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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Governor, CM forced to cut short their speeches in Assembly

·       Vohra speaks of the Kashmiris ‘killed by a tear gas shell or blinded by pellets’, leaves while national anthem was on

·       NC-Congress MLAs corner Mehbooba over her reference to 1987 polls, claim Mufti Sayeed was driver of that ‘rigging’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


JAMMU, Jan 2: The Jammu and Kashmir Legislature’s Budget session commenced in the winter capital on Monday with Governor Narendra Nath Vohra’s ceremonial address jointly to the both Houses even as he was forced by an uproarious opposition to cut short his speech before Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti faced a similar situation in Assembly.

As soon as Mr Vohra began reading out a 69-paragraph speech approved by the Cabinet, entire opposition in the Central Hall got up to protest ‘bloodshed in Kashmir’, domicile certificates to the PoK refugees and ‘failure on all fronts’ of the PDP-BJP Government. Members shouted slogans, waved placards and did not allow Governor to proceed with his address.

For about 7 minutes, Mr Vohra continued reading out his speech in the din without regard to the opposition’s pandemonium. Thereafter he stood mute for 5 minutes. The visibly upset, Governor suddenly jumped to the concluding paragraph numbers 68 and 69. As the national anthem began playing and the opposition stood shouting, Mr Vohra walked out the House and drove straight to Raj Bhawan.

Even the ruling BJP MLAs like the vociferous Ravinder Raina objected to Governor’s behaviour and told mediapersons that Mr Vohra should not have moved while the national anthem was on. They complained that the opposition as well as the Governor had shown “disrespect” to the national anthem, probably for the first tie in the history of the State Legislature.

Governor’s address stressed on reconciliation and healing touch with special references to the five-month-long cataclysm witnessed in the Valley after the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter on July 8 in 2016. Around 90 persons, including some Policemen, got killed and thousands of civilian protesters and security forces personnel injured in hundreds of clashes, crippling every activity including transport, businesses, tourism, education, telecommunication and development.

“For the last few years, from around 2008, social order has been targeted and this has posed a far bigger challenge than any of the earlier ones. I am confident that we shall not allow the weave and weft of our social fabric to be affected in the name of religion or ethnicity”, Mr Vohra said.

“It is in our interest to urgently embark on this mission, particularly to protect the psyche of the incoming generation from being fractured by the unprecedented civil strife, political disruption and chaos which we have seen in the State, while enormous progress has been taking place in other parts of our country. No responsible society can afford to stand by and see the alienation of its youth”, Mr Vohra said. “Let us not forget that our young people, aged from 15 to 30 years, account for around 40 per cent of our total population”, he added.

Governor said: “The loss of lives in the past six months is most unfortunate and regrettable. The irreparable pain of losing someone we love is not unknown to us. While the political rhetoric may result in keeping us at odds, our grief brings us together — whether of a mother who has lost her young soldier son on duty at the line of control or of a mother whose child has been killed by a tear gas shell or blinded by pellets”.

“While hundreds were injured, civilians, Police and paramilitary forces personnel lost their lives. I share the grief of all the families who have lost their loved ones and pray for the early recovery of all those who were injured”, Governor said.

After the Governor’s address ended at a turbulent note, both Houses of Legislature started routine business with the obituary references while paying tributes to the former Governor Lt Gen (retd.) S.K. Sinha, former State Congress President and Governor of some States Mohammad Shafi Qureishi, former Deputy Chief Minister Mangat Ram Sharma and five other politicians who had served as legislators and passed away after the Legislature’s summer session.

In Assembly, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti invited trouble for herself with her tangential reference to the “days when some people were fighting for Plebiscite, which they finally dismissed as waywardness, and leaders like Qureishi Sahab and Mufti Sahab laid the foundation stone on the national mainstream party in Kashmir”. It evoked some hostile reactions from NC but she went on: “These very people rigged the elections in 1987 and created the unending militancy”.

NC’s MLAs, most vociferously Abdul Majid Larmi of Homeshalibugh, shouted on Mehbooba with the rejoinder that if her allegation of rigging was correct, her father late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was equally involved and responsible. “Madame, stand corrected that in 1987 Mufti Sahab was an important leader in Congress and thus no less responsible for the rigging than NC and Congress”, Larmi shouted with the support of solidarity from other MLAs of the two opposition parties who had earlier staged a walk out.

As the ruckus refused to die down, Chief Minister hastily concluded her speech and Speaker Kavinder Gupta signed off the business.



West Pak refugees will continue to be non-State subjects: Vohra

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


JAMMU, Jan 2: In his address to J&K Legislature on Monday, Governor N.N. Vohra clarified that issuance of domicile certificate would in no way affect the State’s laws about the permanent residents and asserted that the West Pakistan refugees settled in Jammu would continue to be the non-State subjects.

“Yet another issue that is being played up is the issue of West Pakistan Refugees. As a part of the Agenda of Alliance (between PDP and BJP) it was decided to sympathetically deal with this humanitarian issue. The State Government has facilitated their identification to enable them to get work in the paramilitary forces and other Central Government establishments. This identification does not change the status of the West Pakistan Refugees; they continue to be non-State subjects”, Governor said in para-66 of his address.

As regards Government of India’s support to the PoK refugees, Governor said: “In order to extend monetary support to Displaced Persons of PoK (1947) as well as the Displaced Persons of Chhamb (1965 and 1971), an immediate settlement at the rate of Rs 5.50 lakh has been provided in favour of each of the 36,384 families who have been found eligible through the laid down procedure”.


[STATE TIMES January 3, 2017]

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