|Tuesday, March 28, 2000,
BJP members stage walkout
Policy to minorities rights
BJP members stage walkout
JAMMU, March 27 The BJP members today staged a walkout in the assembly in protest against what they described unsatisfactory reply from the government over delay in conferring proprietary rights to Chamb refugees of 1965. The Congress member, Mr Ashok Sharma, too joined the walkout.
The BJP members were seen on their feet protesting against the Revenue Minister, Mr Abdul Qayooms reply, during question hour, that since the records of the refugees had been taken by the Centre new records have to be prepared. One BJP member, Mr Hans Raj Dogra, announced that he would quit if the Revenue Minister established that the records of the Chamb refugees were not with the State Government. Mr Dogra claimed that the records were with the State Government. At this juncture four BJP members and one Congress member raised a furore in the House. They shouted that the State Government was discriminating against the refugees. They walked out from the House.
When the sitting started several Opposition members besides a couple of National Conference members were on their feet to know what the government had done to check the killing of innocent people. They referred to recent killing of five Muslims in Buda village in Udhampur district. The Speaker, Mr Abdub Ahad Vakil, suggested to the members control their emotions. He said " members should be sober so that the discussion in the House was not marred by noisy scenes." He told the members that their sentiments had been taken note of by the government and a statement would be made on the floor of the House.
Later before the start of zero hour the Minister of State for Home, Mr Mushtaq Ahmed Lone, said that on Saturday a group of militants had killed five members of a Muslim family. He said that the House belonged to a mason who had some dispute with militants. He said the security forces had been sent there to eliminate or arrest the killers.
The house witnessed noisy scenes when the Panthers Party member, Mr Harsh Dev Singh, berated the government for its failure to evolve a mechanism for recovering sales tax and excise arrears which had touched over Rs 1,000 crore.
The Law Minister, Mr P.L. Handoo, in reply to a question informed the House that sales tax arrears had touched over Rs 460 crore, Rs 120 crore from the Jammu region and Rs 340 crore from the Kashmir valley. He said that forest royalty disputes were still being processed in the courts. He said there were 78 cases in Jammu and 34 cases in Kashmir and the amount involved about Rs 8.36 crore.
He said that in case of those defaulters of sales tax who had gone to the courts, the State Governments hands were tight. At the same time various schemes had been initiated to recover the tax arrears.
Several Opposition members wanted to know from the government as to why austerity measures were not being observed in case of expenses incurred by ministers on telephone and fuel. In reply to a question the Law Minister said that over Rs 60 lakh had been spent by ministers on phone calls and over Rs 45 lakh on fuel during the current financial year.
In the Legislative Council (Upper House) the BJP member, Mr D.K. Kotwal, caused a flutter in the House when he referred to recent custodial killing of one person by the SPOs in village Binola in Doda district. Mr Kotwal said one selection grade constable and four other special police officers (SPOs) had taken into custody seven youths and later tortured them in a nearby jungle when there was no complaint lodged against them. One youth had died in custody and four others were wounded.
Policy to minorities
JAMMU, March 27 Following the massacre of 35 Sikhs in Chatti Singhpora village on Monday last the Panun Kashmir Movement (PKM) has demanded that the Government should come out with the definite police regarding the restoration of fundamental and other rights to the minorities, including the Kashmiri Pandits.
At a meeting held here today, where its publication titled "Kashmiri Pandit Agenda, After a Decade of Exile", the PKM said that the killings of Sikhs was a serious pointer to the plan of ethnic extermination of minorities from the Kashmir valley. It said that besides Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and other minorities were the ultimate target of Islamic terrorists to carry out ethnic cleansing in the valley.
It said that since the State and the Central Governments had failed to protect the lives and property of the minorities it had become imperative for the Government of India to carve out a separate homeland in the valley for Kashmiri Pandits and other minorities. These minorities, the PKM said, could be safe in a separate homeland with a union territory status where they could also enjoy all rights.
The PKM also alleged that after the National Conference assuming the power in 1996 the rate of elimination of Pandits in the State had increased when compared to the period between 1991 to 1996. It said that the massacre of Hindus and Sangharampora, Wandhama, Gool, Telwani, and other areas was "a telling example of fast deteriorating security situation in the state".
It said that during the
past three years there has been a phenomenal increase in
illegal occupation of the properties left by the Kashmiri
migrants in the valley which has resulted in distress
sale of houses and land by the minorities. It said the
Government did not only act as a mute spectator but
sealed all the possibilities of return of Hindus to the
valley by raking up the issue of greater and regional
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