JAMMU, Feb 2: Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah today asked the PDP to introspect over its “Faustian bargain” with the chair that be to remain in power and said PDP should realise that bartering its political soul for power was a compromise not only with the remnants of its own dignity but with the honour and interests of the State and its people. Click here to watch video
During his address in the Assembly on the grants of Chief Minister’s departments, Omar narrated the story of Faust and Satan – the pact between a person and Satan or a lesser demon in which the person offers his or her soul in exchange for diabolical favours and said today’s situation reminds him of the story.
“You (Mehbooba) have also entered into such a trade politically for six years of rule. They (BJP) gave you full six years of rule with respect, dignity, honour, with a design to take away your political soul,” Omar said.
The former CM said the end of this story depends upon you. In case, she (Mehbooba) wants to save herself from the fire of hell (as per the story), then it is better to take corrective measures, he added.
“You undertake prayers like Faust, bring change in the governance of this State so that you can restore your political soul and save yourself from fire of hell,” Omar said.
Omar demanded the constitution of a high-level Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the killings of three people in firing by security forces when a convoy was attacked by stone-pelters in Shopian district.
“It will be my humble request to you to constitute high- level Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe both the FIRs (in Shopian incident). Please give orders to set up a high- level SIT and leave it to them to investigate,” Omar said in the Assembly.
Omar said that there was now a “battle” over two separate FIRs filed by the police and the Army, and that it would be difficult for a Station House Officer (SHO) to probe the matter.
He said that the magisterial probe, ordered by the State Government after incident, would continue separately.
Taking a dig at the Chief Minister, Omar asked why no action had been taken in previous FIRs registered against security forces.
“You have assured the people of the State that FIR will be taken to conclusion. It is good. But till now, there has been no action on FIRs (registered against security forces in the past),” Omar said.
He said that since 2000, the State Government had forwarded 50 requests to the Centre to give permission for prosecution of Central Security Force personnel, particularly the Army, where “we have seen human right violations”.
“Forty-seven requests were rejected and three are still pending…This is our track record,” the former Chief Minister said.
Omar said that the security situation was getting worse in the State.
He batted strongly for the grant of compensation to Farooq Ahmed Dar, who was tied to an Army Gypsy and paraded through nine villages on the day of by-poll to the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.
“The Army officer who tied him got award but this youth who voted in elections does not deserve even the compensation?”, he wondered.
The former Chief Minister asked Mehbooba Mufti to advise her counterparts in New Delhi not to take decisions for the State from there and to consult the State leadership.
Omar expressed concern over the instable and restless security situation in the State and said that from Shopian to Kathua blood was being spilled without any sign of an improvement in the situation. He expressed grief and disappointment at the continued loss of lives due to incessant border shelling on Line of Control and the International Border.
“While the recent killing of three civilians in Shopian has shocked the people, the brutal murder of a minor girl in Kathua is no less shocking. It is highly unfortunate that the medical report of the unfortunate girl is still not available despite the assurance of justice to the parents of the murdered child. No wonder why people have lost faith in the investigations ordered by this Government”, the NC MLA said.
“In this grim security scenario, the Government has been talking about holding Panchayat elections and my party colleagues will present their view point in the all party meeting convened by the Chief Minister but I want to express serious apprehensions about the security of the voters as well as the candidate who participate in the proposed democratic exercise”, he said.
On withdrawal of cases against first time offenders of stone-pelting, Omar asked the Government to clarify its decision with regard to cases of second time offenders. “Let us know whether cases are being withdrawn from a specific period or how the Government will arrive at conclusion about second time offenders”, he asked.
Omar took strong exception to decisions with regard to state of affairs of Jammu and Kashmir being announced by individuals other than those in the Government and hoped that the Chief Minister would take note of this habitual impropriety and ensure the sanctity of the State’s institutions is upheld. In this regard he referred to certain decisions regarding the State being announced by the Special Representative of the Centre or the Union Home Minister.
Dwelling upon the working of the departments under the Chief Minister, Omar sought implementation of the cadre review of Jammu and Kashmir Police so that benefits could percolate down to the eligible officers without any further delay. He said no action had been taken on the ground in this regard so far. He sought re-engagement of the disengaged wireless operators and urged the Chief Minister to ensure that bottlenecks in their engagement will be removed at the earliest.
On the recruitment of SPOs, Omar stressed the need for complete transparency, especially in view of substantiated complaints about political interference and nepotism and demanded abolishment of the so-called political quota system that was robbing meritorious and eligible youth of their rights.
The NC leader also voiced concern over the Government’s whimsical changes the entire planning scenario in the State. “You have reversed Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s successful and effective Single Line Administration system and replaced it by holding Awami Durbars. In the process the institution of District Development Boards has been grossly undermined and rendered vestigial”, he said, adding that the Chief Minister had held these Durbars in 14 district by bypassing the District Development Boards and ridiculing their mandate.
“While 3000 directions have been passed involving an amount of Rs 600 crores, the Finance Department has only allocated Rs 60 crores, leaving the remaining funds to be arranged by the District Development Boards. I wonder how the District Development Boards will honour the Chief Minister’s commitments with already meagre and limited resources at their disposal”, the National Conference leader added.
Omar also called for safeguarding the sanctity of the institution of the MLA that had been undermined by these partisan Public Durbars.
He inquired into the status of RFD mechanism started during his tenure as Chief Minister to undertake third party verification of various development projects and asked whether this mechanism had been shelved by the present dispensation.
He said the State has no transfer policy and transfers were taking place quite frequently and often on political and partisan grounds. He also sought withdrawing of SRO 202 and termed it a gross violation of the rights of the youth and also sought the elevation of the State service officers to All India Services that has not taken place for the past four years.
He said the State Cabinet meets very rarely and most of the decisions are taken through circulation of agendas.
Participating in the discussion on Grants, Congress Legislature Party leader Nawang Rigzin Jora accused Mehbooba Mufti of eroding the authority of Chief Minister and allowing multiple power centres in the State.
“Despite being Chief Minister and head of the Unified Command, why did you ( Mehbooba) seek permission of the Defence Minister for registration of FIR against Armymen and when FIR was registered, why did Army file a counter FIR?” he asked and alleged that counter FIR was got registered at the instance of Nagpur ( RSS Headquarters).
The Congress MLA claimed that then UPA Government was instrumental in starting cross-LoC trade, holding two round table conferences and constituting five Working Groups for initiating peace process in the State. “On the other hand, Modi Government only promoted cow vigilantism and cultural nationalism on its agenda, ” he alleged and expressed apprehensions on the fate of secularism as well as Kashmir identity in the prevailing scenario. He also demanded Government jobs to next of the kin of deceased in border firing and enhancement of relief to the victims.
BJP MLA Sat Sharma alleged that frustration for being out of power was evident from Omar Abdullah’s address, who allegedly spoke against Army and Defence force. Demoralization of Defence forces will not be good for people of this country and more particularly for the Members of this House,” he warned and alleged that speaking against Army seemed to have become a fashion of some politicians.
“Let these politicians go to Pakistan and utter even a single word against the Army of neighbouring country. Only then they will come to know about the consequences of speaking against Defence forces,” the BJP MLA said.
Sat Sharma also sought a CBI probe into murder of minor girl at Hiranagar. He also demanded that the inhabitants of International Border be extended benefits similar to those residing near LoC.
Choudhary Sukhnandan Kumar stressed on development of rural areas besides, demanded for strict implementation of ban on polythene to save environment of the State. He demanded providing bulletproof vehicles and fire tender for every police station along the border and LoC.
Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen stressed on taking necessary measures for bringing peace in the region. He urged the Government to strengthen Public Service Guarantee Act for ensuring public delivery system, devising mechanism for setting up a single line administration and timely disposal of files.
Choudhary Qamar Hussain demanded a thorough investigation in the murder of minor girl in Kathua district besides asking for enhancing the honorarium of SPOs and home guards.
Neelam Kumar Langeh demanded special recruitment drive for police department in his Constituency, regularization of Village Defence Committee volunteers, early renewal of gun licences, providing transportation to legislators at New Delhi and for enhancing Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
M Y Tarigami while taking part in the discussion urged the Government to put blanket ban on the use of pellet guns in the State. He also urged for taking urgent measures to fill the vacancies existing in various government departments, public sector undertakings by referring these vacancies to concerned recruiting agencies.
Javid Hassan Beigh called for encouraging dialogue between India and Pakistan for solving several issues confronting the two nations. He also called for taking sustained measures for tackling the menace of unemployment.
Jeevan Lal demanded employment packages for the educated unemployed youth of the State, issuance of gun licences and providing adequate funds for undertaking different development works in his Constituency.
Shah Mohammad Tantray urged the government to take concrete measures to ensure peace in the State. Bashir Ahmad Dar said that alliances are outcome of political compulsions.