Kashmiri Pandits jammu

Shift Kashmiri Pandits To Safer Jammu Till Situation Improves: Ghulam Nabi Azad

Democratic Azad Party Chief and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the Kashmiri Pandit employees of the Jammu and Kashmir government should be temporarily shifted to Jammu till the situation improves in Kashmir.

Questioning the safety of the Kashmiri Pandits, he said that life is more important than employment and that the government should transfer Kashmiri Pandits to Jammu.
“The Government should transfer Kashmiri Pandit employees to Jammu and transfer them back only when the situation improves,” said Azad.

“If our government comes to power, we will transfer the Kashmiri Pandits to Jammu until the situation improves,” he said.

Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had last week said that Kashmiri Pandits serving in the Valley will not be paid their salaries if they do not attend their duties.

Migrant Kashmiri Pandits have been protesting against the decision of the government claiming that they are being threatened by the terrorists and can’t go back to work.

“We are receiving death threats repeatedly, the latest being on Wednesday night. We were told that a policeman would be posted outside the place of our posting. But we do not trust the security policy of the administration,” said a Kashmiri Pandit.

“The main reason behind the protests is an insecure environment prevailing in Kashmir. We have been protesting since the day targeted killings started against the minority community in the Valley. We appeal to the government to post us at safe and secure places,” said Rohit, a Kashmiri Pandit who is participating in the protests.

Kashmir has been witnessing a series of targeted killings since October last year.

Targeted killings in Kashmir Valley were part of a larger conspiracy by terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen and other proscribed terrorist outfits to disturb the peace and democratic process established by the Panchayati Raj System in Kashmir Valley and also to create terror among the politically elected representatives, an NIA charge sheet said earlier.

The revelation came when the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in September filed the charge sheet against six accused in the targeted killing of a Sarpanch of Adoora village in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam.

The counter-terror agency filed the chargesheet in a special NIA court in Jammu in the case of the targeted killing of Sarpanch Shabir Ahmad Mir by the terrorists of the proscribed terrorist outfit Hizbul Mujahideen.

The case was initially registered on March 11 at Kulgam police station in Jammu and Kashmir and re-registered by the NIA on April 8.

Investigations have revealed that the handlers of the proscribed terrorist organization Hizbul Mujahideen operating from Pakistan, hatched a criminal conspiracy in collusion with terrorist associates and Over Ground Workers and terrorists of Hizbul Mujahideen active in Kashmir Valley to carry out the targeted killing of Sarpanch Shabir Ahmad Mir, said the NIA. (ANI)

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Democratic Azad Party

Nabi Azad Announces His New Outfit Democratic Azad Party

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday announced that his new political outfit will be named as ‘Democratic Azad Party’.

The development comes exactly a month after Azad resigned from the Congress party.
Announcing the name of the new party at a press conference here, Azad said that the outfit will be secular, democratic and independent from any influence.

Azad also unveiled the flag of the Democratic Azad Party. The flag has three colours – mustard, white and blue.

Yesterday, Azad held meetings with his workers and leaders.

Earlier, Azad, in his first public meeting in Jammu after quitting Congress, had announced to launch of his own political outfit that will focus on the restoration of full statehood.

He had said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir would decide the party’s name and flag.

“I’ve not decided upon a name for my party yet. The people of J-K will decide the party’s name and flag. I’ll give a Hindustani name to my party that everyone can understand,” he said at the rally after breaking away from his five-decade-long association with the grand old party.

“My party will focus on the restoration of full statehood, right to land, and employment to native domicile,” he added then.

Azad said that the first unit of his political outfit would be formed in Jammu and Kashmir in view of impending assembly polls.

“My party will focus on the restoration of full statehood, right to land, and employment to native domicile,” he added.

He lashed out at Congress and said that people are trying to defame us (me and my supporters who left the party) but their reach is limited to computer tweets.

Azad said, “Congress was made by us by our blood, not by computers, not by Twitter. People are trying to defame us but their reach is limited to computers and tweets.

That is why Congress is nowhere to be seen on the ground.” The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said in his first public meeting at Sainik Colony in Jammu.

Azad has been Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir from 2005 to 2008.

In his resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi, he had targeted party leadership, particularly Rahul Gandhi, over the way the party has been run in the past nearly nine years.

In the hard-hitting five-page letter, Azad had claimed that a coterie runs the party while Sonia Gandhi was just “a nominal head” and all the major decisions were taken by “Rahul Gandhi or rather worse his security guards and PAs”.

He was earlier Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha. Recounting his long association with the Congress, Azad had said the situation in the party has reached a point of “no return.”

While Azad took potshots at Sonia Gandhi in the letter, his sharpest attack was on Rahul Gandhi and he described the Wayand MP as a “non-serious individual” and “immature”. (ANI)

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It Might Be Too Late To Revamp Congress Leadership Now

When one of the senior most leaders of the Indian National Congress, Ghulam Nabi Azad, recently said that the party was at its “historic low” and that if elections to appoint a new leader of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) and other key organisational posts were not held soon, it could mean that the Congress could continue to sit in the Opposition for the next 50 years, the furore his statement caused was not unexpected. Such voices of dissent are not common in the Congress party and, expectedly, a Congress leader from Uttar Pradesh quickly demanded that he be ousted from the party.

But Azad, who is the current leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, and has held key posts as a Cabinet minister, and as a chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir, like the young child in the Hans Christian Anderson folktale, The Emperor’s New Clothes, was telling the blunt truth. Decimated in the parliamentary elections of 2019, the Congress has been plunged into a crisis like it has been never seen before. Its leadership, still controlled by the Gandhi family—Ms. Sonia Gandhi continues as the party’s interim president after her son, Rahul Gandhi, stepped down from the post in 2019—has lacked decisiveness and several party leaders, have either left the party to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (notably Jyotiraditya Scindia), or have dissented against the Congress party’s leadership.

In late August, 23 senior leaders of the Congress party, including five former state chief ministers, members of the CWC, MPs, and former central government ministers, wrote to Ms. Gandhi calling for sweeping changes at all levels of the party. The letter focused on the erosion of the party’s support base; and loss of support from among India’s youth, who make up a substantially large proportion of the nation’s electorate. The letter, in effect, was a sharp indictment of the party’s leadership.

ALSO READ: Rahul’s Return At Helm Will Harm Cong

When Rahul Gandhi took over as the Congress’s president in 2017 it was in line with the sort of dynastic leadership lineage that one has come to expect in the party. The nadir of Gandhi’s short-lived tenure—he stepped down in less than two years—was the second defeat of the party he was leading at the hands of the BJP in 2019. Since then the Congress, already nearly marginalised after the 2014 parliamentary elections, which it also lost, has become a faint shadow of what it was. Among India’s 29 states, the party is in power in the states of Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan where the party has majority support. In Puducherry, it shares power with alliance partner, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the regional party. And besides, simmering dissent within the ranks of its central leadership, the Congress has also lost much of its direction.

Partly that has happened as a side-effect of a series of debilitating electoral defeats; but it is also the lack of a decisive leadership that has weakened and made it rudderless. The contrast between the two central parties is stark. The strength of the BJP leadership has never been greater than it is now. The Congress’s, on the other hand, has never been lesser than it is now.

The Congress may have missed an opportunity to revamp its leadership three years ago when Ms Gandhi stepped down and a new president was to be appointed. As it happened, it was her son who succeeded her. And that might have been the most serious wrong move by the party to create a strong leadership. For Rahul has never really demonstrated his ability to be the leader of the party. His track record—whether it is in leading an electoral campaign or strategy, or in restructuring the party—has been lacklustre to put it mildly.

Back in 2014, before the parliamentary elections, this author had written in a column for an Indian newspaper that the Congress had done a wise thing by not naming Rahul (who was then the party’s vice-president) as its prime ministerial candidate. The argument that I put forward was that he was not ready for the role. And although wishing that the Congress party will come back to power when the next parliamentary elections are held is, at least for now, in the realm of fantasy, Rahul still isn’t ready for that role. Then and again in the 2019 elections, the BJP went to the polls with a strong prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, and won both times.

ALSO READ: Can Capt Amarinder Save Congress?

The thing is that the Congress has never really looked beyond the Gandhi family for its top leadership position. In 2017, Rahul took over from his mother; in 2019, when he stepped down, his mother became interim president, a position she continues to hold even as dissent, and calls for a new leadership are welling up from within the party ranks. It is true that the Gandhi family has acted like some kind of glue that keeps the Congress party together. The family’s writ runs large in the party and dissent has been discouraged. Probably not any longer.

The letter by senior leaders; Azad’s recent statement; the resignation of several leaders (some of them to join the BJP) all of this point towards one thing: the Congress cannot exist in the manner it has been for so long. A non-Gandhi leader is what the party needs most now. But even if it finds one, that person has to enjoy the autonomy and freedom to change how the party organises; how it functions; and how it strategises.

The first step would be for its current leadership to heed the voices of reason that are surfacing from within. Its most important leaders, some of whom have much more successful political achievements than, say, Rahul Gandhi, have demanded changes in the way the party is led and how it functions. For Ms Gandhi, as interim president, that is the writing on the wall—in clear and bold letters. The second thing for the party and its main movers is to realise that the climb from where the party has fallen is going to be a long and very arduous one. The morale of its grassroots-level workers is low; dissent has spread among its leaders in various states; and the BJP has strengthened its position over the past six years that it has ruled at the Centre.

The Congress’s comeback, if the party reads that writing on the wall, is going to be slow, and often not painless. And, if those warning signs go unheeded, then what once was India’s all-powerful national party could hurtle towards extinction.

Cong Blames Modi For Rise In Militancy

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Wednesday attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the erstwhile PDP-BJP government for “growing militancy” in the state, saying their policies were responsible for pushing Jammu and Kashmir back into the era of 1990-91.

“Narendra Modi’s government at the Centre is responsible for creating an environment which forces the youth of the state to join militancy,” Azad said at an election rally here.

He added that during his time “militants were willing to surrender arms and return to mainstream whereas now militancy is growing in the state.”

He also slammed the Mehbooba Mufti-led People’s Democratic Party for forming a government in alliance with the BJP, according to Azad, whose leaders have been abusing the people of Kashmir for 70 years.

The former Chief Minister of the state also blamed the previous BJP-PDP government for the state of affairs of the valley. “Bad days for the people of Kashmir started the day BJP-PDP government came to power,” he told the gathering.

He slammed the Centre for committing atrocities on the people of Kashmir by using muscle power to deal with militancy.

“Even our enemies did not gauge out the eyes of our daughters but the government of the Bharatiya Janata Party is to be blamed for this atrocity,” he said, adding that children of two-three years have become blind after they were hit by pellets.

“Can a kid of two-three years pick up arms?” he asked the crowd.

Azad raised the issue of alleged custodial deaths.

He said, “We often speak against the Army but the police is also no less an enemy of us. They have also harassed us. There are some policemen who killed innocents for promotion and money,” Azad said.

Jammu and Kashmir will go to polls from April 11 to May 6 for its six Lok Sabha seats. The counting of votes will take place on May 23. (ANI)

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Pak says India's Kashmir talks gambit 'insincere'

The Labour Party angle

UK’s Labour leader Emily Thornberry put the pigeons among the cats recently when she said India needs to allow international human rights monitors in Kashmir. The 57-year-old shadow foreign secretary of the resurgent Labour Party was quoted as saying: “I know there are people in India who say these stories are exaggerated or indeed downright lies. And if that’s right, it does seem to me that India has nothing to fear from allowing human rights monitors into Kashmir in order to be able to support that it isn’t true.” Thornberry would be foreign secretary if the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party wins the next election, a distinct possibility in the wake of the disastrous Conservative showing in June’s snap poll.  In these elections, the Labour manifesto —whose Kashmir part was authored by Thornberry—spoke of urging negotiations towards political resolution in regions experiencing conflict, including Kashmir.  
  New Delhi designated former Intelligence Bureau chief Dineshwar Sharma as its representative to initiate “interaction and dialogue to understand the legitimate aspirations of the people” in Jammu and Kashmir.

Won’t work without Pak, says Former Hurriyat chief 

In India, mainline Hurriyat leaders maintained silence over the Centre’s decision to open a dialogue with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir, but a former chief of the separatist amalgam on Tuesday said any peace process without involving Pakistan was futile. Moulvi Abbas Ansari, a prominent Shia leader, said tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and people from Jammu and Kashmir, was the only way forward to resolve the Kashmir problem. “When I was the chairman of the Hurriyat Conference and general Pervez Musharraf ruled Pakistan, I told both the countries that a solution can only be reached if people from both parts of Kashmir are included in a tripartite dialogue between Kashmiris, India and Pakistan,” the senior separatist leader said in a statement.

Opposition doubts Centre’s intent

The Opposition, including the Congress and Left, on Tuesday voiced doubts at the government’s “intent and sincerity” behind its sudden Kashmir initiative and wondered if it was linked to the visit of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad on Tuesday said the Modi government after three years of “hot pursuit” was talking of dialogue for the sake of publicity, while Communist Party of India Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury termed the Modi government’s approach on Kashmir as a “flip-flop policy”. “Tamannao me uljahaya gaya hoon/khilone dekar behlaya gaya hoon (I have been trapped in wishful thinking/I have been mollified by toys),” Azad said, underlining his views on the government’s dialogue initiative which he said has come too late and lacks a fixed timeframe.

NIA arrests Salahuddin’s son in terror funding case

The NIA on Tuesday arrested Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s son Syed Shahid in a six-year-old terror funding case, a day after the government decided to open talks with “all stakeholders” in Jammu and Kashmir. Shahid, 42, a state government employee, was arrested in Delhi after he was called for questioning at the National Investigation Agency (NIA) headquarters. “Shahid over the years has been receiving and collecting funds through international wire money transfer from” Hizbul Mujahideen militant Aijaz Bhat, a Srinagar resident now based in Saudi Arabia, an NIA statement said. The NIA said Shahid was one of Aijaz Bhat’s several contacts who were in telephonic touch “to receive the money transfer codes”. The money was meant to fund Hizbul Mujahideen’s militant activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Shahid, who lives with his family in Soibugh village of central Budgam district, has a masters degree in agriculture and works as a village agricultural assistant in the state’s agriculture department. His contractual job was confirmed by the government in March this year. The 2011 terror funding case pertains to terror money sent through hawala channels by militants based in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to Jammu and Kashmir. The NIA had filed two chargesheets against six accused in the case in 2011. Four of them – Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, one of the closest aides of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mohammed Sidiq Ganai, Ghulam Jeelani Liloo and Farooq Ahmad Dagga – are currently in Delhi’s Tihar Jail. Two of the accused, Mohammad Maqbool Pandit and Aijaz Bhat, are on the run and have been declared proclaimed offenders. Pandit, like Aijaz Bhat, has been an active Hizbul Mujahideen militant and is currently based in Pakistan. Aijaz Bhat, according to NIA records, received arms training with the Hizbul Mujahideen in Pakistan-administered Kashmir in early 1990s. He never returned to Srinagar and began working for the militant group in Pakistan. He is said to have stayed in Sialkot before shifting to Saudi Arabia for generating funds for the group’s activities in Jammu and Kashmir. An NIA official said the agency through phone records found that he was in touch with Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, a Srinagar-based lawyer, in 2011. According to NIA, the lawyer separatist had procured over Rs 4.50 crore from Pakistan through hawala channels within three years after 2008 for funding militant activities in the Kashmir Valley. Ghulam Mohammed Bhat, Ganai, Liloo and Dagga were arrested on January 22, 2011 and Rs 21.20 lakh were recovered from them. After their arrest, Aijaz Bhat used to send money to Shahid. The Hizb founder’s son, according to an NIA official, received at least four instalments of money in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. Shahid is the third son of Salahuddin, who also heads the United Jehad Council, the amalgam of Kashmir militant groups based in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan. Salahuddin unsuccessfully fought the 1987 Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. He then crossed over to Pakistan and founded the Hizbul Mujahideen — the largest militant group in Jammu and Kasmir. Salahuddin has five sons and two daughters, who are all employed with the state government.   (with IANS)   // ]]>