J&K Beef Ban: Govt Shunts Official With VHP Links
SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir government has shunted the Additional Advocate General (AAG), Vishal Sharma, from the state's Home department to Education for "miserably failing" to defend the government's argument in the beef ban case.
Sharma has been replaced by Advocate Wasim Nargal, who was appointed as AAG by the Law Department on Monday. The action comes following a massive uproar over the court's order on "strict implementation" of the beef ban that is in vogue in the state since 1947.
Vishal Sharma is the son of Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s state president, Advocate Leela Karan Sharma, who led the two-month agitation over the Amarnath land row as the convenor of the Amarnath Yatra Sangarsh Samiti in 2008.
Sources said chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was "upset" over the manner in which the case was handled by the law department with the ruling PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti, who is also Lok Sabha MP from Anantnag constituency, terming the order as a "routine matter" to defuse the tension in the state.
"The government is worried about its consequences (of the court's order). There is also a genuine anguish in the Valley against the ruling which can erupt into a major controversy. We don't want another Amarnath-like row to divide the state," a cabinet minister, wishing anonymity, told The Citizen.
A senior officer in the law department said Nargal will be defending the government in cases related to the state's home and revenue departments. “He (Sharma) could not defend the case. He also didn’t inform the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on time about court’s direction regarding the case. He has not even informed his seniors about the case. It could have been handled differently,” government sources told a news agency.
The HC had ruled in petitioner’s favour and ordered the police to strictly implement the ban on sale and consumption of beef in the state. Interestingly, the petitioner, Advocate Parimoksh Seth, holds the Deputy Advocate General’s post in State’s law department.
Advocate Seth has not withdrawn his name from the petition which led to the court order on beef ban in the state. Advocate Seth was to withdraw his name from the petition on Monday but “he has informed law department that he will follow BJP high command’s orders in this regard,” the agency reported. The BJP’s in-charge for Jammu and Kashmir, Avinash Rai Khanna, meanwhile held a detailed meeting with party functionaries and ministers in Jammu to discuss the issue regarding court order on beef ban.