BJP Fumes As Sajad Lone's Ministry Features Separatist Andrabi As Woman Achiever
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government today suspended a senior officer of the social welfare ministry headed by the BJP’s ally in the state, Sajad Gani Lone, after a banner promoting the Centre’s flagship program for girl child, ‘Beti-Bachao, Beti Padao’, featured separatist leader, Asiya Andrabi, as one of the women achievers.
Deputy commissioner, Anantnag, today issued suspension orders against Shameema Akhtar, project officer, Integrated Child Development Scheme, for Kokernag circle of south Kashmir. The controversial banner, a photo of which has gone viral on social media, was featured at tourism department’s one-day festival at Kokernag on Wednesday.
The Integrated Child Development Scheme, implemented by the Social Welfare department of J&K government, is headed by BJP’s ally, Sajad Gani Lone. The department is in the midst of a weeklong program throughout the state to promote ‘Save Girl Child’ campaign.
Lone, a former separatist, got inducted into the J&K cabinet on BJP’s quota following days of negotiations with the party of Hindu nationalists. He was reportedly not happy with being allocated an ‘insignificant ministry’.
Witnesses said the program at Kokernag was also attended by a number of MLAs from the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and senior government functionaries from the tourism department as well as the Commanding Officer of 19 Rashtriya Rifles based in Kokernag.
Other than Asiya, the head of Dukhtaraan-e-Millat, a separatist group affiliated with Syed Ali Geelani-led Hurriyat, those who feature in the banner include former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti and Minister of state for health, Asiea Naqash.
The flex banner also features Kashmiri poetess and mystic, Habba Khatoon, Nobel Peace laurate, Mother Teresa, playback singer Lata Mangeshkar, astronaut Kalpana Chawla and Tennis sensation Sania Mirza.
To give it a local flavour, the banner also featured the first woman IPS officer from Kashmir Ruveda Salam and Kashmiri woman IAS officer Deeba Farhat along side Asiya, who is jailed from the last several weeks at Amphala jail in Jammu along with her associate Fahmeeda Sofi.
According to sources, Asiya, who is known for her ‘radical’ views, has not been keeping well due to which she has been hospitalised on several occasions. She has been booked under the Public Safety Act more than 20 times. Her husband, Qasim Faktoo, head of Muslim Deeni Mahaz, has been serving life imprisonment for 23 years.