J&K Separatists Plan Joint Protest on West Pak Refugee Issue

Tawqeer Hussain

Hurriyat Conference in Jammu and Kashmir is evolving a consensus to launch a joint agitation against the ‘settlement’ of West Pak Refugees in Jammu and Kashmir, which they think is aimed at changing the demography of the state.

According to the sources, all factions of the separatist leadership are in touch with each other to form a coordination committee that is aimed at opposing any such move.

The idea of a Coordination Committee was floated by senior Hurriyat Conference (Jk) leader Shabir Shah but was soon hijacked by Hurriyat Conference (M), who have sent missionaries to the other factions to garner support for joint resistance.

“I actually floated the idea of coordination but soon got calls from Hurriyat Mirwaiz group on the same issue, they even sent their two leaders to me to evolve a consensus” said Shabir Shah, Chairman Democratic Freedom Party.

Shabir Shah, who parted his ways with Hurriyat Conference (M) last year along with Nayeem Khan and others, is in close proximity with Hurriyat Conference (G) group said that they will fight tooth and nail against the Joint Parliamentary recommendation on the settlement of West Pakistan refugees in Jammu and Kashmir.

“There is no way they (West Pakistan Refugees) will be allowed as citizens of Jammu and Kashmir, this will be strongly opposed” he said. He was categorical, “ I don’t accept the JPC recommendations”.

Meanwhile, sources added that Hurriyat conference (M) has constituted a two member committee on January 15, to met all representatives of the separatist groups and civil society to garner support for the coordination committee.

“The committee has met almost all leaders including Hurriyat (G)’ s Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, JKLF’s Yasin Malik and others and discussed threadbare the need for joint resistance,” a senior Hurriyat leader said.

However all the separatists have not been contacted. “No, I have not been contacted on joint resistance issue, and i believe it is time to join us all once and for all for peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue,” Azam Inqilabi, Chief Patron Jammu Kashmir Mahaz-e-Azadi told The Citizen.

“Resettlement of West Pak Refugees in Kashmir will only add fuel to the fire and will instigate violence besides complicating the Kashmir issue. India should first address the core issue of Kashmir resolution” he added.

Chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the conglomerate will soon finalize modalities for joint resistance against ‘settlement’ of West Pakistan refugees.

“It is encouraging that all pro-freedom groups and people from different walks of life have favored our joint resistance plan on the issue. We will formulate the course of action on the basis of the Committee’s report which comprises suggestions from other pro-freedom groups and civil society members,” Mirwaiz told reporters in Srinagar.

He added that New Delhi is in a mood to polarize the situation and pitch Kashmir against Jammu by settling non-state subjects including West Pakistan refugees.

All separatist groups including Hurriyat (G), Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Hurriyat Conference Jammu and Kashmir have opposed New Delhi’s proposal to ‘settle’ of West Pakistan refugees.

(The story was first published at The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.in/NewsDetail.aspx?Id=2361&J&K/Separatists/Plan/Joint/Protest/on/West/Pak/Refugee/Issue )

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Tweets expose Kiran Bedi’s Flip Flop

Tawqeer Hussain

NEW DELHI: A smiling photograph of former cop Kiran Bedi flanked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bhartiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah served to jog media memory with young people on the social media in particular searching and re-circulating her tweets against the BJP.

A defiant Bedi said when asked by reporters about the shift that “people evolve.” Even as she declared,“I joined BJP due to the inspirational leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I wanted to sacrifice my entire life to social work. But he inspired me to join political life.”

Kiran Bedi and active member of the Anti Corruption crusader Anna Hazare led India Against Corruption at one point in time is the undeclared chief ministerial candidate of the BJP. The media has been ‘allowed’ to jump to this conclusion although there has been nothing from the BJP top ranks confirming this. Instead Amit Shah made it clear that a decision will be taken after the elections, and that the party was not going into the Delhi polls with a declared CM candidate.

Within minutes of Bedi’s decision to join the BJP, Twitter was flooded with screenshots of her previous tweets and links which questioned the role of Modi in the 2002 Gujarat carnage.

Controversial actor Kamal R Khan tweeted a screenshot of Kiran Bedi’s tweet which says “One day NaMo will need to respond with clarity about riots massacre. Despite Courts clearing him so far.”

In yet another April 10, 2012 tweet Bedi said,“Mr Modi as per SIT may be passing the legal exam but is yet to pass prevailing perception of serious incident which occurred under his watch.”

However, lately she changed her mind and started praising Modi’s vision and his efforts in promoting good governance. In her series of tweets on March 16, 2013, Bedi started with bashing Modi for his silence on 2002 Gujarat carnage but soon shifted in praise of him.

“NaMo sharing correct ideas of National Development! Totally out of box thinking! Which is generating development already in Guj!” read one of her tweets. She was almost exultant in another tweet, “NaMo says we have more Acts than Action! Hearing him at HT Conclave! Don’t miss!”

Tweets on Twitter are now hotly debating her decision to join the BJP. Many describe her as an opportunist.

“Kiran Bedi fought for Janlokpal, now she is joining a party which will never give a strong lokpal” tweeted one Pritha. Another person Brijesh Kalappa tweeted how time changed the place and position for both Kiran Bedi and BJP President Amit Shah.

“Time was When Bedi was DGP Jails and Amit Shah was an under trial in jail today he is her boss” tweeted Brijesh

Not only youths, even political leaders slammed Bedi for joining the BJP. Congress leader Sanjay Jha in a series of tweets claimed that the BJP had used Bedi, godman Ramdev and former Army chief VK Singh to malign the Congress party.

“Kiran Bedi, VK Singh, Baba Ramdev—all manifestations of how the Anna Hazare agitation was a BJP/RSS political conspiracy to malign congress” Jha tweeted.

In another tweet he wrote “U-turn is the genetic disorder in the BJP. Both Smriti Irani and Kiran Bedi publicly asserted the role of Narendra Modi in Gujarat Riots”.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav said that BJP is using Kiran Bedi to save themselves from direct defeat.

“Well done BJP! Saved two birds with one #KiranBedi Saved BJP from Satish Upadhyay disaster Saved Modi from direct blame for Delhi defeat” tweeted AAP leader Yogendra Yadav.

However J&K chief Minister Omar Abdullah cautioned Kiran Bedi to check her “twitter History” before making any political move.

“Note for famous people joining politics- before joining check your twitter/FB archive & delete all posts critical of party you are joining”Abdullah tweeted.

(The story first published in The Citizen http://www.thecitizen.in/NewsDetail.aspx?Id=2174&Tweets/expose/Kiran/Bedi%E2%80%99s/Flip/Flop )

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All BJP Candidates, Except One, Lose Security Deposits in Kashmir Valley

Tawqeer Hussain

The Bharatiya Janata Party has suffered humiliating defeat in the Kashmir Valley with 33 of its 34 Assembly candidates losing their security deposit in the elections.

The party had fielded 34 candidates out of the 46 constituencies in the Valley hoping to give a tough fight to rival candidates, but they failed to secure even their own deposits.

Dr Hina Shafi Bhat, Muslim face of BJP in Kashmir valley also lost her  security deposit

Dr Hina Shafi Bhat, Muslim face of BJP in Kashmir valley also lost her security deposit

Even the party ‘s Muslim face in the Valley, Dr Hina Shafi Bhat, who was given considerable publicity and importance by the BJP failed to save her security desposit. Far from winning the seat, as she was projected to, Bhat got only 1359 votes losing the Amirakadal seat to the Peoples Democratic Party.

Hina, who had sparked a controversy by allegedly slapping an election officer during polling which she denied later, was banking on her father’s clout who was once a legislator with the National Conference. However, she failed to impress the voters.

Moti Koul, the BJP’s candidate from Habba Kadal in Srinagar district, was the only one who managed to save his security deposit. He was contesting from the constituency which recorded only 21 per cent voter turnout.

Koul was also under the threat of losing his security deposit till the migrant votes were counted, which propelled him from seventh position to the runners-up.

He lost to Shamima Firdous of National Conference(NC) by a margin of over 2,000 votes.

The other BJP candidates were way behind in most of the constituencies in the Valley from their nearest rivals, as was evident from the Election Commission data.

It is important to mention here that as per the rules, a candidate loses his deposit if the number of votes he/she gets is less than one-sixth of the total valid votes cast in the constituency.

BJP’s Shopian candidate Javed Ahmad Qadri managed to get over 3,300 votes but lost the security deposit due to the higher voter turnout in the constituency in south Kashmir.

Similarly Masood-ul-Hassan, fighting from Hazratbal constituency, polled 2,635 votes but he too could not save his deposit.

Other Prominent BJP nominees who got over 1,000 votes were Zubair Ahmad Wani from Batmaloo (1,304) and Dharakshan Indrabi from Sonawar (1,100) in terms of number of votes polled.

In another major embarrassment, the BJP candidate from Zadibal Constituency Neelam Gash received only 360 votes, fortifying her deposit.

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Article 370 is Non Negotiable: Omar Abdullah

Tawqeer Hussain

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah once again reiterated that the state has “conditionally acceded to India” and that “Article 370 is non negotiable and we won’t let anyone rob our rights.”

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Pic Source/Internet

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. Pic Source/Internet

Addressing an election rally in Central Kashmir’s Budgam District, the Chief Minister said that his party National Conference will “never give up its demand of reversing the erosions in Article 370 and will keep striving for the restoration of Internal Autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Without naming BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Abdullah said that those against Article 370 should learn from history.

“Those entities that are desirous of a debate on Article 370 should read history and know that the State of Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India based on basic, constitutionally validated conditions that were put in place by Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah” Abdullah, who is also the working president of National Conference said.

Lambasting the PDP, Congress and BJP, he was emphatic that Article 370 is “non negotiable”.

“Let me make it very clear to the BJP, Congress and the PDP that Article 370 is non-negotiable and the only debate one needs to have on Article 370 is about its restoration to its original, pristine form,” the Chief Minister said. “I have said this on the floor of the Assembly, I have said this as the elected Chief Minister of this State and I say so today as a proud citizen of this State who will never allow any political force to rob us of our rights,”he added.

Abdullah accused PDP patron and Chief Ministerial Candidate Mufti Mohammad for supporting the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Kashmir, and for having worked with governments planning to abrogate Article 370.

“I want to ask Mufti Sahab if he is so concerned about Article 370 today, why was he a major player in successive machinations that were launched to erode Article 370? Was Mufti Sahab not a part of the Cabinets in J&K which signed orders making erosions in Article 370?” the Chief Minister said.

He said that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were aware of Mufti’s role in imposing AFSPA in the state, and unleashing former Governor Jagmohan on Kashmiris.

BJP in both the Lok Sabha and now Assembly elections has spoken of abrogating Article 370. An adverse response, particularly during the first two phases of the ongoing state elections, silenced PM Modi to a point where during a recent election visit to Jammu he did not speak about the article but focused entirely on dynastic politics in the state, in reference to the PDP, NC and the Congress party.

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Gentleman’s game took another star

Tawqeer Hussain

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes has died aged 25, two days after being struck on the top of the neck by a ball at SCG on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

Australian cricketer Phillip Hughes has died aged 25, two days after being struck on the top of the neck by a ball at SCG on Thursday, November 27, 2014.

New Delhi: West Indian batting great Brian Lara while praying for Phillip Hughes speedy recovery on Wednesday said that “cricket is a dangerous game and there is always an element of risk”, Lara would have never imagined that next morning he would have to hear the news of tragic death of 25 years old Australian cricketer, who was hit by bouncer while paying a tournament match in Sydney cricket ground.

Confirming the death, Australia team doctor Peter Brukner said he never regained consciousness and died in hospital in Sydney.

“It is my sad duty to inform you that a short time ago Phillip Hughes passed away. He never regained consciousness following his injury on Tuesday” Brukner said.

Hughes, 25, was carried off on a stretcher at the Sydney Cricket Ground after a short-pitched delivery struck his head, missing his helmet two days back. He had CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before being taken to hospital and placed in an induced coma.

“As a cricket community we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time” he added.

Today Phillip is no more, the cricket is in deep shock, and so are the admirers of the game. The gentleman’s game has taken yet another blooming star and left an unfulfilled void.

With condolences pouring in from around the world, the cricket once again came in scanner with many questions being raised. Is it safe to face the ball travelling at a speed of over 140kph.

Going through this Gentleman’s game to recall how careers have ended and life vanished when a speeding ball hit any part of the body. Although many survived but others were unlucky like Phillip and lost the race of life.

In 1933, the Australian wicketkeeper Bert Oldfield had his skull fractured when he was hit by a ball from English fast bowler Harold Larwood.

In the 1960s, the then Indian captain Nari Contractor was hit in the head by a ball from West Indian paceman Charlie Griffith. Although, Nari survived after being unconscious for six days but never returned to the game again.

In an another incident, McCosker’s jaw fractured in 1977 Centenary Test after being hit by a speedy delivery by Bob  and 1986 Mike Gatting’s nose was smashed by a Malcolm Marshall special.

In 1975, New Zealander Ewen Chatfield swallowed his tongue and stopped breathing after being hit on the temple by English fast bowler Peter Lever during a Test match.

Just two years ago, South African wicketkeeper Mark Boucher lost the lens, iris and pupil in his left eye after a being hit by a bail that flew back off the top of the wicket.

Although these players were lucky to come out of shock and injury, others were not.

In 1988, 38 years old Indian cricketer Raman Lamba died after being struck in the temple by a cricket ball hit by a Bangladesh batsman.

Similarly, 17 years old Pakistan’s Abdul Aziz was struck on the chest by a ball, collapsed and never regained consciousness. He died on the way to the hospital.

Despite adequate safety equipment used by the cricketers on ground, the fatal incidents have not ended. Hughes death have once again left the alarm bells ringing for the International cricket Council to look into the safety of players.


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US Based Photographer Claims Copyright Infringement by PM Modi


Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Facebook account may land him in copyright trouble after Nepal Born, US based Photographer Bimal Nepal claimed that the Indian PM used his picture without permission on his facebook page without giving him credit. He said this was a copyright infringement.

US based Photographer Bimal Nepal claimed that his photograph was used  on PM Modi's facebook account with his permission.

US based Photographer Bimal Nepal claimed that his photograph was used on PM Modi’s facebook account with his permission.

In an exclusive chat with this reporter, Bimal Nepal claimed that he is in touch with US lawyers and they will soon be sending a notice to the Prime Minister’s Office in India.“I am consulting US lawyers and soon they are going to contact PMO in India,” he said.

Nepal said he will be asking both for compensation and credit from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“This is a huge issue of international misuse of intellectual property and copyright and American professionals and Lawyers will decide on the compensation,” Nepal added.

According to him Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s facebook page has modified the same picture and used it to greet people on Dhanteras .

“Greetings on Dhanteras. May Lord Dhanvantari bless us with prosperity, joy and good health,” the photograph caption reads.

Unhappy with the use of his photograph, Nepal wrote a message on his Facebook page saying he was honored that the Indian Prime minister had used his picture, but was concerned that neither his permission was sought not credit attributed to him.

“I am truly honored that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is using one of my photographs in his Facebook page. My greatest question and concern is – there is no credit for the photographer?! What will happen so called © copyright issue? He did not ask for the permission” Nepal wrote asking suggestions from his acquaintances in India.

Soon after his post, comments starting pouring in from a cross section of of people across the world with most posts blaming PM Modi and his team for the mess. Some even asked Nepal to take strict action for compensation.

“Just because he is PM does not give him the right to take what he has not paid for” commented Facebook user Donatella Lorch.

“This is simply unbelievable–PM of worlds one of the largest democracies uses others photo and doesn’t give credit. Goodluck for justice, it’s time to collect evidences and make ur claim strong;” posted another Facebook user Dinesh Karki

Some people advised Nepal not to pursue the case as it will harm India-Nepal relations.

“Nepal-India relation is really warming up these days so I don’t want you ruining this for all of us. Let it go PM Modi is not making money out of it,” wrote Rhododendron Arboreum.

However Bimal claimed that he clicked the picture at his home in Cambridge Massachusetts, with the help of his daughter, said that it disrespectful to use someones’ property without permission and claimed that all his pictures are protected under US copyright Law.

“No-one can use anyone’s intellectual property/photographs without permission. If they would like to use it for commercial use, then the appropriate compensation should be granted to the owner. For non-profit use, permission sometimes can be given without payment” Nepal posted on his Facebook.

He added that “In both cases you need permission. It is disrespectful to use someone’s property without giving them credit. You can’t publish any photographs without permission, PERIOD. All of my photographs are protected by US copyright law. No one is above the law”.

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Shell-shocked hamlets

Tawqeer Hussain

Those living along the India-Pakistan border find themselves in the crossfire yet again

“Who will take care of us now, why are they killing us?” asked 15-year-old Suman Bhagat, who lost her mother, Pholi, aged 32, and her 68-year-old grandmother Shakuntala Devi when a mortar shell fired from the Pakistani side of the International Border (IB) hit their house on October 7. Four other family members were injured and Suman alone escaped unhurt.

Her village, Chilliyari in Samba district of Jammu division, just 8km from the Line of Control (LoC), bore the brunt of the cross-border shelling from October 1 to 9. Residents moved out of their houses at night, when the shelling intensified, and returned in the morning to assess the damage.

“Our lives have become hell, we move from place to place and spend nights in the open or in temporary shelters despite having homes,” said Sonu Lal.

The shelling has claimed eight lives in all, injured close to 90 and displaced 32,000 people from 113 hamlets in Jammu division, Samba and Kathua districts along the IB.

Meanwhile, at a local school-turned-temporary shelter, Suman is inconsolable while the women around her try to wipe away her tears.

Suman repeatedly cries out, “I want to see my mother, where is my father?” Fearing more shelling, the family has been unable to even bury its dead, locals said.

Besides the loss of life, residents bemoaned their destroyed farms and houses. Many lost their cattle to the cross-border violation. Villages that once bustled with life are now deserted, with only unexploded shells or dead cattle in sight. According to the local pharmacist Mohinder Pal, more than 200 cows and buffaloes have been immobilised by splinter-shell injuries and are dying a slow death in the absence of veterinary care.

“Who will take care of these injured cattle under these circumstances?” he said.

Huddling alongside hundreds of villagers at a temporary shelter, 13-year-old Shanti clutches her school bag — the only belonging she took with her when fleeing. A resident of Chilliyari, the girl who loves to study and write exams is hoping things will soon return to normal.

But 82-year-old Shonal Devi is angry and unwilling to settle for mere hope. “They are striking us again and again, which has made our life hell. We are living under the constant fear of shells or bullets,” said Devi, a resident of Arnia village close to the border. “India should retaliate strongly and teach Pakistan a lesson once and for all,” she added.

Fed up of the ever-present danger, those living near the border want the government to permanently relocate them to safer places.

“We are ready to live as migrants in safer locations,” said Hitanshu Ram, even as an uneasy calm prevailed along the 192km border in Jammu last weekend.

According to widely reported sources, Pakistani forces refused the sweets offered by their Indian counterparts on Eid, a decades-old practice, and resorted to heavy shelling later in the evening on the border outposts in the Samba sector of the Jammu division.

The firing soon intensified and multiple Indian posts were attacked, leading to the largest migration witnessed since the 2003 ceasefire.

Defence minister Arun Jaitley called on Pakistan to stop the “unprovoked” attacks and issued a warning.

The divisional commissioner of Jammu, Shantmanu, said more than 6,000 people were relocated, but other sources put the figure at 18,000.

What next

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah flew to the border areas after Eid prayers and directed the state administration to take all measures to ensure the safety of the people in the affected areas.

Meanwhile, Islamabad summoned India’s deputy high commissioner JP Singh to lodge a strong protest against what it termed “unprovoked firing” from the Indian side.

Even as the firing scaled down on October 10, the people at the temporary camp in Samba are not ready to sigh in relief yet as they expect Pakistan to resume its strikes. A few youngsters braved a visit to Chilliyari village to check if their homes were still intact. “We want to see what has happened to our houses and livestock, after all this is our settlement and we have to live here,” said Sham Lal.

Prakash Kumar another youngster in the group was however anxious to return to the camp: “They (Pakistan) are not trustworthy neighbours, they can hit back anytime.”

(First published in The Hindu http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/blink/know/shellshocked-hamlets/article6507141.ece )

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