Jammu/Srinagar: The week-long state mourning on the death of J&K chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed ended on Wednesday, but the stalemate on government formation continued.
The state government had announced a seven-day mourning for Sayeed, who passed away on January 7 at AIIMS in New Delhi.
Despite a statement by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief spokesman Mehboob Beg on Tuesday that Mehbooba Mufti would be sworn-in as the chief minister of the state anytime after the official mourning ended, there was no word yet on government formation from Mehbooba, who is also the PDP president.
Asked to comment on the party spokesman’s statement, former education minister and senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar told IANS: “We have not started formal deliberations on government formation yet.”
“I can only comment on government formation when formal deliberations are started by our party.”
Meanwhile, former state deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh of the coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party said in Jammu: “The call has to come from the PDP.”
“We were asked by the governor to respond on government formation. We wrote to the governor that the response of the party (BJP) would be communicated after the PDP comes forth to stake claim on government formation,” he said.
Sources in the PDP said Mehbooba Mufti has not spoken to anybody on government formation or becoming the chief minister in the state after Sayeed’s death.
Same sources said against the background of the PDP president not seeking or undertaking any consultations on government formation, the views expressed by party spokesman Mehboob Beg could best be described as “personal views of Mehboob Beg”. (IANS)
Earlier, the court had issued notice to the Centre, the state government and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on the plea filed by Jammu-based advocate Ankur Sharma, alleging that benefits accruing to minorities were being taken away by Muslims, who were in a majority in Jammu and Kashmir
New Delhi, March 27, 2017: Expressing its viewpoint on the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the Central and the State government of Jammu and Kashmir to “sit together” and decide contentious issues including the question whether Muslims can be treated as the minority in the state, PTI reported.
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A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul asked both the governments to resolve the issue and submit a report to it within four weeks.
“This is a very very important issue. You both sit together and take a stand on it,” the bench said.
A month ago, the apex court had ordained a fine of Rs 30,000 on it for not documenting its answer to a PIL charging that minority advantages are being enjoyed by the majority of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir.
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The beach had extended a last chance to the Center to document its answer, saying the matter is critical.
The court had, however, permitted the counsel for the Center to file the response after depositing the fine and had additionally noticed that a fine of Rs 15,000 was likewise forced last time also for the similar reason.
Earlier, the court had issued notice to the Centre, the state government and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on the plea filed by Jammu-based advocate Ankur Sharma, alleging that benefits accruing to minorities were being taken away by Muslims, who were in a majority in Jammu and Kashmir.
The plea also alleged that rights of religious and linguistic ‘minorities’ in the state were being “siphoned off illegally and arbitrarily” due to extension of benefits to “unqualified sections” of the population.
It has been settled that the identification of minority communities has to be decided as per the population data of the state in question, Sharma had said.
The apex court, however, had refused to restrain authorities from disbursing benefits to any community in the state.
The PIL has also sought the setting up of State Minority Commission for identification of minorities.
“The population of Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir according to the 2011 Census is 68.31 per cent. Communities which are eligible to be notified as minorities, were not awarded their due share of scholarship owing to their non-identification as minorities, thereby jeopardising their constitutionally guaranteed rights enshrined under Part III of the Constitution of India”.
New Delhi, August 28, 2016: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday attacked Pakistan and separatist leaders, while she was in Delhi, for inciting trouble in the state, but later in Srinagar, her tone and tenor changed- from being angry to conciliatory.
During her meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi in the morning, Mehbooba lashed out at Pakistan – in a first for the fiery woman Kashmiri politician known for her soft spot towards Islamabad.
But after she reached Srinagar, her office issued a statement giving a more placatory picture.
The statement said during her talks with Modi, Mehbooba was said to have advocated a “reconciliatory” approach towards separatists as well as Pakistan for peace in Kashmir.
“Mehbooba outlined a three-pronged action plan before the Prime Minister for the resolution of the Kashmir issue, including involvement of separatists and Pakistan in substantive dialogue, to work out a solution to the problem in light of the contemporary geopolitical realities,” the statement quoted the Chief Minister as saying.
However, when she addressed the media in Delhi after her 45-minute meeting with Modi, she came out strongly against Pakistan accusing it of creating the ongoing trouble in Kashmir where people seething with anger have been persistently holding violent anti-government protests for the past 50 days.
At least 71 persons – including two policemen – have been killed since the July 8 killing of pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen’s Kashmir commander Burhan Wani.
“I want to tell Pakistan, if it has any sympathy for Kashmiris, it should stop provoking (Kashmiris) to attack police stations,” she said in Delhi, asking Islamabad to mend its ways and stop triggering violence and causing deaths in the valley.
But the statement issued in Srinagar said that Mehbooba spoke about “the reconciliation and resolution process with a fresh resolve”, urging Modi “to take bold political initiatives on Kashmir as was done by (his predecessor) Vajpayee”.
She stressed on “the need for initiating a credible and meaningful political action on the ground to make peace and stability a reality in the state” and invited the separatist Hurriyat Conference for “a meaningful dialogue process for the peaceful resolution” of the Kashmir issue.
During her days in the opposition Mehbooba – a strong votary of self-rule – openly used to question Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to India. “Accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India has proved counter-productive,” she once said at a north Kashmir political rally.
Mehbooba’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is a relatively new entrant in the ideologically divided political spheres of Jammu and Kashmir, where nurturing a pro-Pakistan sentiment has been a potent tool for politicians since long to attract voters.
Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) head A.S. Dulat has succinctly described in his memoir “Kashmir: Vajpayee years” this character of Kashmiri politicians “speaking in different voices” in Srinagar, in Jammu and Delhi – right from Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah to Mehbooba.
Dulat wrote about politicians’ liking for the green colour in Kashmir where almost all political parties except for the National Conference and Peoples Conference have green party flags.
“When Muslim United Front (MUF) was formed in 1987, it chose green as its flag’s colour. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s favourite colour is green, which she uses while campaigning. All militant organisations make free use of green,” Dulat writes.
Mehbooba also drapes herself in full green during public rallies in Kashmir. She has a pen and inkpot as her party symbol – the same that Syed Salahuddin, the supreme commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, used when he fought the infamously rigged assembly election of 1987. (IANS)
Kashmir newspapers are expected to hit the stands on Thursday, July 20, after the government on Wednesday “apologised” for media curbs and assured Srinagar-based editors that their work won’t be hindered by the heightened security in the wake of unrest that has left over 40 people dead and hundreds injured in the Kashmir Valley.
The government had put curbs on the media on Saturday, July 16, and lifted the ban on Tuesday, saying the decision taken at some “local” level was a “mistake”.
But newspapers refused print runs, alleging that the authorities were putting the onus on them and denying that the government had banned newspaper publications in the valley.
The logjam was resolved in a meeting on Wednesday between Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and editors of Srinagar-based newspapers.
According to an official spokesperson, Mehbooba Mufti urged the media to play “a responsive and proactive role in tiding over the enormous challenges” facing the state and its people.
The Chief Minister told the editors that the government was “committed to the independence of media at all costs and complaints of high-handedness against the press, if any, amid prevailing situation will be looked into”.
“Though there has been no deliberate attempt on the part of the government to impose any restrictions on the publication of newspapers. However, whatever has happened, because of some communication gap, is regrettable,” Mehbooba Mufti told them, according to a statement.
The Chief Minister assured the editors that the government would facilitate “smooth movement of journalists and other newspaper staff to ensure that they can perform their professional duties in a hassle-free manner”.
The editors in a statement said that the Chief Minister “apologised” to them for the decision that was “unintended”.
The editors later decided to resume publication “hoping the resumption will remain unobstructed”. (IANS)