‘Mehbooba admits some points not part of meeting’
JAMMU, Mar 8: The State Government has decided that the Tribal Policy, which will be formulated by a Cabinet Sub Committee (CSC) headed by Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh that has already been constituted for the purpose, will be implemented in the State and that some parts of minutes of a meeting released by the Tribal Affairs Department on February 14, which had resulted into massive outrage in some parts of Jammu region, had not been discussed in the meeting.
The Government has also agreed to the demand for sanctioning posts of Additional Deputy Commissioners for Kalakote, Nowshera and Sunderbani on rotational basis and decided to set up a high-level Committee headed by the Chief Secretary to examine similar demands pouring in from other areas.
However, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti didn’t agree to the BJP demand for handing over minor girl’s rape-cum-murder case of Hiranagar to Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) saying the Crime Branch probe was nearing completion and that the case was likely to be challaned in the next few days.
The decisions to this effect were taken when nine Ministers of BJP including six Cabinet and three MoS called on Mehbooba in her office at the Civil Secretariat this afternoon. The meeting lasted one and a half hour. Prior to the meeting, all BJP Ministers met at the office of Industry and Commerce Minister Chander Prakash Ganga for an hour.
Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh couldn’t attend the meeting as he was in the Union capital. The Chief Minister was joined by Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu, Works Minister Naeem Akhter and Education Minister Altaf Bukhari in the meeting with the BJP Ministers.
Briefing reporters, Health and Medical Education Minister Bali Bhagat said the Chief Minister admitted that some of the points mentioned in minutes of the meeting released by the Tribal Affairs Department hadn’t been discussed in the meeting that took place on February 14 and was chaired by Mehbooba Mufti herself.
“The Tribal Affairs Department had incorporated some of the points in the meetings on their own,” Bali quoted the Chief Minister as saying and asserted that it was not an administrative order.
Bhagat said the Chief Minister agreed that Tribal Policy was under formulation and only that Policy which will be approved by the Cabinet Sub Committee headed by Dr Nirmal Singh will be implemented. The CSC, he added, will report to the Cabinet, which will take final call on the Tribal Policy.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Finance and Tribal Affairs, Ajay Nanda, who was also present in February 14 meeting, told the reporters that three major points mentioned in minutes of the meeting, hadn’t been discussed at all.
Nanda, the BJP MLA from Reasi, today also submitted a written note to the Chief Minister, setting the record straight on the meeting.
The note, a copy of which is available with the Excelsior, quoted Nanda as saying: “I don’t agree with three points of the meeting as they were not discussed as stated. Moreover, the points were not recorded in the spirit of decisions taken by the Chief Minister”.
Nanda said: “we all respect rights of our tribal population but, at the same time, I also reiterate that law is same for all citizens of the State and, therefore, any person, who breaks law and indulge in encroachments, violate Court directions and become a hurdle in developmental projects, law of the land will take its own course and authorities should act accordingly”.
Nanda said the minutes of the meeting were not routed through him despite the fact that the meeting was attended by him.
Nanda handed over the letter to the Chief Minister during meeting of the BJP Ministers with her.
The CSC on Tribal Policy headed by Dr Nirmal Singh comprised Revenue Minister Abdul Rehman Veeri, Forests Minister Lal Singh, Rural Development Minister Abdul Haq Khan and Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs and Tribal Affairs Minister Choudhary Zulfkar.
The minutes of the meeting, which surfaced yesterday and reported in the Excelsior today, drew flak from several parts of Jammu as they stated that the IGP, Deputy Commissioners and SSPs will not give force to the Departments for eviction of tribal population anywhere and that police will take due care in checking bovine smuggling.
Nanda said that these issues hadn’t been discussed in February 14 meeting.
Meanwhile, Bali Bhagat said, the Government has agreed to the demand for sanctioning another post of Additional DC in Nowshera tehsil of Rajouri district. The ADC Nowshera will set one week in Nowshera and another week in Sunderbani while already designated Additional DC Koteranka will have rotational posting for one week in Koteranka and another week in Kalakote. This way, he said, all four tehsils of Rajouri district will get Additional DC.
Bhagat said the Chief Minister announced that the Government would set up a high-powered Committee headed by the Chief Secretary and comprising senior officers of the civil administration to examine the demands pouring in from several areas for creation of the posts of Additional DCs, SDMs etc.
However, sources said, the Chief Minister didn’t concede the BJP demand for CBI probe into the killing of minor Gujjar girl in Hiranagar tehsil of Kathua district.
Bali Bhagat quoted Mehbooba Mufti as saying that the Crime Branch investigations into the case were 90 per cent complete and that it would be challaned in the court of law in next few days.
It may be mentioned here that massive protests took place even today in Hiranagar in support of the demand for CBI probe into rape-cum-murder of minor girl of the Gujjar with locals alleging that they were being unnecessarily harassed by the Crime Branch, the investigating agency.
Sources said during the meeting, one of the BJP Ministers was reported to have raised question mark over the police investigations saying initially they blamed juvenile for the killing, then SIT was set up, which accused the SPO and now the Crime Branch was harassing local youth.
“The Crime Branch credibility is under doubt as they are not clear in the case. Therefore, the case be handed over to the CBI,” the Minister said.
However, according to sources, Mehbooba said, the BJP Ministers should have faith in the State police and Crime Branch.