Thursday, November 13, 2008

Lawyers or separatists? - Hindustan Times

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times

There is an unusual addition to the list of separatist organisations in J&K — the Kashmir Bar Association (KBA).

According to the Union Home Ministry, the Bar is one of 49 separatist organisations currently operating in the state. This disclosure was made in response to a Right to Information application filed by Aditya Raj Kaul, a Kashmiri Pandit youth activist.

The Bar has questioned the government’s decision. It says its objectives are apolitical and, hence, it cannot be categorised as a separatist organisation. “The KBA is a body of lawyers practising in the J&K High Court. The advocate general, government advocates, public prosecutors and standing counsels for various government departments, public sector undertakings and banks are its members,” said its president Mian Abdul Qayoom.

The high court gives licenses to lawyers after verifying their antecedents and after the police have certified they aren't involved in illegal activities. “The license can be cancelled if a member is found guilty of professional misconduct,” he added.

What may have prompted the government to make this categorisation is the fact that the KBA constitution calls for finding ways to resolve the Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes of the people. But Qayoom finds nothing wrong in this. “When India and Pakistan are engaged in negotiations on Kashmir, why can’t the KBA or its members strive for resolution of the contentious issue?”

Legal experts said the government should clarify. “Any group whose objective is to enable J&K to secede from India can be called a separatist organisation. We don’t know the objectives of the KBA,” said former law minister Shanti Bhushan.

Qayoom said it was the professional duty of Bar members to provide legal aid to those (read militants) who approach them. “By doing so, they can’t be said to have indulged in any illegal act.”

He also rubbished charges that the KBA prevented lawyers from pleading the cases of accused in the Srinagar sex scandal involving ministers, legislators and police officers. “We didn’t pass any resolution, neither did we stop any member from representing the accused. The decision was left to the lawyers.”

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Kashmiri Pandits discouraged from contesting polls-King C Bharti

CALL IT official terrorism or intimidation of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) but the fact is that government of J&K has been trying every method to discourage Kashmiri Pandits from contesting the coming Assembly elections through various means available with the government.
While the filing of fresh M-Forms and the cumbersome procedure of filing Form 12C to seek voting rights for general and other category of Migrant Kashmiri Pandits is nothing but a harassment tactic of the government the inaction over the request for security cover to its candidates by Jammu and Kashmir National United Front (JKNUF), the first ever political party of Kashmiri Pandits is a clear indication that government does not want KPs to participate in the democratic process.
It is worth mentioning here that the first batch of prospective candidates of JKNUF today left for Valley without security to file their nominations. Even though it is the history in the making the government does not seem to care a hoot.
The fact that all Kashmiri Pandits have been casting their votes in Jammu and elsewhere according to their electoral rolls earlier this time the state government has devised a cumbersome means to ensure as low a voter turnout as possible because Kashmiri Pandits have not only floated the first ever political party but also that many more KPs are contesting elections as independent candidates.
Even though JKNUF has been trying its level best to help Kashmiri Pandits to complete the formalities the over all procedure is too big to be handled for the newly floated party.
The leaders of JKNUF AK Dewani and Rakesh Handoo Bunty when contacted said that the whole process was to ensure minimum voter turnout of Pandits adding the pro-separatist government fears some unexpected results if KPs participate fully in the elections.
Dewani and Handoo however said that they were all set to frustrate the evil designs of the pro-separatist government which has now added yet another dirty feather in its cap by turning a Nelsons Eye towards their pleas of security and other things so that maximum number of KP voters can cast their ballot.
The government, which has been beating about the bush of having great concern for the KPs, has however ignored the KP candidates in proving suitable security cover equating them with other smaller parties who also seek security during the elections.
However the fact remains that while the government tries every stupid trick to woo terrorists and separatists in Kashmir the real victims of the terror, Kashmiri Pandits, do not seem to figure in their scheme of things for the resolution of the Kashmir problem.
The rebuff seems to be the answer of the Vohra regime to their wholehearted support to Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti for which the entire community seems to be paying the price, says a young Pandit Samir Koul of Muthi migrant camp.
While Jammuites are already facing state terror through longest ever power cuts as a punishment for their two month long agitation it is time KP leaders face the brunt of brutality.
The government must wake up from its deep slumber and face the reality by recognizing Kashmiri Pandits as equal partners in the of state affairs lest they too produce the likes of Sadhvi Pragya to seek their rights in Kashmir, says another young KP migrant at Shankar building sifting through huge records to find his name in the electoral rolls.
Rakesh Handoo the prospective candidate from Hazratbal constituency said that Kashmiri Pandits too must understand that the government has been trying to divide them over the participation in polls as nobody wants them to be counted anywhere in the real democratic process and hence must shun the politics of boycott by participating in the elections fully so that they too get some attention of the political leaders who are seeking a mandate in Kashmir.
They must understand that some political parties have already started voicing their concern over the actual number of KP voters because a well designed plot is being hatched to keep KP voters at bay by adopting the policy of divide and rule.
Even if KPs get only a few hundred votes it will certainly make an impact over the prospective candidates of the Valley to start respecting their power even if small in volume, Handoo said.
Meanwhile the first delegation of prospective candidates of JKNUF today left for Valley by road to file nominations for various constituencies in Valley without any security.
The delegation, which left by road, was not, provided any help by the government notwithstanding the fact that participation of the first ever KP political party in the elections could have been used as a tool to rebuff the separatists that majority of the Kashmiri people are in favour of elections.
However according to Handoo repeated requests to Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda and IGP Security have not been fruitful despite a recommendation from the Returning Officer of KPs in Jammu.
The police has been citing the tremendous demand of security form various parties but they seem to have forgotten that government has a duty towards KPs who are not only the real aborigines of Kashmir but also living in forced exile for the last 18 years due to the inept governments at sate and central level from time to time.
The delegation however left for the Valley indicating the resolve of KPs to contest elections under any circumstances to make their presence felt even if government denies them much needed security cover.
Those who left for the Valley to file their nominations on behalf of JKNUF mandate include Shadi Lal Kant (Langate), Pawan Kumar Raina ( Handwara) and Samir Raina (Kupwara).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

'Roots In Kashmir' supports protest against terrorist S.A.R. Geelani

Kashmiri group backs DUSU

Staff Reporter

The Hindu

NEW DELHI: “Roots in Kashmir”, an initiative of Kashmiri Hindu youth, came out in support of the Delhi University Students’ Union on Saturday in its protest against S.A.R. Geelani, the Zakir Husain College lecturer who was acquitted by the Supreme Court in the infamous Parliament attack case.

Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists had ransacked the Arts Faculty building on the North Campus of Delhi University on Thursday when a seminar to be chaired by Mr. Geelani was in progress. While the protest was on, DUSU president Nupur Sharma had “requested” Mr. Geelani to leave the venue.

“The public meeting organised by the University Community to debate ‘Communalism: Rhetoric and Reality’ was in reality on so-called ‘Hindu Fascism and Terrorism’. This was clearly mentioned in pamphlets distributed at the gathering,” said Aditya Raj Kaul, a youth activist and coordinator of “Roots in Kashmir”, on Saturday.

“We call upon the conscience of Vice-Chancellor Deepak Pental to investigate the reality behind this propaganda meeting organised by some vested interests to provoke members of the student community of a certain religion. It may be noted that one of the main accused in the Parliament attack case, Mr. Geelani, has not been declared completely innocent by the Supreme Court. He had been released on ‘technical grounds’,” read a statement from the organisation.

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DUSU President Nupur Sharma persuading S.A.R. Geelani to leave the venue.

Police clashing with ABVP activists.

SFI & AISA Goons get violent in the seminar at Law Faculty. (In picture Taslima Chisti of JNU)

DU allows 'seminar' blasting Govt; Geelani is star speaker

Staff Reporter | New Delhi

The Daily Pioneer

Parliament attack accused incites youth to end 'fascism' in India, take on ABVP 'goons'

Under heavy police bandobast, the Delhi University (DU) on Thursday facilitated an "interactive session" where venom was spewed on the Government's counter-terrorism initiatives and a known anti-national — SAR Geelani, accused in the Parliament attack case — was hero-worshipped.

Addressing a gathering of about 50 students and teachers at the Arts Faculty seminar hall, Geelani said the Batla House encounter was stage-managed by Delhi Police. He said that different parameters were being applied in the handling of Islamic terrorism and the so-called Hindu terrorism. Geelani was speaking on 'Communalism, Fascism and Democracy — Rhetoric and Reality', organised by a barely-known campus group called University Community.

"There is no democracy in India. The Government, in the name of national security and war against terrorism, is targeting select people and letting others go scotfree. There is a huge difference in the way the Government deals with the so-called Islamic terrorism and those spread by Hindu extremists. Aur zyaada janne ke liye aap baad mein miliye (Meet me later for further explanations)," said Geelani, who was an accused in the 2003 Parliament attack case and was later comforted by the Supreme Court. He said that fascism and prejudice had crept into the four pillars of democracy in India. "Even the Chief Justice of India has been accused of corruption," he said.

About 50 persons, including some teachers from different departments of DU, participated in the talk. Amid slogans like "Civil Liberties Long Live" and "Hindu goons wapas jao", the speakers -- including two working journalists and a professor from the Department of Sociology, Jamia Millia Islamia, Nehsat Quaiser -- professed the cases of banned Muslim group, the Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), and the likes of Afzal Guru.

Talking about the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists opposing the branding of Hindu groups as terrorists, Geelani said, "Inquilab comes from the youth. You should not fear these goons and end this fascism."

Another speaker said the Malegaon blasts accused, Pragya Singh Thakur, was not a sadhvi but the face of Sangh terror. University sources said a teacher from the Department of English had booked the hall for organising 'a talk'. University officials said they were not informed of the topic and that Geelani was supposed to deliver a lecture. University Proctor Gurmeet Singh even called the organisers repeatedly, asking them to cancel their talk in view of the protests incited by Geelani's and others' views. The meeting, however, went on.

The ABVP members, on the other hand, demonstrated outside the seminar room and shouted slogans, 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai' and 'Vande Mataram'. An activist even managed to reach the dais and spit on Geelani's face, saying 'shame, shame'. The ABVP activists then damaged some windows, doors, chairs and the microphone to disrupt the meeting. However, the meeting continued despite the disturbance. Later, police arrested some ABVP activists.

Exclusive Pics Courtesy - Aditya Raj Kaul