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Thursday, December 31, 2015

How Khandey failed to induct Hassan Mir's Munsiff son into IAS

A junior judge is on deputation with State Govt for over 10 years

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Dec 30: When senior IAS officer Mohammad Iqbal Khandey came off the hook in the infamous Srinagar sex scandal after the complainant witnesses turned hostile in a Chandigarh court, then Minister of Agriculture Ghulam Hassan Mir played a key role in his rehabilitation in bureaucracy. Mir managed his appointment as Principal Secretary Agriculture Production. Later, upon Madhav Lal's retirement, Mir was instrumental behind Khandey's elevation to the senior most bureaucratic position of Chief Secretary in February 2013.

Before his voluntary retirement in August 2015, three months ahead of his scheduled superannuation, Khandey made sustained attempts to induct Mir's son, Afroz Mir, into so-called technical quota (TQ) of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). However, he failed each time as the Department of Personnel & Training (DOPT) of the Government of India did not determine the vacancies for Jammu and Kashmir cadres under TQ in 2014 and 2015.

Highly placed authoritative sources in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government revealed to STATE TIMES that on Khandey’s instance, Commissioner Secretaries of General Administration Department (GAD) sent a series of communications seeking determination of the vacancies under TQ, making it a point that nobody had been inducted from Jammu and Kashmir for over the last five years, after former Law Secretary Ghulam Hassan Tantray.

"Neither in Omar Abdullah's nor in Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s government were the TQ vacancies determined by the DOPT. A list of highly influential recommendees, containing 13 names, was framed but kept a closely-guarded secret for it included junior officers on controversial deputations like Mir's son who had been appointed as a Munsiff in 2003 and soon sent on a brief deputation from judicial service to the Civil Secretariat.

Mir Afroz was initially appointed as Assistant Legal Remembrancer (ALR) in the State Law Department---a position equivalent to Munsiff or an Under Secretary to Government. However, enjoying high political clout, Mir Afroz was soon appointed on the far superior position of Director Defence Labour Procurement. In judicial service that position is stated to be equivalent to a District and Sessions Judge. As soon as then Chief Justice Bashir Ahmad Khan learned about the Munsiff's superior deputation, he dashed off a communication to Chief Secretary S.S. Kapur. Khan asked Chief Secretary to explain how a junior Munsiff had been elevated to a senior civil service position during deputation not approved by his employer---J&K High Court.

Suddenly the matter was hushed up purportedly after Mir called off his rebellion and surrendered before the PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. Chief Secretary’s explanation did not see the light of the day thereafter. Even after Mir broke away with PDP and floated his own party, Mir Afroz was reither shifted by the State government nor recalled from unending deputation by J&K High Court. It was the time when 50 Munsiff courts were without a judge in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Someone other would have been called back within 6 months or one year as Supreme Court of India has given special direction to J&K Government that no stop gap arrangement should extend beyond 6 months. Since he was an influential Minister’s son, nobody in High Court or the State government dared to touch him", said a bureaucratic source.

Advocate Pawan Dev Singh filed an application under RTI Act last year and sought information from GAD about the non-KAS officials recommended, considered or granted induction into IAS after 2007. Even as the information was ready, the bureaucracy under Khandey made it a point that the name of Hassan Mir's son should not be made public under any circumstances. Singh filed the first appeal which failed to evoke any response from Civil Secretariat. His second appeal is currently under process with Jammu and Kashmir State Information Commission (SIC).

The SIC, according to sources, put its foot down and forced GAD to provide the information demanded. Sources in GAD disclosed to STATE TIMES that Sectional Officer Amreek Singh finally sent the information to SIC.

In reply to Singh’s first question, GAD made it clear that no non-KAS official had been inducted into IAS after 2007. His second question was: "How many officers other than those from State Civil Services (KAS) were recommended for appointment to IAS in pursuance to the Government of Jammu and Kashmir General Administration Department Services Section Civil Secretariat Srinagar Order No: GAD (Ser)IAS/88/2013 dated 08.08.2013 by the different State departments by or before the due date, furnish the names with the full particulars of the officers so recommended".

The GAD's reply annexure makes it clear that Mir Afroz, now posted as Secretary Khadi and Village Industries Board, figures at serial number 7. Director Accounts and Treasuries Kashmir Laila Chanda figures at serial number 6 but it is mentioned in the remarks column that she had become ineligible with crossing the age bar of 54 years.

Sources insist that some nominations, including Mir Afroz's, were deficient as these did not contain mandatory 10 years of "Outstanding" APRs or the mandatory Vigilance clearance. His nomination and recommendation, according to sources, came from the former Law Secretary Ghulam Hassan Tantray.

Incumbent Law Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir insisted that he had "absolutely no knowledge of such recommendations". "It didn't happen during my tenure", he told STATE TIMES. He was in fact surprised to know that Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs department of the Omar Abdullah government had also recommended some other law officers like Ghulam Nabi Ganai, ex-Minister Hassan Mir's OSD Abdul Majid Bhat and Fayaz Ahmad Sheikh.

Others recommend clandestinely for the IAS induction by different departments included MD of SRTC and then Director State Motor Garage Ghulam Ahmad Sofi (Transport), Medical Superintendent GB Pant Hospital Dr Shafqat Khan, Financial Advisor Health and Medical Education Department Zahoor Ahmad Wani, Accounts Officer Romesh Singh besides ADs/DDs of Planning and Development Department Anil Kumar Gandotra, Satvir Kaur Sudan, Shehzada Bilal Ahmad and Tariq Ahmad Khan.

Officials said that this nomination list of 13 non-KAS officials would change completely with fresh nominations as and when vacancies under TQ were to be determined by DOPT.


[ Published in today's STATE TIMES ] 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Mufti brings back booted out Dr Pampori as Principal GMC Srinagar

On Facebook, I was probably the first to resent unceremonious removal of Dr Rafeeq Pampori.  On Facebook and my WhatsApp group 'Kashmir Firstpost' I had taken categorical stand in favour of Dr Rafeeq Pampori and stressed on Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed that he must be brought back as Principal Government Medical College Srinagar. I had written that Minister Lal Singh is behaving like an insane joker. It is great of the Chief Minister that he has directly taken cognizance of this plea, and a lesser visible one by the medical fraternity, and brought back Dr Pampori as Principal GMC on Monday, within 2 days. A good Chief Minister should always take cognizance of the public voice without making anything as point of prestige or ego. Now that Lal Singh has been put to unprecedented shame by none other than CM, he must quit as Minister of Health and Medical Education and clear out for a better BJP MLA. Rogue and ruffians need not stand on the peoples' head as Ministers or bureaucrats.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Rewarding private practice!

Omar Abdullah's government appointed Kashmir's most 'famous' private practitioner as Director of the prestigious Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura at a time when politicians were running jihad against private practice of physicians and State Vigilance Organisation had raided clinics and booked noted clinicians in criminal cases. Now that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's government was talking much against private practice of government doctors, same government has appointed another busiest pediatric clinician as Principal of Government Medical College Srinagar. This not only lends recognition and sanctity to the illegal private practice but also signifies the huge gap between what our political leaders say and do. Crass hypocrisy!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Driving Licence Mafia:

Issuing driving licences and route permits to commercial vehicles is one of the most lucrative activities of government officials in Jammu and Kashmir. Driving test is held usually twice a week. Minimum of 400 to 600 driving licences (around 80% LMVs/two-wheelers and 20% heavy, hill and other commercial categories) are issued every month by each ARTO in 18 districts of Kashmir and Jammu. Numbers double or three times in principle districts of Srinagar and Jammu. Those who pass the driving test are only 10% and they are subjected to untold miseries. Others obtain these licences through "agents" who almost run their offices from the RTOs/ARTOs premises in full knowledge of people and Police. Currently the rates for a commercial licence (on which you can also get a government job as Driver) are Rs 18,000 to Rs 20,000 if you are a fresher and Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 if your LMV license is three year old. Rs 3,000 to Rs 5,000 is charged for each LMV licence. At most of the places only a still photograph is captured rather than a video of the driving test. In short, an ARTO's ill-gotten income per month is Rs 20 lakh to Rs 25 lakh and an RTO's income goes upto Rs 50 lakh and Rs one Crore a month. Obviously this whole business cannot run without the participation and ashirwaad of the Minister incharge. Ironically, both Transport Commissioner Mr Khateeb and Secretary Transport Kifayat Hussain Rizvi are known to be meticulously honest officials. A couple of years back, our deceased colleague Izhar Wani's wife was asked to pay Rs 10,000 for transfer of ownership in RTO office Srinagar. One of our colleagues working with NDTV went to Chief Secretary Iqbal Khanday and narrated her tale. Khandey pleaded he was helpless. Chief Secretary as well as Minister of Transport Choudhary Ramzan did their best to dump the RTO as deadwood or at least shift him to some other posting. Both failed. Instead, then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah granted one year of extension to the RTO on his retirement. Because of this non-cadre officials brought from Mechanical Engineering department for deputation of 6 months continue as ARTOs for 8 and 10 years as they know how to share this 'maal' with the 'maalik'!


Friday, December 18, 2015

Omar dismisses Govt’s claim on NFSA as ‘brazen lie’
‘Whither AFSPA revocation, jobs for youth, dialogue with separatists?’
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Dec 17: National Conference acting President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday claimed that he put his foot down against New Delhi’s plan of implementing the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in Jammu and Kashmir even as his coalition partner Congress exerted considerable pressure on him for about two years. He asserted that he put up his resistance after he realised that the NFSA was not beneficial for the people of his State.
“For about two years, I resisted sustained pressure from the Centre. No less a person than the UPA Chairperson Mrs Sonia Gandhi got angry with me. But I told them categorically that the Central law could not be implemented as it would not benefit the people of my State”, Omar said at a public meeting in Congress-held Shangus Assembly constituency in Anantnag district of South Kashmir. Earlier scheduled on November 24, NC’s Workers Convention in Shangus had been postponed due to the death of three local militants of Hizbul Mujahideen in Tantraypora Siligam, near Mattan, on that day.
“I didn’t allow implementation of NFSA despite sustained pressure from our then alliance partner, Congress, because I knew the Act was against the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. I said I won’t allow this law until I was convinced it would benefit my people”, Omar said. “When Mufti Sahab took over after his sell-out to the BJP, he patted on his own back over the implementation of the NFSA. His Ministers claimed it was the biggest miracle of the PDP-BJP Government. Today people are out on the roads in every nook and corner of the State and now Mufti Sahab’s Minister says that this was a decision taken by the previous Government. That’s a brazen lie. It is ridiculous. They should either own or disown NFSA”. He alleged that the government had created “unprecedented chaos and confusion” in the State with its own self-contradictory statements.
Omar said that the PDP leadership had dithered from all of its “sugar-coated promises and slogans” after assuming power in March this year.
“After seeking votes against the BJP during the elections Mufti Sahab went to embrace the BJP and said he was doing so for the benefit of the State and its people. We were given a fancy ‘Agenda of the Alliance’ where it was promise that Mufti Sahab would bring back the power projects, get AFSPA revoked, make New Delhi talk to the Separatists and get New Delhi to open additional trade and travel routes along the LoC. What happened to those promises Mufti Sahab? Today there is no talk of AFSPA revocation. Where are Mehbooba Mufti’s placards and protests on AFSPA today? It’s astonishing how PDP has changed its entire political persona and ideology to remain in power with the BJP”, Omar added. 
“During the Press interaction after the opening of the Secretariat, Mufti Sahab himself said that he couldn’t convince the Prime Minister on vital issues as the Chief Minister. OK Mufti Sahab, we won’t seek answers from you on those things that are in the hands of New Delhi and the Prime Minister but at least do justice to your own basic duties as the Chief Minister of this State. You have increased power tariffs and bills while decreasing the power supply. Electricity is nowhere to be seen – entire localities are plunged into long phases of darkness while the Chief Minister is either seen in Gulmarg or Pahalgam or in the company of a few business houses who he has bent rules for”, the NC President asserted.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Srinagar demand more rice, no NFSA

Shutdown, traffic jam, clashes mark day three of protests

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Dec 16: State’s summer capital is boiling yet again----this time around for purely non-political purpose: Consumers in large numbers, with no political or civil society leadership, have begun demonstrating on the streets against the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government’s decision to implement the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the special status State of Jammu and Kashmir. Their apprehension is that the enforcementof the Central law, which Omar Abdullah’s National Conference-Congress coalition categorically declined to implement, would not only deprive them of the ages-old subsidy but would also affect a drastic cut into the quantities of rice and flour they used to get under the previous public distribution system.

On the third consecutive day on Wednesday, hordes of the consumers, predominantly women, blocked the national highway bypass from Bemina to Shalteng. Traffic on the highway came to a standstill cumulating into a massive jam. Police did not interfere for several hours as Director General of Police K Rajendra Kumar, according to highly placed sources, has already made it clear to the government that the belt force would not intervene into any peaceful demonstration. DGP has been repeatedly telling the civil authorities that resolution of such crises was exclusively their responsibility.

Consequently, traffic on the roads leading to Jammu, Anantnag, Baramull, Sopore, Uri, Kupwara and other areas in northern and southern Kashmir remained frozen for about four hours. The demonstrators demanded immediate revocation of the decision to implement NFSA as also continuance of the previous PDS system under which every APL and BPL family used to get 35 kilos of rice on subsidised rates per month.

Shops and businesses establishments remained shut down in Tengpora, parts of Batmaloo, Bemina, Parimpora, Shalteng and adjoining areas. Some of the consumers made a bonfire of their ration cards. They shouted anti-government slogans but avoided the traditional political slogans for azadi and against India and her security forces.

Contrary to the capital city outskirts, people in downtown Srinagar gathered at different places and they blocked roads while burning rubber tyres. At Habbakadal, Kralkhud, Tankipora, Zaindar Mohalla, Shaheed Gung and other places, demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans and clashed with Police and paramilitary forces. Even in Kohnakhan Dalgate, people put up a brief demonstration.

"They are cheating us in broad daylight in the name of NFSA. This is a great injustice to the consumers. They have already cheated us over flood relief and made our life miserable. Now they are going to deny us even the rice. They want us die of starvation. This is a conspiracy against us by Mufti’s and Modi's governments", Saleema of Shaheed Gunj complained to STATE TIMES.

Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar while reviewing the progress under National Food Security Act was informed that 86,085 consumers have obtained the digitalized forms and 17,769 fresh forms from the concerned Fair Price Shops/ Sale outlets. "All other consumers are requested to obtain the forms for correction/authentication immediately and return the same by 18th December 2015 positively so that their correct particulars are reflected in the database", said an official release.

"The consumers are once again informed that Adhar Card Number is not mandatory and the forms will be received back at the concerned FP Shops/Sale Outlets without Adhar Card Number. In case of any difficulty the consumers may contact concerned Assistant Director, CAPD North/South Srinagar", it said.

As per the schedule notified the preliminary list shall be displayed at the respective Fair Price Shops and sale outlets on December 22 and objections to the preliminary lists by general public shall be received upto December 26.



November 24, 2011: J&K Cabinet vide its decision No: 202/25/2011 dated: 24-11-2011 gave concurrence to the Government of India’s proposal for implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) in J&K.

September 10, 2013: After being passed by the Parliament, Government of India notified the National Food Security Act- 2013 on 10 September 2013 for implementation across the country.

December 2, 2015: The State Cabinet in its meeting convened on 2 December 2015 approved implementation of NFSA in Jammu and Kashmir. As per the Cabinet decision, NFSA is to be implemented throughout J&K from 1 February 2016.

◆With the implementation of NFSA, 119.13 lakh souls (95% population) in J&K shall be covered under subsidized rations.

◆Out of 119.13 lakh souls, 13.77 lakh souls falling under AAY category shall get rations at the rate of Rs 2 per kg (atta) and Rs 3 per kg (rice). The scale of 35 kgs per family shall be maintained in AAY category irrespective of the number of souls in each family.

◆Under BPL category, 26.49 lakh souls will get rations at the rate of Rs 2 per kg (atta) and Rs 3 per kg (rice) with every member of a family entitled to get 5 kgs ration.

◆Under Priority Class, 33.87 lakh souls will get rations at the rate of Rs 2 per kg (atta) and Rs 3 per kg (rice) with every member of a family entitled to get 5 kgs ration.

◆In the Non-Priority Category, 45 lakh souls will get rations at the subsidized rate of Rs 8 (atta) and Rs 10 (Rice) with every member of a family entitled to get 5 kgs ration.

◆A small chunk of population of around 6 lakh souls comprising persons with income of more than Rs 25 lakh per annum, persons holding constitutional positions including Ministers and Legislators, employees of the State and the Central Government in the Gazetted Cadre and a person owning more than 80 kanals of land individually or 250 kanals of land in joint family shall be kept out of NFSA. For such families food-grains would be made available on OMSS (Open Market Sale Scheme) rates.

◆Any person who is, due to some reason, denied ration, will be given food security allowance

◆Under the existing dispensation only 18.02 lakh families comprising a population of 99 lakh souls are covered under Public Distribution System (PDS) in J&K while NFSA will cover 22.73 lakh families comprising a population of 119.13 lakh souls.

◆Implementation of NFSA shall usher an era of assured supply of highly subsidized rations to the citizens of J&K at their doorstep in a transparent manner.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Youth tortured, shot dead by militants in Shopian 

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz 

SRINAGAR, Dec 14: A 24-year-old man has been severely tortured and shot dead by suspected militants in Shopian area of South Kashmir.

Informed sources said that Rasikh Ahmad Khan son of Ghulam Hassan Khan, who used to run a photocopying unit at Imam Sahib, not far away from his village Wasuhalan, was found dead in an orchard in Turkawangam village in Shopian-Zainapora belt of South Kashmir on Monday. He had been tied to the trunk of walnut tree before being shot dead with an AK-47 rifle a little after last midnight.

Absence of a protest demonstration in Imam Sahib area was an indication that Khan was believed to have been killed by separatist militants. However, no militant organisation accepted responsibility of his assassination till late on Monday night. Reports said that the slain youth's funeral was conducted without some routine rituals which are usually dispensed with only in the burial of martyrs. "Around 2,000 people participated in the funeral procession, though there were neither any allegations nor an expression of anger against any specific group or individual.

DIG South Kashmir Nitish Kumar told STATE TIMES that he himself visited the village and perceived remarkable anger against the militants among the residents. He claimed that Khan was not a counterinsurgent source working for Police or security forces. "Hizbul Mujahideen's Waseem Malla group has suffered some reverses at out hands in the last few months. We have reports that the guerrilla organisation held so-called inquiry into some encounters, slapped charges of passing on information about the militants on Rasikh Khan and shot him dead. But I am sure he was never an informant with Police or security forces", DIG Nitish Kumar said.

SSP Shopian Altaf Khan said that Rasikh Khan was found dead with two AK-47 gunshots on his chest. "His heart had ripped off and he seemed to have died after last midnight", SSP said. He said he was optimistic of getting a breakthrough in this assassination "within 7 to 10 days". "It is 100% the handiwork of Waseem Malla's group. I am sure within a week we will know why he was shot dead and who were his killers", SSP added. He claim that Khan had no political, militant or counterterrorist background.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Ministers, HODs plant unauthorised ‘Liaison Officers’ at Srinagar airport

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Dec 13: Purely for their personal comfort and convenience, different Ministers, Heads of Departments and government organisations have planted a platoon of unauthorised ‘Liaison Officers’ in flagrant violation of the security guidelines at the country’s most sensitive airport in Srinagar.

STATE TIMES learned from well-placed official sources said that a number of Ministers, bureaucrats, HoDs and government organisations and undertakings have picked up different select officers functioning under their administrative control and planted them inside the terminal building of Srinagar Airport only to facilitate their own and their families’ arrival and departure besides comfortable passage to and from the airport.

Army, Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Northern Railways, Department of Tourism and now also Forest Department are among the departments and organisations who have ‘informally’ posted so-called Liaison Officers without orders and proper authorisation at Srinagar airport.

Sources revealed that the task of these ‘Liaison Officers’ was limited to arranging tickets and ‘VIP seats’, collection of boarding passes, hassle-free entry and passage through security checkpoints, scanning of luggage besides ensuring sitting in the cosy VIP lounges and  collection and carriage of luggage of their senior officers, bureaucrats and Ministers and their families. Some of them are seen even helping in the catering services.

According to the officials, providing all these facilities besides protocol to the persons mentioned in the Order of Precedence and Protocol, is the job of the SSP Anti-hijacking who has adequate staff at his command and disposal. Even the chain of coordination breaks because of multiple lateral interventions.

Notwithstanding this ‘extracurricular’ arrangement, two judges of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court landed in an embarrassing situation recently when their car, on way to Srinagar airport, was stopped by checking by Police outside Humahama gate. Budgam Police as well as the anti-hijacking staff and CRPF maintained that they had no information of the two senior High Court judges’ passage to the airport. Later, the ‘liaison officer’, who holds the rank of a Chief Judicial Magistrate, made it clear that he had not passed on information of the two the judges’ passage to the airport authorities as he had been advised to keep their visit a closely-guarded secret.

All the so-called liaison officers, including a judge, keep on shuttling and roaming between one place to another as none of them, with the exception of the Tourism Department’s ‘Liaison Officer’, has a room or a chair to sit. “Since there’s no provision for such deployment, we can’t provide to them rooms and chairs. We see them in pitiable conditions during bad weather but we are helpless”, SSP Anti-hijacking Manzoor Ahmad Dalal said. He asserted that only the Department of Tourism had the sitting and waiting facilities inside the Terminal Building. He, however, insisted that the ‘Liaison Officers’ “do not enter the Terminal Building” and they coordinate all the arrangements from outside.

Well-placed sources nevertheless maintained that all the ‘Liaison Officers’ are “regularly seen escorting the officers, bureaucrats and Ministers of their respective departments and organisations within the Terminal Building including in spaces beyond the Security check-in points. “Every single movement is properly recorded on our CCTVs”, said an official. He disclosed that even the officials and their family members, not entitled to any special treatment, are seen seated inside the VIP Lounges.

Latest inclusion is an officer of the rank of Assistant Conservator of Forest who escorts and sees off Forest Minister Bali Bhagat and also makes all arrangements related to his visit and comfortable passage. Forest Department’s records do not contain any formal order to such a deputation. Remarkably, Forest Department has been suffering the worst human resource deficit as the State Government has made only one recruit of ACFs (in 2011) after 1984.  While as more than 70% of the substantive posts of gazetted officers in Forest and its related departments are held by “incharge” officials for years in brazen violation of Supreme Court of India directions, just 40 ACFS and 9 Range Officers (Grade-I) were appointed in 2011. Unauthorised deployment of the ACF has made the department poorer by another officer.

“If the Ministers and bureaucrats want to formalise this system of protocol for themselves and their families, they must amend the laws and rules and create the posts of Liaison Officers in a proper manner. As of now, this system is completely illegal and unauthorised”, said a bureaucratic source in General Administration Department (GAD). He admitted on condition of anonymity that the working of several departments was suffering due to unauthorised deployments of the officers.


Sunday, December 13, 2015

J&K Police blind to VIP culture ?

Driving on a street to Srinagar, I suddenly heard hooter of a VIP car commanding me and other ordinary citizens to clear the way. I thought it was an ambulance rushing a patient to a hospital. Then I perceived it as a High Court judge’s cavalcade. I swerved to the left and cleared the way. During the taking over of the white colour private “VIP vehicle”, I found it was neither an ambulance nor a High Court judge but a leader---a leader of azadi who raps, rapes and demonises India religiously five times a day. I saw Traffic Police bowing their heads in awe. J&K Traffic Police may laugh it away as a joke but it is a brazen violation to the following Supreme Court of India order, delivered by Justice GS Singhvi and Justice C Nagappan on December 10, 2013, in Special Leave Petition(C) No: 23984/2010 titled Abhay Singh v/s State of Uttar Pradesh and others. The order puts a blanket ban on all kinds of red and other special lights, flags, horns and hooters of vehicles except some constitutional dignitaries. J&K IG Traffic has said on oath in the court that all these unauthorised insignia and horns have been removed from all vehicles. Intellectuals and writers cannot be expected to watch it all like mute spectators with an encomium for Traffic Police.

See the Supreme Court order:

“No motor vehicles except those specified in Rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or similar provisions contained in the rules framed by the State Governments or the Administration of Union Territories shall be fitted with multi-toned horns giving a succession of different notes or with any other sound producing device giving an unduly harsh, shrill, loud or alarming noise”.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Reporting Kashmir
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Objectivity and factual accuracy once used to be the hallmark of the Indian national media, with certain exceptions. Students of journalism need to have a comparative reading of an incident reported by different news agencies and newspapers. They need to realise that most of the times it is lack of seriousness at reporting and editorial levels that makes a copy utterly subjective and inaccurate. The young students, living in a conflict area, tend to become victims of scepticism and they begin to view, perceive and interpret everything as a "state policy", "conspiracy" and "injustice".
To err is human. Myself had to apologise when once in an oped piece in The Hindu (, I called maestro Zubin Mehta an Indian-American. It was pointed out by my editor Siddharth Varadarajan that Zubin was only an Indian national. In another oped article in The Hindu (, I erroneously described Ghulam Nabi Azad of 1980 as "Rajiv Gandhi's poster boy" instead of "Sanjay Gandhi's poster boy". The error was pointed out by Karan Thappar in a mail to my Chief Editor. We immediately made a correction in the online edition.
However, that all is passé. It seems that nobody in the editorial reads a copy any more. Have a look on today’s reporting of an encounter at Sempora Srinagar as carried by one of the largest circulated national dailies as its 2nd lead on front page:
Ø  The report calls the two militants as "terrorists" in its heading and body and thus takes a position.
Ø  DIG South Kashmir has confirmed on record that the two militants were travelling from Pulwama to Srinagar. The newspaper report says without quoting that they were on way to Pulwama from Srinagar.
Ø  DIG South Kashmir has said on record that it was a chance encounter and that Police or any other government agency had no specific information about the two militants' movement. The newspaper report says that security forces laid the naka at Sempora when they received "information" about the two militants' movement.
Ø  The newspaper report says that a woman, a Policeman and two CRPF men got injured in cross firing. Factually, two CPRF men and two civilians got injured.
Ø  With reference to Monday's attack on CRPF near Bijbehara, the report says: "Only six CRPF men were Monday morning injured in an attack on a CRPF convoy by militants near Bijbehara". What is the need to write "Only"?
Ø  "Two militants died killed in the brief encounter", says the newspaper report. It should have been only "died" or "killed".

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

‘Chasing’ DG CRPF, 2 LeT militants killed in chance encounter on highway
Rajnath Singh greets CRPF chief over killing of two Bijbehara assailants on Srinagar outskirts
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Dec 8: Two militants of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, who were virtually chasing Director General of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Srinagar-Jammu highway from Pampore to Srinagar, died in a chance encounter on the outskirts of the summer capital on Tuesday evening.
Highly placed authoritative sources told STATE TIMES that two LeT militants in a Tata Mobile vehicle, bearing registration number JK22-5943, lobbed grenades and opened fire from their AK-47 rifles when the driver was signalled to halt by a joint naka of Police, Army and CRPF in front of the EDI complex at Sempora, at 5.20 p.m. Police and security forces took positions and engaged the militants in a brief encounter. Both of them got killed.
The driver, who identified himself as a resident of Shopian, surrendered. He was immediately taken into custody for sustained interrogation. Sources associated with the operation said that according to the driver, both the militants had boarded between Pampore and Pulwama and asked him to drop them in Srinagar. Both carried AK-47 rifles, grenades and ammunition.
Sources said that DG CRPF Prakash Mishra, returning from Anantnag to Srinagar, had crossed EDI just 10 minutes before the chance encounter at the same spot. District Police Awantipora, Rashtriya Rifles 55 Bn and CRPF 23 Bn had set up the checkpoint as part of a larger operation to track down the three militants who had carried out a fidayeen-type attack on a CRPF convoy near Bijbehara on the highway on Monday and left seven paramilitary soldiers and a civilian injured.
DG CRPF flew in from New Delhi to visit the spot of Monday’s attack on the convoy. He also visited district headquarters of Anantnag and had a detailed interaction with senior officers of Police and security forces.
Sources revealed to STATE TIMES that the union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called Mr Mishra on telephone and greeted him over the fact that two of the three militants, who had attacked the CRPF convoy, got killed in a chance encounter with Police and security forces outside Srinagar within a day.
Deputy Inspector General of Police in South Kashmir, Nitish Kumar, confirmed that the two militants who died in today’s encounter at Sempora were the same LeT cadres who had attacked the CRPF convoy near Bijbehara yesterday. He admitted that today’s operation was a chance encounter and that there was no specific information available with Police or any other agency about their movement.
“We had laid a number of nakas throughout Anantnag, Pulwama, Shopian and Awantipora Police districts. It was just their bad luck and our good luck that two of them got killed within a day. One of them has been identified as Shakir Ahmad Bhat s/o Showkat Ahmad Bhat r/o Nowpora Sopore who had joined LeT just in October this year. Another is one Syed from Pakistan. We have also got yesterday’s third assailant identified. He too is a Pakistani militant and we are sure to neutralise him very soon”, DIG Nitish Kumar told STATE TIMES. “They were definitely on a fidayeen mission somewhere in Srinagar today”, DIG said.
DIG said that two CRPF personnel, who were returning to their camp after the day’s duty, sustained gunshot wounds in the crossfire at Sempora. Besides, a female tourist from Bihar, identified as Ashya Begum, who was returning to Srinagar from Pahalgam in a vehicle, and one Riyaz Ahmad Dar of Ratnipora, Pulwama, also got injured in exchange of gunfire between the militants and security forces.
With two gunshot wounds in her back, Ashya Begum was under treatment at SMHS Hospital late tonight while as the two injured CRPF men were under treatment at SKIMS, Soura. Doctors said that all the injured were stable and responding to treatment.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Civilian, 7 CRPF men injured in fidayeen-type attack near Bijbehara

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Dec 7: One civilian and seven CRPF personnel were injured in a daredevil attack by unidentified militants on a paramilitary convoy on way from Srinagar to Jammu near Bijbehara in South Kashmir on Monday.

Eyewitnesses said that three unidentified militants came on Srinagar-Jammu highway near Semthan, between Sangham and Bijbehara, at 0950 hours and opened indiscriminate fire from AK-47 rifles on a CRPF convoy. They said that CRPF’s road observation patrol was on duty but it could neither stop the militants from coming on the road nor from escaping towards a hamlet. Without stopping for a moment, the targeted convoy proceeded towards Bijbehara.

Deputy Inspector General of Police in South Kashmir, Nitish Kumar, told STATE TIMES that three militants of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, wearing Pheran and hiding their AK-47 rifles, came on the road and carried out a fidayeen-type attack on the CRPF convoy. A number of buses were hit. In all, seven personnel on board two buses sustained injuries. They included a Sub Inspector. A civilian, namely Rayees Ahmad Dar of Wachi, also sustained injuries.

All the three militants escaped as the CRPF did not engage them in an encounter and preferred to move forward from the spot.

The injured CRPF men were identified as Sub Inspector Raja Ram, Sanjay Kumar, Om Prakkash, S Gopinath, Shoban Nayak, Gurdeep Singh and Devendra Singh.

DIG said that the injured were rushed to Srinagar and admitted to SMHS Hospital. “All of them are stable. One of them has a little serious injury in his foot”, DIG said.

In Delhi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the CRPF convoy was attacked by “fidayeen” guerrillas. He said he spoke to DG CRPF about the incident and was told that six to seven soldiers were injured in the strike.

Spokespersons of Lashkar-e-Tayyiba and Hizbul Mujahideen called newspaper offices and claimed separately over telephone that the militants of their organisations had carried out the attack. Hizb spokesman Burhan-u-din claimed that eight soldiers sustained critical injuries in the attack. LeT spokesman Dr Abdullah Gaznavi claimed that a CRPF vehicle was “completely destroyed”. He claimed that four soldiers died in the attack while as 14 more sustained injuries. According to him, most of the targeted men had sustained critical injuries.

CRPF spokesman Ashish Kumar Jha said that there militants in army fatigues suddenly appeared from nearby fields at Sangham and fired volleys of bullets on the CRPF convoy. He asserted that it was a well-planned fidayeen attack but the alert CRPF men foiled it. According to him seven personnel and a civilian were injured.


Sunday, December 6, 2015

In this historic interview to Caravan, Sheikh Abdullah speaks out how Delhi hired Kanranjia of Blitz and Ganjoo of Statesman to malign him as a secessionist and Islamist

Kashmir Ink reproduces an old interview with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah published in the October 1980 issue of CARAVAN. The interview done by the publication’s Special Correspondent was headlined ‘The Sheikh’s life has been swinging between two extremes: from power to prison and back to power: Will he fall out of grace with Mrs Gandhi again?’


The place was Srinagar, and time 9.30 in the morning on 8th August 1980. The Personal Secretary of Sheikh Abdullah took me to the Chief-Minister’s residence. I saw the Sheikh walking out of his bedroom and advancing towards the lawn. A servant brought him a rose-bud. He took it and pinned it in his button­hole.

I was reminded of Jawaharlal Nehru. Sheikh Abdullah smiled—again like Nehru—and offered me a chair.

Before I could open my battery of questions, I was reminded of what the Director of Information of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr Bakshi Ghulam Ali, had told me. He had asked me not to raise any controversial issue in my meeting with Mr Abdullah.

A strange request it was. How was this possible? How can you keep away from controversies while talking to one of the most controversial persons in the country?

Many controversial issues came to the fore during this meeting with the Sheikh. Yet one could not go too far with delicate issues—the censor was already imposed by the Director of Information.

For instance one could not ask questions like: Has the demand for plebiscite in Kashmir come to an end? Wouldn’t you like to take back the part of your speech on Martyrs’ Day which has created so much of uproar? Is it true that many Pakistani nationals are staying illegally in Kashmir? How come your relations with the late Mr Nehru suddenly got strained? Don’t you feel that because of religious orthodoxy the Muslims still remain backward, and that religion has been exploiting us.

However, he talked for one hour and 45 minutes instead of the promised 20 minutes.

Question: You are the beloved leader of the masses. Doesn’t your position create a kind of wall between you and the people? Don’t you feel that it would’ve been better for you to have stayed away from power like Gandhi and Jayaprakash Narain?

Sheikh Abdullah: Yes, I should have kept away from politics of power. But there is nobody in Kashmir, yet, who can control this State riddled with problems. Our State needs somebody who has a place in people’s heart; whose word carries weight with them; who is their sincere well-wisher. The new generation lacks such people. When in 1975 the situation in Kashmir became quite delicate, I was invited to form the Government. I never desired to become the Chief Minister. In fact, the tag of Chief Ministership has been forced upon me.

When the boat of Kashmir was caught in turbulent waters, the leaders felt that only my personality could save the situation from getting out of hand. They called me to take the reins of the Government in a delicate situa­tion. I thought it improper to keep aloof and just watch the show.

Fortunately, the situation is much better as compared to the one in 1975. When matters improve further I will step down from power. My wish is that the younger generation comes forward during my lifetime.

Can the new generation provide the leadership after you have left?

Well, during my life-time the new generation should come forward. I will be there to guide them.

Would you like your son Farooq Abdullah to replace you later?

No. You should not talk like that. We have fought against monarchy and kings. Here the people’s choice is supreme. It is for them to decide who should head their Government.

Jamiat-e-Tulba has been raising the issue of “Islamic Revolution” and does not consider it imperative to be loyal to India. What have you to say about this organisation?

This organisation is being blown out of proportion by media people. I have not even seen that boy who has been raising the slogan of “Islamic Revolution”. You come yourself and see how many people know him.

You do not give much importance to this organisation! But from yester­day’s news report in Statesman about the arrest of its members, it appears that you consider this organisation a danger.

This report is absolutely baseless. We do not consider this organisation as a danger to us. It appears that somebody else is pulling the strings secretly. In fact, the media have un­necessarily created a great deal of commotion about it.

But this organisation does not consider it necessary to remain loyal to India. Isn’t this a serious matter?

Many groups say like that. Even Naxalites say this. In Assam, people have been talking in similar vein. India is big; a few ripples here or there do not quite matter. Such things should be ignored. In fact, in Kashmir there are lots of people who have been deprived of power. They want to create instabi­lity and disturbances. They wish to fish in troubled wafers. These people are using the newspapers for their selfish ends. See, for instance, the President of Jamiat-e-Tulba said in his press conference that “Sheikh Abdullah should bless our movement,” and the newspaper published it: “Sheikh Abdullah has blessed our movement.”

There have been malicious attempts to link me with Jamiat-e-Tulba. This is to create rift between me and New Delhi. In fact the same things are being repeated which took place in 1953. Then a similar kind of situation was created which caused my arrest. I was India’s hero but was treated as a traitor.

Do you fear arrest now?

Definitely, I fear arrest any time. Whatever is happening now had happened during 1953. It was said that I had been trying to hatch a conspiracy against India; that I was going to declare Kashmir as an inde­pendent country on the Id day; that the American army was going to arrive at Kashmir—the same kind of propa­ganda is going on now.

And when such a situation has to be created, newsmen like Karanjia (of Blitz) and O.K. Ganju (of Statesman) are called and promoted to write against me. Ganju writes all fabricated stuff —rather, he gets it written by some­body else. He himself cannot even write two straight sentences. These newsmen are creating unnecessary propaganda against me. They are attempting to link my speech of 13th July with “Islamic Revolution.” Their conclusions are far-fetched.

The riots which took place in Srinagar are again said to have been instigated by my speech. The people forget that such kind of disturbances often take place.

Where there are accidents on the roads, and when somebody dies, people gather. Something like that happened here too. Unfortunately the truck which killed belonged to the army. The driver was arrested by the police. And the soldiers of the unit to which the truck belonged came with lathis and hockey sticks. They beat up people and damaged whatever came in their way. The army was involved in this affair so the situation was quite delicate. Despite that, we brought it under control within two days. Can they (Central leaders) do it? Now, instead of feeling grateful to us for having handled the situation well, they are using the same against us.

To malign our Government it is being said that this was a communal riot, when it was not. You kill our people like birds and not even expect them to get provoked?

Don’t the people of Kashmir trust the army and consider it as their protector?

How can people consider an army as their protector, which treats them like cattle? In the incident at Srinagar the entire army was not involved, but only one unit. But if one unit of the army does something wrong, it discredits the entire army. It is quite natural that people show their anger against the entire armed force.

Under what condition were you made the Chief Minister in 1975? What was the reason which led the Congress to dissolve its own Government in the State (of Mir Qasim) and install you as the Chief Minister?

The condition in the country then was quite bad. When the Congress Party was finding it difficult to run Governments in other States, Kashmir stood out with its peculiar problems. When they could not control it, they said: “Here, it’s for you. It is getting out of our control.” Then, Mrs Gandhi and I had certain talks and agreements.

Now, how come your relation with the Congress got strained?

They have not got strained. Ac­tually, the freedom movement here was led by the National Conference. The situations which developed after 1947 were again dealt with by us alone. We had links with the Congress but we were never a part of it. Now the Congress Party wants to run the State. How is it possible? I have told Congress­men that when they could not bring Muslims to the fore in the rest of the country, how could they do it in Kashmir? When they could not become popular with Muslims elsewhere, how could they expect to gain popularity here? Here, people hardly know of the Congress.

Yes, we have known Congress here in 1953 when they fired bullets at us.

Why do you want to keep the National Conference confined to Kashmir?

The National Conference was formed to tackle the problems of the State and not of the entire country. Kashmir has its own special problems. Our Constitution has a federal struc­ture. There are separate units with their own special problems. Two States can have the same problem also. For instance, the disputes relating to area and rivers — as between Maharashtra and Gujarat. But most of the problems are provincial which have to be tackled on the State-level only. So you see, we have a lot to do in Kashmir itself. How can we talk of the entire country?

Many times you got an oppor­tunity to lead Indian Muslims but you never took up the task. Why?

Muslims should lead themselves. They should organise themselves on the State-level. For instance, the Muslims of Uttar Pradesh should organise themselves and then work in collaboration with any reasonable party.

In 1973 it seemed that you would lead Indian Muslims when you actively participated in the activities of Muslim Majilis-e-Mushavarat and Muslim Personal Law Board. But later you retraced your steps, why?

The regional parties may find a common platform to discuss national problems. We can come together like that. After having found answers to national problems, they can formulate a common policy. For that purpose all can meet on the platform of mushavarat.

But nobody lets mushavarat to continue. The Muslim League claimed the exclusive right to lead the Muslims of the country. And thus the talk of having a common platform to discuss national problems came to naught.

Today there is a crisis of leader­ship at the Centre. Except for Mrs Gandhi in the ruling Congress, there is nobody who has the stature to provide leadership at the national level. Thus in order to find a suitable replace­ment, Rajiv Gandhi is being forcibly dragged into politics.  At this juncture would you like to play an active role in the politics at the national level?

I feel that the role I am playing now is the right one for me. The time is not ripe yet for a leader of a minority community to emerge on the national scene. In other countries it is possible—as it happened in England. There, a Jew became the Prime Minister and nobody objected to that. It was possible there because the people there are quite advanced in their outlook. However, around 200 years back the situation there was even worse than the one in our country today. In our country, this kind of thing cannot be contemplated, yet.

Is it true that in 1979 President Sanjeeva Reddy wanted you to lead a National Government at the Centre?

Yes, the President was contemplating the idea of bringing everybody together to pull the country out of the crisis. He even had a talk with me. But still I feel that my taking over as the Prime Minister would not have been proper.

Your close associates like Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq and Mirza Afzal Beg left you. Is that why you have stopped relying on your associates?

In life, experience makes you become careful. I had thought that as my heart is clear, others too had clear hearts. I considered it downright immoral to have one’s associates dogged by the CID. I have realised that such an attitude does not pay.

Is it true that during your Pakistan visit you had proposed to Marshal Ayub Khan that India and Pakistan should have a common defence?

At that time my main purpose was to bring India and Pakistan across the table. Thus to make Field Marshal Ayub Khan agree to that, I had visited Pakistan.

Ayub asked me, “How will we solve the problems?” I said that in India and Pakistan all kinds of solutions have been put forth. We can pick up those one after another and whichever appear suitable can be discussed at length. And if we can solve certain outstanding problems in this manner it is fine —and even if we cannot, at least certain misunderstandings could be removed.

I made some headway in this direction. Ayub even agreed to come to India. But, that was not to be. When I was in Pakistan, Pandit Nehru passed away. The person whom he had to talk to was no more. I came back.

You did not renew your efforts?

How could I? As I came back to India I was arrested. And when I came out of jail, things had changed.

Do you think that “Kashmir- problem,” for which you have struggled for years, has been solved?

We know that the “Simla- Agreement” has settled that dispute.

Are you satisfied with the “Simla Agreement”?

The two countries have entered into this agreement. And they are satisfied. Who is bothered about our satisfaction?

Last year you got the “Anti- Defection Bill” passed. What has been the outcome of it?

The outcome has been quite good. We have not had any problem about it. Now certain people are trying to challenge it in the Supreme Court. Let us see what happens. But, I feel that to maintain morality in politics, it is a must.

What kind of differences have you had with Mian Bashir, who is trying to challenge this bill in the Supreme Court and who has defected from National Conference to Congress (I)?

The only complaint he had was that he was not made a Cabinet Minister.

Recently you had gone to New Delhi and Mrs Gandhi promised you that your Government would not be toppled. Do you trust her word?

(Laughs heartily) There is a couplet by Mirza Ghalib…. (tries to remember but cannot. In fact, he wanted to quote:“Tere vade par jiye hum to ye jaan, jhut jana. Ki Khushi se mar na Jate, agar aitebar hota. Ye na thi hamari kismet ki visaie yar hota…” (There is no truth in your promise. I would have died with happiness had I relied on it. It was not my luck to have had a meeting with you…)

On what basis have you become friends with Bhartiya Janata Party? You once considered Jan Sangh as an enemy of Muslims.

I do not have enmity with anybody. In politics we look for mutual benefit. We do not abuse anybody. Yes, they belong to Jan Sangh. But the original ideology which they pro­fessed has undergone a change. We had a quarrel with that ideology.

Would you like to lead a movement which might aim at the unification of India and Pakistan—as they were before the Partition?

What can you do in this regard now? Yes, the Partition originally was a wrong step, but it is not possible for the two to come together again—as they were before Independence. They can be brought together on the emotional plane now. We can bring the two countries together the way America and Canada have come closer. They have common trade and other relations and there is scarcely any tension between them. When those two neighbours can live together cordially, why can’t Pakistan and India? America and Canada do not have such strong ties as we have. We have blood relations with the Pakistanis.

What difference can you point out between the style of functioning of Pandit Nehru and that of Mrs Gandhi?

Nehru was on one level and Mrs Gandhi is on the other. There is a lot of difference between the two. There are however a few similarities too. But, that is quite natural—Mrs Gandhi is, after all, Nehru’s daughter.

In your view which of these countries have proved better than others for the Muslims —India, Pakistan and Bangladesh?

Neither of three. Now, it depends on Muslims how they live. If in India you live properly—with amity and reason, then this country can prove congenial. And if you take the wrong path then, naturally, it would adversely affect you. It is the same for Muslims in Pakistan and Bangladesh.

It is alleged that nowadays you are usually more inclined to compromise and have lost that image of ‘Lion of Kashmir’.

What has led us to compromise? What has been the cause of dispute? From the very beginning we have extended a friendly hand towards India. It didn’t start yesterday. In 1931, we were trying for that when Pakistan did not even exist. The socio-economic programme we called “New Kashmir” had been our goal which we are still striving to achieve. No change has occurred on that front.

How far do you consider Shahi Imam Abdullah Bukhari to be the leader of Muslims?

(Laughs heartily) Only to the extent he himself is a Muslim.

How far do you think his demand for reservations for Muslims in Army, Parliament and State Assemblies is justified?

He is Imam. I have attended many prayers conducted by him. In that respect he is venerable. He wishes well for Muslims. Religion, and not politics, has been his field. Now he has got stuck in politics—he sways from one point to the other. What can I now say about him?

Are you satisfied with the repre­sentation Kashmir has got in the army?

A: I am not at all satisfied. Since 1931, this has been our demand that Kashmiri Muslims, not only they but all Kashmiris, should be given a fair representation in the army. This has always been our demand that Kashmiris should be given fair representation in jobs at the Centre also.

Is it true that in Kashmir you give priority to Muslims in the matters of allotment of jobs?

Yes. It is true. And this policy will continue. It is also legally justified and Muslims have a right to it. As long as Muslims remain backward in education and economically this will have to continue. After that, this would definitely be dropped.

The bill concerning the minority character of Aligarh Muslim University is being moved by the Indian Government. What is your reaction to this?

It has been put in the cold storage. Nobody is talking about it now. What can I say about it?

What influence does Maharaja Hari Singh’s family wield in the State now?

They hardly have any influence. They do not have anything in their hand. They have some property—after all they were rulers. For hundred years they ruled. They have a son—Dr Karar Singh. He is young and educated. He has money. He wants power and tries for it. But his field is India and not Kashmir. He hardly has any influence here.

Don’t you feel that because of the custom of purdah women have remained backward? Do you support the idea of giving freedom to women?

There is a limit to everything. Even women’s freedom should have its bounds.

In Islam the relationship between man and woman has a very healthy basis. Man has been asked to lower his eyes if his eye catches a woman. The woman has also been asked to do the same if she sees a man. And then woman has been asked to cover her erogenous parts. But she has not been asked to cover her face and feet completely.

Now, you look at Arab history. Women were not imprisoned in the houses. They used to go to work at the battle fields—would encourage soldiers, serve them with water, put balm on their wounds etc. Even Hazrat Aisha Sidiqa (Prophet Mohammad’s youngest wife) led a group of women in the battle field. The Muslim woman has never been asked to stay at home.

But there should be a limit to freedom. The kind of freedom you see in Europe has been threatening woman’s existence. The women in Europe feel that freedom lies in showing your body. They have one after another almost discarded all their clothes. This is an extreme of freedom and this is wrong.

The other extreme is that you are wearing a burqa (veil) which does not even permit air inside. This is also wrong.

Apart from politics what are your hobbies?

A: Now, there is only politics. There is scarcely any time for any hobby. I have been interested in flowers and gardening; I have also been interested in reading. But my life has been such a busy one that I scarcely get any time to pursue any hobby. I did a little bit of reading in jail.

After independence, the Indian Government has adopted the policy of nationalisation of various industries. What do you feel about this so called socialism and nationalization?

Here in Kashmir we do not have much of industry. But on the basis of whatever personal experience I have had in this regard, I can say that nationalisation has done more harm than good to the country. We have not done well in the public sector.

In the public sector the employees are mainly concerned about their own benefit. They are not bothered about the loss or profit of the company. While in the private sector this kind of thing does not happen. Here the employees and the employers know that in the well-being of the company is their benefit and progress. We should give more encouragement to private sector.

Because of our policy not to encourage the private sector, we have brought curbs on the big business houses. What happens is that these big houses invest abroad —they put money in industry in Indonesia and Malaysia. As a result the people in these countries are getting employment. While the unemployment in India has been increasing.

If we allow these people to invest in our country, our countrymen too would get jobs and production will also increase. But because of the wrong policies of the Government, this is not happening.

And the public sector is in a mess. They are always showing losses to the tune of millions. I wonder if any public sector is showing profit. You can see their reports.

Would you like your Tourism Department to be run as a private enterprise?

There is nothing in it to be handed over to private enterprise. In fact a large part of tourism industry in the State is being controlled by the private enterprise—hotels, houseboats and restaurants etc.

However, if anybody in the private sector wishes to develop certain tourist spots here, he is welcome. He should come and discuss his project with us. We do not have any affinity with the public sector. We want the nation to prosper—whichever sector may do that.


[Courtesy: Kashmir Ink December 5, 2015 (Greater Kashmir)]