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Friday, March 17, 2017

Delhi’s premium on treason and separatism goes meteoric in BJP rule

Kashmiri separatists get top government jobs for their own children through backdoor; Ministerial cars, VVIP treatment, prize postings, PG seats at will



JAMMU, March 5: Leading national daily The Times of India has uncovered how Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP-BJP coalition in Jammu and Kashmir has, in its latest, appointed pro-Pakistan hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s grandson Anees-ul-Islam as Research Officer in Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) at a time when the separatist leader had enforced over four-month-long violent and turbulent shutdown in the Valley.

Suggestions of quid pro quo, apparently spread by the beleaguered BJP are wrong at its face because Mr Geelani continues to be unrelenting in keeping the Valley turbulent and shut. His audacious inspiration is wooing scores of young boys to join the terror camp, kill others and get themselves killed. Ideally, Islamabad not New Delhi should have footed the bills and added comfort to Mr Geelani’s life. That’s what the neighbouring country has been doing without break since 1990. For now, it appears that both Islamabad and New Delhi are partners in the joint venture of taking care of everybody who spits on the idea of India, throws a stone or a grenade, fires a bullet, raises a banner or shouts a slogan against India and in favour of Pakistan.

What The Times of India story has skipped is all the more shocking. The post of Research Officer at SKICC had been specially created by then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s close relative, Shahnawaz Shah, in 2003. In the autumn of 2016, Shahnawaz was elevated to the rank of Manager when at a senior level between the separatist and the pseudo-separatist mainstream leaders it was decided to appoint Geelani’s grandson as Research Officer. It was felt that the pay scale and the grade given to Mufti’s relative was not commensurate with the ‘taller’ Geelani’s relative.

Under orders of the top echelons of PDP-BJP government, Secretary Tourism was forced to upgrade Research Officer’s pay scale to the pay scale of Tehsildar, BDO, General Manager DIC and other Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) post’s pay scale of Rs 9300—Rs 34,800 with grade pay Rs 4,800. The idea is to elevate him to grade pay of Rs 6,600 (Deputy Secretary to Government) in the next few years and then induct him into Technical Quota of KAS. In the following years, he would become Deputy Commissioner, Director and then rise to the rank of Commissioner-Secretary and Principal Secretary to Government---all through backdoor.

Under the plan, MBA was fixed as essential qualification for Research Officer. It was decided that in violation of the Cabinet Order of 2010, which makes service in SKICC pensionable, Secretary Tourism would not refer the vacancy to Public Service Commission (PSC) and instead conduct the appointment clandestinely through a selection to be made by a committee of his trusted subordinates and headed by him. To cut down the number of the candidates, cut-off for shortlisting was raised to 75% marks as the candidate to be favoured had 76% marks. The “result” was completed on November 30, 2016 but neither published in any newspaper nor posted on SKICC or Tourism department’s website. All the high-merit candidates, who had performed exceptionally well in interview, including a pass-out of SKUAST Jammu who had 84% marks, were dropped and Geelani’s grandson selected.

On the same day i.e. November 30, 2016, the blue-eyed boy was called to SKICC. Senior officials facilitated his joining and greeted his family as the mission assigned to them was accomplished. Thirty-one candidates, many of them having far greater merit, kept shuttling between their homes and SKICC to learn about the “result”.

“It was on December 25 that we came to know that some Anees-ul-Islam had joined as Research Officer about a month back as we all had been kept in the dark”, said a candidate from Handwara who has 79% marks in MBA. When the dropped candidates failed to get injustice, one of them emailed a detailed complaint to ACB Srinagar of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). On February 3, he was notified by Google that his mail had failed in delivery.

If sources privy to the process are to be believed, Anees-ul-Islam’s CID verification was returned with “positive” remarks from a top office and did not, like other cases, go to the field.

The story of granting extraordinary favours and privileges to the India-bashers in J&K does neither start nor end here. Previously too, one of this hardcore separatist’s sons was sent for a Forestry training course for which only the in-service candidates were entitled. On completion of the course, then Forest Minister of Dr Farooq Abdullah’s National Conference government, Peerzada Ahmad Shah made a plan to appoint the separatist leader’s son as “Assistant Director Forest Protection Force” on adhoc basis. The idea was to ostensibly engage around 155 youths, including the Minister’s own daughter, on temporary basis and subsequently regularise them against posts of Range Officers and post them as “incharge DFOs”.

Following its exposure in The Indian Express, a number of candidates raised protest and knocked at the doors of J&K High Court. Shortly after this plan failed, same blue-eyed boy and the top separatist leader’s son was inducted on a better position in Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Science & Technology (SKUAST). Another top separatist leader’s brother-in-law was inducted into Technical Quota of KAS and posted on prize positions as HOD while as his senior are still six levels lower to him.

Yet another top separatist leader’s son was granted a contract for supplying computers to the Revenue Training Institute Srinagar in violation of all rules and procedures. Sometime later, his failed rivals filed a complaint that the supplier had been allotted exorbitant rates and he had supplied computers of inferior quality. State Vigilance Organisation conducted a preliminary verification and found the charges true. FIR was lodged and the supplier arrested. The case is reportedly still under investigation.

Another separatist leader’s wife enjoyed prize postings and promotions, both in NC-Congress coalition and the PDP-BJP regime.

Top bureaucrats on condition of anonymity confirm that the separatist leaders have also been getting prize postings for their relatives besides government contracts and supply orders, admissions in prestigious schools and colleges with intervention of government functionaries. At Srinagar airport, officers and security staff are seen arranging for their boarding cards, business class seats and hospitality in VIP Lounge with pride. Much has been already written about the beacon light and hooter-fitted Ministerial cars, escort Geeps and PSOs provided to the separatist leaders mostly during Vajpayee or Modi government. They even raise palatial residential and commercial constructions without even bothering to apply for a building permission.

While the poor Kashmiris remain engaged with different things from stone pelting to studies, the separatist’s children and relatively get passports on priority when their masters in Pakistan allot then a particular quota of MBBS and BDS seats in different Pakistani medical colleges every year. Government has reports that the separatists often sell these seats to different clients for anything between Rs 10 lakh to Rs 30 lakh with fear of action from the government.

The wife of a former ‘Commander-in-Chief’, who is now a separatist leader, works as Public Prosecutor. A young KAS lady officer married a commander-turned-separatist activist a few years back for the premium and glamour attached to separatism. A few years from now, she will be a Deputy Commissioner or Secretary in Home Department and thus custodian of all the State secrets.

On the pattern adopted in case of Geelani’s grandson at SKICC, Hizbul Mujahideen and United Jihad Council chief Syed Salahuddin’s son was a few years back appointed as Manager in Entrepreneurship Development Institute that was attacked and left devastated in two fidayeen strikes last year.

Admittedly, in a democratic country like India, Geelani’s and Salahuddin’s sons cannot be punished for their relationship to the separatists and militants and they are very much entitled to everything from government jobs to prize postings. However, the process becomes fishy and scandalous when it is held clandestinely and surreptitiously and due right is brazenly denied to meritorious and poor candidates who repose faith in democracy and legitimacy of the Indian systems and institutions.

Even in the case of the latest appointment at SKICC, national security has been brazenly compromised as the VVIPs who regularly attend meetings and conferences there include Prime Minister of India, Union Home Minister and heads of security and intelligence agencies. Chief Minister and top Army, paramilitary, intelligence, security and Police officers attend Unified Headquarters meetings at SKICC.

Thus the country’s most sensitive State has been reduced to a ‘Banana Republic’ as the most meritorious and those identifying themselves with India fail to get even an inferior government job and keep shuttling between their homes and government offices till they cross their age bar. Irony is that much of this self-defeating policy has been introduced, pursued and promoted during the BJP regime. Interestingly when the party’s firebrand spokespersons are embarrassed on national television, they invariably say: “You don’t know how much of it we have withdrawn from the separatists. We can’t disclose it publicly”!


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