Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lone's Well and Dog story and Kashmir dispute

VIEWPOINT

The rot will always stay there till the root will not be addressed, Naseer A Ganai comments on the futility of holding dialogue about Kashmir without any seriousness of purpose.

The former Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Muzaffer Hussain Baig while addressing a gathering at Varmul related a conversation with former US ambassador to India Frank Wisner. Baig said Wisner told him Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone was the wittiest politician of Kashmir. Wisner wanted to know from Lone fate of Kashmir dispute after participation of people in elections in Kashmir.
Late Abdul Gani Lone instead of giving straight answer related him a story of a village. The whole village was using water of the village well. One day a dog fell into the well and villagers rushed to the village Imam and sought his advice what to do. The Imam told them to take out forty buckets of water before using the water of the well. Next day the villagers again rushed to Imam with a complaint that the water of well is stinking. Imam again repeated his previous advice of removing forty buckets before using the water. However, villagers on third day again visited the Imam with complaint of foul smell.
Imam told villagers whether they followed his advice or not. “In its letter and spirit” the villagers retorted back. But when the Imam asked them whether they removed the dog from the well, they replied in negative. Imam told them that first they must fish out the body of a dog from the well then take forty buckets of water out and then use the water.
Late Abdul Gani Lone after relating the story to the Wisner told him that the elections and participation of people in elections is equivalent to removing forty buckets from the well. The Government of India, Lone had said, remove forty buckets after every five years. “But it doesn’t clean the water. Only removing of the dog would clean the water and that dog is Kashmir dispute. We are seeking removal of the dog from the well but GoI is concerned about the removal of forty buckets after every six years.”     
So when recently the Minister of Energy which emanates from sunlight Dr Farooq Abdullah stated New Delhi doesn’t know anything about the dialogue he underestimated New Delhi. “I am 73 and I tell you with authority that New Delhi doesn’t know anything about the dialogue. They go on dialoguing without knowing, what the hell is dialogue all about,” Dr Abdullah said.
Dr Abdullah’s assessment of New Delhi was wrong in many respects. In fact New Delhi knows everything about the dialogue. It knows when to start it and when to start it with whom and when to left it inconclusive and when to start another dialogue without talking about the previous dialogue. It is only bothered about removing the forty buckets from the well and least concerned about fishing out the dog from the well.
That is why the Home Minister P. Chidambaram statement that the Government of India was interested in quiet dialogue and quiet diplomacy to settle Kashmir issue is looked upon with suspicion.
Renewed Government of India’s position is that it is interested to have dialogue with all political parties. Even it says it wouldn’t shy away of having a dialogue with parties having certain political view and which demand Azadi
There is a strong reason behind the suspicion because in past Government of India has sent number of emissaries to Kashmir to have dialogue.  George Fernandes, Rajesh Pilot, Governor Vohra, K.C Pant to name the few. They entered into the dialogue. But the net result is that the GOI is again interested in having a dialogue.
Since 1990 when the armed insurgency backed by mass uprising started Kashmir, the Government of India talked about the dialogue and at the same time it didn’t change its position on Kashmir. P.V Narshima Rao promised sky is the limit, Vajpayee famously said “talks under humanity”. But nothing changed on the ground.  Troop strength increased, AFSPA continues to be in vogue and PSA continues to be unleashed on people. Meanwhile, the Government of India went on to describe elections in Kashmir as verdict of people in its favour.  
Even though in these years there has been change in the approach of people of Kashmir. Kashmiris have adopted non-violent mode of struggle but the response of the State continues to be violent. Last year’s mass uprising is an example. The State crushed the non-violent movement with the weapons of undeclared curfews, arrests under Public Safety Act and the killing of 70 people.    
Nevertheless, the State has been ‘generous enough’ to dole out offer of dialogue this year with all and sundry without any conditions except it would be quiet away from the glare of media. Through these dole outs the State rightly presented its soft form before the internationally community which rightly is concerned about fast changing geo-politics of the region. It has to be seen what has led to change of heart in New Delhi and why it is interested in the “honorable solution acceptable to people” as stated by the Home Minister.
In the past New Delhi has disdainfully rejected demands of pro-India parties which participate in elections.  Take an example of National Conference’s Autonomy Resolution passed by the State Assembly in 2000.The Government of India refuses to look into the resolution. Even for argument’s sake, let us presume Dr Farooq Abdullah didn’t barter it with the New Delhi for Ministerial berth in the NDA government for Omer as alleged by L. K Advani in his book.  Still New Delhi didn’t consider the proposal. These days PDP talks about self-rule. But it says it is within the Indian Constitution. Mehbooba Mufti is too apologetic about the self-rule. She repeatedly says that the self-rule shouldn’t be construed as rebellion against the Government of India. But the Government of India has not considered it worth to respond so far.
The Autonomy resolution has been passed by the State Assembly. The Government of India always says that the Assembly has representative character. The Autonomy resolution was passed with 2/3 majority and it takes Kashmir to the position of 1953. All the pro-India parties become part of the resolution passed by the Assembly. The resolution belongs to the State Assembly. Hence it belongs to the all political parties who participate in the elections and consider the Assembly as “citadel of democracy” in Kashmir. Still the Government of India has so far refused to concede to the mainstream or even refused to accept to discuss their proposals. These things make one ponder what kind unique solution government of India is looking at.
In present times when international community is showing interest in Kashmir and Americans are buying the theory that road to peace in Afghanistan goes through Kashmir, the pro-freedom camp should tread a cautious path. They must see whether the Government of India is ready to make the atmosphere congenial for dialogue. Obviously you can’t hold dialogue in a militarized atmosphere.
Presently if National Conference says it would talk about autonomy on the dialogue table, PDP says it would talk about the self-rule as solution and described self-rule as alternative to freedom. Then some people among the pro-freedom camp who want to go for talks they have no other option but to talk about Azadi as solution because it is the popular sentiment. If they start talking about “talks” without explaining the contours of the talks then they would be “dialoguing” with New Delhi and New Delhi knows how to continue “dialoging” and how to conclude it to start another round without giving anything to people. New Delhi has been removing only forty buckets after every six years over past sixty years. This time they should be told on its face that people are interested in removing of the dog from the well.


Monday, October 26, 2009

5 yrs on, no trace of DNA report

Naseer A Ganai

Srinagar, Oct 25: The body of a civilian dubbed as top Pakistani militant and killed by the Border Security Force in a fake encounter in September 2003 was exhumed on April 11, 2005 from Aloochibagh here for DNA testing. 
 Five years on, the DNA report is shrouded in mystery although police have closed the case claiming the samples had not matched with that of the youth’s father. His lawyer has challenged the police claim alleging it had no report as the samples had never been sent outside the site for DNA testing. 
 On April 11, 2005, the body of a resident of Kupwara’s Dewar Anderbug village, Farooq Ahmad Khan was exhumed in presence of the then Tehsildar, Srinagar, the then SHO, and Health Department doctors for DNA test following claim by one Wali Muhammad Khan that the buried youth was not a foreign militant but his son.
 Farooq, who worked at the bakery of Bashir Ahmad Sofi in downtown Rainawari, was picked up by the troops of Rashtriya Rifles during the night intervening August 19/20, 2003 from his employer’s house, according to his father. 
 Khan said Sofi had informed him about his son’s arrest. After his arrest, the army had brought his son to the village for search operation, where some people saw him in the custody of soldiers. He said he (Khan) approached the Rainawari police station to lodge an FIR. But, he said, the SHO had refused to register the case saying that his son would return soon in case he was innocent. However, he never returned.   
 Instead, in September 2003, Khan said, he saw a photograph in an Urdu newspaper with the caption- ‘Fidayeen killed in an encounter in Nishat.’ He said the RR had handed his son over to BSF “who killed him in a fake encounter dubbing him as a foreign militant.” He said he recognized the photograph of his son. 
 “I rushed to Nishat police station where I was shown different photographs and was told the name of person killed in the encounter was Imtiyaz Khan from Pakistan,” Khan told Greater Kashmir. But, he said, he was not convinced. He filed a case in the High Court on January 15, 2004. 
 His lawyer, Pervez Imroz, said the High Court directed the police to investigate the case. Subsequently, he said, the police registered an FIR and started investigation during which the body was exhumed from Aloochibagh when Khan had recognized his son. Samples were taken from Khan and his wife for DNA test. 
 Subsequently, Imroz said, the police didn’t reveal anything about the DNA report and instead informed them in 2008 about the closure of the case. According to Nishat police station, the DNA samples had not matched. 
 “The moot point is that the police didn’t show us the report,” Imroz said, adding that the samples, though collected, had not been sent for test as there was no DNA report with the police. 
 “It is a classic case of DNA fudging,” Imroz said, adding that when the issue was brought to the notice of the High Court, it had expressed shock observing that the police couldn’t close the case. He said the case would be agitated before the Supreme Court now.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Indian Prime Minister's Provocative visit

Comments

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made another provocative and dangerous move by visiting the East Section of the China-India Boundary, which India calls Arunachal Pradesh, on October 3 ahead of a local legislative election.

The visit is designed to put the area, a disputed border region between China and India, under the de facto administration of India.

China has completed land border demarcation with all of its neighboring countries but India.

Territorial disputes stand as a seemingly intractable issue between the two largest emerging economies in the world.

Though in similar developmental circumstances, China and India seem to have more confrontations than common ground.

In the past decades, more than 10 rounds of negotiations held at various levels and through different mechanisms between the two countries have failed to produce any real progress.

The 120,000 square kilometers of the so-called Arunachal Pradesh, around the size of South China's Fujian Province, is at the center of the controversy. India currently occupies 90,000 square kilometers of the area.

Over the years, India has intensified its effective control over the area by encouraging the immigration of more than 1 million Indians to the region, and applying for loans from international bodies for public facilities projects in the region.

India is also increasing military deployment, along with sophisticated equipment, in the area. India's hawks are dangerously fanning public sentiment fearing a "China threat."

China favors peaceful resolution of territorial disputes through negotiation and consultation with its neighbors.

In the past the Chinese government has sought to build consensus in border negotiations through making concessions in exchange for reciprocal action.

China has maintained that same approach with India. India, however, will make a fatal error if it mistakes China's approach for weakness.

The Chinese government and public regard territorial integrity as a core national interest, one that must be defended with every means.

A stable border is crucial to the economic development of both China and India.

The disputed border area is of strategic importance, and hence, India's recent moves – including Singh's trip and approving past visits to the region by the Dalai Lama – send the wrong signal. That could have dangerous consequences.

Furthermore, India's actions add to the difficulties that have stalled negotiations on the region in the past.

It looks as if a breakthrough in talks is unlikely to happen any time soon.

 

(Source: Global Times)

October 14 2009

(The Global Times, an English-language newspaper which often reflects the Communist party's views on foreign policy and is directed towards an international audience)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Indian hegemony continues to harm relations with neighbors

Nobody can deny that today's India is a power. In recent years, Indians have become more narrow-minded and intolerable of outside criticism as nationalism sentiment rises, with some of them even turning to hegemony. It can be proved by India's recent provocation on border issues with China. 

Given the country's history, hegemony is a hundred-percent result of British colonialism. Dating back to the era of British India, the country covered a vast territory including present-day India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh as well as Nepal. India took it for granted that it could continue to rule the large area when Britain ended its colonialism in South Asia. A previous victim of colonialism and hegemony started to dream about developing its own hegemony. Obsessed with such mentality, India turned a blind eye to the concessions China had repeatedly made over the disputed border issues, and refused to drop the pretentious airs when dealing with neighbors like Pakistan. 

Many Indians didn't know that Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, had once said that India could not play an inferior role in the world, and it should either be a superpower or disappear. 

Although the pursuit of being a superpower is justifiable, the dream of being a superpower held by Indians appears impetuous. The dream of superpower is mingled with the thought of hegemony, which places the South Asian giant in an awkward situation and results in repeated failure. 

Throughout the history, India has constantly been under foreign rule. The essence for the rise of India lies in how to be an independent country, to learn to solve the complicated ethnic and religious issues, to protect the country from terrorist attacks, to boost economic development as well as to put more efforts on poverty alleviation. 

Additionally, the hegemony can also be harmful in terms of geopolitical environment. The expansion of India is restricted by its geographic locations. It has Himalaya Mountain to its north, a natural barrier for northward expansion; it has Pakistan to the west, a neighbor it is always at odds over the disputed border issues. 

To everyone's disappointment, India pursued a foreign policy of "befriend the far and attack the near". It engaged in the war separately with China and Pakistan and the resentment still simmers. If India really wants to be a superpower, such a policy is shortsighted and immature. 

India, which vows to be a superpower, needs to have its eyes on relations with neighbors and abandon the recklessness and arrogance as the world is undergoing earthshaking changes. For India, the ease of tension with China and Pakistan is the only way to become a superpower. At present, China is proactively engaging in negotiations with India for the early settlement of border dispute and India should give a positive response. 

By People's Daily Online

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Farooq hits left, right and centre

Reveals identity of Kashmir's corrupt

Naseer A Ganai

Srinagar, Oct 13: The Minister of New and Renewable Energy Dr Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday hit hard at New Delhi accused it of not being serious in result oriented dialogue, charged some journalists of Kashmir of being conduits of agencies, described politicians and bureaucrats of the State as corrupt and said security forces were interested in status quo. 

While addressing All India Editors Conference Dr Abdullah described the journalists as trouble mongers and accused “some of them of creating turmoil.” “Let us call a spade a spade. I don’t believe in hiding behind the bush,” Dr Abdullah said.

He said the media blows up a small incident in Kupwara or any other place in a way which gives impression as if whole State was under fire. “I tell you there is tremendous vested interest in Kashmir. There are paid lobbies. Some are being paid by friends from across the border. They want to make Kashmir Pakistan. But it would never become Pakistan. Those who were trying to take Kashmir in that direction would change themselves, but Kashmir wouldn’t become part of Pakistan,” he said.

Then he changed the direction and targeted New Delhi. He ridiculed it and its dialogue process. That too in presence of two cabinet Ministers of Government of India, the Minister for Broadcasting and Information Ambika Soni and the Minister for Minority Affairs Salman Khurshid. Omer Abdullah, the chief minister was visibly perturbed by the speech.

Dr Abdullah said New Delhi doesn’t know what “the hell dialogue is all about.” “The audience responded with laughter. “They (New Delhi) go on dialoging and dialoging without drawing anything concrete out of it,” he said. He said people ask what has happened to the Committees and their recommendations and there are answers. “It is here government of India loses its face,” he said.

He asked New Delhi to explain what stops it from moving forward in the dialogue. He cited example of Justice Sagir committee on central state relations and asked what has happened to it. “How long you would make us wait for these decisions,” Dr Abdullah said. He asked New Delhi to settle the problem with Pakistan. “You should talk to Pakistan and find a solution to Kashmir problem,” he said.

Dr Abdullah then came back to the State politics and explained the Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni and others how Doordarshan Kendra runs in the State. “We launched Kashur channel with grand ceremony in Lalit (grand place) hotel. We thought this channel would bring political messages through its programmes. But it was marred by corruption. The level of corruption was such that even politicians were making serials for it,” he said and audience was in raptures. The Director Doordarshan Rafiq Masoodi, who was on front row, preferred to leave the hall only to return at the fag end of Dr Abdullah’s speech.

Dr Abdullah said there was corruption everywhere in the State. “There is corruption in politicians, in bureaucrats, security forces and they don’t want any settlement between India and Pakistan,” he said.

He had many examples to cite.

“When I was chief minister, the then defence minister George Fernandes was in Srinagar. He wanted to see a militant and a journalist took him along to see militants,” he said adding the militants were toning to a radio station from across the border.

 “The radio station was spilling venom and lies and it was inciting people across the border. It was saying Islam is in danger. George told me the Government has jammed its signals. I went inside my home and got a transistor and toned to the station. Its voice was clear. This is your jamming, I told George,” Farooq said.

Responding to speech of Ambika Soni, who described 400 newspapers in Kashmir as positive sign, Dr Abdullah described these 400 newspapers as freeloaders. He said they were coming out with the newspapers for advertisements. He asked Ambika Soni to check these free loaders. “Take off these free loaders,” he said.  He said some people have already started process to pull down the present government. “They are writing complaints and complaints. And once you will investigate where from these complaints come, you would never find the complainant” he said.

 

 

 

Omer to New Delhi: Time to resolve Kashmir issue

Naseer A Ganai

Srinagar, Oct 13: Without mincing words the Chief Minister Omer Abdullah on Tuesday conveyed to New Delhi to initiate dialogue with all shades of opinion in Jammu and Kashmir to settle Kashmir issue and asked it to address external dimension of it simultaneously.

Inaugurating two day All India Editors Conference on Social and Infrastructure issue, the Chief Minister described redressal of Social and Infrastructural issues vital for the development of any State. But, he said, in case of Jammu and Kashmir these issues were intertwined with the security and political issues. “All these issues have to be touched upon and discussed together. Otherwise discussion would be incomplete,” Omer said. The Information and Broadcasting Minister Government of India Ambika Soni, the Minority Affairs Minister GOI Salam Khurshid and Minister for New and Renewable Energy Dr Farooq Abdullah were in audience.

Omer reminded the editors who had come from different states and cabinet Ministers of the Government of India the importance of addressing the external and the internal dimensions of Kashmir dispute.

He said the State government has continued its focus to provide five essentials of life water, health, education, power and roads to people and the Central Government has been helping the State government in carrying out its programmes.  “There is no doubt that the Government of India has came to assist the State beyond the call of the duty, whether it is in establishing two central universities or providing extra Rs 1000 crores for annual plan. But focus of the Government of India should be on political aspect of Kashmir issue,” he said. “You can’t divorce Jammu and Kashmir from its politics,” the Chief Minister warned. 

The Chief Minister was all praise for people Jammu and Kashmir and said in past 20 years they have withstood all odds with courage and fortitude. “But whatever has happened has happened. Now we see light after a very long tunnel,” he added. He said 20 years later Kashmiris were battling the same forces with a degree of success and cited decrease in violence related incidents as an example. But, he said, the problem with which the State was grappling must be reflected upon. He said there were attempts to derail the fragile peace in Kashmir. “The voices from New Delhi talk about Taliban in Kashmir which are not seen on the ground,” the Chief Minister said. He said Kashmir was birth place of tourism in India. “Long before Kerela was God’s own country, Kashmir was heaven on earth,” he said, and asked cabinet Minister in New Delhi and media to act with degree of caution when it comes to Kashmir. He said no one wants to keep facts hidden but for every bad story there are five good stories.

He said on Monday there was strike in frontier district of Kupwara. “It was not for Azadi (freedom), it was not for Pakistan, it was not because a militant had died. It was for jobs and it indicates people want to be part of the development,” Omer said. He described 2008 elections as watershed development and said people came out to vote for five essentials of the life and the State government was trying providing them the same. “But the development requires an effort to engage the State on political platform. By political platform, I mean having dialogue with all sections in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. “It is not my way to ensure only one voice is heard. There is need of engagement with all sections. Every voice should be heard and consensus should be arrived at settling the issue. It is in the best interest of the State,” he said. “If we seek to divorce social and infrastructure issues with politics and security of State we would reach no where,” he warned.

Omer said people in the State were sponges of information, who doubt everyone and trust no one. “They would listen to All India Radio to know our view. They would then switch to Radio Pakistan to know their view and they would finally listen to BBC for independent opinion. They are politically astute and are aware of everything going in the State. There is niggling issue what is called Kashmir issue and it should be resolved,” he said. Earlier Ambika Soni in her address had complained about getting signals from across the border and had promised to establish high power TV and radio transmitters in the State.

The chief minister said whenever New Delhi started external dialogue it failed to address the internal dimension and when it commenced internal dialogue it failed to look at external dimension resulting in failure of the process. He said every political party has political agenda in the State. “Some are for Autonomy, some for Self-Rule, some are for revocation of 375, and some want more than Autonomy and self-rule. The idea is to engage all shades of opinion for resulted oriented dialogue,” he said.

The Chief Minister lauded all former Chief Ministers of the State Dr Farooq Abdullah Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, Ghulam Nabi Azad for taking the State towards the development and said had he been in Dr Farooq’s position he wouldn’t have constructed the Royal Spring Golf Course given the criticism Dr Abdullah was subjected to. But he said time has vindicated Dr Abdullah’s stand and today Golf Course was major attraction for high-end tourists in Kashmir. Farooq Abdullah, he said, started Gandola cable car project and “Mufti sahib and Azad sahib completed its phase 2nd.”

He said his government would double power generation in State sector. Omer conceded that the State government was facing massive transmission and distribution losses which runs in crores and said his government was trying hard to overcome the problem. He said the State government would provide all service to people and hoped that people would repay it by paying power tariffs. Omer said the State government was facing problem of unemployment and unemployability. But he added concerted efforts are being made by the government to address the issue. He said the government would be opening 18 polytechnique colleges to make the youth skilled.

Even while he was spelling out achievements of his government the chief minister insisted on the dialogue to settle the issue. He concluded his speech while asking New Delhi to initiate result oriented dialogue. 

 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Geelanised cops, outside Geelani’s residence

                   By  Naseer A Ganai

Srinagar, Oct 11: An eerie silence greets visitors outside Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s residence. Geelani is under house arrest since September 10, when he was released from the jail on High Court orders. The main gate of his residence was closed, and police van was parked just outside it. There was no sign of life on the street except the three policemen sitting on chairs reading Urdu weeklies.

“Geelani Sahib is still under house arrest,” said a policeman, who is on duty for last 14 days. But he seemed very apologetic and was in mood to have conversation. “We have heard the High Court has ordered that restrictions outside Geelani Sahib’s residence should be lifted. But so far the order has not been served to police. Look, we have our own limitations,” he said.

Three police personnel were not the only guards posted by the State government outside the residence of Geelani. The guards said 14 police personnel remain on the duty.  They said small number of guards remain outside the residence while as others take rest in a room in Geelani’s house which is adjacent to main gate. “He (Geelani) is very kind. He came to realize that we remain outside 24 hours, he provided room for us, adjacent to the gate,” said the policemen.

For past 14 days, twice Geelani has came upto the gate of his house. “He came upto the gate and inquired whether we are getting any food or not,” said a policeman. He said senior officials of the police have visited the place and wanted to meet Geelani but he didn’t come to meet them. “He (Geelani) is big leader and has reputation around the world. So why should he meet the visiting officials,” argued the guards. The guards however said they have orders not allow Geelani to step outside his house. “The orders have to be followed strictly. Geelani Sahib came upto the gate twice and then returned,” the policemen said. The guards have there own notions about the high court judgment. “The judgment to lift the restrictions has not been signed by the judge so far,” they said, adding the judge has gone to Jammu and when he would return he would sign the order. “We too have not interest to remain on guard of Geelani,” said a policeman.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pakistan seeks UN support to decolonize Kashmir


Deconlonisation agenda incomplete without resolving Kashmir

Srinagar, Oct 11: Saying decolonization agenda of the United Nations would remain incomplete without resolving Kashmir dispute, Pakistan today raised the issue at the world body asking it to support the “right to self-determination” of Kashmiri people. 

While speaking at a special committee of the General Assembly Pakistan's deputy permanent representative to the UN Amjad Hussain B Sial asked the international community to support the Kashmiri people's right to self-determination. The committee addresses the issue of decolonization.

"The decolonisation agenda of the United Nations would be incomplete without resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir issue," he said.

"Negation of the right to self-determination breeds discontent, ignites conflicts and threatens peace and security. Unfortunately, South Asia and Middle East have witnessed it directly," Sial said

Why JK loses jobs to Jammu Kathua?

NASEER A GANAI

Srinagar, Oct 10: Despite the seething anger in Kashmir and parts of Jammu region over the dominance of candidates from some particular districts in the selections made by the Services Selection Board and the Service Commission, the National Conference-Congress coalition is unlikely to bring an ordinance banning the inter-district and inter-divisional recruitments.
According to sources, the government is treading a cautious path on the issue in view of the ‘stiff opposition’ from Jammu, Kathua, Samba and Udhampur-based Congress and BJP legislators to any move aimed at altering the present recruitment system which is heavily tilted in their favour. It is trying hard to enlist the support of Congress legislators so that the bill aimed at banning inter-district recruitments is passed in the next session of the legislature. However, till then,  it cannot halt the prevailing drift.
The bill brought by the Congress-PDP coalition earlier was referred to a Joint Select Committee. After a review by the House panel, it was moved for passage during the recent session. However, the government was forced to put the bill to the back burner following overt and covert resistance by the more vocal Jammu lobby.
The practice of allowing candidates to apply for district cadre posts other than in their native districts started in 2004 following the Supreme Court direction that the district cadre posts should not be exclusively reserved for candidates of the concerned districts. The state High Court also quashed some selections on the ground that residence in a district was not a requirement under the rules.
The issue of banning the inter-district recruitments was initially raised in the house in 2006 by the Panthers Party MLAs Balwant Singh Mankotia and Harsh Dev Singh and some BJP and Congress members. Piloting it, Harsh Dev Singh had cited the recruitment in Udhampur district saying that candidates from other districts had usurped the rights of candidates of his district. The members had asked the government to bring a bill to halt the inter-district recruitments.
The then chief minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, had assured the members of undoing the wrong. Subsequently, the then Congress-led government introduced the ‘J&K Civil Service Decentralization and Recruitment Bill’ proposing ban on inter-district and inter-division recruitment. The bill sought to reserve the district and division cadre posts for the candidates of the respective districts and divisions, to ensure that job rights of the local youth were not usurped by the applicants from other districts or division. However, it was referred to the Joint Select Committee headed by present finance minister, Abdul Rahim Rather, for review.
In its recommendation, the Committee said, “a person should be deemed to be a resident of a particular district or division if he/she has lived in the district or the division, as the case may be, for not less than 15 years before the date of applying for the particular post and is actually residing in the said area at the time of filing the application.” Further, it said, “the person should not be disentitled from claiming the residence in a particular district or division only on the ground that his/her father/mother or the person on whom he/she is dependent is living in a place outside the district or division, as the case may be, due to certain reasons.”
However, when the present law minister, Ali Muhammad Sagar, tabled the Committee’s report in the Assembly, the House was polarized on regional lines. Even within Congress, the PHE minister, Taj Mohiuddin, supported it and the health minister, Sham Lal Sharma, opposed it. The ruling National Conference and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party supported the ban on inter-district recruitments. Five MLAs from Kupwara even threatened to commit suicide in case the bill was not passed. However, buckling under the Congress pressure, the government sought more time.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, senior PDP leader and former law minister, Muzaffar Husain Baig, said the government should bring an ordinance if there was consensus in the ruling coalition and it was sincere and serious over the issue. He said there should be no hesitation in bringing the ordinance to do away with the prevailing method which is disturbingly discriminatory against the candidates from Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu region as was evident in some recent selections and recruitments.
However, because of the coalition compulsions, the National Conference has preferred stoic silence on the highly sensitive issue. “It is a very sensitive issue and I don’t want to comment on it,” said a senior NC leader and minister pleading not to be named for obvious political reasons.
The Congress MLA from Gandhinagar and revenue minister, Raman Bhalla, said the issue would be sorted out by the coalition partners in the Coordination Committee. He refused to divulge any information about the difference in the Congress over the issue. During the recent session of the legislature, Bhalla had taken a tough stand and openly said that the bill would not be allowed to go through.
Senior Congress leader and PHE minister, Taj Mohiuddin, said the government has failed to stop inter-district recruitments. “Even conducting the examinations for various posts on the same day couldn’t help, compelling the government to bring a bill to address the unrest among the educated youth at district and divisional levels,” he said, hoping the bill would be passed in the next assembly session in pursuance of the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee.
The Panthers Party MLA, Balwant Singh Mankotia, said his party had not changed its stance on the issue. “There should be total ban in the open merit category while as SCs, STs and other reserved categories could be exempted from the ban,” he said even while Taj said the Select Committee had recommended embargo on inter-district recruitments in all categories, adding that its recommendations needed to be implemented in letter and spirit. 
The practice of opening up district cadre posts to candidates from all the districts has hit the Kashmir valley the most, as more than half of the vacancies against valley districts and divisional cadre are routinely being made from Jammu region, while hardly anyone from Kashmir is selected against district or divisional posts in Jammu region.
As per official figures, out of 3,689 divisional and district cadre selections made by SSB under the fast-track mode in the Kashmir, candidates from Jammu region walked away with around 800 posts while, on the contrary, just two candidates from the valley got selected in over 3,000 district/divisional cadre selections made in Jammu region.

 

Monday, October 5, 2009

TIME TO INTERVENE

There is a rot within the hospital that needs to be addressed seriously. It is only a few individuals that are running the Institute, the rest is all trade unionism. 

By Naseer A Ganai

IT was in October 2007 when I had to spend a night in the Emergency Ward of the Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences Soura as an attendant of a patient. The Ward was as chaotic as it is today. It was crammed, patients were lying everywhere and their attendants were after doctors. The doctors were finding it hard to cope up with the pressure. They were attending one patient, and attendants of another patient were complaining of neglect. There were only two nurses in the whole Emergency and they too were running from one patient to another. There was total chaos. All of sudden a young boy was brought in who had met with a serious accident. He had at least 20 attendants. .

 The doctors immediately started attending the patient. But soon, a senior resident on the duty realized that the patient needs to be kept on a ventilator. But in all ventilators there were critical patients. The resident doctor, Dr Sabu Jenhagir, I still remember his name, tried hard to arrange the ventilator but failed. He then called the army hospital from his mobile phone and pleaded to accept the patient who would die if not put on the ventilator. After some time the army hospital agreed and asked him to send the patient. And, when the attendants started shifting the patients, there was a tragic drama.
 The patient was breathing through ambo-bag and nurse on the duty wanted it back. The argument started. First, between the attendant and the nurse and then between the senior resident and the nurse. The good doctor tried to convince her that the patient would die if the bag is removed but she said she would lose the job if it was not returned.
 Over 15 minutes were lost in this madness. Exasperated, the doctor said if they fail to return he would pay the amount and asked the nurse to let to the patient go. She let the patient go but 15 minutes were already lost. No one from the Control Room of the hospital came to see what is going on. This is one example of hospital mal-administration.
 In August 2009, I was again there as an attendant of a patient, but this time in the Surgical Intensive Critical Care Unit for about eight days. Unfortunately, the day after the patient was shifted to the Ward, the Resident Doctors went on strike. And, for next eight days, it seemed everyone is on strike in the hospital. It seemed everyone wanted to raise slogans against genuine or perceived injustice. Everyone wanted to shout at each other. The attendants at doctors, nurses at attendants, doctors at administration and so on…

The security staff too was on strike. Then the paramedical staff was preparing for strike against the order of the administration for planning to introduce triple shift system. Meanwhile, the OPD was closed. The attendants of the admitted patients realized something wrong is going on. They too lodged protest. From one corridor to another, there were only slogans of zindabad and murdabad. The hospital had turned into trade union conference.

I was worried about my patient and the madness around terrified me. I was worried whether anyone would come to take care of the patients or not. I rushed back to the ward and surprisingly found a doctor there. He was going from one bed to another and assuring the attendants that he would be on duty from 10 a.m to 6 p.m as long as the strike of resident doctors continues. I doubted this. But he was true. For the next eight days, Dr Abdul Qayoom Dar would come at 10 a.m and leave at 6 p.m. he would be in the ward all the time. I was shocked to see a consultant working like this. Then I heard he has worked in England. And it seems while returning from England he has not washed his hands in the river Thames to wash English traits. His presence in the ward was reassuring for the attendants who were not sure what next would fall on the critically ill patients. But, when he would leave in the evening there was always an apprehension about the doctor who would replace him for the night duty. And rightly so. They would seldom turn up for duty. Only one night saw a consultant on the duty. Rest they would come in the evening and then show their face in the morning.
 On one night, I saw a person in green clothes resuscitating a patient who had consumed poisonous substance. The case was strange. One of his attendants told me he had an affair, and a girl had told him she has consumed poison and is dying. He too consumed and was in critical care unit. The girl had lied to him. He died despite hectic efforts of the man in green. I thought he is doctor. But, he turned out to be technician. Resident doctors were on strike and the young man Yasir was working like anything along with nurse Shahida on that night.
 The stay in hospital made me realize that the hospital is not functioning because of its Director, Joint Director, Head of the Departments and trade union leaders. It is functioning because of individuals like Dr Sabu Jehangirs, Dr Qayoom Dars, Yasirs and Shahidas.

Such individuals might be scores in SKIMS. It these individuals who have taken upon themselves to work and work, whether it is appreciated or not, whether it is liked or not, whether the Director sees it or not. the day the dedicated lot in the hospital would get dejected by the system, the day they would feel exasperated by the witch hunting, the day they would feel tormented and started leaving for greener pastures and many have already started doing so, the hospital would crumble under its own weight. Time has come to rescue the Institute.
 Time has come, when the working of faculty must be questioned. They must be forced to work. It indicated that the hospital is run by the PGs, not by the faculty. The administration must be asked why it closed down the OPD? The answers must be sought. People should be made accountable. Time has come to ask questions to the faculty members who have brought indiscipline in the hospital by indulging in the private practice. They have made fun of the Institute. This lot must be asked to adhere to the rules of the hospital or leave for the good of the hospital. When seniors break the rules and don’t get any punishment, they lose the respect of the juniors and it reflects on over all functioning of the Institute. The rules, even if considered as unrealistic, are rules. Time has come that the unionism should end in the hospital. The clear instructions should go that the union leaders to abolish their little kingdoms through which they hold people of Kashmir at ransom. The unions have no place in hospitals. Biggest rot has brought to the hospital by the unions. The government must end this disease of unionism in hospitals.
 Time has come when the hospital should end to practice of bringing the staff to hospital in its vehicles. This happens no where. They are duty bound to reach hospital and they should reach on their own. The SKIMS is the only hospital where the medical records are not available. It takes months for PGs to collect data for research. And no one is bothered. In the surgical ICU, you have only two nurses for 12 critical patients. Bathrooms stink, the Birla House constructed for the attendants has been occupied by the employees, but no one cares. One of the excellent buildings, which is equivalent 15 emergencies, is under the illegal control of troopers for the past two decades and no effort is made to vacate it. The weed around the hospital is growing, the residents of the adjoining area have dismantled compound wall of the hospital and have made path through it, but no one seems to bother. The laboratory tests of the hospital astonish even patients. At times in the tests, they declare blood sugar level of patients only 10 and he gets away with it. Here is no counter where one gets information where one should go. The public administration relation is at its nadir.  The SKIMS is the hospital, which looks like a hospital. It caters every section and every area of JK state particularly of Kashmir valley. The health sector has crumbled at district level. And everyone rushes to the SKIMS. It is the hope and the day it crumbles down, whole health system would crumble down in the valley. The government must understand this and it must understand it now.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Indian media raises visa war

Indian media today played up “issuing of a loose visa” to Kashmiris by China, describing it as a part of the Chinese “aggressive posturing.” Scores of Kashmiris have traveled to China on visas that were stamped in their passports rather than stapled to it. Last month, major newspapers of Kashmir carried news stories on the issue accusing the Indian government of refusing to entertain the loose visas to Kashmiri students. Interestingly, in Kashmir concern was not why the loose visas are being issued to Kashmiri students instead it was why the Indian authorities were not accepting the loose visas.

However, India media perceived it as major shock and some media channels today run the story as “China’s visa shocker.”  

The experts invited by the different news channels asked New Delhi to pay Beijing in the same coin. Bharat Verma, the editor of the Indian Defence Journal said that the India should respond by giving same visa to residents of Tibet and Xinjiang province of China. He said those who visit China on these visas shouldn’t be allowed to come. Braham Challeny, noted defence experts however said the China by issuing loose visas to Kashmiris is openly describing “Indian Jammu and Kashmir” as disputed. He said India should raise issue of occupation of “1/5th of Jammu and Kashmir presently under Chinese occupation.” He however said Indian government wouldn’t react to the development. “It (India) has not responded to Chinese incursions, which is more serious a threat and I don’t expect they would react to the passport issue,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an advisory to all the airports that Indian established norms be followed and paper visa should not be accepted at all.

‘State govt brought CBI for cover up

Bar withdraws from Shopian case

Naseer A Ganai

Srinagar, Sept 30: In a major development the High Court Bar Association today withdrew from the Shopian double murder and rape case while accusing the State 

government of using Centre Bureau of Investigation to bury it.

“They have exhumed bodies of the two women and conducted postmortem and autopsy on them on Monday. Since Yesterday media is reporting while quoting the 

CBI that one of the victim is virgin. This is what we had apprehended and this is the plan for which they (CBI) has been brought to investigate the case,” the Bar president Mian Abdul Qayoom said when the case came up for hearing before the Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice, Justice Barin Gosh and the Justice Muhammad Yaqoob Mir.

Qayoom said the High Court had not given any direction to the State government to hand over the case to the Centre Bureau of Investigation in its order of August 28. However, he said, the State government in violation of the Court orders passed an order on September 9, 2009 and handed over the case to the CBI.

The Bar president said that the High Court had ordered to the State government that in case the family members of the victims agree for exhumation of the bodies for the postmortem and autopsy, it should be conducted by a team of doctors nominated by the Principal Government Medical College and the investigating team should take the Principal’s suggestion while exhuming the bodies.

But, Qayoom said, the CBI instead brought a team from the AIIMS and has not involved anyone from the GMC. “And now from Tuesday the media is reporting while quoting CBI that one of the victim was virgin,” the Bar president said. He said on first day Bar had informed the Court that the CBI investigation would bury the case. “The CBI has been brought to give clean chit to criminals involved in the case,” he said.

The Bar president said the CBI during postmortem the CBI has associated Dr Ghulam Qadir Khan. Qayoom said Dr Khan has returned from Saudi Arabia after 20 years and he has no expertise in the subject. “Why the doctor who is only MS and is not expert in the subject has been associated with postmortem and autopsy and why the GMC doctors have been ignored,” he asked. He described the CBI action as contempt of the Court and said that the State government and the agency should be indicted for the contempt.

Qayoom said, Dr Sudhir Gupta, Associate Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, AIIMS, who was not part of the team of doctors who examined the bodies has stated that even though the female genitalia is usually resistant to decomposition, after three months it is highly unlikely that exhuming the decomposed bodies would help in investigations. “The uterus usually does not decompose easily but after three months it is difficult to say with certainty which parts of the organ will be intact. In a case of a sexual assault, forensic experts usually look for injury on the organ and discharge. Even if the body is kept in a deep freezer, after five days, the discharge is lost as the vagina is infected due to assault. It is impossible to establish anything from this exercise of exhuming the bodies of the victims,” Qayoom said while quoting Dr Gupta and asked the logic behind the exhumation of the bodies.

He said the four police officers have been bailed out by the Courts after giving them regular hearings and the police was more than prompt to release them. “It is the same police which feels no regret in dishonoring the Court orders in detainees cases and books the detainees released by the Courts just outside the jails,’ he said. He said the Bar has no faith on the CBI and accused State of brining the agency for cover up. Qayoom announced its withdrawal from the case and left the Court room along with Bar Vice President Ejaz Bedar and General Secretary G.N Shaheen.

In June 2009, the Bar had filed the petition in the High Court and had asked it to monitor the investigation of the case.

However, advocate general of the State Muhammad Ishaq Qadri in his submissions said the High Court in August 28, 2009 judgment had stated that the State has discretion to hand over the case to anyone. He described the Bar president’s statement about the CBI as move to “malign the premier investigating agency of the country.” He however didn’t say anything about the investigation and said the case was now with the CBI.

The CBI counsel Ashok Bhan said the CBI has brought competent people to carry exhumation, postmortem and autopsy on the bodies. Besides, he said, the High Court directions were for the Special Investigation Team not for the CBI. He said the CBI was investigating the case and at present it was not possible to present details about the investigation. He said no official of the CBI has talked to any person in media. He assured the Court that the CBI would not disclose anything to anyone about the case except the High Court. The CBI counsel said that Dr Ghulam Qadir Khan was brought on the insistence of the Majlis Mushawarat. “The CBI wants to take people along,” he said.

The High Court after hearing the submissions said, “We don’t want to interfere with the investigation at this stage. But we want to know the details about the persons who conducted the postmortem of the bodies and their profile.” In an open Court the Bench ordered that the details of the persons should be presented to the Court on next date of hearing on October 13, 2009. The Court directed the CBI to reveal how they conducted the postmortem and whoelse, other than CBI, was part of the team. However the Court made it clear that it doesn’t want the details of the autopsy and postmortem at this stage.

The Court said it won’t close the case even though the original petitioner, the Bar Association, has withdrawn from the case. “The PIL has been accepted by the Court and we will carry on in accordance with the law until the mystery is resolved,” the Court said.

The Court said it wanted to pass an order to effect that no member of the CBI shall speak a word to the media. “But the CBI counsel has assured us that no official would divulge anything to anyone about the case except to this court in the form of reports,” the Court said.