC's belligerent MLAs, Altaf Wani alias Kaloo and Abdul Majid Mir, were dragged out by the watch and ward staff. One of the marshals was injured in the scuffle. Failing to restore order for 33 minutes of mayhem, Speaker adjourned the House for full day.

While as most of the Ministers and MLAs of the Treasury Bench maintained calm and did not confront the Opposition, PDP's Anjum Fazili was one-odd MLA who was seen trying to retaliate.

Later speaking to STATE TIMES, the Opposition MLAs asserted that they would not allow any of the scheduled Business even on Tuesday and subsequently until Speaker sustained the adjournment motions and allowed a special discussion on the beef and cow-slaughter issues.


[Published in today's STATE TIMES]

Sunday, October 4, 2015

J&K MLA disrupts Assembly proceedings over beef ban

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Oct 3: Independent member from Langet, Engineer Sheikh Abdul Rashid, on Saturday disrupted beginning of Assembly's autumn session while asserting that cow-slaughter and beef consumption should be decriminalised in the Muslim majority State of Jammu and Kashmir.

As soon as Speaker Kavinder Gupta picked up the obituary references at the beginning of the week-long session, Rashid began shouting that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP-BJP coalition was pushing the RSS agenda of banning cow-slaughter in Jammu and Kashmir. He asserted that Jammu and Kashmir was a predominantly Muslim-majority State and no government or political party could proscribe beef which was Halal in Islam and consumed by the Muslims.

Rashid directed his anger even on Speaker Mr Gupta, alleging that the House's Presiding Officer was "biased" against the members seeking a debate on the three opposition Bills demanding lifting of the 1862 ban

With the beginning of the session when speaker Assembly Kavinder Gupta started reading obituary references, MLA Langate Engineer Rashid stood up from his seat with a placard in his hand reading ‘No interference in religious affairs’ tried to make it to the well of the house but was prevented by the marshals, however he continued to disrupt the speaker till the end.

Rashid shouted that J&K was a Muslim majority state and nobody there would be allowed to dictate RSS terms to the masses. “When Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Shareef can speak on any issue in the UN General Assembly, why can’t we speak here on this beef ban issue? We are also elected representatives,” Rashid shouted.

Asking Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed to clear his stand on the beef ban issue, Rashid said, “PDP- BJP is carrying forward RSS agenda here. PDP must clear its stand on the beef ban issue.” According to him, Speaker was not letting him speak on the subject. "Allow me to speak or else ho and join RSS or VHP", Rashid shouted on the Speaker while staging a walkout in protest.

None of the other 88 members of the House however supported or confronted the maverick MLA who has his origin in late Abdul Gani Lone's Peoples Conference.

Substantive business in both Houses of the Legislature is scheduled to begin on Monday. According to well placed official sources, Speaker has admitted the three pro-beef Bills from NC's Ali Mohammad Sagar and Akbar Lone besides CPM leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami and the independent MLA Engineer Rashid. The Bills are likely to come up for consideration and passage on October 8th which is being fixed for discussion on 10 private members' Bills.

While as BJP is demanding blanket ban on cow-slaughter and consumption of beef with strict enforcement of the law originally adopted by Maharaja in 1862, its coalition partner PDP has publicly taken the pro-beef stand identical to that of the opposition National Conference and other opposition Muslim MLAs Engineer Rashid, Hakeem Yasin and Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami.