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Saturday, January 15, 2011

Madhav Lal is new Chief Secretary

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jan 14: 1977-batch Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from Delhi, Mr Madhav Lal, is being relieved from the Central deputation and appointed as new Chief Secretary in Jammu & Kashmir. Presently posted as Additional Secretary and Development Commissioner in Union Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Madhav Lal happens to be the senior most IAS officer in J&K Cadre after the superannuation of Chief Secretary Sham Singh Kapur on 31-01-2011 and his immediate follower Sameul Varghese on 28-02-2011.

Highly placed government sources told Early Times that the State Cabinet, which met today to select the new head of the bureaucracy, considered the names of three of the senior most IAS officers, namely Madhav Lal (1977), Pervez Dewan (1977) and Anil Goswami (1978). The Cabinet finally decided to appoint Mr Madhav Lal as the new Chief Secretary of Jammu & Kashmir. Sources revealed that his order of appointment would be issued shortly after Chief Minister’s routine conversation with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet Secretary in New Delhi. He will be joining as Chief Secretary in Jammu on February 1st.

Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, confirmed to this journalist that the Cabinet decided to pick up the senior most official who was none other than Madhav Lal after the retirement of Kapur at the end of current month and Varghese at the end of next month. He said that he was personally interested in maintaining the sanctity of seniority, though merit and suitability had also a bearing on this selection. His order of appointment would be issued shortly.

With today’s deliberations in the Cabinet, all speculations have been set at rest with regard to granting extension to Mr Kapur. It has simultaneously proved wrong speculations in a section of media that 1978-batch IAS officer and a state subject, Mohammad Iqbal Khanday, was being appointed as the new head of bureaucracy in Jammu & Kashmir. Presently posted as Principal Secretary to Government, Department of Agriculture Production, Khanday happens to be junior, in ascending order, to Pankaj Jain (1978), Anil Goswami (1978), Pervez Dewan (1977) and Madhav Lal (1977).

Born on 4-06-1955, Madhav Lal has post-graduation in Physics and Public Administration. He joined IAS on 12-07-1977 and was allotted J&K cadre. During his 33-year service, he has held key positions in the state administration. In Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah’s government (1996-2002), he served as Commissioner-Secretary General Administration Department. Later he functioned as Financial Commissioner Revenue, Principal Secretary Forest, Principal Secretary Planning & Development Department and Department of Ladakh Affairs. He remained briefly posted as Official on Special Duty in the office of Resident Commissioner in New Delhi.

All through his career in J&K and a couple of Central deputations, Madhav Lal has enjoyed the reputation of a meticulously honest public servant, though quite a number of Ministers in different governments did not seem to be impressed with his speed of processing matters in the past.

Madhav Lal shall stay in service till 30-06-2015.With his appointment as Chief Secretary, prospects of a number of senior IAS officers reaching the top of bureaucracy in J&K would become automatically bleak. They include prospective contenders like Pervez Dewan (Date of Retirement: 31-10-2014), Anil Goswami (Date of Retirement: 31-01-2015) and Pankaj Jain (Date of Retirement: 30-09-2014). Chief Secretary S S Kapur, Chairman J&K Special Tribunal Sameul Varghese, Madhav Lal, Pervez Dewan, Anil Goswami and Pankaj Jain are currently designated as Financial Commissioners---top most rung in the state bureaucracy. Madhav, Dewan and Goswani are currently on Central Deputation.

After the retirement of Madhav Lal on 30-06-2015, none other than Principal Secretary Dr Arun Kumar (1979 batch) and Principal Secretary Mr B R Sharma (1984) will be left with the prospects of reaching the top slot of Chief Secretary in J&K. They will be reaching superannuation on 31-12-2016 and 30-04-2020 respectively. Potential competitors Iqbal Khanday (1978), Mrs Sonali Kumar (1979), P G Dhar Chakravarty, Dr R K Jeerath, A K Angurana and Khursheed Ahmed Ganai will be retiring from service on 30-11-2015, 30-11-2015, 30-10-2013, 30-04-2012, 30-04-2016 and 30-10-2015 respectively.

Omar to Hurriyat in Shahr-e-Khaas: “Read the writing on the wall”

Dastaarbandi at shrine after months of stone pelting in downtown Srinagar

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jan 13: Downtown Srinagar remained out of bounds for every pro-India politician for five months of the street turbulence in 2010. ‘Go India Go Back’ was literally the only writing on all walls. This is not exactly a ‘Come India Come Back’ but what was witnessed in the core of the intellectually decorated Shahr-e-Khaas today, after 120 days of shutdown and 114 ‘killings by Police’, is a contrast by all interpretations. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was honoured with the traditional ‘Dastaarbandi’ (ritual of girdling a turban around a very respected pilgrim’s head) at a much revered shrine. Minutes later, he advised both factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference to “read the writing on the wall” and respond positively to New Delhi’s offer of resolving the Kashmir problem by way of dialogue.

It was a chilly day of the core of winter---Chilla Kalaan---but there was no rain, no snow contrary to the predictions of the weatherman. The political weather was not hostile either. There was no curfew, no shutdown in this Capital city of 15 Lakh residents. Suddenly, a flowing cavalcade screeched to halt and the man in the hot seat walked straight into the shrine of Kashmir’s revered saint Ameer-e-Kabeer Mir Syed Ali Hamadani---a founder preacher of Islam known as Shah-e-Hamadan. Omar, faithfully escorted by senior party colleague and Minister of Rural Development, Ali Mohammad Sagar, offered a Fatiha to Shah-e-Hamadan and his followers.

Next moment, custodians of nearly 700-year-old shrine performed the rare ritual of Dastaarbandi on Omar, and also Sagar---known for his firm faith in shrines and saints. In next few moments, Omar inaugurated Shah-e-Hamadan Community Centre in the city interior of Chalpan Kocha, Zainakadal, where a restricted crowd of 1,000 people seemed to be eagerly waiting for the young Chief Minister they had seen nowhere before other than on television and front pages of local newspapers. Few in the gathering turned to their nostalgia----when Omar’s mother, Molly, drove all alone in her black Ambassador to her duty at then fast coming up Sher-e-Kshmir Institute of Medical Sciences in 1980; when all the top Indian Opposition leaders hosted by Farooq Abdullah drowned dangerously in the Jhelum as their boat capsized well in front of Shah-e-Hamadan’s shrine in 1983.

Buntings and banners on the incoming alleys in the congested locality communicated to the VVIP that there was nothing in the air to make him fumble or turn him pale. So, there was no reference to Kashmir being “essentially a political problem”, to withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, withdrawal of troops and inquiries against the Police officials. There was also no reference to Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s 5 points, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s 4 points or the UPA Government’s 8 points.

Omar straightaway referred to the greater transformation and advised his separatist rivals to read “today’s only writing on the wall”. He emphasized that neither rigidity of politicians nor any kind of violence---bullets or stones---would help in resolving the Kashmir problem. “Be it Geelani’s Hurriyat or Mirwaiz’s Hurriyat, everyone needs to realize that nothing but a political process of dialogue would churn out a solution”, Omar asserted.

According to him, it was high time that Kashmiri separatists abandoned their “double speak” and entered into a process of dialogue (with Government of India). Without naming hardliner Geelani, Omar ridiculed the practice of the separatists’ meetings with men like Ram Villas Paswan even as they had been continuously shying away from interacting with the Centre’s interlocutors. “This double speak”, he asseted “shall have to go now”. He described the senior Hurriyat leader Prof Abdul Gani Bhat’s recent admission---that Kashmir’s political leaders and intellectuals were killed “by our own men”---as an eye-opener for all separatist politicians and asked how long they could hide the facts.

Omar also assailed the principal opposition parties, PDP and BJP over their “divisive politics”. He spurned PDP’s lantern rally and claimed that his coalition had done much more than what had been done on the development front by the previous government. Referring to the BJP’s proposed flag Yatra, Omar said it was strange that after 1992 when BJP hoisted flag in Lal Chowk, after 19 years it had again struck to their minds to hoist national flag, adding that it had exposed their intentions of creating trouble in the valley.

Chief Minister later flew to Baramulla to attend passing-out ceremony at a Police school at Sheeri. In the evening, he returned to the winter capital of Jammu.

For Govt, it’s now Khanyar today and Maharaj Gunj tomorrow

After Police recruitment rally, Omar’s maiden foray into ‘Chhota Pakistan

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jan 12: The Indian Republic Day (Jan 26th) is two weeks away. Twenty-first anniversary of Kashmir’s first massacre, that triggered off an unending era of killings with the felling of over three dozen civilian lives at Gawkadal on January 21, 1990, is just one week away. Separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s first “total shutdown” of the year stands fixed even nearer on January 15th.

Where does Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda, stand in such tense situation? In safe environs of the winter capital? No. In the fortified colonial bungalows on Gupkar Road and Sonwar Bagh? Not, at all. Believe it or not, Jammu & Kashmir’s most protected government functionaries, who failed to travel by road in the Valley for four months of Intifada-2010, are having a date with downtown Srinagar localities of Khanyar and Maharaj Gunj.

While as DGP held an on-spot Police recruitment rally at Khanyar---where over 8,000 unemployed youth lined up for 100-odd vacancies of Constables today---Chief Minister is making his first visit to the city interior tomorrow. He is scheduled to inaugurate a community centre in the densely-populated Maharaj Gung locality.

Last time, Omar Abdullah had ventured into this core of ‘Chhota Pakistan’, in company of two persons including this writer, in the thick of his election campaigning in December 2008. Not for addressing a rally, but only to call on the bereaved family of a senior National Conference leader, Ali Mohammad Sagar, whose mother-in-law had passed away a couple of days back. There were few smiles and waving of hands but no invectives, no grenades, no stones either, en route to Jamalata.

All mainstream politicians had been rendered irrelevant due to Amarnath land allotment mayhem in the months of June, July, August and September in 2008. Only one slogan was heard in entire Valley: “kaun karega tarjumanii? Syed Ali Shah Geelani”. With inking a deal in Jammu and subsequently announcement of elections turned the tables in Valley. Then the “youngest Chief Minister” dominated every inch of the space.

Omar survived the Shopian blaze as well as PDP’s offensive to dump him in the debris of Srinagar Sex Scandal in 2009. There was worse in store for him in 2010. Failing to gain his grip on the executive, he was virtually buried alive. But, like his age and his political Mecca of New Delhi (read Gandhi family), his stars were firmly on his side. Yet again, Geelani had staged a dramatic comeback and his slogan of “Go India Go Back” reverberated in all directions in the Valley.

Under Geelani’s shutdown calendar, entire Valley froze for five months. Omar vanished in the smokes of 114 deaths on the streets and 120 days of total shutdown. Neither he nor any of his Ministers and officers demonstrated the courage of being seen anywhere or traveling by a road. Helicopters were used even from Airport to Gupkar Road. Taunting him with “governance deficit” and “disconnect with the people”, rivals forced him to once visit a hospital in Srinagar. He returned silently as the patients and attendants, with the background music from government officials, booed and heckled the “killer Chief Minister”.

Then the “governance deficit” drew narrower dramatically again, without Omar attempting a retake. Then, last week he sent shivers down the spine of his security when he arrived in town and decided to interact with patients, attendants and officials at the crowded SMHS Hospital. Bouquets replaced brickbats as the attendants demanded improvements in delivery and officials sought more funds and manpower. After his downtown venture on Thursday, Omar will be wending his way through the second worst spot of the summer turbulence---Baramulla---to attend a passing-out of Police recruits at Sheeri.

It’s indeed the Government’s day as the last political protester has died over four months ago. What’s brewing up for the summer next? Nobody knows----whether Year 2011 belongs to 82-year-old pro-Pakistan Geelani or 41-year-old pro-India Omar. Mirwaiz and Mehbooba indeed may have to be content with their second fiddle, for now.

Biggest land acquisition scam in the making in CM’s own Ganderbal

4000 Kanal required for CU campus; 15,000 Kanal Govt land available; Revenue officials bent upon acquiring private land on formula 50:50

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jan 11: Chief Minister’s snubbing of the District revenue authorities over their failure in acquiring land for the Central University campus at a high level review meeting last month has failed to break the jinx. Unfazed by the dressing down, the Revenue authorities are persisting with their controversial plans of taking over thousands of Kanals of the private agriculture land on exorbitant rates. Triple the area required for the campus is readily available from the government’s own reserve but the land acquisition, according to residents and informed official sources, is underway with the intention of paying double---even triple---the market value to the owners and subsequently sharing the “profit” on 50:50 basis.

According to well placed authoritative sources, an area of 4,000 Kanal of land is required for raising of the campus of the Central University at Tulmullah, in Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s Assembly constituency of Ganderbal. Even as 15,000 Kanals of the government land is readily available, Revenue officials are bent upon acquiring private agriculture land from farmers of several villages. Expanse of the usable government land is spread over the adjoining Rakh-e-Tulmullah, Rakh-e-Wakoora, Rakh-e-Rabitaar, Rakh-e-Gogjigund, Rakh-e-Kurhama, Rakh-e-Sehpora and Rakh-e-Saloora.

Since Government of India is providing hundreds of Crores of Rupees for the land compensation, Revenue authorities want to grab the opportunity on the pattern of some previous land acquisitions in Ganderbal district. Residents insist that the modus operandi used in acquisition of land for the purpose of widening of Srinagar-Leh highway is being invoked in the matter of acquiring land for the Central University.

“Revenue officials have made huge money in recent land acquisitions in Ganderbal district by two methods: They approach the owners through their agents, fix double or triple the market value and release their payment on the condition that the extra amount would be shared between the officials and the owners on 50:50 basis. The land owners readily agree as it is a win-win situation for both”, revealed a well-informed official source. He added that even different types of government land at several places had been fraudulently shown as “private land” and the compensation thereto had been drawn from the treasury and shared with local operatives of the mafia.

He claimed that just one Revenue official, enjoying even an honest Minister’s goodwill, had earned over Rs 3 Crore in the dubious land acquisition for the highway and the same official had purchased land under benami arrangement for himself at several places in Ganderbal-Kangan belt---as much as 18 Kanal at one spot. Same Kashmir Administrative Service official, according to informed sources, is now assiduously making plans to go for private land acquisition. Sources revealed that the Revenue officials calling the shots in the whole deal had even prepared an alternative plan, in case Government decided to acquire its own land in the Rakhs. In this case, a fixed amount of Rs 40,000 per Kanal would be paid on the Rakh-e-Aarth pattern to the licensed farmers who have taken possession of the Rakh land in the last over 100 years and have been paying a minor amount annually to the Department of Rakhs and Farms.

Though only 800 Kanal of such government land is under the legitimate possession of bona fide farmers in Rakh-e-Kurhama, Ganderbal Revenue authorities have already shown as much as 1300 Kanals under such occupation. Currently agents are being created with the plan that they would project themselves as bona fide occupants of the land and claim Rs 40,000 per Kanal. Sources said that this fraudulently drawn money would be shared on 25:75 basis. Rs 30,000 per Kanal would straightaway go to the Revenue authorities. “That is exactly what was done in Rakh-e-Aarth, where Lakes and Waterways Development Authority is currently raising a colony on 7,000 Kanals of land”, revealed the sources.

Delhi treated NC’s resolution of releasing prisoners with contempt: Geelani

‘Coalition just a puppet regime; Police taking diktats directly from Centre’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jan 10: Separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani today dismissed the National Conference- Congress coalition government as a puppet regime and claimed that Police were taking diktats directly from New Delhi so as to continue “excesses and atrocities” on the Kashmiris. After a month-long hustle and bustle in the Valley, Geelani has also called for a total shutdown in Jammu & Kashmir on January 15th.

Unceremoniously marginalized at the end of five-month-long mass agitation in the Valley, Syed Ali Shah Geelani held a well attended news conference at his Hyderpora residence. Building maximum possible pressure on the state authorities for seeking release of political detainees, particularly High Court Bar Association President Mian Abdul Qayoom and Dukhtaraan-e-Millat Chairperson Asiya Andrabi, appeared to be the main objective of the Hurriyat (G) patriarch.

While addressing the news conference, Geelani alleged that Police were persisting with their “reign of terror” in the Valley as there was no accountability in the law enforcing authorities. He said that Police and other security agencies were relentlessly committing excesses and atrocities on the hapless Kashmiris, notwithstanding an uneasy calm. He asserted that Police were directly taking diktats from the Union Home and Defence Ministries, without regard to the state authority.

“National Conference’s Working Committee passed the resolution of releasing all political prisoners in the month of July last year. It has been summarily rejected and treated with contempt by the Government of India”, Geelani said. He further pointed out that even the public declarations of the Centre’s J&K interlocutors had not resulted in the release of the political prisoners. He alleged that jail authorities were meting out inhuman treatment to the detained separatist activists in brazen violation of all jail manuals.

Lashing out at Police and security forces further, Geelani said that these agencies were leaving no stone unturned to revive armed insurgency that, according to him, provided the strongest justification for presence of huge size of troops in the state. He claimed that current drawing room slogan of “khoon ka badla June mein lenge” was the creation of Police and other government agencies who, he insisted, had developed vested interest in the bloody turbulence. He alleged that Police had discovered a “gold mine” in arresting Kashmiri youth and subsequently releasing them against cash payments.

“So many youngsters tell me that the Government was not allowing them to continue their political activity through democratic means. But, I always caution them against falling in the trap of the Government agencies who desperately want guns to roar”, Geelani asserted. “It’s all part of a well planned strategy”, he added. He claimed that constituting panels and fielding interlocutors were exercises in futility as none of them had mandate to resolve the real political dispute. “We will live on leaves of the trees but will never compromise on the Indian occupation in Jammu & Kashmir”, Geelani asserted.

Asked about BJP’s plans of hoisting the Indian national flag on the Clock Tower in Lalchowk on occasion of the Republic Day on January 26th, Geelani said that it was no act of gallantry to do it under the protection of one million troopers. He asked people of all parts of the state to observe total shutdown against “continuing excesses and atrocities” by Police and security forces on January 15th. This type of calls from Geelani, as also from Muslim League activist Massarat Aalam, who was finally arrested in September last year, had frozen the Valley for five long months from June to October 2010.

However, the situation changed dramatically in the months of September and October, following which Geelani’s shutdown calls had very limited impact. He has also abandoned his weekly shutdown calendars that were the main feature of last years’ mass agitation in Kashmir.


Sayeed Khan is now head of GAD, Vyas Principal Secretary to CM

Early Times Report

SRINAGAR, Jan 10: Taking immediate cognizance of the Early Times report, that appeared on January 9th, Government of Jammu and Kashmir today updated the official website of General Administration Department and made necessary corrections in the designations of Indian Administrative Officers.

Pathetically, the link containing information about 100-odd IAS officers of J&K Cadre had never been updated since January 18, 2010. It even described Commissioner-Secretary of GAD, Mohammad Sayeed Khan, as “Secretary Social Welfare” though he had been long back relieved by Mr Jeet Lal and had taken over as head of GAD in August 2010. He was among dozens of senior bureaucrats and officials who had been shifted to new places on August 26, 2010.

Thanks to the correction made today, Bharat Bhushan Vyas has been correctly mentioned as Principal Secretary to Chief Minister and Khursheed Ahmed Ganai as Principal Secretary Planning.


BB Vyas is Commissioner Planning, Khursheed Ganai Principal Secretary to CM !

J&K Govt’s special information for IAS officers without an RTI application

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jan 8: General Administration Department (GAD) is officially responsible not only for maintaining service record of KAS and IAS officers but also for sharing with the public every information about these public servants. Imagine what this custodian of all such authentic information is telling the world at large through its official website on January 8th, 2011.

State government’s most authentic domain on the Internet mentions head of the GAD itself, Mohammad Sayeed Khan, as Secretary to Government, Social Welfare Department. According to it, Bharat Bhushan Vyas is Commissioner-Secretary Planning Department and Khursheed Ahmed Ganai is Principal Secretary to Honourble Chief Minister. This inspite of the fact that Khan had been appointed as Secretary GAD on August 26, 2010---the day Vyas and Ganai swapped places in a major reshuffle in the state bureaucracy.

The GAD website, being maintained by NIC, further mentions S S Sawhny as Principal Resident Commissioner in New Delhi and Gowhar Ahmed as Member J&K Special Tribunal. Mr Sawhny has actually reached superannuation on 31-12-2010 and Mr Gowhar on May 31 last year. On the GAD website, Chairman J&K Special Tribunal, Samuel Varghese, has been mentioned as Financial Commissioner Home, Principal Secretary Home B R Sharma as Principal Secretary Power Development Department, Mehboob Iqbal, who had been attached to GAD on 26-8-2010, has been described as Commissioner-Secretary R&B and Excise Commissioner G A Pir as Secretary School Education.

Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir Asgar Hassan Samoon has been designated as Commissioner-Secretary CAPD and Transport and actual head of CAPD, Pradeep Gupta, has been introduced as Excise Commissioner.

Senior bureaucrats in Chief Secretary’s office as well as GAD did not respond to phone calls but their juniors, on the condition of anonymity, told Early Times that nobody in the Civil Secretariat had bothered to update information about 100-odd IAS officers in the last 12 calendar months. The list of J&K cadre IAS officers, as available on the most authentic website of the state government, has been compiled on 18-01-2010. Interestingly, however, the list of the state’s KAS officers is well up to date.

“Khursheed Ganai Sahab, alongwith Asgar Hussain (now in CM’s Secretariat) and others, not only created the GAD domain in 2006-07 but also kept it religiously updated every day. His successor Basharat Sahab was terribly keen in other practical achievements for the services but still made it a point to keep the latest information available for the common people. Sayeed Khan Sahab is believed to have never visited this site, let alone updating it”, said a middle rung official in GAD. He was, however, quick to make it clear that the responsibility of maintaining and updating the links lay with NIC. “Yes Khan Sahab and others seeking extension in services in the department should have alerted the NIC and made it update all links”, he admitted.

“How do you except bureaucrats and officials to update information about IAS officers when both, National Conference as well as PDP, have been seeking their expulsion from the state?” asked a former Minister with a veiled reference to the two major political parties’ slogans of “Greater Autonomy” and “Self Rule”. He asserted that there was no political will to make the defunct State Accountability Commission and the non-existent State Information Commission operational in Jammu & Kashmir. “It’s ridiculous that the government found only one individual (Wajahat Habibullah) suitable to head SIC and not a single individual after Justice (R.P) Sethi’s resignation fit to head SAC in this country of 110 Crore population”, he observed, with a dig on the two-year-old NC-Congress coalition.

Tral shuts over arrest of Hizb District Commander’s sister

Police says she collected Rs 5 Lakh for militants from a man in Dadsar

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jan 7: For the first time in the last many months, Police have arrested a woman on charges of working as a financial conduit for militants of Hizbul Mujahideen. Tral township in the south Kashmir district of Pulwama today observed shutdown even as demonstrators clashed with Police, described the detainee as innocent and demanded her release.

Authoritative sources revealed to Early Times that a 24-year-old unmarried woman, namely Surraya D/o Ghulam Mohiuddin Dar of Tral was under the Police surveillance ever since she had figured as an “overground activist” of the militants of Hizbul Mujahideen militants last year. The other day only, Police received specific information according to which she had collected a sum of Rs 5 Lakh from a militant financial conduit at Dadsar village on January 5th. On January 6th, men from Police Station Tral conducted a raid on her house and got her arrested.

Surraya happens to be the sister of Hizbul Mujahideen’s “District Commander” for Tral, Sajjad Ahmed Dar, who, according to official sources, has been operating as a militant commander for the last several years and continues to be a top wanted militant. When the inmates offered resistance, Police convinced them and also permitted her sister-in-law, Mubeena W/o Tanvir Ahmed Dar, to accompany and stay with her at the Police Station. Last evening, hundreds of residents began protesting Surraya’s arrest with the argument that she was innocent and, as such, had no involvement with her brother’s organization or political ideology.

 Over a thousand people today took to the streets and staged protest against Surrauay’s arrest. They demanded her immediate release from Police lock up. The demonstrators reportedly shouted slogans and enforced shutdown in the township. Some people working at bakery shops complained that the demonstrators meted out to them ‘rude behaviour’ when they refused to shut their shops.

Police and CRPF forced the demonstrators to disperse with baton charge and tearsmoke. Reports said that ding dong clashes continued on the streets for over an hour. However, shopkeepers left for their respective residences and did not turn up back to open their businesses.

SP Awantipore, Mohammad Irshad, confirmed to Early Times that Surraya was under the Police scanner for quite some time. He also confirmed official reports that Surraya had collected Rs 5 Lakh from a man in Dadsar. He said that the matter was under investigation and Police would soon launch a manhunt to arrest the civilian, who, according to SP, was a Hizb financial conduit.

SP said that no money had been recovered or seized on Thursday or Friday. He said it was a routine matter of a woman’s involvement in arranging and distributing money among the militants. “There is proper women Police bandobust at the Police Station but still we have allowed one of her female relatives to stay with her. There’s no question of her release till recovery of the money besides identification and arrest of other members of the Hizb financial chain”, SP Mohammad Irshad said.  He said that Surraya had been arrested under law and FIR No: 5 of 2011 dated 6-1-2011, under sections 17, 21 and 40 (Unlawful Activities Act stood registered against her at the local Police Station.

SP Irshad said that Surraya confessed to her involvement but she maintained in two rounds of her sustained interrogation till late tonight that “an unidentified person” had passed on the money to her and another “unidentified persons” had collected the same from her on Thursday. However, an independent version was not available immediately.


Over 2,000 unauthorised appointments made in Local Bodies in 2009 and 2010

Tangmarg protests land lease to pvt cellphone company

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jan 5: Leasing out a piece of prime land to a private
cellphone company by Municipal Committee Tangmarg today evoked a
protest as residents and traders demanded construction of a shopping
complex or any other public utility on the site. Demonstrators leveled
serious allegations of corruption and unfair means against the
Executive Officer and said that the public servant had been serving
the politicians, not the masses. Meanwhile, Early Times has collected
documentary evidence to establish that in addition to 5,000 illegal
appointments in 2002-06 period, nearly 2,000 people have been
appointed in different municipal bodies in the state during Mr Omar
Abdullah’s government in 2009 and 2010 without any authority and
competence through backdoor.

Residents and shopkeepers today protested against Tangmarg Municipal
Committee Executive Officer Ghulam Rasool Shah’s activity in the
matter of leasing out a piece of prime land near Gole Market to a
private telecommunications company allegedly on kickbacks. They
complained that Shah had been serving the interest of certain
politicians who were hand-in-glove with officials of the cellphone
company in usurping the prime land. They demanded Housing and Urban
Development Department and Tourism Department to raise a shopping
complex or any other public utility facility at the proposed site of a
cellphone tower.

“Shah has spent most of his time in arranging NOCs and other documents
for a building complex that has come up ahead of J&K Bank branch on
Tangmarg-Gulmarg Road in 2009-10 and belongs to an influential
politician”, one of the shopkeepers, namely Ghulam Mohammad Bhat,
said. He alleged that Shah was presently making all preparations of
the illegal allotment of a restaurant in favour of the politician. He
said that Tangmarg Municipal Committee had completed construction of
the restaurant at Gulmarg with the expenditure of Rs 45 Lakh.

Bhat further complained that one particular builder, namely Javed
Math, was currently raising another unauthorized complex near J&K Bank
branch and it was also being constructed for the local politicians. He
claimed that there was no permission for these constructions from the
competent authority.

Director Local Bodies, Kashmir, Farooq Reenzu, did not respond to
repeated phone calls but officials at the Directorate confirmed that
papers of none of the said structures had been forwarded for necessary

Meanwhile, Early Times has managed to collect specific details and
documentary evidence of 60 illegal and unauthorized appointments which
have been made clandestinely by two Executive Officers and President
of Kunzar Municipal Committee in the year 2010 against cash payment of
Rs 2.00 Lakh from each beneficiary. While as former Executive Officer
Kunzar Municipal Committee (a town on Srinagar-Tangmarg Road), Imtiyaz
Ahmed Dar has made 49 of such fraudulent appointments, his successor
Ghulam Rasool Shah (now posted as Executive Officer Tangmarg Municipal
Committee) has made 10 appointments.

Those fraudulently appointed by Imtiyaz Ahmed Dar include his wife,
Parveena Akhtar, who has been appointed as Computer Assistant in
November 2009 but shown to have been appointed in 2007. She has not
attended her office even for a single day.

During his yearlong tenure as Executive Officer of Kunzar Municipal
Committee from November 2009 to November 2010, Gh Rasool Shah has
appointed 10 persons. He has personally issued orders of appointment
in favour of two persons, namely Aatifaq Ahmed Mir and Azad Ahmed
Bhat. He has fraudulently recorded “approval” of former President of
Kunzar Municipal Committee Abdul Kareem Dar six months after the
latter expired his term in March 2010. Dar has been given a particular
share in lieu of putting his signatures. Those illegally appointed by
Shah include his brother-in-law Irshad Ahmed Shah, brother’s
sister-in-law Aaliya Assad and relatives of some employees of KMC.

Officials at Finance Department as well as Housing and Urban
Development Department at Civil Secretariat in Jammu told Early Times
that there was “blanket ban” on such appointments and there was no
question of such recruitments during Omar Abdullah-led coalition
government in 2009 and 2010. They asserted that stringent action would
be initiated against the officials involved in such fraudulently made
appointments. They made it clear that neither the Presiding Officer of
a municipal body nor Executive Officers, Secretaries and other
officials were competent by law to issue such orders or make any
payments as salary to such illegally engaged persons.

Deputy Chief Minister and Minister incharge Housing and Urban
Development Department, Tara Chand, too did not respond to phone calls
but officials in his Personal Section said that 5,000 illegal
appointments had been made by different Executive Officers,
Secretaries and Administrators during PDP-Congress regime in 2002-08
and a detailed inquiry was already underway. They too claimed that no
illegal appointments had been made in 2009 and 2010.

However, Early Times is in possession of documentary evidence to prove
that in addition to 5,000 unauthorised appointments in Mufti Sayeed’s
and Ghulam Nabi Azad’s government, over 2,000 fresh illegal
appointments have been made fraudulently in around 100 municipal
bodies all over the state in Mr Omar Abdullah’s government in 2009 and
2010. Unauthorised appointments made in Kunzar Municipal Committee in
2009 and 2010 are being published as a sample for the Government’s as
well as peoples’ information from tomorrow.