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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Whose Eid gift is it to Valley?
60-year-old civilian killed in stone pelting on highway at Bemina

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 9: Third civilian victim of the stone pelting in Kashmir this year is a 60-year-old resident of Malroo who died at SKIMS, Soura, today after getting critically injured on the National Highway Bypass at SDA Colony, Bemina, on Wednesday.

Informed sources said that 60-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Guroo S/o Abdul Ahad Guroo R/o Kujbagh, Maloora (Sumbal) was critically hit in his head when he was returning to his home in a Tata Sumo vehicle from Letapora, Awantipore, yesterday. His brother,Ghulam Rasool Guroo, who was also traveling in the same vehicle, managed to take him all the way to SKIMS where he was admitted to Accidents and Emergency Department for medical treatment. He succumbed to injuries at 1400 hours today.

According to these sources, a group of youth were pelting stones on all kinds of vehicles plying on the highway to enforce shutdown called by separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani, near Boat Colony. Hours earlier, a thick crowd had damaged office complexes and vehicles of Srinagar Development Authority (SDA) in the same locality. Sources said that a stone smashed the glass panes and straightway hit the ill-fated commuter’s head.

Medical Superintendent at SKIMS, Dr Syed Amin Tabish, told Early Times that Guroo was admitted with grievous injuries in his head. According to the SKIMS doctors, who examined and treated the patient, Guroo had been hit with a stone and there was no indication of a firearm injury, like bullet, pallet or teargas shell, on his body. “He had suffered blunt trauma, leading to subarachnoid hemorrhage with midline shifts. He had also a fracture. We have every reason to conclude that he had been hit by a stone”, Dr Tabish said.

SP City, South, Mohammad Irshad, said that on the statement of Ghulam Rasool Guroo, Police had lodged two FIRs of stone pelting, one at Boatman Colony and another at Tengpora. However, on Wednesday, no incident of stone pelting had been reported at Tengpora, he said. SP said that the FIR would be converted into a murder case under Section 302 RPC after completion of necessary formalities. He said that Police were looking for the vehicle, its driver and other passengers who were traveling in it that time.

However, a gathering of people at Malroo conducted Guroo’s funeral amid anti-India, pro-Azadi and pro-Islam slogans with the allegation that he had been hit by a teargas shell fired by Police or CRPF. They staged a protest demonstration and blocked Srinagar-Sumabl-Bandipore Road for two hours today. SP Irshad maintained that there was no question of firing as there was no Police or CRPF around the spot when the stone pelters targeted Guroo’s vehicle.

Earlier this year, in the first tragic incident, an 11-day-old baby had died when a group of stone pelters intercepted a vehicle and forced the commuters to get down. The boy fell from the lap of his mother and died. In the second incident, a middle-aged employee of State Board of School Education was fatally hit in his head when a group of youth pelted stones on his minibus, in violation of Syed Ali Geelani’s advice of remaining non-violent, at Batmaloo. He died hours after he was critically hit in his head by a massive stone.

On the other side, as many as 71 civilians have died in different incidents of firing on groups of stone pelters and demonstrators by J&K Police and CRPF since January this year.

Meanwhile a press release from Zonal Police Headquarters said that Police arrested some miscreants and seized their posters, threatening shopkeepers to observe total shutdown in response to Hurriyat (Geelani) call.

According to Superintendent of Police, Kulgam, Keshav Ram Chaurasia, today during naka checking at Paharoo, Kulgam Police party intercepted one motorcycle bearing registration number JK03B/0106 carrying three persons. During search of these three persons namely Sayar Ahmad Ganai, age 24 years, son of Ghulam Hassan Ganai, Nawaz Ahmad Teli age 20 years son of Ghulam Hassan Teli and Nawaz Ahmad Teli, 19, S/o Ghulam Nabi residents of Chian Adigam, Devsar Kulgam were found carrying about 45 objectionable and unlawful posters. Accordingly all these three were detained for further investigation.

On interrogation, they revealed that these posters were to be pasted on the shops which remained open during the day and didn’t support the call for strike / Bandh and threaten them that serious action will be taken against those who don’t support the strike calls. A line of the poster reads, “Jo log is appeal ko kharaj karenge un kay khalif sakhat karwahi ki jayegi”. The arrested persons further revealed that these posters were provided by a leader of Hurriyat (G) who had also directed them to organize the stone pelting in the area. This belies the claims that the strikes are not forced. The person who had provided the posters has also been arrested.

Accordingly they were arrested and FIR No. 199/2010, under section 120 B, 124A, 505 RPC has been registered in police station Kulgam and investigation taken up.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

SDA complex attacked, vehicles damaged amid curfew

Geelani detained, 30 arrested as clashes continue in Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 8: Amid state-enforced curfew in the capital and the Hurriyat-sponsored shutdown in rest of the Kashmir valley, violent crowds today attacked offices of Srinagar Development Authority (SDA). With the protest demonstrations and clashes continuing on umpteenth day, authorities arrested around 30 persons and also picked up separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani for temporary detention.

Official sources told Early Times that Hurriyat (G) Chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, was reportedly planning to create a law and order situation at Hazratbal on occasion of the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers on Friday. Turning down the rival Hurriyat faction head Mirwaiz Umar’s invitation of participating in the Eid congregational prayers at Eidgah, Geelani had made it public through media that he would be attending the festival prayers at Hazratbal. Budgam Police approached a junior executive magistrate and got orders of Geelani’s temporary detention under section 107/151 CrPC. He was later picked up from his Hyderpora residence and detained at Police Station Humhama.

Officials made it clear that it was a temporary bailable detention and Mr Geelani could be easily bailed out by an executive magistrate. They said that he would be set free on an undertaking of not creating a law and order situation anytime.

Every year, thousands of devout Muslims participate in the congregational prayers on occasion of Eid at Hazratbal. This most revered place of worship and religious assemblies in the Valley, developed by late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at a large scale, has been a bastion of the ruling National Conference ever since it was created as a politico-religious platform by Sheikh over 70 years ago. It has been under the control of state-run Auqaf body. In more than two statements this year, Geelani has described it as the “peoples property” and asked the state government and the ruling politicians to clear out from Hazratbal.

Even as the government has obstructed Geelani’s advance, informed sources said that none of senior leaders of the National Conference (NC) or the government functionaries would be participating in the Eid prayers at Hazratbal this year. Sources said that, like on Jumatul Vida, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his Ministerial and party colleagues would be performing the Eid prayers at Sayeed Sahib shrine near Gupkar Road on Friday. This, they said, was being done to ward off potential disturbance at Hazratbal. Sources said that MLA Hazratbal, Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, was planning to mark his attendance “at an opportune time” at Hazratbal on the day of Eid.

Meanwhile, demonstrations to protest four civilian killings at Palhalan on Moday last continued on the second consecutive day in Kashmir valley today. Reports said that thin groups of demonstrators shouted anti-India, pro-Islam and pro-Azadi slogans at more than 20 spots. Most of these demonstrations remained peaceful. However, unruly groups resorted to stone pelting on public properties, Police and security forces at more than half-a-dozen places. Reports said that more than 10 civilian demonstrators and Police personnel sustained minor injuries in these clashes.

Reports said that a Jammu-bound Tempo Traveler was attacked and its driver beaten up by a group of people at Awantipore on Srinagar-Jammu Highway. These reports said that more than 10 vehicles, official as well as civilian, were damaged today at different places for defying Geelani’s call of total shutdown. Official sources said that another group of stone pelters torched a Maruti car, bearing registration No: DAC- 2746, at Ompora Chowk, on Srinagar-Budgam Road, late this evening.

The largest attack happened on SDA complex in Bemina outskirts on the Highway Bypass. Informed sources said that after three of previous attacked in June and August, hundreds of people today launched a major attack on the SDA complex. They resorted to heavy stone pelting and shattered glass panes, windows and ventilators. In the first attack in the forenoon, a smaller group damaged the official car of SDA Vice Chairman, Syed Kifayat Hussain Rizvi, who was present on duty. A thick CRPF bandobust was deployed for safety of the public property and the staff.

Nevertheless, a thicker mob launched second attack in the afternoon and caused massive damage to the complex. Eyewitnesses said that the CRPF deployment withdrew to the rear and did not engage in any clash with the mob. SSP Srinagar quickly sent a Police reinforcement that prevented the complex from being destroyed as repeated attempts were made to set it on fire. Still, the unruly mob torched a truck of SDA’s Demolition Squad and caused considerable damage to two employees’ cars and a motorcycle.

Official version

Situation across the valley remained by and large peaceful barring few incidents of stone pelting at Behama Chowk in Ganderbal, Main Chowk in Sopore, Habak crossing and Sabzi Mandi Soura,and Telbal,Chatabal in Srinagar, Galwanpora Hyderpora in Budgam.However,one middle aged person has been seriously injured by a brick or stone and has been admitted in SKIMS,Soura.

The civilian namely Ghulam Mohammed Guroo aged about 55 years resident of HMT has received head injury by a brick or stone and has been admitted in SKIMS Soura.He was injured at SDA Bemina,according to the local police.As has been reported earlier,a group of miscreants resorted to pelting stones near SDA complex Bemina. The unruly mob torched a truck bearing registration number JK01C-7236. Police chased them away using mild lathie charge and tear smoke shells.

Near Telbal on Foreshore road in Hazratbal mobs of miscreants pelted stones and erected hurdles on the road .The pelted stones bouldes on the police and CRPF.The forces used mild lathie charge and tear smoke to disburse the mob. However, the miscreants did not relent.The police was forced to use palletsin which one person namely Bilal Ahmad Bhat son of Mohammed Ramzan resident of Telbal wasinjuredand has been hospitalized. His condition is stable.

One miscreant Showkat Ahmed Khan s/o Abdul Ahad r/o Behama, Ganderbal received plastic pallet injury in his leg when the mob did not relent and continued with throwing stones, bricks and police had to use pallets. His condition is out of danger.

Stone pelting was also reported from Chatabal in Srinagar. Police used tear smoke shells, and some pallets to disperse the mob. One stone pelter namely Ubaid Ahmad son of Mehraj u din resident of Chhatabal has got injured in leg. His condition is stable.

Today late in the evening some miscreants torched one Maruti Car bearing registration number DAC-2746 at Ompora, Budgam. Police has reached to the spot. More details to follow.

Mobs attack Police Stations, CRPF bunkers, Govt offices

Shutdown in Valley; Youth injured in firing at Kanikadal

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 7: Killing of four civilians in Police and CRPF firing at Palhalan yesterday led to a fresh wave of turbulence in Kashmir valley today as violent mobs clashed with armed forces at several places and attacked a number of Police Stations, CRPF bunkers and Government offices, amid total shutdown and undeclared curfew.

Notwithstanding the holiest day of the Islamic calendar---Shab-e-Qadr—people at hundreds of places all over the Valley staged protest demonstrations. While shouting anti-India, pro-Islam and pro-Azadi slogans, demonstrators registered their protest against the killing of four civilians in the shootout at Palhalan, Pattan, on Monday. Hundreds and thousands of the Kashmiris participated in the nightlong special prayers at the local mosques and shrines but scores on the streets staged political demonstrations and even clashed with Police and CRPF.

As per the separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s calendar, today was day two of the three-day strike in Kashmir. In apprehension of violent reaction to the Pattan shootout, authorities had late last night imposed restrictions on the common civilian movement, locally known as “undeclared curfew” in entire capital city of Srinagar, besides all major townships. Government offices remained closed due to the gazetted holiday but business establishments and commercial transport did not operate anywhere in the Valley. Few vehicles were seen plying on roads. A many of these vehicles were damaged in stone pelting at severl places.

Reports said that Police and CRPF did not allow the people to assemble or make free movement. On the other hand, pro-Azadi groups enforced total shutdown with heavy stone pelting on the vehicles in movement. Though numbers were not available immediately, hundreds of vehicles and two-wheelers were estimated to have suffered damage.

Even Police did not spare hapless motorists. In reply to early morning stone pelting by residents of Khanpora, Budgam, Police thrashed the villagers wherever seen. Two brothers, namely Ghulam Hussain Bhat and Ali Mohammad Bhat of Khanpora, were stopped by Budgam Police at Ompora when they were returning to home in their Mauti van, JK04A-6569, this evening. Armed with guns and batons, Policemen thrashed the duo and smashed the windscreens and doors of the vehicle. Both were dragged out and detained at Police Station Budgam.

Reports said that more than 40 persons, including a dozen of Police and CRPF personnel, sustained injuries in scores of clashes between unruly groups and the armed forces. Fearing lethal retaliation, mobs have not been attacking vehicles, camps and convoys of regular Army. Here in the capital city, a youth was hit when a group of youngsters engaged Police in a fierce clash at Kanikadal in Srinagar. Aabid Ahmad Bazaaz son of Ghulam Jeelani resident of Kanikadal, sustined injury in his right leg. He was shifted to Bone and Joint Hospital.His condition was stated to be stable.

Independent reports said that demonstrators and thin unruly groups performed anti-India and pro-Azdi scenes at more than 200 places in Srinagar and the countryside today. They intermittently clashed with Police and CRPF. Over 40 persons were estimated to have sustained injuries in these clashes today. Reports said that relatively thicker crowds attacked Police Stations of Sopore, Karan Nagar and Nowhatta, old SP Office at Anantnag, DC’s office at Shopian as also more than four CRPF bunkers at different places.

Banks, ATMs, curbstones and tree-guards were damaged by unruly crowds at Humhama on Srinagar-Airport Road. Traffic remained intermittently disrupted on the airport road as clashed occurred at Rambagh, Barzalla, Parraypora, Hyderpora and Humhama. Traffic remained completely stalled on major roads and highways.

In contrast to recent past and 2008, stone pelters have not been targeting ambulances, essential service vehicles and media vehicles since July.

Official version

Situation across the valley remained by and large peaceful barring few stray incidents of stone pelting by miscreant groups at Singhpora, Tappar in Baramulla ,Chinkipora , Bomie in Sopore, Kangan Bazaar, near DC office in Shopian, Nowgam and Tengpora By pass in Srinagar.

A group of miscreants pelted stones on police station, Sopore who were chased away using mild lathi charge and tear smoke shells.

In the evening during withdrawl of deployments a mob of miscreants pelted stones on the security forces.Forces used tear smoke shells and later on pallets to disperse the frenzy mob.One person namely Aabid Ahmad Bazaaz son of Ghulam Jeelani resident of Kani kadal sustined injury in his right leg and has been shifted to Bone and Joint Hospital.His condition is stable.

During the intervening night of 6/7th Sept. huge groups of miscreants pelted stones and hurled petrol bombs on Police Station Nowhatta. Exercising maximum restraint Police chased them away. However, nine miscreants were arrested on spot in the incident.

In another incident in the night ,about 800 miscreants pelted stones police station Karan Nagar. Police chased them away in which two persons got injured. Among them one Asif Ahmed Bazaz r/o karan Nagar was shifted to B&J Hospital.

About 80 miscreants pelted stones on CRPF deployed at Budshah Chowk. They were chased away without any one being injured.



Documents stolen from JK Bank Corporate Hqs?

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Sep 7: After receiving ‘reports’ that hours before tendering his resignation, former Chairman of J&K Bank, Haseeb Drabu, had conducted a secret midnight operation at the Corporate Headquarters, Police intelligence is burning midnight oil to find what a group of eight officials had done in their 5-hour-long exercise.

Well-placed authoritative sources told Early Times that CID of J&K Police and officials of Security Wing had been put on the job by “top government functionaries’ to investigate what Drabu and seven of his trusted colleagues had been doing at Corporate Headquarters of J&K Bank near the Tourist Reception Centre in the capital city during the night intervening Aug 26/27. According to “confidential reports” available with the government, eight officials of the bank reached the Corporate Headquarters at 0030 hours in two vehicles and returned only at 0530 hours.

The officials, familiar with the bank’s security staff, barged into the complex, and began searching for files and documents. Some of them copied and deleted data from computers. Some of them emerged out of the complex, carrying files and documents.

A senior Police official confirmed that CID and Security Wing were investigating as to what made the bank officials operate like burglars in the dead of the night, hours after Chairman Drabu had been asked to resign. On Aug 26, Commissioner-Secretary Finance, Sudhanshu Pandey, had appeared at the Corporate Headquarters and communicated the state government’s desire to Drabu. According to reports, Drabu sought some time and assured Pandey that he would be submitting his resignation to the bank’s Board of Directors on Aug 27th.

However, late that night, Chairman’s confidantes, led by their boss, walked into the complex secretly and performed an operation. Incharge of the bank’s security and retired SSP, Mr Haji, did not respond to phone calls when Early Times made attempts to learn whether Drabu and his men had really intruded into the complex, stolen documents and deleted data from computers.

4 killed as protestors attack IGP’s cavalcade in Pattan

Lull breaks into storm ahead of Eid in Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 6: Four civilians got killed and twenty others wounded when Police opened fire on demonstrators after they subjected the cavalcade of senior Police officials, including IGP Kashmir and SSP Baramulla, to intense stone pelting at Palhalan, near Pattan, on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad Highway in the afternoon today. In yet another attack, protestors pelted stones on the passengers of a private airlines flight at the highway township of Pampore in South Kashmir and left two persons injured.

Three days ahead of the festival of Eid, that marks the end of the holy month of Ramazan, at least four demonstrators got killed when a group of over 200 people attacked the cavalcade of senior Police officials at Palhalan. Informed sources in North Kashmir told Early Times that the newly appointed IGP of Kashmir, S M Sahai, and SSP Baramulla, Mansoor Untoo, were returning to Srinagar from Baramulla when a group of people shouted pro-Azadi and anti-India slogans and subjected their cavalcade to intense stone pelting. Even as PSOs and escort personnel of the Police officials opened fire in the air to disperse the violent group, the stone pelters came closer to their target and intensified the offensive.

Thereupon, armed men in two bulletproof Rakhshak vehicles chased away the demonstrators into the village interior while firing indiscriminately in the air. Suddenly, hundreds of peoples from different directions gheraoed the two vehicles and intensified the attack. Men in the vehicles opened fire. One civilian got killed and six others others injured. The crowds dispersed. While both the escort vehicles were returning to the highway, another group of pelted launched a fierce attack. Yet again, the armed guards opened fire. One person got killed and about a dozen others injured. Later, two more of the injured died at hospital.

The Police officials drove straight to Srinagar. Sources said that the cavalcade was also attacked by another group of demonstrators at Singhpura village. Police opened fire in the air. Nobody was reported dead or injured.

IGP Kashmir, S M Sahai, told Early Times that both the incidents of shootout took place over a hundreds yards from the highway when Police and CRPF escorts, chasing away the violent protestors, came under fierce attack and they opened fire.

Zonal Police headquarters later issued two statements to media. In the first press release, a Police spokesman said that IGP Kashmir had ordered an inquiry. He said that the persons responsible for opening fire and causing the bloodshed would be identified and proceeded against.

In just two hours, another press release from Zonal Police Headquarters said: “At 1430 hours this afternoon large groups of stone pelting mobs attacked the traffic , security force and police vehicles at Palhalan, Pattan, and Singhpora in Baramulla district. On return from the spot IGP Kashmir and his entourage, accompanied by senior police officers came under heavy stone pelting at Palhalan. To prevent mobs from merging into the police party the accompanied force chased the mobs so as to disperse them off. In dispersal some persons were injured, three of them later on passed away. This spot has been witnessing frequent stone pelting by frenzy mobs. Police, security force and civilian vehicles are being targeted at this place. Many civilians including the passengers of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus were injured in a number of stone pelting incidents”.

Those killed in the twin shootout at Palhalan were identified in the preliminary reports as Feroz Ahmed malik S/o Abdul Aziz Malik, Noor-ud-din Tantray S/o Ghulam Nabi Tantray, Shaukat Ahmed Bhat and Mohammad Ramzan. Officials, however, said that more than 7,000 residents of Palhalan and five other adjoining villages gathered on the highway and nobody from Police or civil administration was in a position to collect details and authentic identification of the people killed and injured. While independent reports said that four civilians got killed and 20 others sustained injuries, officials maintained that the number of the injured was 12.

Sources said that the 7,000-strong gathering occupied the highway. Completely blocking traffic movement, particularly that of government vehicles and convoys of security forces. According to reports available from Pattan and Baramulla, people performed the funeral of the dead amid strong anti-India and pro-Azadi slogans. Situation was reported as extremely tense.

Fearing resultant trouble at several traditional flashpoints, authorities tonight decided to regulate movement of traffic with imposition of severe restrictions, locally known as ‘undeclared curfew’ in Srinagar, Pattan, Baramulla, Sopore and several other urban localities in the Valley tomorrow.

Today’s attack on the Police cavalcade, followed by shootout, has broken 17-day-long lull into a potential storm ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, just three days away. Reports said that in the evening today, small groups of people gathered and took out processions to protest the four fresh casualties at Palhalan. Even as an injured, resident of Singhpura village, had succumbed at a hospital on August 23 and two more civilians were later critically injured in an incident of Police firing at Maisuma, nobody had died in the Valley in any incident of firing since August 20. On Aug 20, two residents of Sopore and Bijbehara, had died in separate incidents of firing by Police and CRPF.

With today’s addition, as many as 70 civilians demonstrators--- including those killed in arson and violent attacks---have died in different incidents of attacks on Police, CRPF and public properties, followed by firing, in Kashmir valley since June 11th. These include around a dozen incidents in which, according to residents, there was no provocation and compelling reasons to open fire.

Meanwhile, two Spicejet passengers sustained injuries when a group of people resorted to heavy stone pelting on the vehicles carrying passengers from Srinagar Airport to the makeshift air base at Awantipore. Sources said that inspite of ROP, over 50 people gathered and began pelting stones on the buses at Pampore. In the same area, another group of people had resorted to heavy stone pelting at Khrew on the vehicles of the people returning from an Iftar party organized by armed forces last evening. Reports said that several vehicles were damaged in the attack.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

This article on Kashmir's radical upsurge of 2010 is also available on the Editorial page of Hindustan Times, all editions of September 6, 2010, in the following link:-

The second coming

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

A leader has emerged from the chaos that has engulfed Kashmir these past two months. And contrary to expectations, it isn't a young man from among the mobs of twenty-somethings that have confronted security forces these past ten weeks, but the octogenarian hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

His rise to the centrestage of separatist politics, where he has elbowed out not only the pro-India parties but also the 'moderate separatists' is not — as some would love to believe — because of Pakistan's machinations, but New Delhi's repeated blunderings over decades.

Much before the controlled rise of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale in Punjab, a dress rehearsal was attempted in Kashmir. In 1972, in an attempt to marginalise Sheikh Abdullah, Indira Gandhi's Congress engineered the fraudulent election of five Jamaat-e-Islami candidates, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

By the time the secessionist guerrilla movement erupted in Kashmir in 1989 and the Jamaat firebrand resigned as a Muslim United Front MLA, he had represented his constituency of Sopore for three terms and contested more elections than any of the state's chief ministers and their family members.

Notwithstanding his influence among the militants, because of the phenomenal rise of the Jamaat's guerrilla arm — the Hizbul Mujahideen — Geelani was never considered the 'sole spokesman' of Kashmiri separatism. In 1995, six years after militancy erupted, the nameplate on his gate still described him as 'Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Ex-MLA'. But all that changed when democracy returned to Kashmir in 1996.

The pioneer counter-insurgent group, the Ikhwan-ul-Muslimoon, that eliminated most of the Hizbul Mujahideen's commanders and their Jamaati patrons, found a quiet supporter in the National Conference (NC). Farooq Abdullah not only conceded one of his safest seats — Sonawari — to the Army-sponsored Ikhwan chief, Kukka Parray, but also inducted his deputy, Javed Shah, as a member of the Legislative Council. As a counterweight, the Jamaat e-Islami made its first investment in mainstream politics by covertly supporting the then Congress candidate, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in the Lok Sabha elections in 1998.

This marriage of convenience was further strengthened when Mufti floated his own People's Democratic Party (PDP) and its much-publicised 'healing touch' campaign, evidently with the blessings of New Delhi.

It was the first time a 'mainstream' political party openly dared to sympathise with Pakistan, militants and the families of militants killed by Indian security forces. Armed with a fresh discourse Mufti managed to marginalise the NC, the Kashmir Valley's most formidable pro-India outfit, within two years and, when elected chief minister, presided over the elimination of almost all of the Valley's counterinsurgent icons, Parray and Shah included, by the Hizbul Mujahideen. Even Hizb commanders who had initiated a dialogue with India in July 2000 were not spared.

Mufti went on to engineer a split in the Hurriyat in 2003 and occupy the 'moderate Hurriyat' space by hijacking their position on the Kashmir dispute. In a recent television interview, his colleague, Pir Hussain, proudly revealed that the Centre sent substantial amounts of money (to neutralise militancy) but Mufti sent it in sealed envelopes to the families of the militants fighting Indian troops. Mufti and his government publicly glorified militants and nurtured the anti-India and pro-Pakistan sentiment. From politicians and media to the Bar and bureaucracy, it became the norm to abuse 'occupier India' and worship 'azadi'.

Nobody in New Delhi raised questions about how marginalised radicals were regenerating their roots and branches under the smokescreen of the 'healing touch' and the 'battle for hearts and minds'. Even disclosures that the perpetrators of the Akshardham fidayeen attack had stayed at a Cabinet minister's house in south Kashmir for about 20 days en route to Ahmedabad raised few eyebrows.

Squeezed by their inability to deliver on 'azadi', the failure of sustained talks with New Delhi, and their rhetoric hijacked by the PDP, the 'moderate separatists,' found themselves getting increasingly irrelevant. Their wane marked the rise of Geelani who, during the ten years of the undivided Hurriyat, had no special status. None of the seven constituents of the executive council took his side when Hurriyat split into 'moderates' and 'hardliners' in 2003. Just a couple of over two dozen outfits in the general council went with him. Both returned to Mirwaiz within months. But after his expulsion from the Jamaat and an infamous reprimand from the Pakistani President, General Musharraf for his inflexibility, Geelani was seen as the only unwavering flame in an increasingly confusing political landscape.

Though Mufti Mohammad's successors did not encourage his legacy they did little to challenge the extremists politically. The police was demoralised, the pro-peace constituency sidelined and the silent majority of Kashmir disempowered, paving the way for Syed Ali Shah Geelani. He launched his own, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, and projected an umbrella of nondescript right-wing outfits as the 'real' Hurriyat.

This group worked quietly over the years in universities, mosques, madrassas, media and among Kashmiri youth. This paid off during the turbulence of 2008 and 2010 when Geelani and his radical supporters occupied every inch of the political, as well as physical, space — from the Valley's urban streets to social networking domains on the internet — reversing New Delhi's carefully crafted achievements.

Though Geelani is well into his 80s, this is not the autumn of the patriarch. Thanks to the paralysis of mainstream political parties for the last eight years, a whole new generation of Kashmiri youth have a radical old Islamist icon for inspiration.

[Ahmed Ali Fayyaz is a political commentator and Srinagar Bureau Chief with the Early Times The views expressed by the author are personal]
I raised JK Bank profit by 2300%, Drabu only 25%: Khan

‘Haseeb Drabu is distorting facts and figures, telling lies to media’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Sep 4: Former Chairman of the Jammu & Kashmir bank Ltd (JKB), Mohammad Yousaf Khan, today said that the recently dismissed chief executive of the bank, Haseeb Drabu, was doling out lies to highlight his performance in the last five years. He disputed most of the figures released, of late, to extol Drabu and claimed that JKB had witnessed 800% to 2300% growth in all the key portfolios in 1996-2004 period and a paltry 25% to 100% during Drabu’s period as Chairman from 2005 to 2010.

Addressing a crowded news conference here today, Khan said that his sentiments had been hurt by Drabu. “It is said that the tenure of Dr Haseeb Drabu has witnessed major focus on J&K State in which the bank in the last five years has raised its credit portfolio in J&K state from Rs.1200 Cr in 2005 to Rs.12000 Cr in 2010. This is a total lie as the credit portfolio as on March 2005 was roughly 5000 Cr and not 1200 Cr”, Khan asserted.

Drau had claimed to have raised the bank’s credit portfolio in J&K from Rs 1200 Cr in 2005 to Rs 12000 Cr in 2010. He had also claimed that during his tenure, bank’s profit increased phenomenally from Rs 100 Cr in 2005 to Rs 650 Cr in 2010. Khan said that the bank’s profit stood at meager Rs 18 Cr when he took over in 1996. He said it witnessed a meteoric rise of 2300% during his tenure and reached Rs 400 Cr when he reached superannuation in 2004. He claimed that during Drabu’s term of 5 years, JKB’s profit hiked by just 25%, from Rs 400 Cr in 2005 to Rs 510 Cr in 2010.

“Subsequent to the financial year 2003-04, in which the bank posted a net profit of Rs.406 Cr, whole banking industry witnessed tremors of inflation and hardening of interest rates which besides impacting the yields also depreciated the investment portfolio of all banks. The banks all over the country witnessed a tremendous fall in their profitability. And J&K Bank could not remain insulated to these adversaries. But, despite all the adversities in the financial markets especially tremendous fall in the market value of the government securities, I could have easily booked a net profit of Rs.350 Cr for the said financial year (2004-05). But I didn’t. I did a provisioning of Rs.250 Cr in order to insulate the securities portfolio from future market risk and to reduce the duration of its investment portfolio. This I simply did for my successor so that he would be able to absorb the future market shock”, Khan said. He claimed that during that year no other bank in the country did provisioning for treating the government securities market to market. All other banks did the provisioning in the next financial year.

Khan also disputed Drabu’s figures and said that it was during his term as Chairman that the bank’s NPA came down from 13% in 1996 to 1.40% in 2004-05. He said that if at all Drabu was correct in his claim, he had actually brought the NPA down from 1.40% to zero percent.

“When I took over reigns of the bank, the net profit was just 18 crore and it zoomed to Rs.406 crore in the year 2003-04. Business turnover increased from Rs.4200 Cr in 1996 to Rs.37000 Cr in 2004-05. Credit portfolio witnesses an increase from Rs.1364 Cr to Rs.11500 Cr and deposits of the bank increased from Rs.2895 in 1996 to Rs.21644 Cr in 2004-05”, Khan said. He added that during his term he made J&K Bank as the first company in J&K which ventured into the equity market. According to his, when he introduced the venture, JKB’s share value was fixed at Rs 38 and it crossed Rs 400 mark with a phenomenal increase of 1000% in just 4 years. He also gave a detailed comparison of his performance with that of Haseeb Drabu’s which is as under:-

Comparison of performance

M Y Khan’s tenure                                               Haseeb Drabu’s tenure


1996: Rs 4200 Cr                                                   2005: Rs 37000 Cr

2005: Rs 37000 Cr (900 % increase)                      2010: Rs  60000 Cr (100% increase)


1996: Rs 1364 Cr                                                   2005: Rs 11517 Cr

2005: Rs 11517 Cr (900 % growth)                       2010: Rs  23057 Cr (100% growth)


1996: Rs  2895 Cr                                                 2005: Rs  21645 Cr

2005: Rs  21645 Cr (800% growth)                       2010: Rs  37237 Cr (90%growth)


1999:  Rs. 38                                                         2005:  Rs. 400

2005:  Rs. 400/- (1000% increase)                        2010 Rs. 800 (100% increase)


1996: Rs 140 Cr                                                   2005: Rs 1660 Cr

2005: Rs 1660 Cr (1100% increase)                    2010: Rs 3010 Cr (100% increase)


1996:  Rs 18 Cr                                                    2005: Rs  400 Cr

2005 : 400 Cr (2300% increase)                           2010: Rs 510 cr (25% increase)