Governor Vohra Says JK Govt To Safeguard Special Status; Mirwaiz Under House Arrest
SRINAGAR: A senior Hurriyat leader was put under house arrest Wednesday ahead of the Governor NN Vohra's address to a joint sitting of the state legislature, marking the beginning of the budget session in Jammu and Kashmir.
"A group of armed policemen arrived at the gates and prevented Mirwaiz saheb from leaving his Nigeen resident. He was scheduled to chair the meeting of the executive council which was later held at Rajbagh headquarters," Shahid-ul-Islam, political advisor to Mirwaiz, said.
The PDP-BJP coalition government has come under sharp criticism from the Hurriyat groups and JKLF on a number of controversial policy decisions and the recent apex court order on NEET which, they allege, are aimed at "eroding the special status of J&K".
Senior separatist leaders including Mirwaiz, veteran Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Geelani and JKLF chief Yasin Malik, have been huddling up in the last month or so for a "joint strategy" to "counter the RSS agenda implemented by its local stooges" in Jammu and Kashmir.
The powerful trio held a meeting on Monday to evolve a strategy against the PDP-BJP government's “plans” to establish colonies for displaced Pandits and ex-servicemen of the state. The meeting, which lasted for nearly two hours, was held at Geelani’s Srinagar residence.
In his address on Wednesday, Governor Vohra said the PDP-BJP coalition government is committed to pursue the "strengthening the path of peace and dialogue for achieving reconciliation and development".
"The state government is committed to safeguard the special status which has been accorded to the Jammu and Kashmir in the Constitution of India and been has also spelled out in the agenda of the alliance which forms the basis of the PDP-BJP government," Governor Vohra said.
"This house is the custodian and the protector of rights and privileges of people of J&K. It would therefore be beneficial if .. (the) house meaningfully plays its crucial role and discharge its high responsibility to the people of the state," he said.
The National Conference, Congress as well as other political parties are also geared up to corner the government in the legislature with MLA Langate, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, setting the tone for the budget session later on Wednesday by demanding to know the status of the probe into Handwara killings.
Five civilians were killed in a bloodied week of unrest in north Kashmir's Kupwara district last month after rumours about molestation of a school girl in Handwara town by an Army soldier sparked violence against armed forces.
The J&K government has ordered a magisterial probe which, backed up by the girl's video statement, held two local youth guilty of fanning "false rumours" of molestation while giving clean chit to the armed forces.
The probe has been, however, shadowed by the girl's fresh statement after she was released from "protective custody" of the police on High Court's order. She has alleged that an unnamed Army soldier molested her and the police extracted her video statement under duress.
Shouting slogans, Rashid displayed a banner in the assembly on Wednesday which read “What happened to magisterial probe of Handwara killings?”. Later, legislators of National Conference and Congress staged a walk-out, demanding explanation from the treasury benches on the Handwara probe and proposed Sainik and Pandit colonies
Although the state government has categorically ruled out building Sainik Colonies in the Valley for ex-servicemen, there is a lack of clarity on the proposed Pandit colonies which will be added to the fury against the recent apex court ordered on the NEET which calls for holding single entrance test for medical colleges across the country.